The Kanto is Japan's largest plain and very densely populated. The large metropolises of Tokyo and Yokohama are located in the Kanto Region which consists of seven prefectures.
Mito is located in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. The city is most famous for Kairaku-en Garden, which is known as one of the three great gardens of Japan. With more than 3,000 plum trees of 100 varieties and other seasonal plants including rape blossoms and cosmos, it is a place of relaxation for local people of all generations, from young couples to families. While worth a visit throughout the year, Kairakuen is most attractive during the pulm blossom season, which usually takes place in late February and March. The Mito Plum Festival is held annually from February 20 to March 31. One can freely enjoy all sorts of fine arts at the Ibaraki Museum of Modern Art, Mito Geijutsu-kan (Art Tower Mito) and the Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History.
Nikko is popular tour city for international tourists as well as Japanese tourists and the city forms a part of the Nikko National Park. Nikko is located in the Tochigi prefecture, which is to the North of Tokyo. Nikko is famous for the heritage shrine, temple, scenic slope, lake, National Park, hot spring, and waterfalls. One of the famous shrines is Toshogu, which is designated as the world heritage site. Thoshogu Shrine is where the famous Shogun of the Edo Period in the 17th century, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was worshiped after this death, It became as luxurious and elaborate as it looks today when the grandson of Ieyasu, the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, reconstructed it. The engravings on the Yomei-mon Gate are especially overwhelming, provided with every luxury imaginable and redolent in gorgeous colors. Kegon falls is one of Japan's top 3 tourist attractions for its height and dynamic elevation change. Water falls from approximately 100m (350ft) in height, and it gives the tourists spectacular views. Visitors are able to go to the bottom of the gorge with an elevator to see this amazing view from behind the waterfalls. Lake Chuzenji is one of the many lakes that represent Japan's beauty. Lake Chuzenji was created by the eruption of Mt. Nandai, its lava entered Daiyagawa River and formed the lake. It is surrounded by beautiful nature, and visitors can enjoy all four seasons with its exquisite scenery.
The town of Kusatsu is located at the southeastern foot of Mt. Shirane-san in the northwestern part of Gunma. The town became well known about 120 years ago after Dr. Balz, a medical doctor from Germany, found its hot spring to be very effective. Kusatsu-onsen consists of eighteen public baths, each with a different effect and separate fountainhead. Most of the hot springs operates twenty-four hours a day. In the center of the town, two spots are particularly popular all year round: 'Yubatake,' one of the fountainheads, and Netsu-no-yu, where 'yumomi' (stirring hot water with paddle-like wooden boards to cool it down) demonstrations are shown. Near the mountaintop of Mt. Shirane, tourists can hike along the Shiga-Kusatsu-kogen Route, which is also a popular ski resort. Manza-onsen Hot Spring, at the western foot of the mountain, is well known as a hot spring of high-quality milky-white water.
Omiya is located in just north of Tokyo, in Saitama prefecture, an urban prefecture that houses a huge number of Tokyo's city workers. Omiya's main attraction is the Omiya Bonsai Village, one of the best places in Japan to get an in-depth insight into the art of aesthetic miniaturization. The village began in the 1920's when a group of Bonsai growers moved to Omiya from their home district in central Tokyo which had been damaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Over the years the village has grown and now houses hundreds of thousands of miniature trees and plants.
Narita is a city in Chiba Prefecture, roughly 60 kilometers east of central Tokyo. Foreigners who come from other parts of the world by air usually take their first step onto Japanese soil in Narita City, where the Narita International Airport is located. The city has another important role; besides being a gateway to Japan, it is the temple town of Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple, a popular Buddhist temple with a history of over 1000 years, which attracts more than 13 million worshippers a year. Shinsho-ji Temple has always a time-honored place of worship since it was erected in 940. In addition to the temple, the city and surroundings have several other attractions that can keep transit travelers.
Tokyo has two airports, Narita International Airport (NRT), which handles mostly international air traffic and is the arrival point of a majority of foreign visitors, and the more centrally located Haneda Airport (HND), which handles mostly domestic air traffic and only a small number of international flights. Narita Airport, formerly also known as New Tokyo International Airport, is located in the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, about 60 km outside of Tokyo. It consists of two terminal buildings, terminal 1 and terminal 2, with each airline being assigned to one of the two terminals.
Haneda airport is located less than 30 minutes and 15 km south-east of central Tokyo. The airport is well linked to central Tokyo by road, rail and monorail links, being an important hub for Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. Originally, Haneda was the major international airport serving Tokyo, but now most international flights arrive and depart at the newer Narita Airport with the completion of the new airport in 1978. Today, Haneda Airport serves mainly domestic. Despite the lack of international flights, Haneda Airport is still the busiest airport in Japan and the fourth busiest airport on the entire planet, handling over 65 million passengers a year. However, with the completion of a new runway and international terminal building, Haneda resumed handling an increased number of international flights in October 2010.
Mt. Takao-san, located west of Tokyo and at the eastern edge of the Kanto Mountains, is a sacred mountain that represents the Tama area. The area is designated as Meiji-no-mori Takao Quasi-National Park. Emperor Shomu ordered Yakuo-in Temple to be built halfway up this mountain in 744, and people have worshiped at the temple for more than 1,200 years. It was introduced in the Michelin Green Guides for Travel and Tourism as a place that is relatively close to the center of Tokyo where you can meet the "real Japan," and it is quite popular among foreign tourists. At the mountain is a statue of a 'tengu,' a long-nosed mythical figure. This statue is now a symbol of Mt. Takao-san. There are six well-maintained hiking courses starting from the foot of Mt. Takao-san and leading up to the 600-meter-high mountaintop, each with a different theme, allowing visitors to learn about the nature of Takao. You can enjoy viewing over 500 different kinds of plants along these paths. You can also ride halfway up the mountain by cable car, so that the remaining climb to the top is not so difficult.
Odaiba, established as a harbor side development on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, has now become Tokyo's newest landmark. Not only does it offer parks, the latest amusement facilities and shopping areas where visitors can feel the sea breeze in the heart of the city, but also the beautiful sight of the Rainbow Bridge at night.
Tokyo is Japan's capital and the world's largest city. Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A small castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan's political centre in 1603 when the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. Since then, the area started to develop spreading out around Edo Castle. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's most populous cities. With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the emperor and the nation's capital were moved from Kyoto to Edo, then which was renamed as Tokyo (Capital of the East). Large parts of Tokyo were devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and by the US air bombing of WW2 in 1945. However, Tokyo achieved a remarkably rapid miracle recovery in the post war period. Today, Tokyo is not only the political and economical center of Japan and it has also emerged as a center of the world economy and culture. There are a number of attractions in modern Tokyo that should not be missed. There are numbers of large scale downtown areas, including Ginza where famous shops from around the world stand side by side, the sleepless Shinjuku, Asakusa which is reminiscent of the traditional Edo, and Shibuya that starts the trends for the young people. Other unique areas include the electric/computer town Akihabara, a dense retail area where numerous electronic shops compete against each other, attracting many shoppers from Japan and overseas, and Tsukiji, an open-air wholesale food market catering to shops and consumers everywhere in Japan. Tradition and modern are co-exist in today's Tokyo.
Shinjuku is one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, but the name commonly refers just to the large entertainment, business and shopping area around Shinjuku Station. Handling more than two million passengers each day, Shinjuku Station is Japan's busiest railway station, served by six railway companies and about a dozen railway and subway lines, including the JR Yamanote Line. West of the station is Shinjuku' skyscraper district, home to many of Tokyo's tallest buildings, including several premier hotels and the Metropolitan Government Office, whose observation decks are open to the public for free.
Tsukiji Fish Market is dubbed for The Tokyo Central Wholesale Market. In terms of floor area and sales volume, it con be the largest market on earth, providing the millions of residents of the city with fresh produce including vegetables, meat and fish. In particular, the market is most famous for fresh fish, for having a history dating back to five hundred years. A tour allows you to feel its hubbub after ended early morning auction and to visit numerous retail shops in the outer market next to the inner market.
Edo-Tokyo Museum show s how the 15th century village of Edo grew to be Tokyo. It was established in 1993, and tell the story of remarkable growth through life-size replicas and detailed scale models. There are a life size reconstruction of Edo Castle and Nihonbashi Bridge. Its futuristic building was designed after and elevated-floor type warehouse. It rises 62.2m, the same high of the top tower of Edo Castle. It ah a total area of about 30,000m2, 2.4 times larger than Tokyo Dome.
Akihabara is the name for area around Akihabara Station in downtown Tokyo. Area famous for handling diverse kinds of electrical devices, has recently come to be known worldwide as "Akiba," locus for anime, costume play, and other Japanese subcultures. Maid cafe's where costumed women serve customers have also become well known.
Imperial Palace Plaza comprises the moats and spacious plaza between the east side of the Imperial Palace & the marunouch8i Office buildings. On the other side of the road through the middle of the plaza stretches a lawn with pine groves. On the north side of the plaza stands a fountain commemorating the marriage of the Emperor and Empress. The the south is a bonze of Kusunoki Masashige, 14th century samurai loyal to the emperor.
Asakusa & Nakamise Shopping Street is a 300m approach to Sensoji temple, and is one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan. The arcade dates back to the late 17th century, when local people were granted the special right to open shops along the approach to the temple. Their shop sold toys, sweets, snacks and souvenirs. The shopping street was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and also in the ire raids of 1945. Today's shops sell traditional knickknacks, rice crackers, and festival foods.
Shops, cafes and restaurants for all ages are found along Omotesando, a broad, tree lined avenue, sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees. Omotesando Hills, a recently opened shopping complex along the avenue, has been attracting particularly lots of attention. However, Harajuku is not only about teenage culture and shopping. Meiji Shrine, one of Tokyo's major shrines, is located just west of the railway tracks in a large green oasis shared with Yoyogi Park, a spacious public park. Beautiful ukiyo-e paintings are exhibited in the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art.
Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, outdoor activities, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from Tokyo. There are a number of spots to visit, including O-waku-dani, Lake Ashi-no-ko, Susuki-sogen of Sengokuhara, a stone Buddha and stone towers situated in Moto-Hakone, and cedar trees along Kyu-Kaido Street. Various methods of transportation, such as mountain railway, cable car, ropeway, and cruising boat, are available to bring you to these spots. The best time of the year for views of Mt. Fuji is the winter months of December and January. In addition, Hakone is also home to various museums. The Hakone Open Air Museum, the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings, the Pola Museum of Art featuring Western paintings, and the Venetian Glass Museum are only a few to mention among many that attract a number of visitors.
Today, Kamakura is a very popular tourist destination. Located by the sea, Kamakura is a haven of peace and quiet. The beach will revive the spirits and relax the mind. Cultural and political capital of Japan from 1192 until its bloody and violent razing of 1333, Kamakura is a treasure trove of eccentric temples and interesting shrines. The most famous and revered sight at Kamakura is the big Buddha who meditates calmly, framed by trees and groups of camera clicking tourists. He has survived fire, floods, tidal waves, typhoons and even the great earthquake of 1923. But still he sits casting his serene gaze over the surrounding hills, a figure of salvation. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is Kamakura's most important shrine. It was founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, and enlarged and moved to its current site in 1180 by Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder and first shogun of the Kamakura government. The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the patron god of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general. The deified spirits of the ancient Emperor Ojin who has been identified with Hachiman, Empress Jingu and Emperor Chuai are enshrined in the main buildings of the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
Odawara City is situated in the southwest of Kanagawa Prefecture, 40 minutes away from Tokyo by Tokaido line, and is famous for Odawara Castle, where the Hojo family, rulers of the Kanto region during the Sengoku Period (the warring states period) resided. During the early years of the Edo Period (1603-1868) Odawara became one of the most important stops on the Tokaido Highway which connected Edo with the capital Kyoto. Odawara initially flourished around the castle of the Hojo family as a post town on the Tokaido Highway. Odawara Joshi-koen Park (Castle Ruins Park) is well-known for cherry and plum blossoms. At the Honmaru Hiroba (square) of the castle, you can rent samurai clothes or kimono. Now Odawara is the hub of the transportation system, where major railways such as the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, the Odakyu Line, and Route 1 all meet. It also serves primarily as the access point for the Hakone National Park t and is always busy with visitors and traffic. The shinkansen platforms at Odawara Station are also one of the best places to take pictures of the Bullet.
Yokohama, the seat of the Kanawaga prefectural government, is a port city and has grown as a major gateway of the sea to Japan, as well as the center of administration and economy for the whole prefecture. Yokohama is located less than half hour south of Tokyo by train. Towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1867), during which Japan maintained a policy of self-isolation, Yokohama's port was one of the first to be opened to foreign trade in 1859. Consequently, Yokohama quickly grew from a small fishing village into one of Japan's major cities. There are numbers of modern buildings as well as historical and traditional architectures on the shore and the surrounding area. Until today, Yokohama has one of the world's largest Chinatowns and also preserves some former Western residences in the Yamate international district.
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