Whether it’s the World Wars or the world economics or being the centre for various spiritual schools, Japan has played a central role in shaping the world history. The Japanese epitomize the spirit of patriotism. After the cruelty of two world wars and horrors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing, this country has only moved upwards. In the past seven decades, not only has Japan resurrected itself, but it has done so strikingly.
More than anything else what makes Japan so beautiful is its people and their ethics. Especially work ethics. IBM, the computer manufacturing giant, once decided to test Japanese manufacturing capabilities. In order to do so, they placed a trail order for some computer component. IBM made it conspicuous that they would accept only three defective parts per 1000. This confused the Japanese manufacturer. On the exact date of delivery, the order arrived at IBM. A handwritten letter accompanied the shipment:
“We Japanese people have had a very difficult time understanding IBM business practices, etc…
However, with great difficulty, the three defective parts per 10,000 have been separately manufactured. They have been included in the consignment in a separate packaging, with bold instructions – DEFECTIVE PIECES, AS PER REQUIREMENT. NOT FOR USE. We hope this pleases you.”
That’s not it. There is so much more to Japan. Don’t believe me? Wondering what can one find in such a nerd herded place? Read ahead and you shall know.
Being the capital of Japan for 11 centuries from 794 to 1868 Kyoto has a rich history. Since Kyoto is a city you cannot count it as a tourist attraction, however, what makes us gives Kyoto no1 spot is its remnant sites. Kyoto boasts of being home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Given that the city consists of over 2000 ancient temples and shrines and the numerous gardens the 17 world heritage sites are but a fraction of what the city offers. Kinkaku-Ji, a Zen Buddhist temple, is the most iconic building in all of Japan.
2. Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is the most widely known landmark of Japan. The mammoth structure is also Japan’s highest mountain peak elevated 3776 metres above the sea level. Mount Fuji is visible from Tokyo which is 100 km away. You can climb the mountain like the millions of trekkers during summer to view the sunrise from the top. Most people chose to start from the halfway mark but you can begin from the base. You may choose to not climb at all and simply visit from distance.
3. Imperial Palace, Tokyo
The Tokyo Imperial Palace is the place where the Emperor of Japan resides. Although not the entire palace is open for public visit, one can surely enjoy its enchanting garden covered b 17th-century walls and moats and the Nijubashi Bridge. East Higashi-Gyoen garden is another place where visitors are permitted. The palace is 10 minutes walk from the Tokyo metro station (commuting using cabs in Tokyo could burn a big hole in your pocket). The palace was built on the foundations of Edo Castle, the throne of the former ruling clan of Japan. Imperial was built in 1888 after overthrowing the former ruling clan, Tokugawa Shogunate.
4. Tokyo Tower
The Tokyo Tower was inspired by the famous Eiffel tower of Paris. They are a testament modern technology and advancement of life. The second highest tower in Japan functions as a communications and observation tower. You can go atop and unparalleled views of the Tokyo city. The surrounding area has a number of restaurants where visitors can treat themselves and is also a shopping centre. Time to spoil yourself.
5. Osaka Castle
Osaka is considered the most peaceful and safest city in the world. Not only does the city embody the countries historic importance, it also exemplifies the general state of mind of the citizens of Japan. The castle was built in the 16th century. However, it has been destructed and subsequently rebuilt quite a few times thereafter. The last reconstruction took place in 1931. During the Second World War, the castle survived the various-city wide air raids. Around the castle, there is a park called the Osaka Castle Park. The park becomes a site to behold during the cherry blossom season, which is early April.
6. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima is popularly known as the Atomic Bomb Dome or the A-Bomb Dome. The building is dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima bombing. Another building in the park, the Children’s Peace Monument is a poignant reminder of the several children who died of leukaemia, as the effects of the bombing could be felt years after the bomb was dropped. The building is decorated with origami cranes of hope sent by children across Japan.
7. Itsukushima, the island shrine
Itsukushima is a short ferry ride from Hiroshima on the island Miyajima. The are known as Japan’s island shrine across the globe. Dedicated to the Princess daughter of wind god Susanoo, Itsukushima is a Shinto temple. The buildings of the shrine seem to rise out of the small bay and are supported only by piles. The high tide makes the site particularly beautiful. At times of high tide, the buildings appear to be floating in the water. The buildings are connected by bridges and walkway. The buildings include the famous Great Floating Gate along the many halls. Visitors are entertained at the centre stage by traditional dances and musical performances. The gardens are flocked by exotic fauna including wild deer and different birds.
8. Hida Takayama Art Museum
The Hida Takayama Art Museum is located on the hill of Hida Takayama. It is a private museum made of late 19th and early 20th-century art glasses from around the world. One of the most romantic landmarks in Japan, you can have your wedding at the museum. A Wedding inside a modern glass museum, it doesn’t get any more romantic, does it? Art glasses, interior decorating work, furniture and lamps are exhibited at the museum.
9. Chūbu-Sangaku National Park
Of the many UNESCO world heritage parks Japan houses, Chubu-Sangaku National Park is the most splendid Japan offers. The region is called the Hida Mountains or more popularly the Japanese Alps. Hotaka and Yari, two of the highest peaks of Japan grace this region. With its exquisite flora and fauna and snow-filled winters, the park attracts a high number of walkers during summers and skiers in the winter. Many resorts have been built in the park that let tourists soak in the many hot springs the park encloses.
10. Jigokudani Monkey Park
Jigokudani Monkey Park is a famous hot spring area near Nagano. The name Jigokudani (meaning “Hell’s Valley”), is due to steam and boiling water that bubbles out the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold forests. It is famous for its large population of wild Snow Monkeys that go to the valley during the winter when snow covers the park. The monkeys descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm hot springs, and return to the security of the forests in the evenings.
11. Great Buddha of Kamakura
This 40 feet high and 93 tons heavy bronze statue is a colossal representation of Amira Buddha, one of Japan’s most celebrated Buddhist figures. The reported date of creation of the statue is 1252. It originally stood in a wooden temple. However, the temple was washed away by a tsunami in the 15th century and the Great Buddha has stood in the open air ever since.
12. Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Nagoya)
You cannot leave the country without getting a taste of its unparalleled advancement in technology and business ethics. That is the purpose Toyota Commemorative Museum serves. Toyota is one of the most prominent Japanese company and has been the highest selling automaker for many years. The museum shows the history and development of the automotive loom.