Lonely Planet announced on 25th October 2017 the destinations selected for their Best in Travel 2018 series. Japan’s Kii Peninsula was chosen as a Best in Travel 2018 Top 10 Regions winner, coming in 5th Place.
Kii Peninsula is made up of the prefectures of Wakayama, Mie and Nara, as well as the southern part of Osaka Prefecture. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, which includes the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail and Mt Koya (Koyasan) which is considered the centre of Shingon Buddhism.
According to Lonely Planet, visitors to Kii Peninsula have doubled over the past three years and the number is predicted to continue rising. Kii Peninsula has been chosen for its distinguished mix of Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples, sublime natural scenery and steaming hot springs, traditional culture and modern convenience – but without the crowds of usual popular tourist destinations.
Travel to Japan, particularly regional areas, continues to grow and this trend has been reflected in previous Lonely Planet’s Best In series. In 2016, Japan took second place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Top 10 Countries and Hokkaido took first place in Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Top 10 Destinations, and Takayama and South of Tokyo were also recently chosen in Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Top 10 Destinations for 2017.
Deciding which destinations to include in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process involving Lonely Planet’s community of writers, editors and bloggers providing hundreds of suggestions of places that are not to be missed. These places are then shortlisted by a panel of in-house travel experts who consider criteria such as topicality, excitement and wow-factor to decide what to include in the best-selling, inspirational travel yearbook. The destinations selected for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel must offer travellers an outstanding experience in the year ahead; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead, that it offers travellers new things to see and do, or that Lonely Planet’s team of experts consider it overlooked and underrated, and recommend travellers visit before the crowds do.
Ogumo Torigoe in Kumano Kodo, Wakayama Prefecture