Huis Ten Bosch is a theme park located in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture. It is a “beautiful city” where the city and nature are in harmony, starting with European-like townscapes and cobblestone streets, and canals that lead to the sea. The flowers of the four seasons are in full bloom, and illuminations light up the gorgeous city throughout the year. There are hotels, restaurants, shops, amusement facilities, and museums in the park.
Located on the east side of Chichibu City in Saitama Prefecture, Hitsujiyama Park is surrounded by lush nature and is a popular place for citizens to relax. The natural scenery of each season, including the moss phlox in spring, is very beautiful and attracts many tourists. Shibazakura hills are covered with white, pink, and pale blue flowers in spring. Over 400,000 moss phlox plants of 10 varieties are planted on an area of approximately 17,600 square meters.
Ise Jingu is the collective name for 125 shrines, with their official name being “Jingu”. Their main enshrined deity, Amaterasu Omikami, is the center of an uncountable number of deities, and is likened to the sun. Although many deities appear in Japanese mythology, among them, Amaterasu Omikami, the ancestor of the imperial family and the supreme deity of the Japanese people, is said to be the most precious. This is the reason why Ise Jingu is said to be the highest shrine in Japan.
Yamashita Park is the most famous park in Yokohama, with a long- wide expanse of green grass along the sea, facing Yokohama Harbor. Its surroundings include many of the sightseeing spots that represent Yokohama, including Motomachi Chinatown, Marine Tower and the Red Brick Warehouses, making it a relaxing spot for tourists. The Hikawa Maru, docked next to Yamashita Park’s sea bus stop, is designated as an important cultural property. Many people visit Yamashita Park on weekends, when street performances and events are often held.
The Tottori Sand Dunes are a large sandy area that cover the coast of the Sea of Japan, and have been designated a specially protected area in the Saninkaigan National Park. They are also used as a location for sky sports such as hang-gliding and paragliding. Near the entrance to the sand dunes, there are camels and horses kept as tourist attractions. The sandy farming area around the sand dunes is known for its white spring onions, Japanese leeks, and yams.
The Naruto whirlpools are a natural phenomenon that is created by the strong tides caused by the differences in ebb and flow between the Seto Inland Sea and the Kii Channel. They become the biggest during the whirlpool seasons of spring and autumn, with those whirlpools reaching up to 20m in diameter being referred to as the largest in the world. The tide along the Naruto Strait is known as one of the world’s big three tides, along with Italy’s Messina Strait and Canada’s Seymour Strait. By boarding a cruise ship, it is possible to see the power of the whirlpools up close.
Until now, foreigners traveling to Japan could only travel through package tours using travel agencies. However, from October 11th, 2022, it will be possible to travel individually. Although some restrictions will remain, waiting upon entry will generally not be required, and the cap on the number of visitors to Japan will be abolished. With the recent yen depreciation, travel to Japan will be very reasonable.
Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle is a castle in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, and is known by the locals as Tsuruga Castle. Speaking of the Aizu Domain that governed Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle, it is well-known that Shinsengumi and Byakkotai fought intense battles with the new government army in various places as former Shogunate forces. Hajime Saito became the captain of Shinsengumi in place of the injured Toshizo Hijikata, but they lost to the new government army, which was superior in number. The next year, Hijikata Toshizo died in battle in Hakodate and Shinsengumi met its end along with the age of the samurai. Hajime Saito, one of the few survivors of Shinsengumi, became a sword instructor in his later years. It is said that he never lost his skill and no one was even able to touch his shinai.
Expo ’70 Commemorative Park is located in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture, and is the former site of the Osaka Expo held in 1970. It has been selected as one of the 100 best places for cherry blossoms in Japan, and also has a Japanese garden and a rose garden. The park is also home to the Tower of the Sun, a work of art and symbol of Osaka, created by artist Taro Okamoto. It is a place of relaxation for the local people. In 2025, the Japan International Exposition will be held again at Yumeshima in Konohana-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture.
In the 2021 version of the “Travel and Tourism Development Index Report” released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Japan was ranked in the top spot for the first time ever. The “Travel and Tourism Development Index Report” is a report published biannually by the WEF, which ranks 117 countries and regions of the world based on a variety of factors. Incidentally, the USA was ranked 2nd, with Spain 3rd, France 4th, and Germany 5th.
Japan’s government will resume accepting foreign tourists as of June 10, having stopped as a coronavirus prevention measure. In order to maintain measures to prevent contagion, at first only tours with guides will be allowed. It is expected that in the future approval will be widened also to tourists traveling privately.