So Japan still comfortably sits atop the list as one of the most popular destinations for Philippine tourists to travel to. However, most of these Japan-bound visitors frequently head to the more usual places such as Tokyo, the capital city, as well as the Kansai region, which includes Osaka and Kyoto, among others.
As understandable as this may be, just sticking to these places takes away the opportunity to experience more of what Japan has. There are so much more beautiful and exciting places to see that aren’t difficult to travel to as well! If you’re the type to explore new places, these are a few “new” places we'd highly recommend you to check out!
Ouchijuku in Fukushima
Ouchijuku is a beautiful historical area, that will take you back in time for its well-preserved houses and structures that date back to the Edo period of Japan. It was a former ‘post town,’ which was used back in the olden days for tired travelers to use as their stopovers in order to rest and purchase refreshments before they move on. Now, this place acts as a historical homage to the past, where you can admire the sights, and try their local specialty—soba noodles.
Inawashiro Ski Resort
For the thrill seekers, and also for those who just enjoy the snow, this ski resort is a popular destination during the winter—but one that doesn’t get too crowded, too! There are a variety of slopes that skiers and snowboarders can use depending on experience level, and there are beginner slopes as well for those that would just like to experience sledding. The best part is the quality of snow that this resort gets. The snow is almost powder-like, so experienced in skiing or not, this place is definitely a must-try!
Nikko Toshogu Shrine In Tochigi
For those more inclined to history and culture, this is a place of absolute inspiration. A Shinto shrine and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the shrine allows its visitors to admire old Japanese ingenuity, with their architecture and building skills, as well as a peek into how the olden ways of the Japanese express their devotion to their deities. A prayer hall, which only the samurais' heads would be allowed to enter can be visited, but only after a climb up of a few hundred steps!
An open-air, cultural theme park, Edo Wonderland is one big simulation of how life was like during 17th-19th century Japan. You can dress up in different Japanese outfits, while you go around, study basic samurai sword-handling techniques, and even eat at old-style soba restaurants. There are theatrical shows that you can watch, and there are even actors walking around the park at all time that pretend to be old Japanese community members, to make the feel more authentic. Easily, one of my favorite places to visit in Japan!
Nikko Strawberry Park
This is where the biggest and tastiest strawberries are. Not only are the workers at this farm very accommodating to visitors, but they are eager to talk about how they operate as well. You can even experience harvesting your own strawberries here, and the best part is, you can eat them on the spot with no limit! Of course, you only have to pick what you can eat, but that in itself is already quite an experience!
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The Kegon waterfall is quite an amazing spectacle to witness in person. It has a strong presence to it, mainly for its towering height, measuring at roughly 100 meters! Its beauty is also complimented by its surrounding landscapes and wooded areas. It’s most popular during the autumn season, for the many varying colors of the plants and trees around it, but regardless of the season, be it autumn or even winter, Kegon Falls should still be part of everyone’s lists!
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Photos from the author, Jnto.go.jp, and Edowonderland.net