Summary: Japan is a beautiful country that is rich in culture, history and natural beauty. Its unique blend of traditional and modern lifestyles make it a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. Weekend trips to Japan are perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of the country without having to take too much time away from their busy schedules. In this article, we will explore some of the best weekend trips to take in Japan.
Kyoto is known for its traditional temples, stunning gardens, and beautiful shrines. No visit to Kyoto is complete without a visit to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, which features a beautiful pathway lined with thousands of vermilion torii gates. Another must-see in Kyoto is the Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, which sits on the edge of a tranquil pond. There are many other things to see and do in Kyoto, including exploring the ancient streets of Higashiyama and taking a stroll through the beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.
If you are planning a weekend trip to Kyoto, it is recommended to stay in a traditional Ryokan. These Japanese-style inns offer a unique cultural experience and typically have tatami floors and futon beds. As an added bonus, many Ryokans come with an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring bath, which is the perfect way to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Finally, make sure to try some of the local cuisine while in Kyoto, such as matcha (powdered green tea) flavored treats, traditional Japanese sweets called wagashi, and kaiseki cuisine, a multi-course meal that features seasonal and local ingredients.
Hakone is a beautiful mountain town located just a short distance from Tokyo. It is famous for its stunning views of Mount Fuji, natural hot springs, and traditional ryokan inns. One of the must-see attractions in Hakone is the Hakone Open Air Museum, which features an impressive collection of sculptures from both Japanese and international artists.
Another popular activity in Hakone is taking a scenic boat ride on Lake Ashinoko, which offers stunning views of Mt. Fuji on clear days. For those who prefer a more relaxing experience, visit one of the many onsens in the area, such as the Tenzan or Yunessun hot spring resorts.
Finally, be sure to try some of the local specialties while in Hakone, such as black eggs which are boiled in the area’s natural volcanic hot springs and are said to extend one’s lifespan by seven years!
Nara is one of Japan’s oldest cities and was the country’s capital before Kyoto. It is famous for its many temples, shrines and historical landmarks. The most famous attraction in Nara is the Todai-ji Temple, which houses the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. Another highlight is the Kasuga Taisha Shrine, which features thousands of lanterns that are lit every night.
Nara is also home to many wild deer, which roam freely throughout the city and are considered messengers of the gods in Japanese folklore. Visitors to Nara can feed these deer special crackers called shika-senbei, which can be purchased from vendors throughout the city.
While in Nara, sample some of the local food such as kakinoha-zushi, a type of sushi that is wrapped in persimmon leaves, or try some sake (Japanese rice wine) from one of the local sake breweries.
4. Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island, also known as Itsukushima Island, is located just off the coast of Hiroshima and is considered one of the most beautiful places in Japan. The island is famous for its torii gate that appears to be floating on water during high tide, which is the largest and oldest wooden torii gate in the world.
While on Miyajima Island, be sure to visit the Itsukushima Shrine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features beautiful gardens and traditional architecture. Another must-see is the Daisho-in Temple, which features a beautiful pagoda and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Finally, try some of the local food while on Miyajima Island, such as anago meshi (grilled eel on rice) or momiji manju, a type of sweet cake filled with red bean paste and shaped like maple leaves.
Osaka is one of Japan’s largest cities and is famous for its delicious street food, vibrant nightlife and unique shopping experiences. A trip to Osaka is not complete without a visit to Dotonbori, a lively street that is lined with restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
Another highlight of Osaka is Osaka Castle, which is a beautiful castle that dates back to the 16th century and offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck. In addition, explore the historic Shitennoji Temple and the charming Shinsekai district, which is known for its traditional atmosphere and delicious cuisine.
Finally, be sure to try some of the local specialties while in Osaka, such as takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers).
There are many exciting destinations to visit in Japan for a weekend trip. From the traditional temples and shrines of Kyoto and Nara, to the stunning natural scenery of Hakone and Miyajima Island, there is something for everyone. And while in Osaka, enjoy the city’s delicious street food and vibrant nightlife. Whatever your interests, Japan has something to offer for all types of travelers.
If you are planning a weekend trip to Japan, consider visiting one of these destinations to experience some of the country’s best culture, history, and nature.