By Vanessa Hung
Always popular with travellers, Japan is a country with world-class cities, stunning landscape, spectacular natural scenery. Whether you have been to Japan before; or getting bored of Tokyo or Kyoto, you should consider the following alternative as they can be cheaper and more fascinating!
Home to eight UNESCO heritage sites and the very first capital of Japan before Kyoto, it is one of the culturally and historically rich cities you want to visit. Although it has been the capital for less than 80 years, it played a fundamental role in contributing the art, architecture and literature of Japan, which shaped the traditional culture of this country later on. One of the most famous site is Tōdai-ji, a Buddhist temple that has one of the biggest bronze statue of Buddha in Japan. Also, don’t forget to visit Nara park which is renowned for the cute and inquisitive deer. You can always feed them but they can be very aggressive when it comes to food! It is a very accessible city which only takes you an hour train away from Osaka or Kyoto so it is definitely worth to go!
The name Shirahama in Japanese means ‘white beach’ so obviously there is long and smooth white sand beach along the coast. This little town is known as a hot spring and beach resort for local families. If you are thinking for a hot spring to improve your blood circulation and heal your body and play beach volleyball afterwards, it is a great place for you! Since it is coastal town, there are a lot of dazzling rock formations. Engetsu Island The setting of the sun can be seen through the hole in the middle of the uniquely shaped rock in Engetsu Island which is situated off the western coast of the city.
Let’s go a little bit near back to Tokyo, Hakone is an excellent change of pace from the vibrant capital. It is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, meaning you can see Mount Fuji across the Lake Ashinoko. You might not dare to challenge the mountain so you can always enjoy the breathtaking piece of art made by nature in this town. The lake with fantastic views of nearby Mount Fuji and the torii gate of the Hakone-jinja, which rises from the water form the perfect Japanese scene. The town is also famous for its hot springs, traditional Japanese inns and art museums. It’s worth spending a night if you have time!
Furano is a town in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan. This town is known for the pleasant and picturesque farmland. If you think the place is freezing cold and gloomy, you are wrong! The best time to visit is July, when the fields are blooming with a sea of purple lavender. The farm also sells lavender-inspired products like lavender flavoured ice cream, hand cream, candles etc. The colourful seasonal flowers is definitely fluttering your heart and you feel like you are in paradise. During winter, there are many ski resorts where you can enjoy a white Christmas with powdery snow.
If you want a totally different trip to Japan than others, you should take some time and visit the other side of this lovely country.