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Tokyo can't be judged from the outside, since those expecting ancient monuments... more
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Tokyo
Tokyo can't be judged from the outside, since those expecting ancient monuments will instead be greeted with modern drabness. The Imperial Palace, still home to the Emperor, shouldn't be missed, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum details the city's history. Sensoji Temple is the city's oldest, and the Tokyo National Museum holds the largest collection of Japanese art in the world.
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Only Rome has more designated World Heritage Sites than the former Japanese... more
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Kyoto
Only Rome has more designated World Heritage Sites than the former Japanese capital. This city of 1.5 million has a stunning array of temples and shrines, including Kinkaju, the Golden Pavilion, and the Ryoanji zen garden. Walk around Old Kyoto, through alleys of traditional narrow wooden houses, known as "houses for eels", to restaurant terraces along the River Kamo. The geisha quarter's Gion Corner offers glimpses into traditional arts, from puppetry to kyo-mai, dance performances by apprentice geisha.
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Home to nearly nine million and powering an economy that exceeds both Hong... more
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Osaka
Home to nearly nine million and powering an economy that exceeds both Hong Kong's and Thailand's, Osaka packs quite a punch. The confident, stylish city is a shopping hub, with fabulous restaurants and nightlife. It's an ideal base for exploring the Kansai region: Kyoto's World Heritage Sites, Nara's temple and Koya-san's eerie graves are within 90 minutes by train. Top city attractions include the aquarium, Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan and the futuristic Floating Garden Observatory.
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Thirteen hundred years ago, Nara (then Heiju-kyu) was the imperial capital of... more
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Nara
Thirteen hundred years ago, Nara (then Heiju-kyu) was the imperial capital of Japan. In 2010, festivities are in the works to celebrate this ancient city's anniversary. "Old Japan" is still easy to spot here, from Great Buddha Hall to traditional ryokans and the serene Isuien garden. travellers rave about walking tours of Nara, particularly in the historic Naramachi merchant area.
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Use Shari-Cho as a base for exploring the famed lakes of Shiritoko National... more
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Shari-cho
Use Shari-Cho as a base for exploring the famed lakes of Shiritoko National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s one of the most remote and pristine areas of Japan. The views are majestic, particularly in the winter time, when you can spot impressive slabs of sea ice. Splash in Kamuiwakka Waterfall, which is fed by hot springs that spill from an active volcano.
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Takayama is famous for its fabulous spring and autumn festivals, which have been... more
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Takayama
Takayama is famous for its fabulous spring and autumn festivals, which have been held here since the 16th century and revolve around the local harvest. If you visit during festival season you’ll be treated to gorgeous wooden floats, hundreds of silk and paper lanterns, and lively puppet shows. Don’t miss the historic merchant district of Sanmachi Suji, which bustles with visitors checking out craft shops, sake breweries, and traditional buildings.
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TripAdvisor travellers say the view from Mount Inasa is fantastic. And you’ll... more
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Nagasaki
TripAdvisor travellers say the view from Mount Inasa is fantastic. And you’ll definitely want to visit Spectacles Bridge, the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan. When you see its reflection in the water, you’ll understand how it got its nickname. On a somber note, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is an unsettling but moving account of the events of August 9, 1945.
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The island of Miyako-jima is home to beautiful beaches, perfect for sunning,... more
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Miyakojima
The island of Miyako-jima is home to beautiful beaches, perfect for sunning, swimming and snorkeling. When you’re sun-spent, migrate to the Miyakojima City Tropical Plant Garden to marvel at over 1,500 species of exotic tropical plants. Toast your travel companions with Japanese shochu while you nibble on speciality soba noodles.
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The water around Ishigaki is pure blue, with white sandy beaches to soothe your... more
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Ishigaki
The water around Ishigaki is pure blue, with white sandy beaches to soothe your senses. But don't just stand on the beach and stare. travellers recommend a ride in a glass-bottomed boat to gaze at the coral reefs and tropical fish from above.
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The resort village of Onna-Son is beloved by vacationers for its jewel-coloured... more
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Onna-son
The resort village of Onna-Son is beloved by vacationers for its jewel-coloured ocean, smooth sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. Diving and snorkeling here is a no-brainer. The Blue Cave is a spectacular spot for exploring, and the elephant-shaped rock formation at Cape Manzamo will delight imaginative kids and grown-ups alike.
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