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Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto
Mt. Fuji, Japan

Japan Travel Fast Facts

Getting there: regular flights from major world cities to Narita Airport near Tokyo or Kansai Airport near Osaka
What to see:
Tokyo, Ginza shopping district, Imperial Palace, Asakusa Kannon Temple, Mt. Fuji, Yokahama, Kyoto, Horishima and Nagasaki
Currency: Japanese yen
Official language(s):

A top destination for Asians as well as tourists from around the world, Japan is well-known for prizing modernity and education, as well as for its rich history and centuries-old culture.

Home to nearly 128 million, most of whom live in urban areas, Japan also visitors with the natural beauty of its acres of forests, scenic lakes, and rugged mountains culminating in its highest peak (and national icon), Mount Fuji.

For most travelers, Tokyo is the touchstone for all of Japan - an exciting capital city featuring the most luxurious hotels and the finest restaurants (sushi, or otherwise), along with the hustle and bustle of a teeming metropolis.

Here, visitors on short stays might be hard-pressed to take it all in - with a trip to the Ginza shopping district, perhaps a stop at a traditional tea ceremony, a Sumida River cruise and, of course, a visit to the Imperial Palace and Asakusa Kannon Temple.

Tokyo and beyond

Kyoto temple
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto

For memorable short trips from Tokyo, head south on the half-hour train ride to Japan's second largest city, Yokahama, where visitors can take in the sweeping waterfront area and Japan's largest Chinatown before heading to the fun and funky Ramen Museum in honor of the world-famous noodle.

Also seriously consider an entire day or overnight stay in the Fuji Five Lakes area where photo opportunities abound for prize-winning shots of Mt. Fuji, especially from Lake Kawaguchi. Then, if traveling in July or August, join the huge crowds of Japanese and foreign tourists both young and old on the hike up Mt. Fuji.

Time was when a visit to the beautiful and ancient city of Kyoto required an overnight train ride from Tokyo. Today, with Japan's bullet train service it's a mere two-hours to Kyoto's legendary Zen temples, beautiful Japanese gardens, and long sit-downs in restaurants and tea houses serving up what is arguably Japan's best cuisine.

For students of history no trip to Japan would be complete without the journey to Horishima and Nagasaki, the sites of the world's first nuclear attack by the US during World War II. The poignancy of the Horishima Peace Memorial, in particular, will convince anyone with a heart and conscience to stand with its stark message of "war no more."

DID YOU KNOW? Japan Travel Fun Facts

Fresh today at Tsukiji Market.

• Open 24/7, Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is the world’s largest fish market.

• Japan is the original home of karaoke, everyone's favorite bar entertainment. In Japanese karaoke means “empty orchestra.”

• If you need quick cash in Japan, use the ATMs at the post office or at 7-11. Most Japanese banks don’t accept foreign ATM cards.

• Vending machines are everywhere in Japan -- dispensing not only soda and coffee but cigarettes, beer and bottles of saki!

More about Japan travel & tourism around the Web:


Explore Japan - The complete guide to the Japanese islands with in-depth regional guides, extensive photo gallery, special interest spotlights, feature articles, and practical tips and advice on where to go and how to get there.

Japan Travel Guide - Here's another top site on the subject with a treasure trove of information on what to see and do, along with practical travel tips, photos and maps.

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