Until 1868, Kyoto was the capital of Japan since the end of the 8th century, it is one of the most popular destinations amongst overseas tourists to Japan. With a variety of historically valuable structures such as temples, shrines and Japanese gardens the city draws over 50 million visitors annually from all over the world.
Osaka is an exciting city for visitors and the town becomes more vibrant after sunset. Large neon billboards along the Dotonbori River in the Minami (southern) area is the most iconic landscape of the town. There are dizzying arrays of restaurants, food stalls, and shops in Dotonbori, Hozenji Yokocho and Shinsekai. The traditional atmosphere in the busy quarters of the town have not changed for decades.
Seki City is located in Gifu Prefecture, in the center of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Seki is known for its master sword makers. Skilled craftsmen have been creating Japanese swords, knives, and tools of the highest quality here for over 800 years. At Hamonoya Sanshu / Seki Cutlery Museum you can learn about the process of forging blades and buy locally produced knives. To explore Seki’s beautiful natural surroundings, take a walk in the mountains outside Seki up to Nichiryubuji Temple. Or visit the Kabusugi Giant Cedar Forest with old trees that look like the enchanted world of Japanese anime.
Hakone is a beautiful nature spot, close enough to the big cities for a day trip from Tokyo or Yokohama. The area is known for its views of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, and onsen hot springs. The Torii gate built in the water of the lake belongs to Hakone Shrine hidden in the forest. Hakone’s mountain scenery also serves as background for the art exhibited at the Hakone Open-Air Museum. And in Owakudani Valley volcanic activity brings hot springs, bubbling mud, and steam to the surface. Getting around is part of the fun. Catch different views from Hakone Ropeway or the boats crossing Lake Ashi.