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Three Exceptional Lesser Known Travel Destinations In Japan

Visiting Japan can be an amazing experience. Make sure you travel to the best places during your exciting trip!

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Around 2.6 million international travelers visit Japan every year. With tons of beautiful temples, delicious food, and ultra-modern skyscrapers, the list of things to do in Japan is endless. First-time travelers are often bewildered by the amount of things to do, see, and try once they arrive in this foreign land. If you're thinking of heading out to Japan, don't sweat it. We'll go over three amazing "under the radar" destinations that are sure to give you an authentic experience of the "Land of the Rising Sun." Whether you're into ancient history, cuisine, or nature, you're sure to find something on this short list to help you organize your own trip to Nihon.

A Nature Lover's Paradise: Hokkaido

Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost island and is a favorite travel destination for hikers, bikers, and winter sports enthusiasts. Skiers and snowboarders from around the world visit Hokkaido during the winter season to take advantage of the island's numerous ski resorts. Many Japanese travel to this island during the summertime because Hokkaido enjoys relatively cooler weather than the rest of Japan. If you don't feel like touring the wonders of Hokkaido's national parks or taking a ride on a thoroughbred horse, there are plenty of hot spring resorts to take in here. Just so you know, the largest hot spring resort in all of Hokkaido is Noboribetsu. As Hokkaido has grown in popularity over the years so have Hokkaido tour groups designed for foreigners. You should have no difficulty finding a tour plan that will meet all your travel needs.

Japan's Hidden Gem: Kanazawa

One city many international tourists know little about is called Kanazawa. Located in the Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa is a popular travel destination for the Japanese…and many of them want to keep it that way. The city is a well guarded secret with locals mainly due to the city's exceptional food. It was only after the Hokuriku Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kanazawa opened up that international tourists became aware of this city. Most of the architecture in Kanazawa dates back to the Edo period. A few wonderful areas to explore include the Nagamachi Samurai District, the Kanazawa Castle Site, and the beautiful Kenroku-en Garden. While you're here, you must try the local seafood. Believe it or not, most Japanese consider Kanazawa to have some of the finest food in the entire nation. For those looking for an authentic experience of ancient Japan without hordes of tourists, Kanazawa is an obvious pick. A stay in Kanazawa is perfect for history buffs, foodies, and people looking for a more intimate tour through Japanese culture.

A Popular Ancient Capital: Nara

Although Nara is often overshadowed by nearby Kyoto, this former capital city offers some of the best walking tours in all of Japan. All of the main sites in Nara are conveniently located around the central Nara Park. Be sure to visit Tōdai-ji Temple to see one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. A few other important tourist destinations include the Nara National Museum, the Kōfuku-ji, and the Yoshikien Garden. Nara is full of natural beauty, cultural splendor, and great food. But perhaps the best part of visiting Nara is that there are generally less tourists here than in nearby cities like Osaka and Kyoto. If you can, try to visit during cherry blossom season and watch all the local deer frolic around Nara Park!

If you're seriously considering traveling to Japan, be sure to put one of these destinations on your itinerary. All of these locations offer guests world-class dining, superb scenery, and the excellent service guests have come to expect from the Japanese. Outdoorsy types will most likely enjoy a trip to Hokkaido, whereas people interested in Japanese history and cuisine will really enjoy exploring Kanazawa or Nara. Wherever you choose to go in Japan, however, you're sure to have a travel experience you won't soon forget.

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