Top 10 Most Famous Japan Landmarks Travelers Talk About

Today Japan may be known for eccentric entertainment and, unfortunately, Hello Kitty; however there is a wealth of historical and artistic majesty found in the island Asian country. This can be evidenced for visitors who are interested in seeing some of the most famous landmarks in Japan, the ones that past travelers come home raving about. We’ve put together the top ten picks based on past experiences to ensure that while you may come home with a Hello Kitty nightlight, you also come home with memories to last a lifetime.

1. Mount Fuji: Found a staggering sixty miles from Tokyo but so massive that it’s still visible from the city on a clear day, lays this giant strato-volcano on Honshu Island. Fuji has the iconic appearance of a snow capped mountain and is the tallest in Japan. The mountain is a World Heritage Site and one of the most familiar of all Japan landmarks, but the mountain itself is actually part of a trio of holy mountains, making it as much of a cultural landmark as it is a natural wonder.

2. Tokyo Disneyland: Just a bit east of Tokyo can be found the some three decade old theme park that pays homage to all things Mickey Mouse and has been exciting tourists and locals alike. Known as the first Disney theme park that was ever open outside the United States, the attraction boasts many things that would be familiar to those who have visited the Stateside parks, but with many new additions as well. Tokyo Disney Sea joins the main theme park along with a venue for shopping, dining and entertainment to create three separate entities for guests to enjoy. This site one of the most popular of all Japan landmarks even though the park’s roots are planted in modern pop culture instead of ancient history.

3. Sumo Arena Tokyo: Japan is known for many things exclusively and one of those is Sumo, the ancient art of wrestling in traditional sumo fashion. There are only certain times during the year when live events can be witnessed, truly a sight worth seeing at least once. But, for the casual visitor who simply wants a quick look around at this unique selection amongst Japanese landmarks, an early morning training session can be visited as well during the times when competitions are not occurring.

4. Tokyo Ginza: Ginza is not a person or a thing, rather a place or collection of places that encompass one district of the large city of Tokyo. This area is important because it’s one of the most well known shopping districts in the world. Like Beverly Hills, top designers from around the globe choose Ginza to showcase their wares alongside gourmet and even Michelin starred chefs which provide upscale dining options. This symbol of modern culture amongst Japanese landmarks also feature a little something for art lovers too, boasting over two hundred unique galleries.

5. Old Town Kyoto: Step back in time to visit the once Western Capital of Japan, Kyoto, which is situated in a valley in an area known as the Highlands. There are over two thousand different religious buildings found here, along with specific structures to pay homage to imperial royalty, too. Kyoto is not a rural community, but lacks the technological marvels that Tokyo is known for and emphasizes the past and historical perspective in exchange for modernized tourist traps. Hence it’s a perfect destination for those who want to get away from the big city and sample a little local culture amongst some stunning Japanese landmarks like Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

6. Himeji Castle: Boasting a stunning display of traditional Japanese architecture as well as bright white walls, which have lent to the preservation of the structure, Himeji is considered the best-preserved castles in the entire country. Perched high above the treetops and strategically upon a hilltop, the curved roof castle serves as a home for political and military purposes. It’s one of the most iconic Japan landmarks and an excellent symbol of history and tradition.

7. Osaka Castle: It’s not just the look and feel of a particular structure that make it significant and important to travelers to a country – the purpose and story behind those Japan landmarks are equally if not more important. In the case of the castle found at Osaka, this is especially true as the site was relevant to the unification of the country centuries ago. Standing high up on two raised platforms, the castle overlooks a moat and garden before the city line becomes visible from afar. Subdued tones of white and green are found on the exterior of the modest former palace.

8. Itsukushima Shrine: Many people think they are not familiar with this hard to pronounce shrine, but once they see it they realize that they are standing near one of the most iconic of all Japanese landmarks. The shrine itself is land based and not particularly noteworthy from the outside. It pays homage to a trio of Shinto Gods known as the three daughters. However, the floating Torii gate which extends outwards from the lake is what really draws a crowd. Burnt orange arches perched atop structural bases are perfectly framed by the mountains behind it. Adventurous guests should consider visiting during low tide when the entire structure can be walked up to.

9. Beppu Onsen: Oita is home to this group of hot springs where guests can enjoy a complimentary foot massage and a soak in the warm waters of the public bath found here. Some savvy visitors even cook food with the steam emitting from the springs, making for a truly authentic experience. Nearby resorts make this natural wonder amongst Japan landmarks easily accessible and other activities can be found nearby as well, such as a local zoo.

10. Sapporo Snow Festival: Unlike the majority of Japan landmarks which exist each day throughout the year in one capacity or another, Sapporo’s Snow Festival is truly a once a year experience for those lucky enough to be visiting the area in January when it occurs. Here two million visitors a year come to see hundreds of snow sculptures put together by some of the best teams in the world. During years when the amount of falling snow is light, trucks ship snow in from outside the city to ensure that the celebration is magnificent each and every year.