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Explore The Golden Route Of Japan This Year

Park in Tokyo on the Golden Route in Japan
Park in Tokyo on the Golden Route in Japan [Image by shbs from Pixabay]
After the pandemic led to tough restrictive measures in Japan, the country is back in the minds and eyes of international travelers. Meanwhile, exploring the Golden Route sees 63 percent of visitors exploring this most famous Japanese tour. Find out more about the Golden Route below and make plans to follow this iconic route.

Explore the Golden Route in Japan in 2024

Visited by 20 million tourists each year, the Golden Route takes travelers on a historic and beautiful tour. According to the Japan National Organization, of the 25,066,350 who visited Japan in 2023, an incredible 22,379,962 were international travelers, of which Tourist Japan claims that 63 percent preferred to book their vacation along the Golden Route, making it the most iconic and popular tour through the country.

The Golden Route of Japan
The Golden Route of Japan [Image courtesy Tourist Japan]
Moreover, the Japanese Golden Route is the most popular itinerary for first-time visitors to Japan, eager to explore its most iconic locations. The route loosely follows the historic Tokaido Road, which connects these destinations: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Shirakawa, Hiroshima and Takayama. Of those destinations, Kyoto stands tall as the most desired destination for 60 percent of visitors to Japan.

About the iconic route

Japan’s Golden Route covers around 1,000 km (620 mi) and offers travelers an in-depth visit, spending three days in Tokyo. This part of the itinerary also includes an excursion to Mt. Fuji, followed by two days in Kyoto and one day each in the listed destinations.

However, some travelers with less time available choose an express version of the route, taking on average a week-long visit. Meanwhile, this seven-day option still covers the most iconic destinations: Honshu, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. However, the most popular option for many travelers is the 12+ day tour, offering visitors the chance to truly soak in as much information as they can about what the country offers. Moreover, data taken over a five-year period reveal that 15 percent of first-time travelers return to the extended route.

The Golden Route of Japan in brief

– Tokyo, the capital of Japan

Tokyo Tower, Japan
View of Tokyo Tower [Image by Phongsak Manodee from Pixabay]
Tokyo is the bustling capital of Japan and blends the ultramodern with the traditional, with skyscrapers standing side by side with historic temperate. Of the important sites to visit, the Opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is renowned for its towering gate and its surrounding forest. Meanwhile, the Imperial Palace nestles in public gardens, while Tokyo’s many museums offer the history and art of Japan, including the Tokyo National Museum.

– Mt. Fuji

Mount Fuji, Japan
View of Mt. Fuji in Japan [Image by マクフライ 腰抜け from Pixabay]
One of the most iconic sights in Japan is Mt. Fuji, an active volcano located 100 km (62 mi) from Tokyo. Known locally as “Fuji-san,” this is the tallest peak in Japan, standing at 3,776 m (12,388.45 ft). Mt. Fuji is considered to be one of the country’s three sacred mountains, and its iconic profile appears in many works of art, notably Edo Period prints by Hokusai and Hiroshige.

– Hakoni

Lake Ashi, Hakone, Japan
Lake Ashi in Hakoni [Image by Penny from Pixabay\
Hakoni is one of Japan’s most beautiful and is ideal as a day trip from Tokyo. The area is full of beautiful nature and approaching the location reveals beautiful views of Mt. Fuji. Here, visitors can enjoy a cruise on Lake Ashi (pictured above), while they can also take the ropeway up to the viewpoint where the views are gorgeous in any weather.

– Kyoto

Cherry trees in bloom in Kyoto
Cherry blossom in Kyoto [Image by Chamaiporn Kitina from Pixabay]
Kyoto is known for its ancient temples and traditional tea houses, its beautiful gardens and vibrant festivals. There is so much to see and do here that it is a must-visit destination for international travelers.

– Nara

Street in Nara [Image by giang nguyen from Pixabay]
Located in south-central Honshu, Nara is the capital of Nara Prefecture. The city features many temples and artwork dating from the 8th century when it was the capital of Japan. Visitors can explore Nara Park, where deer freely roam and visit the Tōdai-ji temple. Meanwhile, Daibutsu, the bronze Buddha, can be seen, while the Shinto shrine, Kasuga Taisha, dating from 769 AD can also be visited.

– Osaka

Japan releases cherry blossom predictions for 2024
Cherry blossom in Osaka  [Image by Sơn Nguyễn Đình from Pixabay]
Osaka is a large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu and is known for its modern architecture and lively nightlife. However, it is also known for the 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle, its main historical landmark. Meanwhile, the castle is surrounded by a moat and a park with cherry, plum and peach trees, a remarkable sight when blossoming. The city is also home to the Sumiyoshi-Taisha Shinto shrine, one of Japan’s oldest.

– Shirakawa

Shirakawa- gō village
Shirakawa- gō village [Image by Ellen Chan from Pixabay]
Located in the Ōno District of Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawa is well known as the site of Shirakawa-gō, a small, traditional village built in the architectural style of gasshō-zukuri. This village, together with Gokayama in Nanto, Toyama, is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

– Hiroshima

Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima, Japan [Image by Armin Forster from Pixabay]
Located on Honshu Island, Hiroshima is a modern city that was rebuilt following the atomic bomb that struck it during World War II. Today, the city features the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, commemorating the 1945 event. Here, visitors can see Genbaku Dome, one of the few remaining buildings left standing close to ground zero. Other interesting sites include Shukkei-en, a formal Japanese garden and Hiroshima Castle.

– Takayama

Takayama, Japan
Mountain views in Talayama [Image by likesilkto from Pixabay]
Nestling in Japan’s mountainous Gifu Prefecture, Takayama is known for its narrow streets in its Sanmachi Suji historic district. These are lined with wooden merchants’ houses dating from the Edo Period, as well as many museums to explore. Meanwhile, the city is well known for its biannual Takayama Festival, which dates back to the mid-1600s, where the people celebrate spring and fall with parades featuring ornate, gilded floats and puppet shows.

Make sure to experience The Golden Route on your next visit to Japan.


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