Japan is back open for travel! Our top 5 cities in Japan to travel to

Japan is back open for travel, and we could not be more excited! Japan is one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and its history is rich and varied. The beautiful, varied landscape with mountains and breathtaking views, which the Japanese love, offers so many different things that tourists come from all over the world to see it.

What’s truly wonderful about Japan is the ease with which you can travel around it. Using Japan Rail, you can make your way from city to city and never have to miss out on anything you want to see. Invest in a JR pass, and the country really is at your fingertips. 

With that in mind, here are the five top cities in Japan that everyone should see.


Tokyo is an amazing, crazy, and busy city. Enjoy the cherry blossoms, visit the imperial palace, shop at the morning fish market, dance the night away in Tokyo’s hipster nightlife district, and eat a wide array of delicious food while you’re there – you can do that all in one day or spread it out, depending on when you’re visiting and what else you want to see. 

Tokyo is unlike any other city. It’s a city of 10 million people, but it doesn’t feel crowded, and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, in fact. Rarely does someone come here and not have a good time.

What can you do in Tokyo? The answer is pretty much anything, but some highlights include eating sushi at the Toyosu Fish Market, visiting the sacred temple Sensō-ji, visiting the trendy areas of Harajuku, Omotesand, and Aoyama, and going to Electric Town – the abundance of manga, anime, and gaming merchandise is mind-boggling.

Tokyo – Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash


Osaka is a must-see for any trip to Japan, yet many tourists ignore it in favor of more well-known cities like Tokyo and Kyoto. It is home to over 2.7 million people, making it one of the most populous cities in Japan, and the surrounding metropolitan area is home to over 20 million.

Osaka, on the island of Honshu’s southern Kansai region, is a fantastic tourist destination thanks to its abundance of family-friendly activities and attractions like the city’s world-famous aquarium and Universal Studios Japan. 

The major cities of Japan are great, but if you travel all the way there without venturing beyond them, you will miss out on a lot of the country’s charm. Osaka’s convenient location makes it a good starting point for trips to the western and southern parts of Honshu island, as well as for reaching other parts of Japan thanks to Japan Rail.

Osaka – Photo by Nomadic Julien on Unsplash


You can sum up Japan by visiting Kyoto. It’s the spiritual and intellectual center of the nation. There are more temples, shrines, gardens, geisha, shops, restaurants, and festivals here than anywhere else in Japan. Simply put, Kyoto is the most rewarding place to visit in all of Japan, and a trip there should be a priority. 

Approximately two thousand temples and shrines can be found in this city, making it home to some of the world’s finest examples of religious architecture. These include the eye-searing splendor of Kinkaku-ji (the famous Golden Pavilion), as well as the vast interior of Higashi Hongan-ji. This is the place where robed monks stroll between temple buildings, worshippers meditate on tatami mats, and prayer chants reverberate through beautiful Zen gardens. An occasional whiff of incense or the sight of a vermilion torii gate at a shrine entrance serve as reminders that Kyoto is still Japan’s spiritual center, despite the city’s modern bustle.

Kyoto – Photo by Cosmin Georgian on Unsplash


Hiroshima, once a frightening symbol of destruction, is now a thriving example of Japanese ingenuity and optimism and the cosmopolitan capital of the Chugoku Region. Hiroshima, Japan, was the site of the world’s first atomic bombing in 1945, but its residents defied the odds by rebuilding the city into a tourist hotspot that attracts millions of visitors each year. A great city with amazing food – be sure to try the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki – but is also a great place to stay for visiting Miyajima.

Hiroshima – Photo by Rap Dela Rea on Unsplash


Centered between the larger cities of Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto, Nagoya is a major transportation hub in the heart of Japan. It connects Eastern and Western Japan in both senses of the phrase. The ancient history here runs deep, as it was the birthplace of three heroes of Japan’s Warring States Period: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nagoya Castle is the perfect place to visit if you want to imagine yourself in a bygone era of heroes. Atsuta Shrine and Osu Kannon Temple are two great places to visit if you’re interested in Japanese history and culture. If you prefer more contemporary settings, you will find plenty to enjoy in the thriving Sakae District and the cutting-edge Oasis 21 shopping center. One of Nagoya’s most popular landmarks, JR Central Tower, is definitely a must-see. 

Nagoya, gateway to the Japanese Alps, is a surprising, beautiful, and fascinating city to visit.

Nagoya – Photo by yongzheng xu on Unsplash