Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2022 travel itineraries. While it’s been a tough year travel-wise, we can now start to enjoy planning to go back to our favourite destinations – and uncovering new ones!
With this in mind, The Carousel is steering its focus to Japan – the land of the rising sun.
There’s plenty on offer in Japan’s capital city which is one of the most exciting cities in the world. People say it is Japan all in one city. Tokyo evokes visions of the old and new, neon-lit and fast-paced, genteel and spiritual – and everything in between. One of the big highlights is watching a Sumo tournament. Sumo, a Japanese style of wrestling, is Japan’s national sport. Six tournaments are held in Japan each year, with three in Tokyo, held in January, May and September. The tournament lasts around 15 days, and are well worth watching.
More information: https://tokyotokyo.jp/
Referred to as the country’s food bowl, it has plenty of street eats such as fried octopus balls. One of Osaka‘s highlights is the 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle, which is its main historical landmark. Surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry-blossom trees, it’s a feast for the eyes. It’s also a foodie destination for those who can’t get enough of Japanese cuisine. Super Nintendo World has opened at Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka. The themed area of the park allows you to experience the game world of Nintendo in a life-size fashion and interact with characters beyond their traditional home of video game consoles.
More information: https://osaka-info.jp/en/
Japan’s great white north offers wild, white winters with world class powder and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush.
More information: https://en.visit-hokkaido.jp/
Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a city on the island of Honshu. It’s famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. The birthplace of Geisha culture, this is a place for history lovers. Beyond the city limits, Miyama is one of the last towns with thatched-roof farmhouses, many of which are still inhabited.
More information: https://www.kyototourism.org/en/
This is the land of volcanoes, mountainous terrain and skiing. It’s home to the tiny, pine-covered islets of Matsushima Bay, and Lake Towada, a huge crater lake renowned for its bright-blue colour and surrounding forests. The hotly anticipated Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art opened in July in a historic brick warehouse built a century ago as a sake brewery. It can be found in the castle city of Hirosaki, famous for cherry blossoms and for apple production.
More information: https://www.tohokukanko.jp/en/
About 3 hours from Osaka, Kinosaki Onsen has maintained its serene atmosphere and authentic old Japanallure. The town’s wonderfully preserved architecture and authentic hot spring ambience along every street and alleyway will have you falling in love at first sight. The Kinosaki Ropeway was recently awarded one star in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. The observation deck offers a panoramic view over the town as well as out onto the Maruyama River and Sea of Japan.
Close to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, Wakayama is Japan’s spiritual heartland, attracting enlightenment-seeking pilgrims and beach-bound sun worshippers in equal measure. The prefecture’s towns are home to some of Japan’s best ramen, beautiful hot springs and beaches, and shrines and temples.Koyasan is one of the most sacred sites of Japanese Buddhism. A new initiative in the town has launched, where a local rickshaw driver will guide you through Koyasan’s historical temples and streets .
More information: https://en.visitwakayama.jp/
Kochi prefecture’s location on the Pacific Ocean has made it a gathering place for surfers and divers from all over Japan and the world. On the southwestern edge of Kochi, a tropical paradise known as Kashiwajima features sublime waters and coral reefs around the 4km long island. The Muroto area of its rugged coast has recently earned UNESCO Global Geopark status for its geological formations.
Situated in Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, and with a rich artistic and spiritual heritage and natural wonders like Yabakei Gorge, Oita is an unspoiled area of Japanworth serious exploration. Jutting out to the north of Oita, Kunisaki Peninsula is home to historic spiritual sites nestled against lush mountainsides, while inland Kokonoe is a town full of rustic countryside charm and plenty of rare flora and fauna. The Hyotan hot spring baths are some of the most highly regarded in all of Japan.
More information: https://www.discover-oita.com/
Which one’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments.