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Special places in Japan | You must have seen this Top 5

The popularity of Japan as a holiday destination is steadily increasing. In 2000 Japan was visited by less than 5 million foreign tourists. In 2019 there were more than 30 million. More than 85% of this comes from the region. Mainly tourists from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, en Taiwan know where to find Japan.

Plan your holiday to Asia here

Cheerful receptionists of Capsule Inn Sapporo
Cheerful receptionists of Capsule Inn Sapporo

The interest in Japan from Europe is still quite small. In 2019, barely 2 million European tourists visited the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan still struggles with the (wrongly) reputation of being an extremely expensive country. Even though the prices in Japan are certainly not higher than in The Netherlands† Only the transport is relatively expensive. But since the advent of many budget airlines and the Japan Rail Pass has come to an end.

Also read: Japan Travel Guide | Complete guide with travel tips, budget, transportation and more

Aircraft from budget airline Peach Aviation at Naha Airport, Okinawa
Aircraft from budget airline Peach Aviation at Naha Airport, Okinawa

The tourists who do visit Japan, in almost all cases, make a standard tour along a number of standard top attractions. In the many top 5 'Must See' lists in Japan you see the same names over and over: Almost always there Tokyo, Kyoto, Mount Fuji and Nara in it. Alternately, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima (the Istukushima Shrine) and Nagasaki.

There's nothing wrong with that, but at the same time it is. Japan really has a lot of special places and attractions. For those who want to make their trip to Japan a special one, here is the Special Top 5.

Also read: Japan tour | A bit weird but nice

1. Kagoshima–Kyushu

Without a doubt, this compact city on the southwestern tip of Kyushu is the undisputed number 1 on the list. You will be short of eyes and ears in the city that has steered Japan into the modern era. If you also have time to visit the fantastic hinterland, then you know why a visit to Kagoshima is so special!

Statue of the 17 Young Men in front of Kagoshima Station
Statue of the 17 Young Men in front of Kagoshima Station

Some highlights:

  • The Museum of the Meiji Renewal; 
  • The active volcano on Sakurajima Island;
  • One of the 50 bathhouses;
  • The central fish market;
  • Chiran Peace Museum (kamikaze pilots);
  • samurai houses;
  • Ibusuki (being buried in the hot volcanic sand).
Sweating in the volcanic sand of Ibusuki
Sweating in the volcanic sand of Ibusuki

2. Shikoku Island (including Naoshima)

wow. What an island. But have you ever heard of it? Maybe Naoshima will tell you something. Naoshima is that artistic island in the Japanese inland sea sandwiched between Shikoku and Honshu. A yellow peach stands there on the beach. Between Shikoku and Honshu, an amazing cycling route has been mapped out over kilometers of bridges and islands. Hikers will get their money's worth on the pilgrimage route on which 88 temples are located.  

The art island of Naoshima
The art island of Naoshima

Some highlights:

  • Pilgrimage to a few temples from the Temple Route;
  • One or more days of cycling from Honshu to Shikoku;
  • dogo onsen;
  • Yashima-ji;
  • Matsuyama Castle.
Towards Ikuchi Bridge in the Inland Sea of ​​Japan
Towards Ikuchi Bridge in the Inland Sea of ​​Japan

3. Hokkaido (with Hakodate and Sapporo)

In the year 2005 a start was made on the construction of the Shinkansen line to Hokkaido. From March 2016, the mint green Shinkansen will thunder through the Seikan tunnel at a speed of 300 km per hour. The longest sea tunnel in the world has a length of more than 53 km and connects Honshu and Hokkaido. In 2031, the shinkansen will reach its terminus at Sapporo, 300 km further north.

The morning market in Hakodate
The morning market in Hakodate

Some highlights:

  • Skiing on an Olympic slope in Sapporo;
  • The well-known beer brewery;
  • Walking through the 'European' center of Hakodate;
  • Hakodate morning market.

4. Kinosaki Onsen, Honshu

Perhaps this is the very best place to immerse yourself in one of the many hot springs or onsen. In Kinosaki, many people walk relaxed from onsen to onsen in a kimono and slippers. Complete the onsen experience by staying in an authentic ryokan. 

Three ladies in Kinosaki
Three Japanese ladies in Kinosaki

5. Ten Bosch House, Honshu

Did you know that Miffy is very popular in Japan? And that there is an almost identical domtower of Utrecht has been recreated. The Japanese version is a few meters smaller due to air traffic to Nagasaki. There is Dutch cheese and of course you can cycle there.

Experience it all in the Japanese Huis Ten Bosch, an hour by train from Nagasaki. 

House Ten Bosch near Nagasaki
House Ten Bosch near Nagasaki

Plan your holiday to Asia here

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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