Japanese is a glorious country with the richest history, unique traditions, etiquette, ceremonies, and rituals. Every year, it attracts the attention of millions of tourists. And the usage of high-technology solutions provides an opportunity to travel around the country with great comfort. Japan offers vacation to any taste: improve your health at hot mineral springs, ascend Mount Fuji, visit Himeji Castle, study the art of the classical Japanese tea-drinking, enjoy active pastime on tropical beaches and skiing resorts.
There are two levels of the official administrative structure: prefectural and municipal. There are 47 prefectures in the country. In return, they are divided into districts (there are only 14 of them and only in Hokkaido prefecture), cities designated by government ordinance (they include cities with a population of over 500 thousand people), and towns. The municipal level consists of core and special cities, just cities, special districts of Tokyo, cities’ districts, villages, and wards.
For the sake of convenience, unofficially, the country is divided into several regions: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chūbu, Kansai, Chūgoku, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa.
High-tech cities with ancient culture
Tokyo is the safest megalopolis on the planet. It is situated on Honshu island. It’s a combination of the vivid urban style and national color with love and respect for ancient traditions. That’s the place where they create robots, the worldwide known anime, and get on the street to admire the bloom of the cherry blossom every spring. When you get to the observation deck of Tokyo Tower, you shall see not only the Tokyo Imperial Palace, surrounded by exuberant gardens but also the panoramic view of the city in its full scale and majesty. We also highly recommend you to visit the oldest Tsukiji Fish Market, where you can taste the authentic Japanese sushi. The old district of Asakusa will give you a chance to see Medieval Japan and admire incredibly refined and exquisite geishas’ performances in Nakamura-za theatres.
Yokohama is one of the most modern and urban cities in the Land of the Rising Sun. It is located only 30 km from Tokyo. The majority of its sights are situated in Minato Mirai district, which stands for “the Port of the Future”. The observation deck of the Landmark Tower skyscraper offers a breathtaking view of the bay, suspension bridge, and the giant Ferris Wheel. We recommend you to visit this place in the evening to see the illuminated city at its best. Yokohama Silk Museum is another fascinating attraction that tells about silk production in Japan.
Osaka is the amusement center of the country. It offers its guests a wide range of shopping malls, nightclubs, bars, the Universal theme park, an aquarium, and an observation deck on top of the skyscraper. The art of the Japanese puppet theatre was born in Osaka. Nowadays, you can attend their performances at the National Bunraku Theatre. Moreover, the city has plenty of the most beautiful castles and temples. The most significant of them include magnificent Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine and Osaka Castle built many centuries ago. It consists of three underground and five overland floors. A tour around this place can help you dive into the atmosphere of ancient samurais’ lives.
Kyoto is one of the most ancient cities in Japan. Almost one thousand years ago, it was a capital. And this fact makes it particularly attractive. Many people know about the local attractions. And if you don’t know for sure, you have at least heard about them: Rokuon-ji, Sagano Bamboo Forest, Nijō, Fushimi, and Fukuyama Castles. And, of course, it’s Ryōan-ji with its Zen temple and gardens - the most renowned location in Kyoto.
Nagoya is the megalopolis with flawless infrastructure. It’s a perfect choice for fanciers of active rest and travelers with children. Here you can attend the Atsuta Shrine, which is one of the oldest temples in Japan. It stores the sacred sword Kusanagi. The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is another fascinating attraction. If you want to swift the urban landscapes for something more natural, there are plenty of places for outdoor activities in Nagoya. We highly recommend you to visit the port and see the show of dolphins, and National Museum of Ethnology in the open air. The main exhibits of the later are houses built in the second half of the XIX century, brought here from all over the country. Nagoya also can boast of an exciting zoo, Botanic Garden with a diversity of extraordinary plants, and the Monkey Park.
You might be surprised, but Japan also has skiing resorts that are located in Sapporo, on Hokkaido island. Besides that, the city is famous for its Jozankei Onsen. These are gorgeous thermal springs. Just like in any other Japanese city, Sapporo has a wide range of sights: temples, palaces, Nakajima and Makomanai parks, and also a Salmon Museum, a clock tower, Odori Park, chocolate factory, and a Museum of Beer. Annually, at the beginning of February, Sapporo hosts the Snow Festival - Yuki-matsuri. In this period, streets are filled with ice or snow figures. Most frequently, these are Japanese and world architectural and art monuments.
Due to the diversity of factors, a specific geographic location, tricky environmental conditions, historical events, and tragedies, the Japanese significantly differ from the rest of the globe’s population. They have other eating habits, mentality, perception, and traditions of building their relations with family and children. One can say that they are different in everything, and it’s quite right. Besides, the Japanese value and respect their centuries-old traditions. To make your stay in the country even more comfortable, we recommend you to get acquainted with some of them before your trip:
- Climatic conditions formed a need to invent and optimize among the people in Japan. Love for high technology can be considered to be their national characteristic.
- The Japanese consider their language to be extremely complicated, and for a good reason. Just remember two words before your trip: hello (“Kon'nichiwa”), and thank you (“Arigatō”). When you use these words, you will see great respect in the eyes of the local citizens.
- Even though the Japanese are quite a slim nation, they make a ritual of eating. They are constantly talking about food! And if they are at a table, they would discuss the taste and praise the feast.
- The Japanese are very pedantic. They treat their health seriously and keep an eye on all sanitary norms. In Japan, you can drink tap water without any second thoughts.
- It’s vital to know that tips are not acceptable in Japan. If you tip a waiter or a taxi driver, you demonstrate your superiority and inequality between the two of you.
- No one ever pushes in the metro, shops, any public places in Japan. Queues are formed in one even line. Everybody waits patiently with respect to each other.
- As a rule, the Japanese don’t shake hands. They bow instead. In return, you have to make the same number of bows your companion makes.
Cities in Japan
Japan is not only as unique as it is. It has a many-century history and rich culture. Here you can see one of the highest television towers in the world, temples dedicated to ancient gods, futuristic cities of entertainments, Imperial palaces, national parks and sanctuaries, a diversity of engineering constructions. Besides, it’s a pure delight to travel around Japan with great comfort and at high speeds.