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City Information

Cities in Japan

TSI Holidays provides tours to the famous and lesser-known cities in Japan that can be customized as stand-alone destination tours as well as multi-city tours in Japan . Explore the history, culture, lifestyle, and tourist attractions of each destination in Japan with TSI Holidays outbound tours.

Top Destinations in Japan

Tokyo

Japan’s capital city, with its mixture of traditional and modern urban life, is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Sensoji Temple is one of its iconic historic sites, and the Imperial Palace provides a traditional and royal air. The city’s Ginza, the equivalent of New York’s Madison Avenue, is world famous, as is the Harajuku Japanese-teen street fashion that influences international fashion industry. While you’ll find plenty of authentic Japanese dining in Tokyo, you’ll also find top-quality international restaurants as well, since Tokyoites have a discriminating palate for authentic quality of international cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, French, etc. Sushi restaurants are plentiful in the outer market of the renowned Tsukiji Fishmarket.

Kyoto

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization the ancient capital of Kyoto is the most popular destination for foreign visitors to Japan. It’s a city that embodies all that people think of in terms of Japanese tradition including centuries-old temples, ryokans (Japanese traditional style inn), teahouses, geisha, etc., all maintained in the authentic tradition by the city. The cityscape is also well maintained, and there are many cultural workshops in which visitors can participate.

Kanagawa

While the name may not be very familiar to American tourists, this is the prefecture where Yokohama (Tokyo’s neighboring city) and Kamakura (a historic city along the coast) are located. With a huge Buddha statue, Kamakura is a popular and easy destination for those who stay in Tokyo (just an hour or so away by train) and travelers come to stroll between temples along the calm beaches. Hakone, where people go for hot springs, ryokan, and the magnificent view of Mt. Fuji, is also in the Kanagawa prefecture.

Osaka

As the second largest city and a major business travel destination, Osaka is the home of several major international companies. But in addition to business, Osakan culture is also heavily focused on food. In fact some lovers of Japanese cuisine view Osaka is the capital of affordable dining spree! Outside of the urban centers, pockets of tranquility are tucked away in the countryside.

Chiba

Just east of Tokyo, Chiba is where Japan’s gateway Narita International Airport is located. The city of Narita, close by the airport, is sometimes visited by international travelers as a “quick taste” of Japan during a layover. The Tokyo Disney Resort is also in Chiba, just cross the border with Tokyo. The Tokyo Motor Show usually takes place in Makuhari Messe, one of the largest and popular convention centers in the country.

Hiroshima

World-renowned because of the atomic bomb, Hiroshima today is known as the global peace center. The Peace Memorial Museum, located right next to the dome that was the only structure to survive at ground zero (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), is a must-see for visitors here. The city also has another World Heritage Site: Itsukushima Shrine of Miyajima Island, one of the post-card icons of Japan.

Tourist Attactions in Japan

Tokyo Disneyland , Mount Fuji , Universal Studios Japan , Tokyo Skytree , Yakushima , Fuji – Q – Highland , Tokyo Imperial Palace , MJount Koya .

Events

Setsubun

Setsubun is the day preceding risshun that is the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar, or the so-called lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting “In with Fortune! Out with Evil” in order to prevent evil ogres from entering one’s house. It is believed that the ogres are warded off by throwing beans, and that good fortune will then come to one’s home. On this day, events with entertainers and athletes are held at shrines all over the country. According to Japanese tradition, if you eat the same number of beans as your age, you will enjoy a year of good health.

Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival )

This is a festive event held on March 3rd when hina ningyo dolls are decorated in homes where there are daughters. It is also called Momo-no-Sekku (Peach Festival). Displayed on the a tiered doll-stand are gorgeous hina ningyo dolls together with miniature articles and furniture. And offerings of diamond-shaped rice cakes, sweet and peach blossoms are made to accompany prayers for the healthy growth and happy future of the daughters. There is also the custom of cooking clams and short-necked clams, these dishes decorate the doll-stand and are served as a special dinner for this feast.

Hina Matsuri ( Floral Festival)

Hana-Matsuri refers to the memorial service performed at temples throughout Japan to celebrate the birth of Buddha on April 8th. It is formally called Kanbutsue. On this day, small buildings decorated with flowers are made at temples and a tanjobustu (baby Buddha figurine) is placed inside. This figurine is sprinkled by worshippers using a ladle with ama-cha, which is a beverage made by soaking tealeaves in hot water Some people take this ama-cha home and drink it as holy water.

Tanabata (Star Festival)

This is an annual celebration of the stars. According to a legend, the two stars, Vega and Altair, separated lovers, are allowed to meet each other across the Milky Way only once a year on the evening of July 7th. At this festival, prayers are also offered so that young girls will improve in calligraphy and handicraft. The custom is to set up leafed bamboo branches in the garden, and people write poems, words or wishes on tanzaku or long strips of colorful paper which they tie on the bamboo leaves.

O- Bon (Lantern Festival)

O-Bon is a Buddhist ceremony for welcoming back and appeasing the souls of our ancestors. The formal name of this festival is Ura-Bon. Depending on the region, the Bon Festival may be held one month later, during August 13th-15th. Generally, a mukaebi fire is lit in front of the gate early on the evening of the 13th to receive the souls of the ancestors. At the same time, a Buddhist priest chants sutras in front of the Shoryodana or ‘Shelf of Souls,’ where offerings of fruit and vegetables are placed. On the evening of the 16th, an okuribi fire is lit to see off the souls of the ancestors.

Scichi Go San (Children’s Shrine – Visting Day)

This is a ceremonial visit paid by parents and children to their tutelary shrines to offer gratitude for the healthy growth of the children. Celebrations are carried out on November 15th for boys who reach the age of 3 or 5, or for girls who turn 3 or 7 years old. The custom is for the children to dress in their best clothes, and to carry Chitose-ame which are long thin candy sticks colored in red and white, believed to bring good luck.