Japan offers travelers a diversity of attractions. This beautiful island country in Asia is home to some of the biggest cities in the world, beautiful snow-topped mountains, ancient Japanese artifacts, volcanoes, historic villages and stunning gardens. Outdoor lovers can take advantage of these sites through snow-skiing, hiking, bicycling, fishing and a host of other outdoor activities.
Tokyo is the largest city in the world and an international financial center. Take a bike tour through this bustling city, and walk through Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Visit the Menji Jingu Shrine constructed in 1920 to honor Emperor Menji and his wife. Take a tour of Imperial Palace, home of the emperor of Japan. After a long day, take time to enjoy world-class Asian cuisine.
Mount Fuji is Japan's highest peak at 12,388 feet. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707. You can climb to the top of this volcano through one of five trails. The mountain is steep, and climbing it takes about eight hours. Official climbing season is July and August when the snow has melted. Climbers can stay in mountain huts along the trails overnight, and there are stations for climbers along the way. The mountain is beautifully situated near lakes and a national park.
The Japanese Alps
The Japanese Alps are a winter sports lover's paradise. The area is protected by a national park and is located in central Japan. Nagano is situated along the Alps and hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. Nagano has a number of ski resorts for snow-skiing and snowmobiling. Bathe in the hot springs pools located in the region, home to "snow monkeys," wild Japanese monkeys who enjoy frolicking in the naturally warm water.
Kyoto was Japan's former capital and emperor's residence and is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. The city is home to countless temples, shrines and other historic architectural wonders. The area was spared from air raids during World War II due to its priceless value. Take a walking tour through the city's beautiful pebble gardens, cherry blossom trees, mini huts and tranquil ponds, and spot geishas standing in the doorways.