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Tourist attractions Japan

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  • 1 Matsumoto Castle Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    J - Matsumoto

    Matsumoto Castle (16C) is a magnificent building constructed on a stone plinth presiding at the centre of the village. Along with its moats (still filled with water today), it has an armada of defences worthy of the most impregnable of medieval castl..

  • 2 Kenroku-en Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    J - Kanazawa

    An elegant space. Since the 17C, the Japanese have strived to make Kenroku-en one of the most sumptuous gardens in the country, expressing a visual harmony where nature is organised in the most beautiful way possible. You can stroll around the deligh..

  • 3 Zuigan-ji Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Religious buildings

    91 Matsushima Aza-Chonai J - Matsushima

    This superb temple was first erected in the 9C. Date Masamune then rebuilt it in the 17C, bringing in the Kano school's greatest craftsmen and artists, to serve as a residence and place of worship. Note in particular the Jyodan no ma (a room reserved..

  • 4 Shiretoko National Park Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    J - Abashiri

    Shiretoko National Park covers the northern half of this 65km-long peninsula shaped like a finger pointing toward the Sea of Okhotsk. Still virtually unspoilt, at its centre is a volcanic ridge culminating in Mt Rausu-dake (1 661m), with Mt Lo and Mt..

  • 5 Kyoto National Museum Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Museums and art

    J - Kyoto 604 8571

    Inaugurated in 1897, the Imperial Museum was created to preserve Kyoto's cultural treasures, which were under threat from the Emperor's own modernisation plans for the city. Now the National Museum, the old Baroque-style building is given over to exc..

  • 6 Kotohira-gu shrine (Konpira-san) Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    J - Kotohira 940-0038

    Kotohira-gu shrine, frequently referred to as Konpira-san, attracts nearly 4 million pilgrims every year. It was built in the 11C in honour of the Omono-nushi kami who protects seamen and fishermen. A high 1,300-step climb leads to the inner shrine, ..

  • 7 Nishi Iya (west of Iya valley) Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    J - Miyoshi

    Accessible from Oboke or Awa Ikeda, the west of Iya Valley (Nishi Iya) is the most touristic. Cut off from the rest of the world for many years, its only source of income used to be buckwheat, barley, tobacco and millet crops. It has managed to withs..

  • 8 Asakusa Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    J - Tokyo

    Now rid of its brothels and kabuki actors dressed as women, Asakusa has redeemed itself since the devastation of the Second World War. It has become a commercial district that is popular with tourists and whose main street, Nakamise-dori, is lined wi..

  • 9 Edo-Tokyo Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    1-4-1 Yokohami - Sumida-ku J - Tokyo

    The spectacular Edo-Tokyo Museum, whose design is inspired by the traditional Japanese rice loft, is home to a striking collection that recounts the history of Tokyo from its very beginnings. Children can have their photo taken in rickshaws or sedan ..

  • 10 Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    4-1-1 Miyoshi - Koto-ku J - Tokyo

    In addition to the temporary exhibitions, you can see part of the permanent collection which focuses on the last 50 years of 20C art: Gerhard Richter, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Frank Stella, Julian Schnabel and a number of Japanese artists suc..

  • 11 Yanaka District Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Yanaka-Ginza J - Tokyo

    The district of Yanaka has remained miraculously untouched by natural and man-made disasters. Filmmakers come here to shoot footage of an idealised version of urban Japan, a pleasant flashback to a past with fewer cars and buildings. The promenade ru..

  • 12 Asakura Choso Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    18-10 Yanaka 7-chome - Taito-ku J - Tokyo

    This delightful studio and home laid out around a fine Japanese garden was the property of the sculptor Asakura Fumio (1883-1964), the father of modern Japanese sculpture. His bronzes, in particular his studies of cats, exhibit a truly feline agility..

  • 13 Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    3-1 kitanomaru-koen J - Tokyo

    Tokyo's National Museum of Modern Art presents a good summary of Japanese art from the Meiji period up to the 1980s. Of the 9 000 works in its collection, 300 are on display at any one time. A few artists deserve a special mention: Tomioka Tessai (18..

  • 14 Yushukan War Memorial Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    3-1-1 Kudankita - Chiyoda-ku J - Tokyo

    The Yushukan War Memorial Museum divides opinion. There has been much discussion about this military museum, which has found itself under fire for presenting the history of the wars of the last century from a biased Japanese perspective. This aspect ..

  • 15 Tokyo International Forum Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    3-5-1 Marunouchi - Chiyoda-ku J - Tokyo

    Housed in a delicate-looking glass and steel building that is an experiment in weightlessness and transparency, the Tokyo International Forum has stood in the heart of the business district since 1997. The huge sums of money and technological prowess..

  • 16 Idemitsu Museum of Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    3-1-1 Marunouchi - Teigeki Bldg, 9e étage - Chiyoda-ku J - Tokyo

    Established in 1966 by Sazo Idemitsu, founder of the eponymous large oil company, this museum is renowned for the quality of its temporary exhibitions. Its collection includes some very fine Japanese pieces (Hizen porcelain, masterpieces by the paint..

  • 17 Bridgestone Museum of Arts Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    1-10-1 Kyobashi - Chuo-ku J - Tokyo

    Malraux himself once sang the praises of this arts centre with a fine and well-presented collection. Come and admire the judicious selections made by the great collector Ishibashi Shorijo, who also founded the Bridgestone Group. The Bridgestone Museu..

  • 18 Ginza Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Chuo-Dori J - Tokyo

    Europeans will be surprised by the absence of noise in this modern shopping Mecca. The ubiquity of neon will come as less of a shock. Built in the 19C, Ginza was established on a site ravaged by fire. A few fine examples of the original brick buildin..

  • 19 Tsukiji Jogai Market Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    5-2-1 Tsukiji - Chuo-ku J - Tokyo

    Tsukiji Jogai Market wakes early, at 5am, and starts with the day's tuna catch being sold to the highest bidder. This is the world's largest fish market and it closes at 11am, leaving you ample time to wander through the piles of crates containing li..

  • 20 Roppongi Hills Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    6-10-1 Roppongi - Minato-ku J - Tokyo

    Tokyo, which is on a par with Shanghai when it comes to architecture of gigantic proportions, has a liking for shopping complexes housed in skyscrapers. Roppongi Hills is a foremost example, with its innovative design esplanades, shops, cinemas, muse..

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