Yokohama, Honshu island (Japan)
According to RCTOYSADVICE, Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan and is located only thirty kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It is the largest Japanese port and the capital of foreign trade. Its distinctive features are the architecture of the “22nd century” and the frantic, even by Japanese standards, rhythm of life. In the country, it is respectfully called “the city that never sleeps.” There is an extremely high population density and a huge number of cars, which negatively affects the purity of the local air.
However, the history of the city is quite tragic – quite often it was destroyed to the ground by earthquakes, in which local residents died.
Tourists should definitely take a look at the Sankeien Landscape Park and Open Air Museum, which showcases examples of traditional Japanese wooden buildings, temples, and residential buildings. Also worth a visit is Yamashita Park, which connects the shores of the bay with the Bay Bridge, the Land Tower skyscraper with a height of 296 m, and the international business and cultural center Minato Mirai-21 (“Port of the Future-21”).
Isezaki-Cho is the city’s largest and most famous commercial and entertainment district. Fans of water activities will be interested in the Hakkeijima water park with the “Island of entertainment” and the Maritime Museum.
Kyoto, Honshu Island (Japan)
It is best to start your trip to Japan from Kyoto, especially if you are limited in time. It is in this old imperial capital (Kyoto was the official capital of the country and the residence of the emperor until 1868) that you can best feel the spirit of medieval Japan and enjoy its beauties.
The first thing to do is to see the Imperial Palace, where asceticism is incomprehensibly combined with majesty. It is difficult to get there right away – for inspection you need to have a special permit, which can be obtained by visiting the tourist office of the palace an hour before the start of the tour with an English-speaking guide.
Then you should visit Sanyusangen-do Temple. (Sanjusangen-do, official name is Rengeo-in). The name of the temple is translated into Russian as “a hall of 33 rooms.” This temple, built in 1266, is a replica of the original one, which was built in 1164 but burned to the ground in 1249. It is best known for the famous statue of the thousand-handed Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The main statue is surrounded by a thousand small statues of the same deity. The main building (hondo) is divided into 33 rooms (sanjusan), located between the numerous columns of the temple, which symbolize the 33 incarnations of the goddess Kannon.
No less extravagant are the Kyoto rock gardens., the most famous of which is the garden at Rayoanji Temple, with 15 stones arranged in five groups on the white sand. The drawing symbolizes a mother tiger and her cubs swimming towards a terrible dragon.
Other symbols of Kyoto are considered to be one of the best examples of Japanese national architecture – the Golden Pavilion Kinkakuji (Kinkaku-ji) with a roof covered with the thinnest gold plates and a unique “sand garden”, as well as the Rokuonji temple lying on the shore of a picturesque lake.
Nijo Castle began to be built in 1603 as the official residence of the Tokugawa shoguns during their visits to Kyoto. Shoguns ruled Japan for 700 years, between the 13th and 19th centuries. Built as a symbol of the power of the Tokugawa Dynasty, the castle is filled with works of art, including paintings of trees and animals made by the most famous masters of the time. The castle stands among the gardens. Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) was used as building material. The castle has a unique security system – the flooring is laid in such a way that when you walk on it, the trills of the nightingale are heard, which prevents the spies from eavesdropping and peeping unnoticed.
Kobe, Honshu island (Japan)
Kobe is located in the southwest of the island of Honshu. This gigantic, even on the scale of modern Japan, port (and one of the largest in the world) in the past was the first center of European settlement on the islands. International exhibitions and the first experiments in creating artificial islands in the country brought world fame to this industrial city.
The main sights of the city include the Municipal Art Museum, the International Exhibition Center, the temple of Suma. You should definitely take a walk through the old European quarters of Yamamoto Street, visit the aquarium, numerous Christian churches, Buddhist temples and a mosque.
Tourists also show interest in the tomb of Minatozawa, Chinatown and the colossal artificial island of Port Island with a complex of business districts.
Naha, Okinawa Island (Japan)
Naha is the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, which includes 161 islands (48 inhabited and 113 uninhabited). Its area is more than 2200 sq. km (the total area of Japan is about 380 thousand sq. km). According to the 1983 census, the population of the prefecture was over 1.1 million people. It is from here that a further journey through the islands of the archipelago is possible, which is interesting not only for those who love relaxing on the deserted sandy beaches of uninhabited islands, but also from an ethnographic point of view – its own original culture has been formed here, different from traditional Japanese culture. It was here that Okinawan karate was born, whose fans often visit the archipelago, and the richest ocean fauna, thanks to the warm waters of the Kuroshio Current, makes this region a desirable vacation spot for divers.