City slicker or bamboo forest roamer? Where to base yourself when heading to Japan

2019-01-10 15:44 - Saara Mowlana
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Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in early morning light after sunrise. Kyoto, Japan, Asia

Many say that you need at least a few weeks for Japan. Every city has its own unique appeal. 

But if you're only able to visit for a short stint, be sure to familiarise yourself with what each city has to offer and base yourself accordingly. 

READ: Is Japan’s second largest island Hokkaido better for your budget? 

Tokyo

The Japanese capital is officially known as Tokyo Metropolis.

Tokyo is undoubtedly one of Japan's most well known cities, if not the most well known and talked about city.

With a thriving city district and vibrant night life - the city is favoured by those seeking some city fun in true Japanese style.

Tokyo is also home to a range of cultural and commercial activities and sights - from stunning temples to its very down Disneyland.

Kyoto

Located in the Kansai region of Japan, Kyoto is most well known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years.

Its name translates into 'capital city' and it was for a short time known as Saikyo - which means 'western capital'. Kyoto is also sometimes called the thousand-year capital. 

You can roam the streets of Kyoto, which are deeply influenced by traditional Japanese culture or visit its seas, in which Japan's oldest legends are still alive. The region's mountains are also a must as they are said to be the origins of the Japanese people.

From scenic bamboo forests to tranquil bodies of water and shrines - Kyoto is truly a must for any Japanese visitor. 

Osaka

Some of the earliest signs of human habitation have been found in the Osaka area at the Morinomiya ruins (Morinomiya iseki). The findings comprise of shell mounds, sea oysters and buried human skeletons from the sixth – fifth centuries BC.

Providing a blend of nature and infrastructure, Osaka is an urban hub catering to both commercial and reflective needs.

The city boasts a range of activities and sights like its Osaka Castle and Universal Studios as well as its Expo Commemoration Park where you can experience the autumnal leaves in their full splendour during the season.

Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in early mornin

(Beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in early morning light after sunrise. Kyoto, Japan. PHOTO: iStock)

Hiroshima

Nestled in the southwestern part of the Japanese island, the  Hiroshima Prefecture is rich in the natural beauty of the Inland Sea and the Chugoku Mountains, with mountains, sea, rivers, valleys, plains, basins that characterise Japan's iconic landscape.

You might also know Hiroshima as being the first targeted by nuclear weapons near the end of WWII in 1945 when the US Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb over the region. 

Its history in conjunction with the Japanese culture has allowed for a range of sights and places to visit in and around the city. Some must sees include the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, any one of its local gardens and parks and shrines.

WATCH: Robot restaurants, a dildo bar and more cultural surprises in Tokyo (Warning: explicit content)

Sapporo

Japan's northernmost ordinance-designated city covers roughly the same area as Hong Kong and is home to a growing population of more than 1.95 million. 

Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics - which marked the first ever held in Asia - and its annual Sapporo Snow Festival draws more than 2 million tourists from abroad each year!

With a balance of nature, culture and commercial activities and attractions - it's no wonder why this Japanese city is both loved and growing steadily.

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