Traveling to Japan: where to go when everything is over

Author: Erika | Source: The Japan Times

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at the moment it is impossible to travel to Japan, however, nothing prevents us from dreaming but above all planning our next trip! Let’s start by telling you about some particular places that you should absolutely include in your “travel to do list“.

Tohoku: Michinoku coastal trail

If you love long walks and hiking, this is the place for you. In fact, along the coast of Michinoku, you can find a path for all those who like to venture into nature. It is a hiking trail that runs 1,025 kilometers along the Pacific Ocean from South Aomori Prefecture to Fukushima Prefecture.

The trail follows the old Sanriku Hamakaido, an ancient trade route that cut through the depths of the forest and glades. This will not only allow you to see an unusual side of Japan but also to spend some beautiful moments surrounded by nature.

Ishikawa Prefecture: Kiriko Festival in Noto

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photo credits: japan-forward.com

There are many festivals in Japan, some more traditional, others more eccentric and exuberant. However, the Kiriko festival of Noto (floating lanterns) in Ishikawa Prefecture is one of the most impressive. In fact, if you have ever had the fortune to attend, you will surely have felt teleported back to the Showa era (1926/89). Tradition has it that every year, everyone who belongs to the prefecture returns to Ishikawa to bring the great kiriko of their neighborhood.

Every year, men with matching happi of various colors, carry 15-meter kiriko weighing 2 tons through the streets of the city accompanied by the sound of flutes and drums. 

However, the Ishikawa Peninsula also offers many other attractions, such as Kanazawa Castle, one of the many beauties of the rising sun. So if you’re planning to travel to Japan, this is definitely one of the must-see destinations.

Tokyo: The back streets of the Kita district

viaggiare in Giappone Kita-wu

photo credits: tokyo2020.jp

If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, you may have noticed that the city not only has its most known neighborhoods but is made up of many small side streets that hide endless secrets and delights. It’s very difficult to choose what to see first, but the Kita district is one of the most particular and less known.

In these small streets in fact you can find small family-run shops that date back to even before the first World War. Surrounded by the shops of Wagashiya (traditional sweets), here you can taste the best and most particular dango and sweets in the city.

Don’t forget the beautiful Japanese gardens, with colossal lanterns and typical Japanese maples, waterfalls, and rocks that make this place a sublime masterpiece.

Fukuoka Prefecture: the yatai

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photo credits: gaijinpot.com

Traveling in Japan means not only visiting the various cities but also experiencing all the traditions of the culture of the rising sun. In fact, in the prefecture of Fukuoka, around 5 pm, the streets fill up in anticipation of the evening and it is here that we can find the many yatai, street food stalls. Outside the stations, at the corners of the most famous intersections, along the river and even on the streets of Nakasu, we find these typical street shops.

The food served here is mainly street food that focuses on Tonkotsu Ramen, the specialty of Fukuoka, but also yakitori and other delicacies. However, one of the things they have in common is the atmosphere, the people who crowd these stalls, and the managers who try to place as many orders as possible. A true moment of tradition and a cross-section of Japanese life not to be missed.

Tokushima Prefecture: Iya Valley

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photo credits: tripadvisor.it, gaijinpot.com

If you are planning to travel to Japan, you absolutely must include this destination within your destinations to visit. In the heart of Shikoku, we find the Iya Valley, an almost magical place to explore, with turquoise waters and lush mountains. Here you can not only immerse yourself in nature and the real Japanese countryside, but we can also find cheap accommodation and excursions for all adventurous tourists. In fact, here you can discover a remote, mountainous Japan with thatched-roofed houses, traditional thatched vine pits, and the famous 88 temples of Shikou. A destination not to be missed.

Okinawa: Kerama Islands

viaggiare in Giappone Okinawa

photo credits: watabi.it, viagginews.com

Okinawa is not only one of the most beautiful places in Japan but in the world. Between white beaches and crystal clear waters, the Kerama Islands are a jewel of nature. There are quick ways to get to the main island, however, taking a cruise from Kagoshima will help you discover places unique in the world. Passing between the islands of Okinoerabujima and Tokunoshima, you will see spectacular landscapes hitherto unknown to you. Among sea breezes, snorkeling with turtles, and trekking on the abandoned roads of Zamami Island you will discover a hidden world of corals and colorful fish.

Prefecture of Niigata: Museum of Northern Culture

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photo credits: hoppou-bunka.com

You can find the Museum of Northern Culture in the village of Soumi in the former palace of the Ito family. Here, the residence and garden were converted into a private museum after the war. With a landscape created by Taiami Tanaka over 5 years, the building houses a reception hall consisting of 100 meters of tatami. With a very special garden decorated with waterfalls, stone lanterns, wisteria, and miniature bridges, the park remains one of the main attractions of the area.

Not only will you feel relaxed to enjoy the view of this landscape, but you will also feel like you are going back in time. One of the most precious places in the prefecture.

We definitely recommend these destinations if you are planning to travel to Japan, and of course, we are curious about your feedback!