There’s a temptation when visiting a country for the first time to head straight to the capital city. And there’s no doubt when you want a Japan holiday, Tokyo has loads to offer. But there are also lots of exciting and interesting cities around the country to explore that might mean you don’t go to Tokyo or at least don’t just go there!

Kyoto

Tokyo is a very modern city with a long history but if you want to visit somewhere that offers a taste of traditional Japan, then Kyoto can be an excellent choice. It is known as the ‘city of 10,000 shrines’ and this isn’t an idle boast. The city was once the capital of Japan and has several thousand years’ worth of history behind it, offering a mystical and Zen-like calm with its cherry trees and traditional temples to visit. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have all the modern conveniences too and if you use a specialist like the Japan Experience travel company, you will find the best luxury hotels to use a base.

Hiroshima

If you tour Japan, then the city of Hiroshima is a must-see location. Known for the atomic bomb explosion that wiped out much of it in 1945, the city is now a global peace centre. You can see just how resilient the Japanese people are when visiting this city, learn about how they have rebuilt and recovered from the war and have made their city stronger than ever. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum are two important places to visit.

Yokohama

If you want to visit Tokyo and include another location, then Yokohama is a very convenient one as it is located just across Tokyo Bay and is a short train ride away. It is the biggest port in the country and is a great place if you love to go shopping as it has lots of amazing shopping centres. Make sure you have plenty of information about where to go though – as the second most populated city in the country, it is a big one!

Nara

Nara was the first capital of Japan and the birthplace of their culture. It is also known for having no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites within its boundaries, meaning there is still much to see from all of that history. Another advantage of the city is that it is relatively small and all of the sites are quite close together so it is easy to see the best of Nara within a short trip.

Okinawa

Okinawa is a city spread over a series of islands in the southern end of Japan, meaning it has a sub-tropical climate and plenty of water sports. If you want to see the best of Japan but also have a little of that tropical island vibe while doing it, then this is the perfect place to visit. Check out the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium while you are there and try a spot of scuba diving in the clear, warm oceans around the city.