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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

KANSAI Nara Walk in the footsteps of pilgrims through sacred mountain ranges

Believed to be the birthplace of sake, and filled with ancient temples and shrines, Nara was the country's first permanent capital, and its roots go back further than recorded history

Nara should be a prime destination for anyone interested in Japanese history. The political and religious heart of ancient Japan, Nara’s shrines and temples are among Japan's oldest. Many of these sites have cultivated flowering gardens that enhance the already majestic views of the surrounding area. Important pilgrimage routes run through the Mt. Yoshino area, a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular cherry blossom spot.

How to Get There

You can reach Nara easily from either Osaka or Kyoto, the key transit points for a visit to this venerable city. The nearest airports are Itami International Airport and Kansai International Airport, both in Osaka and located approximately an hour and 15 minutes by bus and train, respectively.

The sights at Nara Park and Naramachi are accessible from both JR Nara Station and Kintetsu Line Nara Station. A bus will get you to the sites of Heijo-kyo Palace and Horyu-ji Temple, and the Kintetsu line trains go to the ancient towns along the Yamanobe-no-Michi route and access points for the mountain pilgrimage trails toward the border with Wakayama Prefecture.

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    Ancient temples, including some of the oldest structures in the world at Horyu-ji
    Sacred pilgrimage routes and pleasant walks along Japan’s oldest road—the Yamanobe-no-michi
    Feeding some of the 1,000 extraordinarily tame deer of Nara Park

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Head to Mt. Yoshino for the most spectacular cherry blossoms and Mt. Katsuragi for azaleas, and climb the symbol of Nara, grass-covered Mt. Wakakusa, which has an ancient tomb dating back to the fifth century.

  • Summer

    Head for the cool, shaded trails of Mt. Kasuga, hike through the Mitarai Valley, check out the many summer festivals—including the Tempyo Festival, and Obon at Kasuga Taisha Shrine—and try some chilled somen noodles.

  • Autumn

    Stroll through Isuien Garden. Visit mountain shrines and temples such as Ohnoji and Hasedera renowned for their autumn foliage. Many museums offer exhibitions of important cultural properties during autumn.

  • Winter

    Try snowshoe trekking through the quiet wilderness, slip into an onsen for a soak and a few cups of sake, and celebrate a traditional Japanese New Year at temples and shrines throughout Nara.

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