Top Cities in Japan

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Accommodation in Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun awaits with all of its fierce samurai history, beautiful spring cherry blossoms, and thriving modern cities. In many ways this island chain in the Pacific Ocean is a study in contradictions. Its islands are home to ancient Buddhist temples and flashy cities, calm tea houses and graphic anime. Japan loves its past but is consumed with the latest technology, too. When you embrace its many layers, you will gain a new appreciation for its unique culture. Let Japan impress you with its gorgeous gardens, delicious cuisine, and famously efficient, bustling cities.

When to Visit Japan

All four seasons visit the Japanese islands. Trying to decide when to book a holiday in Japan? Consider spring or fall. The weather is cool in spring, and the country’s famous cherry blossoms start to bloom. Those who live to ski will want to come for winter and stay at one of the Japan ski resorts. The Japan Alps and Hokkaido are both famous for their excellent ski and snowboard runs. If you want to get some of the best deals on Japan accommodation, visit during the summer, but be prepared for heat and humidity.

What to See and Do in Japan

The nation’s capital city of Tokyo is the place for shopping, all-night karaoke, and dance parties. For something a little calmer, consider heading to Kyoto, the country’s ancient capital, which is still home to many temples and serene gardens. Japan is also a country of many castles. Though most are reconstructions due to bombings during World War II, they still make for great viewing, including Osaka Castle, Matsue Castle, and Kochi Castle. If you want to learn more about World War II, visit the famous cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Tokyo's Ghibli Museum is an homage to anime, showcasing the work of one of Japan's top anime film studios. The Roppongi Art Triangle houses the Mori Museum, the Suntory Museum, and the National Art Center of Tokyo. While the Meiji-jingu Shrine, the largest Shinto shrine in Japan, is dedicated to the spirit of the early 20th-century Japanese emperor who presided over Japan's transition from feudal backwater to world power. While there are plenty of Japan hotel packages in Tokyo, language differences can make locating rooms difficult. Many travelers prefer to book reservations for a cheap Japan hotel deal before they leave home so that they can take advantage of discount rates.

Travel to Kyoto, Japan's ancient imperial capital, on the Shinkansen bullet train, Asia's fastest high-speed rail. There are 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto, including the Kamigamo Shrine built in A.D. 678 on the shores of the Kamo River and the Nijo Castle, the donjon of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The Kyoto Imperial Palace, home to Japan's royal family for five centuries, is worth seeing too, and tours are free. The gardens surrounding the Palace, designed by the most famous landscape architect in Japanese history, are widely considered Japan's most beautiful gardens. Kyoto is also famous for its handicrafts and for being one of the best places to shop for textiles, pottery, fans, and curios to bring back home as gifts. A number of Japan hotel deals can be had here too.

If you are interested in samurais, Matsumoto Castle features a superb collection of 16th-century samurai armor, the oldest extant kept in Japan, and a special chamber built in 1635 that was specially designed for viewing the moon. The Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa took 150 years to build, and it is one of the largest gardens in Japan, featuring knolls, trees, streams, ponds, and footpaths.

Japan hotels are very comfortable, but Western tourists should expect a set of amenities that are different from what they are used to. The Japanese, for example, prefer to sleep on hard pillows. These cultural differences are listed on Expedia so that you find cheap hotel deals in Japan that offer your preferred amenities at reasonable prices.