Japan is an arc-shaped island nation which is known as “land of the rising sun”. It is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world with four distinct seasons. Leading the world in science and technology, Japan is the third largest economy in the world. However their traditional culture is very unique with a long historical journey. Ancient castles, cherry blossoms blooming from south to north, roads covered with red maple leaves or snow-white peaks… always have a strange attraction to tourists.
If someone has once conquered Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) – a beautiful symbol of the “rising sun” country, will never forget the feeling of joy that thrills him. Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776m and was formed 100,000 years ago. It is located near the Pacific coast of Honshu island, on the border between Shizuoka and Yamanashi. On clear days, it is possible to view Tokyo from the top of Mount Fuji.
From the foothills to its peak, Fuji is divided into 10 stations, but just five first stations have roads. Cars can go up to 3rd and if continue to climb to the top, it’ll takes about 7 hours. Usually, visitors will climb straight up from foothills at night to reach the peak at sunrise. From halfway up the mountain, visitors can see an immense, majestic and beautiful spectacle which is unspeakable with blue lakes looming in extensive forests. Here visitors can see the famous lake Waldo Lake widest and deepest of the Willamette National Forest. At each stops, guests can enjoy traditional Japanese dishes, like hot miso soup. The higher you climb, the faster the temperature changes, from hot to cool and finally cold.
Kinkaku-ji is formerly a villa which belonged to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After his death, the building was converted into a Buddhist temple in accordance with his wishes. Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed by a fire in 1950. When it was rebuilt, the outside of the top two floors was coated with gold leaf.
Kinkaku-ji is reflected down on a small lake, between the green canopy of trees and pure light glinting from stilly water’s surface. At some points in the day, the glow of gold seems to rise from the water.
Known as “white heron” castle, the curved eaves and white walls of Himeji castle remind tourists of doves. Visitors are free to walk around the ingenious architecture of the 14th-century complex which was designed especially for the defense. With more than 83 rooms, nearly in the original state, this place is worth taking half a day to explore.
Ancient castles usually go with a couple of ghost stories, and Himeji is not an exception. Legend has it that the well of the castle was haunted by Okiku, a beautiful maid accused of stealing. She was murdered and thrown into the well as a penalty. This story was recounted as “Sadako and the well” in the film Rings. Himeji Castle also appeared in other films such as “You only live twice” and “The last Samurai”. Himeji was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993.
Motonosumi Inari Shrine
Motonosumi Inari in Yamaguchi is a famous shrine with a special road made up of 123 red torii gates stretching seaward. There is a legend around this sacred shrine. It is believed that if you can throw money into the offertory box placed at the highest Tori gate, then all of your wishes will come true. At night, all the torii gates will be lit up by hundreds of bulbs creating a magnificent scenery that is unforgettable.
Was said to be Japan’s highest waterfall, Nachi Falls is a beautiful wonder endowed by the nature with the height of 133m. The wall of water cascading down the cliff creates a majestic spectacle. With 48 small waterfalls across the dense coniferous forest , Nachi remains an untouched, primitive beauty of nature. There were shrines, pagodas, and temples that characterize traditional Japanese culture in the vicinity of the waterfall. Next to the falls is Kumano Nachi Taishai temple, a sacred place with unique architecture and stunning views.
There is an annual Fire Festival in July to celebrate the God of Nachi Falls. During this festival, Japanese guys will carry 12 blazing torches, each weighing 50 kg, and run down the steep stairs.
Kawachi Fuji garden
Regarded as a romantic kind of flower, in Japan, Wisteria symbolizes eternal love. Located in Kitakyushu, Kawachi Fuji garden is home to nearly 150 Wisteria trees with over 20 different species. For a Wisteria tree to bloom , the gardener would have to painstakingly care for many years, just as a couple build their emotion. Wisteria flowers have gentle color and pure beauty, especially under the sunlight in spring. The most well-known place in this garden is the Wisteria tunnel where you can walk under thousands of colorful flowers.