The best cities to visit in Japan
Cities in Japan blend the historic with the modern. Walk down a street lined with neon lights and skyscrapers, then turn the corner for a centuries-old temple or ornate garden. Japan's cities are vast, so getting help with planning from one of Evaneos' expert local agents can help find those often-missed hidden corners. Each city has a different feel, from traditional Kyoto to modern Tokyo.
What makes Japan's cities unique?
Japan is spread over four main islands, but the efficient rail network makes travel between the main cities very straightforward. Most visitors arrive in the capital, Tokyo, a sprawling metropolis of over 9 million people. If its futuristic skylines aren't your thing, the historic capital of Kyoto is a quick bullet train ride away. On Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido, you'll find the city of Sapporo—this off-the-beaten-track gem entices travelers with its world-class seafood restaurants, thriving brewery scene, and outstanding nearby ski resorts.
The top cities in Japan to include in your trip itinerary
Careful planning will help you visit several cities in Japan and experience the different personality of each. Start in the capital and then follow your individual preferences, whether that be modern Japanese culture, history or the very best in food and drink.
A culture clash of the ancient and modern in Tokyo
Tokyo is a city of striking contrasts, from the cutting-edge architectural designs in Ginza, to the stunning 7th-century temple of Senso-Ji. The city is also renowned as being a foodie paradise, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world.
World-changing history in Hiroshima
Arguably the most important historical event of the 20th century was the end of the Second World War, and the huge peace memorial museum and park mark the spot where the atomic bomb fell. Try your hand at making origami cranes, a symbol of peace.
Sapporo for food, drink, and nature
There's an altogether more relaxed vibe in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido. The port city is famous for its great seafood and its numerous breweries. Head out of the city and into the mountains to explore Lake Shikotsu, or go skiing in the winter months.
Classic temples, palaces and shrines in tranquil Kyoto
Kyoto was Japan's capital city for over a thousand years and now boasts atmospheric temples, peaceful gardens, and fascinating museums. The stand-out attraction here is the stunning Golden Temple, entirely covered in gold leaf.
Join in with the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere in Yokohama
Yokohama is part of the greater Tokyo sprawl but is a city with its own character. It's a laid-back place, with street art, pavement cafes, and a large foreign community. Take a trip on the giant Ferris wheel, before feasting on sticky yakitori chicken.
Tips for planning a city break in Japan
Spring is the best time to visit Japan's cities when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Fall is also ideal when it's a bit quieter (meaning, fewer crowds!) and the landscape is painted with the fiery hues of autumn leaves. Getting around here is best done by train - it's fast, efficient, and the best way to see the country's attractions.