From cultural hotspots to volcanic hot springs, this fascinating route in Japan is brimming with things to see, do and taste.
Japan is brimming with so many layers of culture, scenery, history and activity that it’s virtually impossible to see and do it all. Luckily, you can dip into some of the best Japan has to offer in one trip, thanks to the high-speed shinkansen (‘bullet train’) system.
Osaka to Nara
A quick trip from Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city (and foodie heaven) you’ll find Nara.
The country’s first permanent capital is packed with an incredible concentration of cultural hotspots including the Todaiji Temple, which houses the enormous bronze statue of the Great Buddha.
The temple is located in the northern part of Nara Park, famous for its resident population of beautiful, freely roaming Sika deer.
Kyoto is no cultural slouch either. Don’t miss the World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu-dera Temple which, halfway up Mount Otawa, also offers spectacular views all year round (especially during cherry blossom season).
From Kyoto, it’s a scenic ride on the shinkansen to Mount Fuji (for spectacular views, try Gotemba Peace Park or Mount Fuji 5th Station).
Here, at the foot of the iconic mountain, the eight ponds of Oshino Hakkai are fed by snow melting down from Mount Fuji and then filtered through porous lava, resulting in crystal clear water.
Seeking a hotter option? Head to nearby Owakudani, a volcanic valley in the Hakone hot springs region boasting scenic hiking trails and a number of hotels with hot onsen.
We have to say it – you absolutely cannot miss Tokyo. Here, in this vast metropolis, you’ll find something for everyone.
There’s a dazzling array of attractions on offer: from the historical (Meiji Shrine, Asakusa Kannon Temple) to the cultural (tea ceremonies, pottery making) and the culinary (from traditional cooking classes to the sensory overload of the futuristic ‘Robot Restaurant’).
But the simplest form of entertainment is simply wandering Tokyo’s fascinating streets: observing its people, turning down tiny alleyways, wandering into the even tinier bars, and sampling the incredible street food – an unforgettable experience.
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