Category: City


    What city is the capital of japan

    what city is the capital of japan

    Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, is the capital of Japan and one of its 47 prefectures. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in. The Japanese capital wasn't always the bustling metropolis it is today. Here are images that show its journey. Throughout its history, when confronted with major turning points, Japan relocated its political center as a means of political reform in order to achieve what.
    what city is the capital of japan

    What city is the capital of japan -

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    Why Did The Capital Of Japan Move From Kyoto To Tokyo?

    Kyoto is one of the oldest cities in Japan and was the capital for more than a millennium after its inception in 794 A.D. It was only after the Meiji Restoration (明治維新), around 1868, that the Royal Family moved out of Kyoto into their new imperial home in Tokyo. As they moved to Edo (江戸; Tokyo), Kyoto remained for a while as a “Western capital” and was called “Saikyo” (西京). However, its prominence as an administrative center decreased and Tokyo remained as the ultimate seat of power. Let’s find out what the circumstances were that led to the capital change.


    Japan itself is called by many names such as Nippon, Wa, Yamato, and so on. Even the cities of Japan have many names as they were called different things during previous eras. For example, you may know that Tokyo’s other name is Edo, named after the Edo Period or the Tokugawa Shogunate (徳川将軍), which ruled Japan before the Meiji Restoration for nearly 250 years.

    Similarly, Kyoto, the old capital of Japan, has many names which may surprise you, such as “Heian-kyo” (平安京), meaning seat or metropolis of peace in Japanese. Kyoto was founded by one of the earliest emperors of Japan, Kammu (桓武天皇), who brought the capital from Nagaoka-kyo (長岡京) to Heian-kyo, more commonly known today as Kyoto. The old Kyoto used to be just the area surrounding the Imperial Palace, however, the size of the city has grown considerably since then. It is believed that Kyoto was designed similarly to the Tang dynasty’s Xi’an city with rectangular enclosures and grid-like streets surrounded by mountains on all sides.

    The Growth of Edo

    Edo, now known as Tokyo, was not only the capital city of the Tokugawa Shogunate, but also a primary center of trade with the west. The region between Nagoya (名古屋) and Tokyo used to flourish with trade and commerce. At one point, the economy of Edo exceeded that of Kyoto, the original capital. Also, the Heian Palace in Kyoto lost its control over some areas such as Tendai (天台宗) with the Buddhist rebels attacking the city constantly.

    Kyoto’s isolationist policies led to less western influence compared to that of Edo during the early 19th century. Even today, you can see Kyoto as the cultural capital of Japan with many UNESCO heritage sites and rich traditions. Tokyo, on the other hand, is very modern with good connections with the western world.

    The Rise of Oligarchy

    If you read the history of Japan, it is mentioned that there is no official decree or announcement confirming the capital change from Kyoto to Tokyo, which means Kyoto can technically still be considered the capital. After the submission of the Tokugawa Shogunate around 1868, Emperor Meiji was very young – just 15 years old. Even though he was coronated as the emperor at that time, the original power was vested in the hands of the oligarchs who controlled everything.

    The oligarchs wanted to move the capital to Edo so that they could have ultimate power over the trade and access to the west. They changed the name of Edo to Tokyo, which means “eastern capital”. So technically, both Kyoto and Tokyo are the capitals of Japan.

    Did you know that the US government listed a few cities in Japan as places to drop the atomic bomb and Kyoto was top on that list? Some historians even say that the capital change was a strategy to decentralize the Imperial power and modernize Japan. Kyoto has actually suffered a lot due to the capital change as it led to a scarcity of resources and a population shift. It was only until the construction of the Biwa Canal (琵琶湖疏水) that Kyoto started to recover again in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    However, the dominance of the western capital slowly decreased as the Imperial court and the Diet have been permanently established in Tokyo. The modernization and growing popularity of Tokyo made it the only capital of Japan eventually, unlike Kyoto which has remained as a symbol of old Japan. However, Kyoto still enjoys a lot of tourism and popularity. Which city is your favorite?

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    Nagano – Best Cities to Visit in Japan

    Contributed by Ciara of A View Outside // Twitter

    Nagano is a beautiful city nestled in the mountains of Honshu and it is a must-see destination during your trip to Japan. Nagano is easily reached by Shinkansen from Tokyo and the journey takes around an hour and a half.

    Snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park near Nagano, Japan

    Nagano is one of the best cities to visit in Japan for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and the Winter Olympics was held here back in 1988. If you plan on visiting during the winter, make sure to stay in an onsen which is the perfect way to rejuvenate after a long day on the slopes!

    Another famous thing to do in this region is to visit the snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park – while they can be visited year-round, it is best to see them in their natural habitat during the winter months. It is quite a trek to the park so make sure you wrap up warm and wear appropriate footwear!

    There are plenty of other activities on offer in Nagano during the rest of the year such as a visit to Zenko-Ji, Japan’s most important Buddhist temple, walking the Togakushi shrine path, and hiking in Kamikochi which is at its most beautiful during cherry blossom season.

    Find places to stay in Nagano: 301 to 450

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    Best Cities to Visit in Japan – Nagasaki

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    As one of the closest Japanese cities to the Asian mainland, it has been that location that’s played a big part in Nagasaki’s history. Located on the northwest coast of Kyushu, Nagasaki might be most well known for being one of the two cities destroyed in the atomic bombings of World War II, but her history is much broader than that.

    Nagasaki, Japan Cityscape - unique cities to visit in Japan

    Come to Nagasaki to understand the Dutch and the Portuguese influence here – on house design, on food, and how Nagasaki was at one time the only port open to foreigners. Come to find a feeling of peace in the Atomic Bomb Museum and the peace park that you may not find in the crowds of Hiroshima. The museums here are in-depth, extremely balanced, and interesting, and the city is usually quiet.

    Nagasaki is a historic city in Japan and one of the best cities to visit

    There’s an excellent streetcar system that means that traveling around the city is very, very easy! There are interesting histories too, when it comes to religion, with monuments to Japan’s “26 Saints’, martyred at a time when Christianity was outlawed here.

    There are seriously interesting foods to try here – with influences from the students in the city, in the cheap and filling Champon, the Chinese-influenced Shippoku Ryori, and fabulous cakes from Portuguese missionaries too! And when you tire of the city, it is easy to take a trip to Gunkanjima – or Battleship Island, an old coal mine that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site – and a seriously cool photo opportunity too!

    Find places to stay in Nagasaki: Agoda

    Nagano – Best Cities to Visit in Japan

    Contributed by Ciara of A View Outside // Twitter

    Nagano is a beautiful city nestled in the mountains of Honshu and it is a must-see destination during your trip to Japan. Nagano is easily reached by Shinkansen from Tokyo and the journey takes around an hour and a half.

    Snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park near Nagano, Japan

    Nagano is one of the best cities to visit in Japan for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and the Winter Olympics was held here back in 1988. If you plan on visiting during the winter, make sure to stay in an onsen which is the perfect way to rejuvenate after a long day on the slopes!

    Another famous thing to do in this region is to visit the snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park – while they can be visited year-round, it is best to see them in their natural habitat during the winter months. It is quite a trek to the park so make sure you wrap up warm and wear appropriate footwear!

    There are plenty of other activities on offer in Nagano during the rest of the year such as a visit to Zenko-Ji, Japan’s most important Buddhist temple, walking the Togakushi shrine path, and hiking in Kamikochi which is at its most beautiful during cherry blossom season.

    Find places to stay in Nagano:
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    Explore things to do in Takayama on GetYourGuide


    Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan // Instagram

    Matsumoto is a fairly small and easily navigable city with one must-see attraction — its castle. Many of the castles that can be visited in Japan today, such as the castles in Hiroshima and Osaka, are unfortunately modern reconstructions. The Matsumoto castle, however, is the real deal. Built in 1614, it is the oldest Japanese castle still standing, and it’s one of four castles in Japan that have been designated as “National Treasures”.

    Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto, Japan, one of the best cities to visit in Japan

    I highly recommend joining one of the free guided tours offered by a local volunteer association. You should see their booth on the way to the castle entrance. Our guide Ito Yuki, an English teacher at a local elementary school, was very passionate and had a talent for explaining Japanese history in a way that was easy for outsiders with little background knowledge to understand. Matsumoto Castle is often called the Crow Castle because it is painted black, in contrast to the more famous castle in Himeji, which is white. As the Matsumoto castle is smaller than the Himeji one, it only takes about an hour to visit.

    Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to spent a night here so that you can arrive when the doors open at 8:30 am and beat most of the crowds. And the city does have a few other attractions, such as the city museum right next to the castle, which is free when you show your castle entrance ticket. Nawate-dori is an old street filled with lots of cafés and cute shops, great for souvenir shopping. And be sure to try the local specialties, such as oyaki (a type of filled steamed dumpling) and soba noodles. Kobayashi Soba has been around since 1889 and is a great place to try soba noodle soup. They even have vegan and vegetarian versions, which is rare as the broth usually contains fish.

    Find a place to stay in Matsumoto:

    The Capital of Japan (日本の首都)

    In this article, we describe the history of capitals and their changes in Japan.

    A capital is the no.1 city in a country, the Imperial Palace, the place where the central government is located. It was after World War Ⅱ that the word 'capital' was generalized, and during the period before the war and for some period after the war, there were many cases where it was described as a 'chief city' (primate city) with no clear distinction made between it and normal cities. The capital corresponding to the present concept of capital was established in 1868, since then it has been chiefly called 'the imperial capital,' and it was after the enactment of 'Law of Capital Construction' in 1950, that the term 'Capital' spread into general use.

    Since the dawn of history, the "Miyako" corresponding to the capital of Japan had been repeatedly relocated within Kinai (present Kinki region, or provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara). Since the transfer of the capital to Heian-Kyo (the ancient capital of Japan in current Kyoto) ruled by Emperor Kanmu, the capital was transferred according to the emperor's declaration and there were no act, laws or ordinances that directly affected the transfer of the capital. But the present capital is generally said to be Tokyo Metropolis, as was ruled by 'the Law of Capital Construction' (law No. 219, 1950: abolished).

    The 'Improvement Law of Capital Zone' (law No. 83, 1956), prescribes that the zone of Tokyo and its surrounding area (Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture) are the national capital region

    Law of Capital Construction was abolished in 1956 and there is no existing law that directly stipulates that 'the Capital is Tokyo.'
    As for reasons supporting that Tokyo is regarded the Capital of Japan, two are generally given: the Emperor who is prescribed by Japanese Constitution as "the symbol of Japan and the symbol of Japanese people's integration" is permanently stationed and the Imperial Palace is located in Tokyo, and also the highest organs of the three powers ruled by Japanese Constitution such as the Diet (legislature), the prime minister's official residence and central government ministries and agencies (administration) and the Supreme Court (administration of justice) are located in Tokyo (they are especially concentrated in Chiyoda Ward). It is written in the imperial edict for convocation of the Diet, " Diet is levied in Tokyo " where the Diet Building is located. Moreover, Tokyo is also internationally regarded as the Capital of Japan.

    For statistics within Japan, in many cases the 23 boroughs in Tokyo are treated as if they were equal to one city. In general, 23 boroughs are treated as "inside Tokyo," and the other local authorities are distinguished as "suburban Tokyo." This derives its origin from the fact that the 23 boroughs are equal to the old City of Tokyo, but today there is no administrative unit having autonomy as a single unit over the 23 boroughs. On the other hand, the common name that Tokyo officially uses, is "Tokyo Metropolis" (note, metropolis means capital, metropolis, big city or main city, central city), and the Governor of Tokyo attends the international conferences as "Governor," so Tokyo is treated as a single autonomous body and there is no meaning to separate the Tama area and islands area from the 23 boroughs. In these ways, it is common that domestically the 23 boroughs concentrated of capital functions are treated as a capital, while internationally the Tokyo Prefecture including Tama area and islands are regarded a capital.

    In ancient times, in many cases, capitals were located in places near Kyoto, Nara and their surrounding area, and areas including Yamashiro Province, Yamao Province, Settsu Province, Kawachi Province and Izumi Province (part of Kyoto Prefecture, Nara Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture and part of Hyogo Prefecture) were collectively called the Kinai region (which means within the wall) (provinces surrounding Kyoto and Nara). Kinai region was land within 500 ri (ri is a Japanese distance unit; one ri = about 3.92 km) from the capital which was under direct control of an emperor). Kinai possessed the same meaning as the national capital region at the present time.

    Cognition of a Capital in Various Ways

    In Japanese history, besides the Imperial Court ruled by the Emperor, existed military governments such as Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun): bakufu was headed by a shogun (a barbarian-quelling generalissimo in official name) who was called at times "the King of Japan" or "the Emperor of Japan", and therefore, there are various discussions and understandings as to what a capital is defined as, including both the capital systems of Tokyo and Kyoto.

    Capital of Japan defined by dictionaries

    The view asserting that the successive transfer of capitals such as the transfer of capital in Heian era is the movement of capital.

    The view stating that Tokyo acquired the position of capital with the appointment of Tokyo Castle (Edo Castle) as the Imperial Palace and the movement of Dajokan (Grand Council of State) to Tokyo, and Tokyo acquired the first position in the order among prefectures in 1871, with which Tokyo acquired the position of capital.

    Views that pay attention to the emperor and the seat of government

    The view asserting that both Kyoto and Tokyo are regarded as imperial capitals, but Kyoto is originally the capital and Tokyo is the place where Emperor exists for convenience'sake.

    The view asserting that Kyoto as the imperial capital in west and Tokyo as the one in east are both capitals equally.

    The view stating that during the Edo period, Kyoto had been the capital because Shogun was appointed in Kyoto, while Kamakura and Edo were not capitals, although Bakufu were located in these cities.

    Relocation of capital should be accompanied with the movement of zasho (a room for a noble person) (an account in the Diet by prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in 1996)

    The view paying attention to the function of capital and samurai (militarist) government.

    The view asserting that the plan for Fukuhara-kyo by the Heike family was a plan for a system of multiple capitals with Heiankyo, and that Kamakura, where Kamakurabakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogun) was located, bore the functions of a capital with Kyoto, therefore, the multi-capital system existed in Kamakura era.

    The view stating that Edo was regarded as a capital because of its political location, but in the end of the Edo period, Kyoto became the capital because it came to be the center of politics, before the capital moved to Tokyo (Edo) again.

    The view that in Edo era Edo was recognized as the center of politics and administration and functioned as the capital, and it was also recognized by foreigners as the capital. According to "Kaiyuroku" written by Sin Yu-han, a member of Chosen Tsushinshi (the Korean Emissary), the capital in Japan was first located in Yamato, and after that Hideoyoshi TOYOTOMI moved it to Osaka and then Ieyasu TOKUGAWA transferred it to Edo.

    Legal gounds

    As of 2009, there is no existing law which directly prescribes the capital in Japan. Therefore, some advocates do not take Tokyo as the only capital of Japan by interpreting the difference between old laws, existing laws and common laws. In the following paragraphs, we list the main legislaion and their interpretation.

    In the imperial edict (shosho), issued at the time of imperial visit to Tokyo from Kyoto in 1868, there was no word for 'capital.'
    According to the leading view that because of giving the area name 'Kyo' which means 'capital,' Tokyo was established as the capital with this edict, but there are opposing views. Concerning this edict, another view asserts multiple capitals in which Tokyo is the capital along with Kyoto.

    Imperial edict that Edo is renamed Tokyo (September 3, 1868)
    " Edo is the biggest city in eastern Japan and the Emperor decides that Edo is renamed Tokyo ". In the imperial edict (September 12th, 1923) issued just after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, the following statement expressed Tokyo as the capital, and that it should be transformed and developed further.

    Edict (Shosho) just after the Great Kanto Earthquake (September 12th, 1923)
    "Tokyo is the capital of the empire and the political and economic center, and the source of Japan's culture. Tokyo suffered an enormous disaster this time and can not cling to its old situation, but still holds status as capital of the empire, therefore, it is necessary not only to restore it to what it used to be but also have it undergo a complete new transformation." In Tokyo, a regulation established in 1943 (law No. 89, 1943), explained the stage of its legislation as follows: "Tokyo aims to enforce an effective administration." However, in the Local Autonomy Law, "Metropolis system" is stipulated along with the prefectural system, but it is not stipulated that application of the Metropolis system is limited only to Tokyo, and there is no regulation says the Metropolis system should be applied only to the municipality near the location of Tokyo. For example, Osaka prefecture can be reformed to "Osaka Metropolis."

    In 1950, Capital Construction law was established expressly ruling Tokyo as the new capital of Japan. The law was one of the special city construction laws which were established during those days.

    Capital Construction Law (Law No. 219, 1950)
    Article 1: This law aims to plan and construct Tokyo Metropolis so as to develop fully the functions of politics, economy and culture of Tokyo as the capital of the peace state.

    Article 12: Concerning the city planning activities enforced depending on the area of Tokyo Metropolis, related administrative ministries such as the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Transport and others can execute those activities, if they are recognized to be necessary, based on Tokyo being considered to be the Capital of Japan. In these cases, it is necessary to obtain consent from Tokyo and the related local public body in that area.

    Although this law was abolished later, it was not because Tokyo ceased to be the capital, but because the objective of the law (construction of capital) was accomplished and it was necessary to expand the area of city improvement from the capital to the capital and its surrounding region; the succeeding law, 'national capital region improvement law,' has a continuity and unity with the abolished law. For this reason, they did not establish a new abolition law, but instead chose to add rules in the following law. The national capital region refers to the region 'the capital and its surrounding area,' but in the succeeding law, it is clearly defined that 'national capital' part is 'Tokyo Metropolis' established in predecessor law (abolished law) and it imposes the obligation of Diet vote in order to change that part, and concerning 'the surrounding area' the new law took over predecessor law, in the way to delegate the lower rank act (government ordinance) and not to require Diet vote and flexibly change 'the surrounding area' part.

    National Capital Region Improvement Law
    Article 2: In this law, 'national capital region' means the wide area incorporating Tokyo and its nearby area.

    Supplementary Provision
    (abolition of national capital construction law)
    4. National capital construction law (law No 219, 1950) is abolished.

    Change of the Imperial Palace Address (= View that the Imperial Palace Address is the national capital region)
    In history, Japanese capital was determined by the address of the Imperial Palace, the Emperor's residence. After Tumulus period, it became to carry out the construction of the Imperial Palace and improvement of urban areas simultaneously and to build a city suitable to a capital in a well-planned way.

    Until the Nara period, even imperial palaces and residences of nobles were earthfast post architecture, and hence did not last very long. The sengu (transfer of a deity to a new shrine building) of Ise-jingu Shrine which is an earthfast post architechture is conducted once every 20 years.

    It is thought that the frequent transfer of the capital and new construction of a palace were due to the influence of their short architectural lives in addition to political motives. In Fujiwarakyo capital, Heijokyo capital, and Heiankyo capital which introduced a Chinese city plan, and promoted as a place for common folk, were of earthfast architecture, therefore the wetlands and shores of rivers prone to flooding were abandoned due to their being unfit for living, changing the location of the cities from the original plans.

    Before the Asuka Imperial Palace (Asuka period), there was no capital corresponding to a capital zone. According to "Records of Ancient Matters" and "Chronicles of Japan" edited in Nara period, it is thought that as an initial stage of capital, cities centering around palaces sprang up, because the palaces of successive great kings (Yamato sovereignty) (the ancient Japan sovereignty) were constructed in multiple places including Shiki, Iware (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture), Nanba and Kawachi Provinces (Osaka Prefecture). However, their concrete ancient structural remnants remain undiscovered.
    Reference: The article of " Imperial Palace in successive Imperial Families " as for palaces which appear in " Records of Ancient Matters " and " Chronicles of Japan "

    In addition, in the Asuka and Nara periods, there were eras in which systems of multi-capital (which might be called the second capital) were established in order to complement capital functions in economics and transportation. As examples, Naniwanomiya Palace of Emperor Tenmu who took this system for the first time, 'Beijin' Horanomiya (detached palace) of Emperor Junnin (Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, 761-764) and 'Nishikyo' Yugenomiya (detatched palace) of Empress Shotoku (Yao City, Osaka Prefecture, 769-770) are known. Horanomiya and Yugenomiya were short lived, but Naniwanomiya Palace maintained its position as secondary capital city until the transfer of the national capital to Nagaoka.

    There have been discussions as to whether to consider Fukuhara-kyo as a capital. From the standpoint of negative capital, on the actual condition of 'Transfer of the capital to Fukuhara' talked in the literary work such as "the Tale of Heike," some insist that the Taira clan government set Angu (tentative capital) in Fukuhara only for the purposes of transfering the captial toward Wada (Kobe City), and since Heian-Kyo did not lose any function as a traditional capital, Fukuhara ended up being the sub-capital to complement Kyoto in military and trade functions. In fact,the edict for the transfer of the capital to Fukuhara was not issued, and rites and festivals were conducted in Kyoto even while Angu was set up in Fukuhara,and after the capital transfer plan came to a sudden stop, the policy of setting the capital in Kyoto was decided by the chief executives of the government.
    While the Chodo-in and government office were proposed in Fukuhara, they were not carried out in the end ("Gyokuyo" (Diary of Kanezane KUJO, July 16th, August 4th, 11th, Jisho era 4) (the old lunar calendar)

    During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) (1336-1392), except for the short time of Kanno Disturbance (1351-1352), Heian-Kyo was the capital of the Northern Court (Japan). But it is presumed that the headquarter of Southern Court was treated as Angu (a tentative foothold), and Heian-Kyo was regarded the official capital.

    During the Sino-Japanese War in 1894, Emperor Meiji visited Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture and the Imperial headquarters was also transferred there. In Hiroshima City, the Imperial Diet was opened and capital functions were tentatively transferred to this location, and Hiroshima City temporarily assumed the status of capital.

    In 1944 at the end of Pacific War, the Army of the Great Empire of Japan started a plan to move the Imperial Palace and the Imperial headquarters to Matsushiro Machi, Nagano Prefecture (present Nagano City), but the plan was suspended due to the end of the war (Matsushiro Imperial headquarters).

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    Traveling in Japan – The Best Places To See

    Last Updated on January 7, 2022 by Jim Ferri

    Buddhist temple in the fall - one of the best places in Japan

    The top 10 places in Japan that you shouldn’t miss…

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    By Jim Ferri

    a geisha in Kyoto- one of the best places in Japan

    Whether it’s the pop culture you encounter on the streets of Tokyo or the ancient one you experience in Kyoto, you quickly realize Japan is a country of astonishing disparities. So much, in fact, that you can find it both weird and wonderful at the same time.

    From Japan’s neon-painted cities to its mountain-dappled countryside, it’s a unique place. It’s also a country that’s relatively easy to travel about since its famous bullet trains link major population areas. Best of all, Japan is easily accessible from just about anywhere in the world.

    Surprisingly, Japan can be less expensive to visit than many other major destinations. Public transportation is often convenient, safe, and cost-effective, important if you’re on a budget. On the other hand, the 100 or so railway lines in Tokyo alone can prove a bit daunting.

    Always popular, Japan will likely become even more so as people begin traveling once again as pandemic fears dissipate.

    If you plan to go to Japan you’ll find the country fascinating. To help you in your planning, consider these ten popular places that have been intriguing travelers for centuries.

    people in a rain storm in Tokyo - one of the best places in Japan

    Tokyo, Capital City of Japan

    Japan’s capital, with its mixture of traditional and modern urban life, is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Sensoji Temple is one of its iconic historical sites, and the Imperial Palace provides a traditional and royal air. Furthermore, the city’s Ginza, the equivalent of New York’s Madison Avenue, is world famous, as is the Harajuku Japanese-teen street fashion that influences international fashion industry.

    While you’ll find plenty of authentic Japanese dining in Tokyo, you’ll also find top-quality international restaurants as well. Tokyoites have a discriminating palate for top quality international cuisines including Italian, Chinese, French, etc. Moreover, you’ll find Sushi restaurants plentiful in the outer market of the famous Tsukiji Fishmarket.

    woman walking down a lane at night

    Kyoto, One of the Best Places in Japan to Visit

    According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, Kyoto is the most popular destination for foreign visitors to Japan. The ancient capital is a city that embodies all that people think of regarding ancient Japanese traditions. That means, of course, you’ll see centuries-old temples, ryokans (Japanese traditional inns), teahouses, geisha, etc., all ancient and authentic traditions. Kyoto’s cityscape is well maintained, and there are many cultural workshops in which visitors can participate. Be aware, however, that Kyoto has banned photography of geishas on certain streets due the behavior of some tourists.

    a giant statue of Buddha


    The name Kanagawa may not be very familiar to American tourists. This, however, is the prefecture where Yokohama (Tokyo’s neighboring city) and Kamakura (a historic city along the coast) are located. With a huge Buddha statue, it’s an attractive and accessible destination for those who stay in Tokyo (just an hour or so away by train). Many travelers come to stroll between temples along the calm beaches. Hakone, where people go for hot springs, ryokan, and the magnificent view of Mt. Fuji, is also in the Kanagawa prefecture.

    a castle at night in Japan

    Osaka, Japan’s Foodie City

    As the second largest city and a major business travel destination, Osaka is the home of several major international companies. But in addition to business, Osakan culture is also heavily focused on food. In fact, some lovers of Japanese cuisine view Osaka as the capital of an affordable dining spree! Outside of the urban centers, pockets of tranquility are tucked away in the countryside.

    colorful road patterns at night

    Chiba, Gateway to Japan

    Just east of Tokyo, Chiba is where Japan’s gateway Narita International Airport is located. The city of Narita, close to the airport, is sometimes visited as a “quick taste” of Japan during a layover. The Tokyo Disney Resort is also in Chiba, just across the border with Tokyo. The Tokyo Motor Show takes place in Makuhari Messe, one of the largest and popular convention centers in the country.

    two women walking into a shrine in one of the best places in Japan


    Known for traditional manufacturing, Aichi thus attracts many business travelers. Morreover, it’s also the home of Toyota Motors. Midway between Tokyo and Osaka, is Nagoya, a major location for business conferences that also attracts visitors with its castle, museum, and gardens.

    Monks walking through a red-pained hallway

    Nara, the First Capital of Japan

    Nara, another of the best places in Japan for travelers, is the very first capital of the country even before Kyoto. Although the Nara era was less than 80 years long, the city is the birthplace of the fundamentals of Japanese tradition. In spite of an obvious Chinese influence in architecture, UNESCO designated Nara’s landmarks and designated them as World Heritage Sites.

    a woman with a peace latern


    Known as the global peace center, Hiroshima is world-renowned because of the atomic bomb. The Peace Memorial Museum, located right next to the dome that was what city is the capital of japan only structure to survive at ground zero (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), is a must-see for visitors here. The city also has another World Heritage Site: Itsukushima Shrine of Miyajima Island, one of the postcard icons of Japan.

    an aquarum in Japan

    Okinawa – Japan Overseas

    A group of islands stretching southward from Japan, Okinawa is the country’s equivalent of Hawaii. The islands have a unique eminem keys to the city culture and are popular for their sub-tropical what city is the capital of japan and beautiful beaches. It’s also renown for some of the world’s best diving spots and its incredible Churaumi Aquarium.

    a castle on a hill in Japan


    The greatest attraction for tourists to Hyogo prefecture is Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most impressive castles in all of Japan if not all of Asia. Close to Osaka, the prefecture is also home to the city of Kobe. It’s considered by some to be one of Japan’s most attractive cities, despite being leveled by a massive earthquake in 1995.

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    The 4 Best Cities to Visit in Japan According to Locals

    #1: Tokyo: A dynamic combo of past, present, and future

    Exploring downtown Tokyo is never dull—the city's 23 wards (neighborhoods) offer something for everyone. Here's what our Japanese locals love about Tokyo: 

    Tokyo is a whirlwind of constant sights and sounds

    In Tokyo, you'll never lack for excitement. Things to do in Tokyo range from eating at the kaleidoscopic Robot Restaurant to exploring the peaceful cobblestone streets around the Meiji Shrine. And no matter where you want to explore, you can rest easy—Tokyo is one of the world's what city is the capital of japan is cheese pizza bad for you Locals suggest checking out the crazy (and we mean crazy) colorful fashion trends in districts like Harajuku and Shibuya. These areas can overwhelm, so benefit from local advice. In Harajuku, locals recommend grabbing a beer at Harajuku Taproom: "one of the best craft beer taprooms in the city!"

    What kind of traveler are you?

    Let’s face it. People want different things when they travel. Rather than spending hours sifting through blogs and top 10 lists written by people who may have totally different interests than you, why not start by sharing a little about what’s important to you when exploring a new destination?

    Enter your travel preferences below and we’ll connect you with a like‑minded local in Japan to help you plan your trip based on your specific interests.

    Three words: world-class ramen

    Locals tell us that eating ramen is a definite must-do in Tokyo. According to them, it's popular to eat at Japanese chain restaurants like Yoshinoya and Ichiran Ramen—in fact, people from all over the world visit Ichiran to slurp pork bone broth (tonkotsu).

    Hungry for more ramen recs? You'll have a lot of choices, but you don't have to travel blind. Locals in Japan suggest adding Ramen Street—an underground collection of ramen shops, located on B1F of Tokyo Station—to your Japan itinerary.

    Incredible nightlife for all types

    No matter how you like to party, you can find your people in Tokyo. What's your travel style? Locals tell us that options range from rockin' at a karaoke bar to sipping sake at a stand-up pub (tachinomi) to exploring streetside beer shacks. 

    Local Tip:

    After a wild night out, resting your weary head in a capsule hotel makes for a unique experience. They're a good option for budget travelers.

    It's easy to enjoy Tokyo on a budget

    It's definitely easy to see Tokyo on a budget—major airlines fly to Tokyo on the cheap! Locals tell us that other good ways of keeping under budget include using what city is the capital of japan Tokyo metro to get around (day passes are about $15 USD) and seeking out off-the-beaten-path stops in Tokyo. Looking for more budget tips what city is the capital of japan save money in Japan? Locals can help out. 

    #2: Kyoto: Classically beautiful with urban energy

    Japan's capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains its striking beauty while embracing more modern trends. Here's what locals love about Chase line of credit login is cool—and offers easy access to other great destinations

    Beautiful and classic, Kyoto is an awesome city to explore. You'll find tons of uniquely Japanese adventures in Kyoto, like listening to the swaying trees of the Sagano Bamboo Forest or tasting new foods at Nishiki Market. 

    Kyoto what city is the capital of japan a great city to get local advice. One of our locals recently recommended visiting the Kyoto Station Building. She explained: "There are hundreds of restaurants in Kyoto Station building complex, and this is where locals, as well as travelers, enjoy lunch and dinner." (She went on to explain the nine sections of the station and what food you can expect to find—a real gem for navigating a busy place like Kyoto Station!)

    If you opt to stay in Kyoto the whole time, that's chill—but the city is an awesome place to launch a day trip in Japan. Locals tell us it's easy to catch the train from Kyoto to Osaka (the train takes between 12-40 minutes depending on which one you catch). Once there, locals say you'll find tons of museums, cool shrines, and even a castle.

    Kyoto is Japan's dessert capital: so you'll find some sweet sweets

    It's good that calories don't count on vacation, because as Japan's dessert capital, Kyoto offers a wealth of sugary delights. Remember Kyoto Station? Well, it's home to the Pancake Room—which is exactly what it sounds like, and a locally-beloved spot for dessert. Locals also suggest trying unique Japanese candies while in town, like yatsuhashi (cinnamon-sugar rice bars) and niki-niki (sweet bean paste flowers) that you can find freshly made in downtown Kyoto. 

    Local Tip:

    For sweet souvenirs that won't what city is the capital of japan crushed in your luggage, bring home some konpeito, star-shaped hard candies with crazy flavors like yogurt, chestnut, tomato, and plum. 

    The nightlife in classic Kyoto is chic

    Kyoto may be best known for its beauty, but beneath its classic veneer lies a wry grin—Kyoto nightlife is incredible. For the inside scoop about Kyoto, see what locals say. One recently called the Pontocho district, "The most interesting place for nightlife in Kyoto", citing the combination of good bars, the area's intense history, and the gorgeous river views. 

    Throughout the city, you'll find great places for Japanese ales, spots for sophisticated cocktails, and, yes, a number of clubs where you can go wild with the locals. If you're looking for something more chill, simply strolling around Kyoto's ancient streets is a lovely way to spend the evening. 

    Local Tip:

    Consider what city is the capital of japan in Kyoto's what city is the capital of japan lodgings, known as shukubō. Many are located near cool places to visit in Kyoto, like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. 

    Kyoto's public transportation is fantastic

    A big reason why locals love Kyoto is its ease of access. Public transit is well-loved in the city—locals citizens bank and trust st joseph mo us the buses are kept clean and run on a strict schedule. An all-day Kyoto bus pass is only $10 USD. Using public transit in a new city can feel overwhelming, but you can easily navigate with confidence to all stops on your Kyoto itinerary. Locals can provide detailed transit instructions. 

    Local Tip:

    If you visit Kyoto in the fall or spring, another good option is renting a bike.

    Work with a local to plan your trip.

    See a side most people miss.

    #3: Osaka: The food capital of Japan

    As Japan's food capital (need we say more) Osaka is a fun and dynamic place to visit. The city's intense energy and awesome selection of eats mean you'll leave oh-so-satisfied. Here's what locals love about Osaka:

    Osaka has tons of amazing restaurants

    Obviously, the thing to do in Osaka is to eat. The city is a foodie's paradise! Locals tell us that Osaka is known for three types of food: eastern bank stoneham ma hours (Japanese style pancakes), takoyaki (fried balls of octopus), and kushikatsu (deep-fried meat, fish, and vegetables on sticks).

    As to the best place to grab dinner in Osaka? This is a great place to get some local suggestions. Locals say the neighborhoods of Dotonbori or Shinsaibashi should make any foodie's bucket list. The Kuromon Ichiba Market is also fun to check out. 

    Local Tip:

    Osaka is known for "fugu fish", or poisonous blowfish. It's totally safe to eat—as long as it's correctly prepared by certified chefs. Keep in mind that some restaurants only serve fugu fish when it's in season (October-March). 

    Local Tip:

    Osaka is also a great home base for day trips. From the city, it's easy to get to Kobe, Himeji, and the Takeda Castle ruins (also known as Japan's "Castle in the Sky"). 

    Many of Osaka's sights are free to visit

    Some of the coolest places to visit in Japan are in Osaka, and many are free to check out—which makes Osaka a great stop for what city is the capital of japan travelers. For example, Sumiyoshi Taisha is one of Japan's what time does pickup close at walmart shrines. Free to visit, the shrine's iconic red bridge is hard to miss.

    Local Tip:

    Hotel Ichiei (inexpensive and close to the subway) is a solid spot for budget travelers. Check out our article on choosing accommodations in Japan for more on how to decide where to stay. 

    Osaka's foodie scene is matched by its nightlife

    Osaka has great options for nightlife. Whether you want to check out local breweries or a cool cocktail bar, you'll find something great in Osaka. Looking for local advice? Bar Freedom comes highly recommended—especially if you're hoping to spend the night sipping Japanese whiskey.

    But if you came central bank of kansas city prepaid visa Osaka to eat and not drink, keep in mind that many restaurants offer all-you-can-eat options (within a two-hour time limit). 

    Local Tip:

    Many places in Osaka only accept cash. 

    #4: Yokohama: Japan's city of lights

    Yokohama has thrived following the difficult days of the Great Kanto Earthquake and the city's devastation during WWII. Today, it's a beautiful port city full of great eats, exciting nightlife, and fun stuff to do. Here's what locals love about Yokohama:

    The views in Yokohama are beautiful

    Whether you want to ride Cosmo Clock 21, Yokohama's massive rainbow Ferris wheel, or scale the Yokohama Landmark Tower (home to Japan's fastest elevator!) you'll find plenty of opportunities in town to snag an incredible view. 

    And once you're back on the ground, benefit from some local insights. Locals suggest checking out the Yokohama Brick Warehouse for a different kind of sight—they say that the warehouse is "unlike any other shopping center you will see during your time in Japan."

    Local Tip:

    Want to explore outside of Yokohama? Catch the bullet train (shinkansen) for an easy day trip. 

    Yokohama's noodle game is on point

    In Yokohama, locals suggest prioritizing eating ramen and noodles. (To get an idea of how serious Yokohama locals are about their cuisine, consider that the city has a Cup Noodles Museum and a Ramen Museum—although this one is more of a food court.)

    Locals tell us that another good spot to grab noodles is Yokohama Station, where the tradition of wa (group harmony) encourages beauty in what time does pickup close at walmart places. (In other words, it's nothing like Penn Station). Restaurants at Yokohama Station serve up all sorts of noodles—udon, ramen, soba—and for $3 USD you can pick up a pretty excellent lunch.

    Local Tip:

    Yokohoma is also home to Japan's largest Chinatown. One of our locals noted: "Here you will find lots of delicious street food such as dim sum (steamed buns) and roasted chestnuts—try some!"

    Nightlife in Yokohama ranges from romantic to roaring

    Is there anything more romantic than sunsets on the water? One of our local trip planners recently recommended walking along the waterfront as the sun sets in Yokohama (this diligent planner even included the exact time of the setting sun). Yokohama is also home to classically Japanese bars, which are small, inexpensive, and embrace the tachinomi tradition of drinking while standing up.

    Yokohama is a great stop for budget travelers

    When it comes to saving money, locals tell us that Yokohama makes it easy. Cost of living is cheaper in Yokohama than other cities, which means that travelers will save money just by living their best lives—transportation and meals are cheaper here than Tokyo, for example. 

    Local Tip:

    Check out the 100-yen (hyaku yen) stores, where you can get anything from notebooks to windchimes for under $1 USD. It's a great way to save $$$ on souvenirs. 

    Still have questions about travel to Japan?

    Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.

    You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

    For more on Japan travel, check out: 


    Explore things to do in Yokohama on GetYourGuide

    READ MORE: Exciting Day Trips from Tokyo, Japan


    Contributed by Gemma of Two Scots Abroad // Twitter

    While the majority of travelers enter Hokkaido by the popular Sapporo, there is a lesser-known city that is laid-back, offers fewer crowds at its cultural experiences, and free sake at its brewery! Welcome to Asahikawa.

    how to open a business account with capital one, Japan winter cityscape in Hokkaido.">

    This city in central Hokkaido is part of the Kamikawa subprefecture and the second biggest in the region. It is known for its winter sports and ice sculpture festival which takes place every February. During the festival, impressive ice sculptures in the shape of animals and mountains take over the streets to celebrate the unique theme of that year.

    During the rest of the year, there are many things to do in Asahikawa such as visiting the Kamikawa shrine, learning about the Ainu history at the Asahikawa City Museum and testing sake at the Otokoyama brewery. Shoppers should migrate to Heiwa dōri kaimono kōen street and AEON Mall where you can also dine on cheap ramen and Taiyaki sweet snacks.

    Kamikawa Shrine in Asahikawa, Japan, one of the best laidback cities to visit in Japan

    A sleepy city during the day, the alleys become alive at night with locals spilling out of snack bars and traditional Izakaya restaurants.

    Asahikawa is close to many of the photogenic locations in Hokkaido such as the flower fields of Furano, making it a great base for a day trips or a Hokkaido road trip! You can also get to Higashikawa, a hip village with many ex-pats, and Daisetsuzan National Park (Taisetsuzan) for hikes and skiing plus Japan’s excellent onsen hotels from the city. A trip to Asahikawa is more of a cultural experience than just a holiday!

    Find places to stay in Asahikawa:

    Posted by: | on October 2, 2012
    Posted in City | 1 Comments »

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