Japan may just inspire you to think differently about the world. The country boasts modernity juxtaposed with traditional culture and majestic valleys and mountains. Enchant yourself with these photos that look like they just jumped right out of the pages of a fairy-tale.
1. Traverse through the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & witness the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama
Credit: M Reza Faisal on Flickr
There are diverse features in every season along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, but the best one is definitely the snow corridor around the upper sections of Midagahara and Murodo, that could reach up to 20 metres high.
#HHWT Tip: The route is completely inaccessible from December to mid April. Best to travel in spring where you can witness the majestic corridor.
2. Take a break from the city and take a calming stroll in Yoyogi Park
Get back to nature at Yoyogi Park where you’ll find hidden gems everywhere including the famous Meiji Shrine. Its sprawl of lush greenery will give you an amazon-feel while you admire the serenity. Look out for colourful barrels along your path.
#HHWT Tip: Every season is perfect for a walk at Yoyogi Park, but make sure you have a water bottle ready just in case you get tired. But don’t litter, guys.
3. Hike up to the summit of the magnificent Mount Fuji
Hiking up Japan’s highest mountain is definitely worth doing as it can make for wonderful memories.
#HHWT Tip: It is best to hike between early July and mid September as it is the official climbing season where the mountain is free of snow and the weather is mild.
4. Admire the glitter and sparkle of the Golden Temple in Kyoto
The sparkling Zen temple was built during the Muromachi Period in the 1400s. It is now one of the popular tourist spots due to its architectural style that reflects the wealthy aristocratic circles of Kyoto during the ancient period.
#HHWT Tip: Continue your journey through the garden and you’ll find the Sekkatei Teahouse, where you can have matcha tea and sweets. Souvenir shops are also available outside the exit. Best to visit in every season.
5. Capture the magic of the mysterious Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is considered as one of the most photographed sights in the city and it’s a definitely an opportunity you should not miss when visiting Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. Don’t forget to try the rickshaw ride that will take you to the secret side of the place.
#HHWT Tip: The bamboo grove is most visited during spring and fall seasons.
6. Spot the hidden temple in the colourful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Originating from the Edo period, this large park used to be a residential area until it was converted into a botanical garden for recreation in the 1900s. Just a short walk from Shinjuku station, the tranquil scenery may just provide you the best escape from the busy city life even for a short while.
#HHWT Tip: In spring, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes the best place to see cherry blossoms.
7. Witness the iconic Japanese spring cherry blossoms
Credit: Taichiro Ueki on Flickr
It is impossible to go to Japan during spring season without thinking about its beautiful cherry blossoms. These perfect pink blooms can be seen everywhere across Japan.
#HHWT Tip: Cherry blossom season usually happens in early April in most major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka while on Japan’s southern like Okinawa, the season takes place in early January while they bloom late in May for Hokkaido. So plan your trip, folks!
8. Wander the lavender fields of Farm Tomita, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature
Take a trip down to Farm Tomita and witness flowers of seven colours on the rolling hill of Irodori field, the best-known flower field at the farm.
#HHWT Tip: Blooming season typically takes place in early July, thus the best viewing season is mid July.
9. Cross the mystical Kazurabashi bridge & smell the wild air in western Tokushima
Legends say that the bridge was created by Heike refugees as a means to hide, following their defeat in the Gempei War in the 1180s. Today, it has become a famous spot for hikers.
#HHWT Tip: It’s best to go during the autumn.
10. Get a majestic view of the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Known as the shrine island, this attraction is unique for being built over water. Thanks to its iconic name, the great Torii would look it is floating on the sea during high tide.
#HHWT Tip: It is best to visit during the spring, summer or autumn season to enjoy the mild breeze.
11. Be mesmerized by the unusual looking volcanic hill of Komezuka
Komezuka is a volcanic hill with a summit that sags downwards. Covered with grass in early summer, it is definitely worth visiting.
#HHWT Tip: Entry is not permitted at the crater area due to poisonous volcanic gases or the risk of volcanic activity, therefore it’s best to check with a local guide before travelling.
12. Explore over 5000 vibrant orange torii gates behind Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Credit: Terence Lim on Flickr
Fushimi Inari-taisha is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and it sits at the base of a mountain. What makes it special is the fact that the bright red torii gates along the trail are donated by individuals or companies, and their names are inscribed on each gate.
#HHWT Tip: Best to travel in every season!
13. Stop by at one of Kyoto’s hidden treasure botanical gardens
Located on the east bank of the Kamo-gawa River, this botanical garden houses groves of cherry trees, colourful flowers, red maple trees, open fields for picnics and a greenhouse.
#HHWT Tip: Cherry blossoms tend to hang on longer here than any other city, so if you’re there around spring, don’t miss the chance to visit this garden.
14. Enter Japan’s most sacred site at the mountaintop temple of Mount Koya
Built by one of Japan’s most significant religious figures, you can spot the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage right at the mountaintop.
#HHWT Tip: The best season to visit this beautiful place is during winter where you can enjoy the snow. It is also recommended to have a tour guide so they would be able to guide you through the trails.
15. Enjoy a clear, sunny morning at the Lake Sayama
Spot the fairytale-like Yamaguchi reservoir at Lake Sayama, an artificial lake built in 1934. Besides feeling all magical around the bridge, there is an abundance of flora and fauna in the area that you can enjoy.
#HHWT Tip: Best to go around spring, summer or autumn as you can relax by walking around the area without getting cold feet.
Staying true to its vast cultural diversity, Japan is definitely a charm of its own. Time for you to turn these photos into real life and explore Asia’s gem of a country.