If you’re planning a trip to Japan, there’s no better way to do it. Let me highlight some of the cities this tour includes. First up, the capital, Tokyo. What is there to say about Tokyo that hasn’t been said a million times before? The ultra-modern metropolis is the capital of Japan, vibrant, bustling and shining neon. You may think that Tokyo is an obvious choice for someone visiting Japan, and it is. Tokyo is the first thing to come to mind when many think of Japan, and it’s such a special place that it can’t be skipped.
|Tokyo, in all it's neon glory.|
|Koyasan, peaceful, zen.|
It’s not all just big cities, there are some quieter, more spiritual places on the tour. Like Koyasan, or Mt Koya, which is a mountain in Wakayama prefecture. The summit is 1,000m above sea level, there are over 110 Temple Lodges atop Koyasan where you can spend the night. If you do stay at one of these temples, you can spend some time writing your own Buddhist script, and join their chief monk for some morning meditation. Koyasan is also home to the grave of some of Japan’s most revered historical figures; in the giant graveyard Okunoin, you can see the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, a key figure in the religious history of Japan. There is also the Tokugawa Mausoleum, housing the remains of Tokugawa Ieyasu, a warrior and politician, who is one of the key figures in Japanese history.
|Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto|
You probably thought I was going to leave it there and not mention Kyoto, one of the biggest tourist destinations in Japan, not only for overseas tourists but for Japanese too! Like Tokyo, Kyoto might seem like an obvious choice, and like Tokyo, it is, and for similar reasons. Kyoto was the capital of Japan before Tokyo and is still the country’s cultural centre. Kyoto has 17 World Heritage sites, 1,600 Buddhist temples and about 400 Shinto shrines. History and culture ooze from every inch of Kyoto. Highlights include staying in a machiya, exploring the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), Kiyomizu temple, the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Arashiyama bamboo forest.
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