An Overview of Japan & Tokyo for Travelers

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south. In Japanese, the name “Japan” is Nihon or Nippon, which means “Land of the Rising Sun.” It was once believed that Japan was the first country to see the sun rise in the East in the morning.

For such a tiny total landmass, Japan has left an undeniable stamp on human history. If you are considering Japan as a destination, here is an overview of the country.

Extending along the eastern coast of Asia, Japan is a country consisting of a collection of islands. The mainland, as we think of it, is the island of Honshu. There are three other large islands, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and roughly 3,000 much smaller islands comprising what we call Japan. Put together, the total land mass is slightly smaller than California. The geography throughout the islands is mountainous, best exemplified by Mt. Fuji at 12,385 feet. As you might expect, the island country is inherently recognition of a volcanic are and Japan experiences earthquakes fairly frequently, some on a large scale.

Japan is an extremely urbanized country with most people living in major cities. The two prominent religions are Shintoism and Buddhism. The belief systems are harmonious and often share the same temples.

Per legend, Japan was founded by Emperor Jimmu around 600 BC. The current emperor is a descendent of the first.

The first interaction with the West was in 1542 when a lost Portuguese ship landed in Japan. Over the next century more Westerns came, but they were not trusted. The Japan shoguns eventually banned all foreigners and the country was isolated for over 200 years. Not until 1854 did Japan open its doors to the world under the Convention of Kanagawa with the United States. Once this occurred, Japan quickly evolved from a feudal state to a more modern approach.

World War I was a boon for Japan. Fighting on the side of the victorious Allies, Japan repeated new respect as an economic and military power following the defeat of the Axis. Alas, the emperor of Japan went in a different direction after the war, seeking dominance of China and Asia in general.

In 1937, Japan became an ally of Nazi German. This eventually led to its decision to pursue an attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Following four years of war, the loss of 3 million Japanese lives and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered to the United States on September 2, 1945. It was stripped of most of its territorial holdings and was ruled de facto by General Douglas MacArthur, designated the Supreme Commander.

Following World War II, Japan turned to a democratic system through reforms. The U.S. and allies returned complete control to Japan on April 28, 1952 via the Treaty of Peace. Although its days as a military power were over, Japan once again became an economic giant. Despite its relatively tiny land mass, Japan has the second biggest economy in the world.

Modern day Japan covers 145,902 square miles. The capital is Tokyo. The terrain is best described as rugged, mountainous islands with varying temperatures.

The people of Japan are called “Japanese.” The total population is just over 127.4 million people, but the population is decreasing slightly in size. Japanese is the primarily language spoken and literacy rates are 99 percent. Japanese males have a life expectancy of 77 years while women live to 84 on average.

With its mountainous island landscape, Japan is a hot destination spot for travelers. It is expensive, but a visit to Mount Fuji alone makes a trip worthwhile.

Japan Getaways

Getaways are meant to take a person away from all the hurly and burly of life to perfect peace and tranquility. An ideal getaway vacation can thus be at a place where you embrace the beauty of nature in complete serenity. The paradigm example of this is Japan where visitors themselves have discovered countless beautiful getaways. So lets take a look at some of the popular and ideal getaways in the land of rising sun.

Some frequently visited getaways in the Japan are as follows:

· Hagi- it is a nice historic archaic Samurai and castle town in the rural Japan. It is located near the western tip of the Honshu Island. Hagi has some of the wonderful museums and beaches. The Joka- Machi old samurai quarter is worth visitng in Hagi. Besides this the Kumaya Art Mueseum, the Kasuga Shrine near Joka Machi and the Sho-in Shrine are the must visit sites in Hagi.

· Idzumo is one amongst the four most important Shinto shrines of Japan. It is also called the home of gods. The shrine has tremendous historical significance.

· Sekigane is also an amazing Japanese getaway. It is a small village that has hot water springs and coastal mountains. At the end of this small but calm and amazing village is a walk up through bamboo groves to Kamei Park.

· The Kyoto Fu peninsula is a small peninsula that makes a great getaway. In order to reach this peninsula you need to drive from Kumihama to Mineyama, Omiya and Miyazu. On the south of Omiya there is a small shrine that too is religiously and historically quite significant.

· The Wakasa Wan (Bay) is another brilliant getaway. The Wakasa Wan National Park is quite popular here.

· The Obama Bay that stretches to the Oshima Peninsula is also a brilliant getaway. Similarly the Tsunegami Hanto Peninsula that has Rocky Mountains is also worth visiting.

· You can also go to see the Tojimbo Cliffs. These are located on a point of the Echi-zen Kaigan (coast) National Park. It is a popular tourist attraction because of its exotic beauty. If you visit here don’t forget to go to the small fishing village, Anto nearby.

· The Central Mountains of Honshu Island are a big lure to visitors. This island has a collection of various mountains known as Central Alps. It is a great delight and lifetime opportunity to see these world famous ice-capped mountains.

· The Shiwaku Shoto Islands are a group of islands near Oakayama that has many small collections of islands in the Inland Sea. Hon-Jima and Mukkuchi-Jima islands make desirous getaways.

· Apart from these the place of Hokkaido in Japan is recognized as a top romantic getaway. Similarly there are other passionate getaways such as Ikspiari, Vinus Fort, Lover’s Cape and Kobe Portpia.

But this is just the tip of an iceberg for there are many other known and waiting to be discovered getaways in Japan.

Tokyo

Tokyo just might be the largest city in the world, comprised of 23 individual wards, all with their own unique characteristics. Foreigners are easily intimidated by the sheer expanse of Japan’s capital city and its 17 million inhabitants (5 million are commuters); however, due to this volume alone Tokyo has developed an unmatched public transportation system and an intricate network of visitor friendly information resources.

Tokyo just might be the largest city in the world, comprised of 23 individual wards, all with their own unique characteristics. Foreigners are easily intimidated by the sheer expanse of Japan’s capital city and its 17 million inhabitants (5 million are commuters); however, due to this volume alone Tokyo has developed an unmatched public transportation system and an intricate network of visitor friendly information resources. The best way to travel Tokyo’s frantic bustle is to allow the subway to lead the way. A loose itinerary will draw you into true Japanese life through unexpected encounters and more intimate experiences.

Tokyo: A Consumer Capital

It may be ironic that one of the most expensive cities in the world also has one of the most rampant and flamboyant consumer cultures. Tourist attractions in Tokyo consist of many gargantuan shopping complexes in addition to the cultural favorites. The Ginza shopping district reigns supreme for ostentatious spending habits, with thousands of mega-stores, boutiques and an excessive array of non-functional novelty stores for the easily amused within us all. For a dose of New York in Tokyo, visit Shibuya, which is rife with higher-end shops, shrines, King-Kong-sized plasma TV screens and the busiest pedestrian street crossing in the world.

A Culture of Retrospect and Reflection

There is a tendency to become inundated and desensitized by the neon lights that line the city streets like masts in Japan’s ocean of technology. While these electric temples serve to extol a hyper-modern age, Tokyo also possesses some of the most idyllic and serene shrines and pagodas in the country. Meiji-jingu is the most impressive of Tokyo’s Shinto shrines, built with Japanese cypress and copper plates for the roof. Even though the shrine was destroyed during World War II, the reconstruction has not lost any of the grandeur. Just north of the city, Bonsai Park treats visitors to the zen-like art of cultivating these meticulously placed miniature trees and experiencing the calming of the mind. An essential experience for anyone traveling to Tokyo is the view of Mount Fuji in the early hours of dawn. This is possible from within the city, atop one of the massive skyscrapers such as the Government Building in Shinjuku. Directly in the center of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace (Kokyo) is an inner-city sanctuary that is home to the Imperial Family. The public can visit the surrounding East Gardens and walk along the double bridge over the tranquil moats of the palace grounds, but the palace buildings and inner courtyard are closed to visitors.

Travel to Tokyo with a willingness to get lost among the hustle and perhaps find yourself again in the silence of a shrine. The expansive city and system of subways make it nearly impossible to make a wrong turn.

Types of Hotels in Tokyo

The vibrancy of Tokyo metropolis is probably the most captivating facet of this high-tech city. It’s where the fusion of contemporary technology and the past’s traditions go hand in hand with its every day activities, creating a unique atmosphere and a completely different encounter for every visitor. One minute a traveler strolls on its dynamic shopper community amidst the hectic lifestyle of the city, the next minute, one can savor the soothing calmness in some of its most breathtaking gardens.

Tokyo is indeed one of the most visited places in the world, not only for its very modern city, but for everything that comes with it, including an energetic nightlife, scrumptious gastronomy within its thousands of restaurants, excellent futuristic places for shopping, remarkable attractions, and of course great choices for accommodations.

Travelers can find various types of hotels in Tokyo, thousands in fact, ranging from the very expensive to the cheaper ones. Hotels in Tokyo are scattered throughout the city, and lodging will never be a problem. A combination of some of the high end hotels in Tokyo and the low end hotels as well, can be seen almost anywhere. A lot of hotels that are in Western-style, specifically those associated with hotel chains in the US, have staff the speak English, so you don’t have to worry about not being understood. There are different types of hotels in Tokyo and that includes:

Budget Hotels
These types of hotels in Tokyo are found in the Taito vicinity, particularly Ueno and Asakusa. Some hostels are also situated within that area; however if being off-centered doesn’t matter to you, then other budget hotels can be found in the surrounding areas like Yokohama, and others.

Generally, the cheapest alternatives are capsule hotels; however, they are rather unenthusiastic of playing host to foreigners because of a relatively small number of behavioral rules which is somewhat hard to elucidate. Nearly the majority of capsule hotels are for “men only”.

Mid-Range Hotels
Watch out for something called a “business hotel”; rooms are typically tiny, however they are suitably situated near stations. These are ideal choices for travelers who are on solo. Reasonably priced hotel chains can be found throughout the city and these includes Tokyu Stay, and ryokans (Japanese inns).

Splurge hotels
These are the best alternatives if you want to extravagantly spend on lodgings, which includes international high-end hotels and luxury hotels that are mostly found in western Shinjuku and Akasaka.

These diverse types of hotels in Tokyo are a part of what makes Tokyo an exhilarating and exceptional experience.

Tokyo Map and Hotels:

Hotel Deals in Tokyo:

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

★★★★

-39%

9759

View Hotel

Richmond Hotel Premier Asakusa International

★★★

-21%

5847

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Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo

★★★★

-60%

11144

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The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Tokyo Shiodome

★★★★

-56%

11048

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Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

★★★★★

-44%

15687

View Hotel

Tokyu Stay Shinjuku

★★★

-37%

6944

View Hotel

Hotel Nikko Narita

★★★★

-6%

122114

View Hotel

APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae

★★★

-13%

6153

View Hotel

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

★★★★★

-11%

155139

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Tokyo Dome Hotel

★★★★

-22%

10179

View Hotel

HOTEL MYSTAYS PREMIER Narita

★★★★

-10%

8576

View Hotel

Nihon Seinenkan Hotel

★★★

-31%

7653

View Hotel

Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ginza-Nanachome

★★★

-8%

4945

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Shinjuku Washington Hotel

★★★★

-47%

8444

View Hotel

Hotel Mystays Premier Akasaka

★★★★

-44%

7844

View Hotel

Tokyo tourism

When you speak of a region dubbed as the central happening in the whole of Asia, there is no shadow of suspicion that the actual setting is a bustling society jam packed with individuals coming from different races which are used to the fast paced style of living. The place being referred to is none other than the capital of Japan. Statistical reports reveal that the population now ballooned to 12 million making the metropolis one of the largest in the globe.

Due to the number of tourists who visit the city in annual basis, Tokyo tourism has really been flourishing. Not to mention, the region is the land of the rising sun’s financial headquarters with locals that are innately overachievers in fields such as music, academic, politics, business, technology, advertising, fashion and arts, among the others. With those given, no wonder why there are a lot of people who desires to step into the metropolis as it means being a living witness of a history that will land on book pages in the future.

Innovation has also been one of the thrusts why Tokyo tourism has been very successful. This capital of Japan has long been identified as the leader. Looking back at the past, the country received criticisms as purely an imitator with no originality but as they always say, change is the only constant thing in this world, the assessment was munched constructively and regarded as a challenge to rise above the ranks. Today, the metropolis is a picture as a forefront manufacturer of the latest gadgets available in the market.

However, this capital of Japan is not entirely an image of a bed of roses because it also has its own share of letdown. The economy of the country has been the greatest obstacle of Tokyo tourism. At this present, the growth rate is only less than 1% each year as compared to the 6% progress obtained in the 1980’s. There were several factors such as the increase of unemployment figures, destructive earthquake in 1995, discharge of nerve gas and nuclear energy catastrophe, to enumerate a few.

Even with all the issues that the metropolis is facing, the status of Tokyo tourism has remained to be stable. Nowadays, this capital of Japan has a wide array of attractions to offer such as French bistros serving affordable lunches, clothing boutiques selling last year’s designer wears and hotels that have not yet raised their rates, among the others. The city is also experiencing an industrial boom triggered by auctioning the enormous lands that were previously owned by the country’s Railway System. The areas have been transformed as spaces for commercial buildings.

Tokyo Tours & Activities:

 

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