Tottori (鳥取市 Tottori-shi) is the capital city of Tottori Prefecture in the Chūgoku region of Japan. Within Japan the city is best known for its sand dunes which are a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from outside of the prefecture. It is the largest sand dunes in Japan, which cover over 30 square kilometers of coast to the north of the city center. The sand dunes […]

Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県Yamanashi-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of the main island of Honshu. The prefecture is landlocked, featuring a fertile central valley, the Kōfu Basin, surrounded by many of the highest mountains in Japan including the highest, Mount Fuji located on the southern border with Shizuoka. Yamanakako is a popular summer resort, especially for water sports, with lots […]

Sapporo (札幌市 Sapporo-shi, Japanese: [sàppóró]) is the fifth largest city of Japan by population, and the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Located in Ishikari Subprefecture, it is the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, and an ordinance-designated city of Japan. Sapporo is also one of the nation’s youngest major cities. In 1857, the city’s population stood at just seven people. In the beginning of the Meiji […]

Furano (富良野市 Furano-shi) is a city in the prefecture of Hokkaido, Japan, located in the southern reaches of Kamikawa Subprefecture, under whose jurisdiction it resides. July is the most popular time of year to visit, when the town’s fields blossom with a sea of purple lavender. Famous Farm Tomita is at the heart of the action, selling lavender-infused products in its café and […]

Magome (馬籠) is a post town in the Kiso Valley, which served travelers of the Nakasendo, a major route connecting Tokyo with Kyoto during the Edo Period. The town has been beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with carefully tended foliage. Magome’s embellished preservation contrasts with the rugged authenticity of neighboring Tsumago. The two towns are connected by the Magome-Tsumago Trail, […]

Otaru (小樽市 Otaru-shi) is a city and port in Shiribeshi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan, northwest of Sapporo. The city faces the Ishikari Bay, and has long served as the main port of the bay. With its many historical buildings, Otaru is a popular tourist destination. Because it is a 25-minute drive from Sapporo, it has recently grown as a bedroom community. Sometimes known as the “Venice of […]

Karuizawa (軽井沢町 Karuizawa-machi) is a town located in Kitasaku District in south-central Nagano Prefecture, in the Chūbu region of Japan. Karuizawa is a mountain resort town only an hour from Tokyo on the Nagano shinkansen bullet train. Karuizawa draws visitors year round with its skiing, golfing, hiking, good dining, hot spa, natural scenery, and shopping opportunities. Karuizawa is nestled at the foot of mountains in the middle of Honshu, in […]

The Shirakawa-go (白川郷, Shirakawagō) and neighboring Gokayama (五箇山) regions line the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, they are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ […]

The Yaeyama Islands (八重山諸島 Yaeyama-shotō, also 八重山列島 Yaeyama-rettō, Yaeyama: Yaima Okinawan: Eema) are an archipelago in the southwest of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and cover 591.46 square kilometres (228.36 sq mi). The islands are located southwest of the Miyako Islands, part of the Ryukyu Islandsarchipelago. The Yaeyama Islands are the remotest part of Japan from the main islands and contains Japan’s most southern (Hateruma) and most western (Yonaguni) inhabited islands. The city of Ishigaki serves […]

The Kumano Kodō (熊野古道) is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Hantō, the largest Peninsula of Japan. These sacred trails were and are used for the pilgrimage to the sacred site “Kumano Sanzan” (熊野三山) or the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社), Kumano Nachi Taisha (熊野那智大社) and Kumano Hayatama Taisha (熊野速玉大社). The Kumano Kodō pilgrimage routes that lead to Kumano can […]