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Japan

Cultural sightseeing in Japan. What to visit - museums, temples, castles and palaces

Japan is an amazing country of contrasts, in which traditional Eastern culture is closely intertwined with some elements of Western influences. Ancient monuments of cultural heritage can be seen alongside skyscrapers and modern business centers. The best example of Japanese castle architecture which also is the most visited architectural tourist site is Himeji snow-white castle, which amazes with ease and grace. The architecture of this Castle reflects various historical periods. This is due to numerous attempts to strengthen the structure in the era of Feudalism and also the subsequent reconstructions it underwent at different times. The Castle survived the Second World War miraculously avoiding bombing raids.
Japan offers many opportunities for active recreation and entertainment. Tourists can climb Fujiyama Mountain, surf, do snowboarding or alpine skiing, …
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A colossal monument of Japan’s cultural heritage is a bronze statue of the Great Buddha of Kamakura. The statue is 13 meters in height, and weighs 93 tons. It was erected in the middle of the 13th century and initially stood in a small wooden Buddhist temple. After the temple was destroyed by a tsunami wave in the 15th century, the Buddha statue was taken to an open square. Fans of palace-park complexes should visit the Imperial Palaces in Tokyo and Kyoto. The former still serves as the residence of the emperor of Japan, with some of its rooms and territories used as a museum. The palace stands on the ruins of an old castle which was burnt in a fire. The new building is surrounded by typical Japanese gardens and contains many majestic halls which are open for tourists to visit.
Fans of museum expositions should visit the Tokyo National Museum. Their large-scale collection includes more than 100 thousand exhibits representing the whole history of Japan. Among them are National clothes, weapons of Samurai, and artworks of Japanese Masters. The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known simply as the Miraikan, houses an astonishing display of scientific achievements such as robotics and other technologies. All the exhibits of the museum can be touched and tested in the practice. The exhibition center Toyota Mega Web will be interesting not only to motorists, but also to other tourists. This building houses the leading museum of automotive equipment, an amusement park and an exhibition of the most remarkable cars in history. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Despite the abundance of common stereotypes, the Japanese are quite friendly and hospitable people. At the same time, they are quite pedantic; they do …
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One of the most famous cultural and historical attractions is the silver temple Ginkaku-ji and its golden “brother” Kinkaku-ji, otherwise known as twin-temples. Silver Ginkaku-ji was built more than 5 centuries ago and became a dedication to the Goddess of Mercy “Kannon”. The territory of the temple is surrounded by a beautiful sand garden. The golden temple of Kinkaku-ji was built at sunset in the 14th century. Although, it has been destroyed by numerous fire incidents, each time it has also undergone restoration. The twin-temples are one of the most popular tourist sites in the country. Many visitors from all over the world visit them every year.
The National Bunraku Theater in Osaka is an amazing phenomenon of Japanese culture. In this theatre, you can see amazing puppet performances which are distinguished by a peculiar perception of this genre. You will never find such a unique kind of Puppet Theater as this anywhere else in the world. The repertoire includes a variety of performances. The Kabukiza Theater is another subject of national pride. The Japanese deeply revere the traditional aspect of their lives. The theater absorbed all elements of Japanese culture. Performances in Kabukiza highlight the rich decoration of costumes, unusual shades of make-up, depth and elaborate nature of the concept.
All the amenities for a comfortable stay with children have been created in Japan. Stairs of buildings are equipped with approach ramps for baby …
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The Nagoya Castle is one of the central monuments of Japanese history. It was built in the 17th century and for several centuries played the role of the administrative and political capital of the principality of Owari. During the Second World War, the castle was destroyed and turned into ruins. Following the end of the hostilities, the City’s residents personally took up its restoration. Now the symbol of the city has been reconstructed and receives visitors. For all those who want to enjoy the view, it is worth visiting the tower of Kyoto – the best overview site of the country. It is located on the roof of a hotel building which is nine stories high. The tower was built as a tourist site before the start of the 1964 Olympics. It has the appearance of a Japanese candle and is painted in the familiar Japanese white color. Among tourists, there are many assumptions as to its “true” purpose. But in fact, it was planned to serve for the observation and subsequent appreciation of the scenery.
Japan guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in Japan

Reference information
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Japan
♥   Art museum '21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art' Kanazawa. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Bridgestone Museum of Art' Tokyo. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Japan Ukiyo-e Museum' Matsumoto. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art' Kyoto. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Kyoto National Museum' Kyoto. On the map   Photos
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas in Japan
♥   Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Tamatsukuri Church), 大阪 (Osaka). On the map   Photos
♥   Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier (Kawaramachi Church), 京都 (Kyoto). On the map   Photos
♥   Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Yamate Church), 横浜 (Yokohama). On the map   Photos
♥   Cathedral of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (Urawa Church), 浦和 (Urawa). On the map   Photos
♥   Cathedral of Christ the King (Niigata Church), 新潟 (Niigata). On the map   Photos
Map of all palaces
Palaces in Japan
♥   Palace 'Akasaka Palace' Tokyo. On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Azuchi Castle' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Edo Castle' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Fukiage Omiya Palace' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Heian Palace' Kyoto. On the map   Photos

Extreme Guinness-type places in Japan

Masyukok Lake

From the series “The Cleanest Lakes and Rivers of the Planet”
In Japan, on the territory of Hokkaido Island, is situated one more crystal clear lake – Mashu. It is located in Akan National Park. The lake is surrounded by the wonderful mountain ranges and is densely forested. This crystal-clear lake had formed in a cauldron of the active volcano. The water has deep blue color thanks to the unique mineral composition. Hundreds of tourists visit the lake daily. Walking in the park with a guide, you will hear an interesting excursion about the Park and its peculiarities.

Also you can see a number of rare plants and animals in the mountain regions. Summer is the best season of the year for visiting this place. However, in winter the Park opens from the other wonderful sides. The cauldron lake Kushiro has also placed on the territory of Akan National … Read all

Tokyo

From the series “Permanently Sinking Cities and Regions”
Tokyo is also in a danger of destroying floods. The main threat goes from the Ibaraki Prefecture. For several years in this region has been forming the strong rain fronts, downpours. All these caused the river Kinugawa to overflow the banks. The strongest rails drop down upon the city in summer. Throughout several hours from the beginning of the shower, the streets turn into the rushing streams.

Specialists and the city government note that such floods could lead not only to horrendous human and material suffering and loss but also can lead to the serious industrial and economic problems. Year by year, it became harder for locals to return to the former pace of life back after the next flooding. People spend several months and a huge sum of money in order to reorganize their shops, … Read all
All unique sightseeing Japan
Country maps Maps of Japan
Car rental on OrangeSmile.com Car rental in Japan
Map of cities Cities map of Japan
Map of sights Map of sights in Japan

Travel Industry is Expected to Grow in China in 2021

Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, the travel industry in China looks promising and might grow in 2021. The lunar New Year period, which is traditionally the time when the Chinese travel, wasn’t very active this year but taking into consideration the desire of Chinese consumers to travel and their shopper behavior, it is safe to say that this year has a high chance of the long-awaited recovery of the travel retail sector. Read this

14.04.2021

Top cultural sites of Japan: monuments, theaters and churches

Himeji Castle, Osaka

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The curved flooring above the moat leads to the white castle on the high hell. Originally, it was built as a military post.
» The road winds among multiple defense towers that were built by different owners. You can see the names of warlords on the arms in the castle walls and roof.
» The hedged buildings with branches give an impression that the main building of the castle moves away.
» Himeji Castle (1333) is a five-level building. There are rooms with curved roofs at several higher levels.
» Slopes, the foundation of the building, and the first floors are stone and cemented with oil-based paint.
» Everyone must take off shoes at the entrance. The interior is wooden. Everything - the floor, wall panels, partition walls, whitewashed walls - represents austerity. There are armors and helmets with horns along the walls.
» There are triangular and rectangular oval loopholes, through which thousands of samurai could target lost enemies from three sides. The temple consists of 83 buildings.
» Its name “White Heron” reflects the resemblance of its shape with a bird’s silhouette.
» The lines «…the landscape is reflected in a drop and exists until it drips» conveys the magnificence of the old building.

Imperial Palace, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Several buildingы of the Imperial Palace were built in 1855. Original constructions were destroyed in a fire. Almost a thousand journeymen reconstructed them.
» One of the palace, “Omya”, is a holiday home for the members of the Royal Family visiting Kyoto.
» The territory of the Palace is protected by long massive white walls with brown faded beams. There are 6 gates. The complex is 1 300 m long and 700 m wide.
» The free zone is available for tourists. Alleys are covered with gravel. In the park, you can see pines, cherry trees, and maples.
» One of the palaces includes the audience hall. There is a monarch’s room in the other one. There is also the Empress’s Room and the Study Room.
» The Imperial Palace saw 28 generations of rulers living here.
» The rooms are separated by sliding panels. On the partition walls, you can see pictures of flowers and animals and images from Lives of the Saints.
» All the constructions of the palace have its functions: the refectory, prayer rooms, the meeting room, household buildings, and warehouses.
» Roof ridges have the shape of arms and depict chrysanthemums.

Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Kyoto National Museum is a red brick building. Its total area is 50 thousand m2.
» The new building built in 1966 houses permanent collections including pieces of Asian arts. 12 000 exhibits are placed into three sectors. 230 exhibits are national Japanese treasures.
» The collection includes exhibits that have been kept in temples, royal palaces, and personal houses before. There are 200 000 photos.
» The showroom is divided into three sections. The first one, “beaux-arts”, presents sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy. The second section, “handcraft”, presents ceramic items, woven fabrics, and home-made lacquer and metal works. Tea cups, Japanese chawan, are very attractive. They are covered with glaze and were made in the 12th century. The third section is dedicated to archeology and archeological relics.
» Besides, there is the Meiji Kotokan Hall (the tomb of the imperial family) in the territory of the museum. It is a small tea house where you can see the garden with fountains, stone statues of Buddha, Korean stone sculptures, and how tea is made in accordance with age-old traditions.

Museum of Fine Arts, Osaka

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Not only Japanese, but also foreign pieces of art are kept in the Osaka Museum located on Nakanoshim Island.
» Three floors of the building are situated under the water. The unusual construction was built due to the lack of space in the megapolis.
» The building is sealed, has three-layer walls, and is 22 m in the earth. It has been constructed for five years.
» The first level is glazed completely. There is a restaurant, a children’s room, and a shop. The second basement floor houses the collection of pieces of modern art. The third floor is the gallery of contemporary paintings.
» If you go up the stairs, you will see works of the Spanish painter, the American sculptor, and the Japanese artist. The upper levels of the building have an unusual avant-garde design. Wall panels are made of metal tubes. According to the architect’s plan, the exterior of the building should resemble shaking cane.
» The museum rents 13 m2. The collection of the second half of the 20th century includes over 5 thousand exhibits.
» The official name of the building is “National Museum of Fine Arts”. The museum belongs to the Japanese Ministry of Education.

National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The National Museum of Nature and Science is able to depict the evolution of living organisms on Earth, ecosystems, and modern technology.
» All museum visitors have an opportunity to conduct interactive science experiments.
» The museum has two galleries, the Global gallery devoted to the planet in general, and the Japanese gallery. Galleries are located in different buildings.
» The museum is of six floors, where visitors can independently carry out experiments in physics and interactively study the life of the forest. Rooftop Global Gallery is a garden with about 160 species of herbs used by man and umbrellas opening automatically, when people are approaching.
»  The building of the Japanese gallery has a 3D-cinema with a viewing angle of 360 degrees.

Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The building was built in 1626. The castle is the shelter of Kyoto rulers. The name of the castle is similar to the name of the road where it is located.
» You can enter the complex only through the gate on the eastern side. The territory is fenced with stone walls and ponds. There is a Japanese garden with a pond, rocks, and pines growing on islets.
» The inner area is protected by several rings.
» The park is famous for cherry trees growing here. They bloom by the end of April. Maples and ginko (relict) trees make the landscape more beautiful.
» The castle includes several separate constructions. They are linked with hallways. They are distinguished by a squeaky floor with special covering that squeaks when coming into contact with something.
» 33 luxurious rooms are tiled with special mats. The rooms are separated by sliding doors with colorful patterns. The walls in the conference room are decorated with painted herons and fancy flowers. Living rooms feature pictures with sleeping sparrows against the black-and-white background.
» The collection of 3 thousand paintings is kept here.
» The guards' rooms are so disguised that it is impossible to see them inside the paper walls.

Osaka Castle, Osaka

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The place where the castle was built in 1598 is bloody, as the Buddhist temple was burnt by monks not to deliver it to the enemy.
» The locality is called “Osaka”, “a high hill” or “a slope”. It is here that the Japanese ruler decided to build his residence as the symbol of his greatness.
» Every day, about 30 thousand people were driven to this place.
» Construction materials were collected all over the country. Stones were taken from the walls of Buddhist temples and monasteries and ledgers were taken from old graves. One giant stone is 5.5 m high. It has a diameter of 11.7 m and weighs 140 tons. Stones are melded with the fill of melted lead. The building had been built for 3 years.
» The five-level tower is 58 meters high. The castle seems to be impregnable but entertainment events are often held here.
» The interior of some rooms is completely made of gold.
» The natural element of fire destroyed the building. The citadel had lain in ruins for three centuries.
» The castle was restored in 1931. Iron was used instead of wood. Its total area is 1 km2.
» The main tower serves as a museum. There is an observation platform on the seventh floor.

Osaka Maritime Museum, Osaka

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» You can reach the Osaka Maritime Museum through the underwater tunnel that is situated 15 km from the shore.
» The building of the shape of the silver dome is 40 meters high (four floors) and has a diameter of 80 m. It is located right on the water. It is upheld by reinforced concrete pillars with steel hoods. The weight of the building is 1 200 tons.
» It has a comfortable temperature regardless of the weather. 15-mm glass withstands the water pressure and gets opaque in the sun. The museum consists of blocks: an entrance pavilion, a tunnel (its length is 60 m and width is 15 m), and a building. The tunnel is not illuminated enough to give the impression that you go under the water.
» The institution has received a special prize for “structural perfection”.
» The museum is proud of the exact life-sized copy of the wooden merchant ship of the 19th century. You can see it from the inside.
» The artifacts dedicated to maritime trade development are also of great value. Exhibits have been chosen based on the maritime theme.
» There is an outdoor observation platform and two halls where you can watch 3D films on maritime issues.
» You can show your skills in sailing on the stimulator yacht.

Culture and monuments in popular cities of Japan

Tokyo
Among the modern architecture sights we should definitely mention City Hall, which is located near the main railway station. Beautiful white skyscraper surrounded by rich green plants looks very impressive. Among the natural attractions of Tokyo we should definitely mention the famous Rikugien Park. A superb man-made lake with numerous small islands, beautiful trees and fragrant flower beds - this place is simply the best choice for a relaxing holiday in nature. Tokyo is home to a huge number … Read more
Kyoto
One of the most famous sights of Kyoto is located in the eastern part of the city; it is the temple of Kiyomizu-dera that was founded in the early 9th century. Many interesting legends and stories are attributed to this shrine; during its long history the temple was completely destroyed a few times, but then rebuilt again by efforts of local people. Today we can see the building, which was built in 1833. The Golden Pavilion is considered to be perhaps the most famous monument of architecture. … Read more
Osaka
The shrine is one of the most significant religious objects in the country. The religious landmark enshrines the three Sumiyoshi kami which are considered to be protectors of travelers and sailors. The same impressive and attractive religious landmark is a Buddhist temple Shitenno-ji. Its opening was held in 593. The temple presents a scale architectural complex with numerous buildings of various types. The most impressive sight attracting tourists’ attention is the Golden Pavilion. A … Read more
Sapporo
The Hokkaido University Botanical Gardens present a collection of more than 4 thousands of plants. The garden has preserved a remaining part of an old wood aged more than one and a half centuries. The garden also locates two popular museums: the Museum of the Hokkaido University and the Ainu Museum. The first one acquaints its visitors with the remarkable scientific discoveries of the last years meanwhile the exposition of the Ainu Museum is devoted to the history and culture of local people of … Read more
Fukuoka
Not far from the main train station there is the unique Sofuku-ji Temple, the oldest of its kind in the country. The temple was founded in 1195; it has perfectly preserved to this day and has a great value from an architectural point of view. The main building houses the religious artifact, Korean bell of bronze; it has been brought to the temple on the first day of its foundation. Among the most visited cultural institutions remains Hakata Machiya Folk Museum acquainting visitors with … Read more
Hiroshima
Nearby is the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall, which has been a permanent venue for various special occasions for many years. The famous Genbaku, the sight of world importance, is situated here. This beautiful building has miraculously survived the bombing. In memory of local children being victims of the bombing the Children's Peace Monument was opened. It is a beautiful monument dedicated to Sasaki Sadako, a girl who hadn’t enough time to make 1000 paper cranes due to the rapidly … Read more
Nagoya
The old castle is also a location of the important cultural center, Nagoya Art Museum. During the war, most of the luxurious palaces of Nagoya were destroyed but local residents managed to save some part of their precious decorations. The museum exhibits include old hand-made partitions, precious paintings, decorative elements of rare woods and marble and a lot of other unique pieces of art, the age of which is hundreds of years. One of the main peculiarities of Nagoya is a variety of … Read more
Kobe
A very symbolic place for Kobe is Meriken Park. On the territory of this park is the Kobe Port Tower, which is the main symbol of the city. A few years ago, a memorial was erected here in honor of the victims of the devastating earthquake. It would be interesting to visit the main city park in the evening. After dark, the tower and many other objects in the park are spectacularly illuminated. Every spring the park is decorated with flowers, more than 10,000 tulips alone are planted here every … Read more

Japan map of cultural and historical sites

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