6 Must-see Sights That Make You Feel Japan
With almost 70% of the land mountainous, Japan has a very varied landscape. Here in this article, we are going to introduce some of the spectacular views you can see in Japan. These are some of our favorite spots that make you feel Japanese tradition and culture.
Located in Asago City in Hyogo Prefecture, the Takeda Castle ruins are known as the “Castle in the Sky” or the “Machu Picchu of Japan,” as the castle is on top of a 350m mountain, and looks as though it is floating in a sea of clouds. This fantastical view really is spectacular. If you would like to see the floating castle, you should visit on the early morning of a clear day during autumn or winter. The conditions need to be just right to be able to see the sight, which is why so many tourists come to visit.
Before you depart, we recommend checking the website below to find out about the weather and timing.
1, Takeda Castle Ruins (Hyogo Prefecture)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Gifu Prefecture, this settlement features a number of homes built in the traditional “gassho zukuri” method with steep roofs. Built in the middle of the Edo Period, these more than 300 year old homes are still being lived in today. Here in Shirakawa-go, you can see the roots of Japan. Some of the homes and facilities are open to the public. Whenever you visit the village throughout the year, you are guaranteed to see some fantastic scenery, but the village lit up at night in winter is a particularly spectacular sight. The sight of the village covered in a blanket of white snow and lit up dimly by the “gassho zukuri” buildings is not a loud or showy sight at all, but will fill you with a kind warmth that you will never forget.
2. Shirakawa-go (Gifu Prefecture)
While Fushimiinari Shrine in Kyoto is probably the most well known shrine for its countless rows of red torii gates, the Motonosumiinari Shrine in Yamaguchi Prefecture offers a similarly spectacular sight. The path from the shrine down to the cliffs which overlook the blue see is lined with 123 red torii gates. The whole sight has a sense of freedom, and is a great place to enjoy the sea breeze. It’s beauty has also been endorsed by CNN who included it in their list "Japan's 31 most beautiful places". At the end of the lines of torii gates is a place known as the “Ryugu-no-Shiofuki,” or “Spout of the Palace of the Dragon King,” where you can see the waves flow into a hole in the rock and be blown up into the air. This shrine is also known as a power spot, and it is said that if you pass through the tunnel of torii gates and pray at the shrine your wish will come true.
Did you know that from in just two hours from Haneda Airport in Tokyo you could get to an island like this? Aogashima is an island made by a double caldera, which is quite a rare occurrence. The landscape of the island has a rather unique and features a small hollow in the center of the island which gives the impression that there is another small island in the island. It is said that this was caused by repeated volcanic eruptions. Surrounded by steep precipices, it looks as though the island itself is trying to block off access to it, but once you arrive there, you can enjoy a spectacular time among the nature the island has to offer. While the form of the island itself is a fantastic, it is the countless stars of the night sky above the island that are truly spectacular. With no light from homes or streetlights, you are treated to a 360 degree sea of stars. You might just forget that you are in Japan.
4. Aogashima (Tokyo)
Ginzan Onsen, a hot spring located in Obanazawa City in Yamagata Prefecture, is famous for its townscape which looks as though it has come straight out of a movie set. With its streets lined with wooden ryokan lodgings built in the 1920s, you feel as though you have slipped back in time into old Japan. After the release of the animated movie “Spirited Away,” the area became a hot topic for its similarity to the world shown in the movie. The view at night after the sun has set and the street lamps and buildings are lit up is truly spectacular. The area surrounding the hot spring includes a number of walking courses which you can take and enjoy a number of natural sites including waterfalls and bridges. After enjoy a stroll, why not relax in one of the hot springs?
Despite the rather frightening name, the “Hells of Beppu” are a collection of hot springs in Oita Prefecture. In Japan, Oita Prefecture is one of the top hot spring regions in the country. It is also said to have the most number of hot spring sources (places where the hot springs well out) in the world. The prefecture is also famous for the various types of waters that well out from its hot springs. It was these hot springs that are being referred to as the “Hells of Beppu,” with the cobalt blue waters being called the “Sea Hell,” the red waters being called the “Lake of Blood Hell,” the geysers being called the “Whirlwind Hell” and the white waters being called the “White Lake of Hell.” These four hot springs have been selected as national places of scenic beauty. While some of the hot springs are too hot to enter, being able to see this variety of hot springs in one place is very rare. If you have the opportunity to visit Beppu, try and visit the many various hot springs.
As well as the typical famous tourist destinations, Japan has a lot of spectacular scenery. If you have the chance to visit Japan, be sure to find your own fantastic sites!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.