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Japan
Japan Travel Guide
"Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean ""sun-origin"", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the ""Land of the Rising Sun"".
Japan comprises over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Honsh, Hokkaid, Kysh and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of land area. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japans highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents."
Festivals Place to Visit Fast Facts
Tokyo
"Tokyo is where most tourist journeys of Japan start. It is hard to understate the shock value of Tokyo to the western visitor: finally, you will understand the real meaning of the word ""foreign"".
Tokyo's attractions result from a mix of important cultural, historic, and societal trends. We can safely say that Tokyo is unlike any other big city in the world. It is a fabulous place to visit, but you may need a vacation from the city (if not its prices) after a few days.Be sure to examine our Tokyo Guide if you are considering travel to Tokyo.
Two cities that make great day trips from Tokyo are:

Nikko
A solemn pilgrimage site for many Japanese, the shrine complex at Nikko is, also, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. The surrounding National Park is stunning.

Kamakura
One of Japan's best collections of shrines, temples, and monuments. In addition, the town is famous for its Great Buddha statue."

Kyoto
"Kyoto is Japan's second most popular tourist destination. Its fame results from a several well preserved historical sites (over 15 have been classified UNESCO World Heritages sites). Kyoto was Japan's capital and the emperor's residence through part of the First and most of the Second Millennia ( it is called ""The Thousand Year Capital"") and is the source of many aspects of the Japanese culture as we know it today. Kyoto, undamaged in World War II, contains the best-preserved examples of Japan's feudal history. If you are a temple aficionado, plan to spend several days in Kyoto. The town has many attractions and is a pleasant place to visit."

Osaka
Osaka is another of Japan's vibrant "big" cities: it combines its history and modern economy in a manner that is certain to please.

Hiroshima
Modern Hiroshima is known as a "peace" center. Destroyed at the end of World War II by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima is known for its Peace Park and Peace Memorial Museum. Be sure to visit nearby Miyajima Island for its shrine and famous torii gate.

Nara
"Once the capital of Japan, Nara is a beautiful place with splendid temples representing both Shinto and Buddhism. Nara is near both Kyoto and Osaka."

Nagasaki
Nagasaki was one the principal ports during Japan's exposure to the western world in the 1600's, giving the town the most European flavor of any of Japan's cites. Nagasaki was partly destroyed by an atomic bomb blast at the end of World War II. Tourist Nagasaki is known for its Peace Park and the Sofuku-ji, an elegant temple whose architecture has a pronounced Chinese look.

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park
"Mt. Fuji is Japan's most famous and most sacred mountain. It is held in reverence by the Japanese and climbing its trail is a rite of passage.
Mt Fuji is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park.
Measuring in at slightly over 12,000 feet, Mt. Fuji, a nearly symmetrical strato-volcano, last erupted in the 18th century
The Izu peninsula and the Hakone district are known for great scenery, but mostly for their hot springs and spas.
Hakone, a forested, mountainous, volcanic area is the site of some of Japan's most popular resorts and spas. The area is less than 100 miles from Tokyo and is a great place for a break from the city."

Daisetsuzan NP
Most visitors to Hokkaido (the northernmost of Japan's islands) travel there to enjoy the island's reputation as Japan's most scenic landscape. The Daisetsuzan National Park is the best place to see "wild" Japan. The park offers the outdoor enthusiast great hiking and spectacular views.