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Japan Popular Places to Visit

Shirakami Sanchi

Shirakami Sanchi is an extensive mountain range straddling the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures in the northern Tohoku Region of Japan. The central core of Shirakami Sanchi is made up of the last virgin beech forests in Japan, for which the region was declared one of the country's first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.

Akita, Japan

Kakunodate

Kakunodate is a former castle town and samurai stronghold in today's Akita Prefecture. While Kakunodate Castle no longer remains, the town is famous for its samurai tradition and its hundreds of weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura).

Apart from the loss of its castle, Kakunodate remains remarkably unchanged since its founding in 1620. The town was built with two distinct areas, the samurai district and the merchant district. Once home to 80 families, the samurai district still has some of the best examples of samurai architecture in all of Japan.

Akita, Japan

Hachimantai

Hachimantai  is a mountainous region in northern Akita and Iwate Prefectures, which makes up the southern part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. The region is far removed from Japan's cities and offers some of the country's best rustic hot springs and volcanic landscapes that will delight travelers looking to explore the Japanese countryside.

Akita, Japan

Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsen is a collection of onsen ryokan in the mountains of eastern Akita Prefecture. The area is known for the hot spring baths found at its eight ryokan, some of which are quite traditional and rustic. With a history of over 300 years, Tsurunoyu is Nyuto Onsen's oldest and most famous inn.

The name Nyuto Onsen means "nipple hot spring" and comes from the suggestive shape of nearby Mount Nyuto rather than the milky/cloudy appearance of the area's hot spring water. All the hot spring baths in Nyuto Onsen belong to ryokan, and are not only available to staying guests, but also to day trippers during certain hours and against a small admission fee. Most of the ryokan feature mixed gender outdoor baths, and all have various gender segregated bathing as well.

Akita, Japan

Sapporo

Sapporo ( "important river flowing through a plain" in Ainu language) is the capital of Hokkaido and Japan's fifth largest city. Sapporo is also one of the nation's youngest major cities. In 1857, the city's population stood at just seven people.

Sapporo became world famous in 1972 when the Olympic Winter Games were held there. Today, the city is well known for its ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival held in February.

Hokkaido, Japan

Niseko

Niseko is the most famous ski resort in Japan, known for having tons of light powder snow, spectacular backcountry and a large number of foreigners - especially Australians - who in recent years have been responsible for popularizing the resort area with the skiing/snowboarding community outside of Japan. As a result, Niseko's resorts are very accessible and welcoming to foreign visitors, which they keep busy with plenty of vast, long ski runs, endless powder, and a growing number of after-ski activities.

Hokkaido, Japan

Asahikawa And Asahiyama Zoo

Asahikawa is just a few hours north of Sapporo and is home to the famous Asahiyama Zoo. Here visitors can watch cute red pandas, waddling penguins, polar bears and more is environments that are stimulating for the animals. Make sure to try a savory bowl of the local specialty, soy sauce-based Asahikawa ramen.

Hokkaido, Japan

Furano And Biei Lavender Fields

One of the best times to visit Hokkaido is from late June to early August when lavender can be seen gracing vast fields, along with other colorful flowers. Whether you're looking to visit the much loved Tomita Farm, or thinking of checking out Shikisai no Oka, these lavender tours from Sapporo will help you get to your destination with ease. Oh, and don't forget to treat yourself to lavender-flavored ice cream!

Hokkaido, Japan

Hiraizumi

The city steadily grew in cultural sophistication and political power, so that it even came to rival Kyoto, the national capital.

In 1189, however, Hiraizumi was razed by Minamoto Yoritomo, the man who would soon after become Japan's first shogun. Yoritomo was looking for his brother and rival Yoshitsune, who was being given refuge by the local Fujiwara leader. The city never recovered its former prominence, but it still features some of the Tohoku Region's most precious historic and cultural properties.

Iwate, Japan

Ōuchijuku

Ouchijuku  is a former post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Restrictions set by the shogunate required travelers to make their long journeys on foot and as a result, post towns developed along the routes to provide travelers with food, accommodations and rest.

Fukushima, Japan