The contrasts of Japan are startling: big cities dazzle with bright lights and high-tech gadgetry, while in countryside towns centuries-old Japanese culture is alive and well with geishas, zen rock gardens, and temples and shrines.
Japan's vibrant pop culture is a massive draw for wide-eyed tourists, with ground-breaking electronics and leading fashion and design items available here long before the rest of the world.
Yet, beneath the brash modernity beats an ancient heart. Japan is still the realm of the exquisite art of the geisha and the skill of the sumo wrestler, where lively age-old festivals are celebrated and food is elevated to an art form.
Japan is a land of great natural beauty. The contrasts range from the snow festivals and lavender farms of the northern isle of Hokkaido to the sun-drenched beaches and turquoise waters of the subtropical islands of Okinawa. Whether you choose to climb volcanic Mount Fuji or wander through the pine forest of Mount Koya, a journey to Japan is unforgettable.
Shinjuku - Shinjuku, on the western edge - at roughly '9 o'clock' - of theYamanote Line, is truly a city unto itself.
Daikanyama - is a short train ride (one local stop) from Shibuya on the Toyoko Line and is an elegant counterpoint to Shibuya's noise and non-stop consumerism.
National Art Center Tokyo - Roppongi's latest cultural value added happened in January 2007 with the opening of the National Art Center, Tokyo.
Harajuku - Green and pleasant Harajuku is Tokyo's most established center of street fashion.
Ginza - Theshoppingand stomping grounds of the wealthy since the early part of the 1900s, Ginza has lost a little of its luster as the locus of the city has moved west towards Shinjuku, Shibuya, and beyond.
Imperial Palace - The Japanese Imperial Palace is located in central Tokyo on a massive plot of land (which at the height of the Japanese economic bubble in the late 1980s some went as far as to estimate was worth the market value of all of the real estate of the state of California).
Tokyo Tower - A red and white web of sky-high steel by day, a breathtaking beacon of lights by night, Tokyo Tower is the most prominent and distinctive feature of Tokyo's cityscape.
Asakusa Temple - Asakusa Temple AKA Senso-ji is reputed to be Tokyo's oldest temple, dating back to 628, and its huge 3 meter red paper lantern is one of Tokyo's most recognisable motifs.
Yasukuni Shrine - A huge greytoriimarks the entrance to one of Japan's most controversial sites - Yasukuni Shrine.
Osaka Castle is Osaka's most famous landmark. The gardens around Osaka Castle are very popular in cherry blossom season.
Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Osaka Aquarium features the display of two whale sharks.
Umeda Sky Building is a landmark building and observatory in Osaka. The Umeda Sky Building is also know as the Floating Garden Observatory.
Universal Studios Japan is one of the three Universal Studio theme parks around the world.
Kani Doraku Crab a six and a half meter crab is on the front of the crab restaurant Kani Doraku. It is mechanized, being able to move its arms and eyestalks.
Shiretoko - National park on an unspoiled peninsula.
Daisetsuzan - Hokkaido's largest and wildest national park.
Rishiri and Rebun - Small islands near Hokkaido's northern tip.
Furano - Town with beautiful lavender and flower fields.
Niseko - Leading snow resort with lots of powder snow.
Sapporo - The largest city on the island of Hokkaido.
Noboribetsu - Hokkaido's most famous hot spring resort.
Onuma Park - National park 20 kilometers north of Hakodate.
Hakodate - Southernmost city on Hokkaido.
Akan National - Park National park with beautiful lakes.
Lake Shikotsu - Picturesque caldera lake near Sapporo.
Lake Toya - Site of Mount Usu, an active volcano.
Kushiro Marshlands - Marshlands populated by Japanese cranes.
Asahikawa - City in central Hokkaido famous for its zoo.
Rusutsu - Attractive ski resort near Niseko.
Shopping in Tokyo is a fun thing to do. You can easily find Japanese traditional items and the latest goods in Tokyo. The cost of living in Tokyo can be expensive, but there are many places you can shop inexpensively. Stop by a 100yen shop near you. Daiso is a popular 100 shop chain.Shopping hours in Japan is usually from 10 or 11 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m. Most stores are open weekends and holidays except some specialty stores. In Japan, you need to pay 5% consumption tax in addition to the price. Japanese department stores are fun places to shop. They carry many kinds of traditional Japanese goods as well as the latest fashions. Check out the store sales, which are usually held in July, August, December, and January. Food floors in department stores are called "depachika" and are filled with world gourmet food and Japanese regional specialties.
Tokyo Shopping Spots:
Great Places for Shopping in Ginza Area
Great Places for Shopping in Shinjuku Area
Great Places for Shopping in Harajuku/Aoyama Area
Great Places for Shopping in Shibuya Area
Great Places for Shopping in Roppongi Area
Great Places for Shopping in Marunouchi Area
Great Places for Shopping in Odaiba
Full country name: Japan
- Area: 372892 sq. Km.
- Population: 125 mln. p.
- Capital: Tokyo
- Nation: 99.4% Japanese, and Koreans, Ainu (Hokkaido Aborigines) and some others.
Language: Japanese, widespread knowledge of English and Chinese
- Religion: Northern Buddhism (Mahayana) and Shintoism
- Government: Constitutional monarchy