Japan: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

thumb japan-mapthumb Edo Castlethumb japan-tokyo-ginzathumb japan-tokyo-kasai-rinkai-koen-aquariumthumb japan-tokyo-meji-jinguthumb Japan-tokyo-mori-art-museumthumb japan-tokyo-roppongi-streetthumb japan-tokyo-shinjuku-gardens

Japan is a contrast of extreme tradition in some respects and ultra modernity in others. It is impossible to sum up Japan in a few lines so perhaps the best thing is to arrive and let yourself be inspired by what surrounds you. If you don´t care for ultra modernity, there is ultra tradition too, so there is something for everyone in this nation. It is a rather expensive vacation but there are bargain prices to be had in Tokyo as well as the rest of the country.

Regions of Japan

Japan is an archipelago of 6.800 islands. Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku account for 97% of the landmass. The main island is called Honshu and the regions are best divided as follows.

Hokkaido

thumb japan-hokaido-mapthumb japan-hokkaido-spring-flowersthumb japan-hokkaido-seafoodthumb japan-hokkaido-sapporo-beer-gardenthumb japan-hokkaido-national-parksthumb japan-hokkaido-furano-flower-fieldthumb japan-hokkaido-bus-trainthumb japan-hokkaido-ainu-destinations

Hokkaido is the most northerly island of Japan. This is the place in Japan that is the representation of the country’s wilderness and its other amazing national parks. Many who have visited the place has described it to be similar to the natural scenery of northern Europe. The presence of the hot spring destinations is enough to remind anyone that they are still within Japan.

Apart from being the biggest prefecture in Japan, it is also known to have a cooler climate than the other regions in the country. This is another reason why it has been known to become a famous attraction to see between the months of May and August.

Kanto Region

thumb japan-kanto-mapthumb japan-tokyo-teens-in-japanese-fashion-stylethumb japan-tokyo-streets-filled-with-peoplethumb japan-tokyo-skylines-by-night-with-Mount-Fuji-peekingthumb japan-tokyo-postcardthumb japan-tokyo-east-shinjukuthumb japan-tokyo-at-night

The Kanto is a region in Japan located right at the eastern side of the island Honshu. Tokyo is one of its prefectures along with the rest such as Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, Gunma, and Ibaraki. Many of the tourists of this Japanese region arrive through Tokyo via the international gateway of the country, the Narita Airport.

A good number of its other leading destinations include the Oze National Park, the Chichibu-Tama-Kai-National Park, Enoshima, and the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.

Tokyo being the capital of Japan has more than 13 million people within its municipal area alone. It is the center of an urban area in the world that carries the most number of population since Tokyo Metropolis has more than 37 million people. The place is not just an abundant place of anything that’s high tech and modern but also offers some foretaste of the country’s authentic old culture.

 

Tohoku

thumb japan-tohoku-map

Tohoku is located in the north eastern side of Honshu Island since its name’s translation literally means East North. The region renders an ideal Japan scenery to any visitor especially during winter. Many people visit the region not just for a fun skiing adventure but also to relax in its hot springs to get all warmed up. History buffs will also love the region’s castles and houses of ancient samurai warriors.

Its prefectures include Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata.

Chubu

thumb japan-chubu-map

This is Honshu island’s central region which is located right at the border of what’s between west and east Japan. It is packed with numerous mountains like the famous Mount Fuji along with the Japanese Alps. Its name is translated into “middle region” which reflects its actual location of overlapping the poles of Kanto and Kansai. Majority of the foreign travelers forget about the attractions it offers in the mountains.

Chubu is separated into three unique subregions named as Tokai, Hokuriki and Koshin’etsu.

Chugoku

thumb japan-chugoku-map

This is in Honshu island’s western end part. Majority of this place is considered an off beaten track ideal for those aiming for short visits in the country yet learn the most out of it. But with sufficient time of exploring, anyone can discover a region that is filled with sights and adventures that can be deemed as truly memorable. It offers an unlikely beauty of a destination compared to the more popular ones like Kanto and Kansai.

It consists of regions such as Hiroshima, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Tottori and Shimane.

Kansai

thumb japan-kansai-mapthumb japan-osaka-maritime-museumthumb japan-osaka-castlethumb japan-kyoto-kimono-lady-walking-in-gionthumb japan-kyoto-international-manga-museumthumb japan-kyoto-geisha-doing-chado-tea-ceremonythumb japan-kobe-fruit-and-flower-parkthumb japan-kobe-arima-hot-springs

Kansai is also known as the Kinki district which bears the meaning of “near the capital.” It is home of the three big cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. The people in Kansai speak a certain dialect and only use the light colored soy with their cuisines.

Its prefectures are Hyogo, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Osaka, Shiga, and Wakayama.

Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe

Osaka is the third in the list of biggest cities in the country with a 2.5 million population within its greater metropolis section.

Kyoto used to be Japan’s capital for more than a millennium. To discover its abounding beauty requires time since first impressions will only limit the visitor to its modern sides. But with more time and effort in knowing the city more, anyone will be glad to unravel its true appeal with its many temples and park attractions that are far from the city center.

Kobe is a modern port city that is not so popular as the other two in the trio. However, it boasts of international appeal making it an ideal place to live in for many expats from around the world.

Shikoku

thumb japan-shikoku-map

Shikoku lies right at the southern part of Honshu and considered to be the forgotten island in the country. It is home to a few but definitely must see sites with its mountainous parts an ideal place for hiking. It means “four countries” with regions identified as Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi and Tokushima.

One of its most popular activities is the 88 Temple Pilgrimage for its offering of a hiking experience around the entire island which has a total distance of 1,647 kilometers.

Kyushu

thumb japan-kyushu-map

Of all the four main Japan island, this one is located at the southern end part. This has a warm climate and even offers a more tropical feel than Honshu. It has a mountainous terrain with prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima.

Kyushu may surprise any drink lover with the revelation that it is considered the home of the strong Japanese distilled liquor, the shochu. The place is particularly famous for the potato shochu. 

Okinawa

thumb japan-okinawa-mapthumb japan-okinawa-shurijo-castlethumb japan-okinawa-nightlife-in-nahathumb japan-okinawa-kusu-awamorithumb japan-okinawa-foodthumb japan-okinawa-churaumi-aquariumthumb japan-okinawa-aw-dinersthumb japa-okinawa-habu-snake

The name of Okinawa can be translated into “rope in the open sea” which makes it a suiting description for its long island stretch in between Japan’s four main islands. It has a subtropical to tropical climate and retains the credibility of being one of the primary tourist destinations for the locals.