Pursue your Wanderlust in Japan

Japan is the experiential destination that should be at the top of every luxury traveler’s bucket list.

The country is a seamless blend of the ancient and modern tradition. Here you can find human creativity peacefully co-existing with untouched nature. The bustling streets of Tokyo and tranquil thoroughfares of Kyoto are some of Japan’s most well-known areas. While both are surely worth a visit, venturing out from these areas can also provide unforgettable experiences. Though small, this island nation is packed full of incredible sights and activities that can take you as far as your imagination will go. Explore some less traveled destinations for those authentic local experiences that are sure to fully immerse you in the destination and fulfill your wanderlust.

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Kobe

Kobe is an eclectic port city located a short train ride from the neighboring Osaka and Kyoto areas. Come here to eat world-renowned Kobe beef known for its tenderness and unique marbling. Although the term Kobe beef is widely used in restaurants throughout the world, authentic Kobe beef rarely leaves its namesake city, making a dining experience in this region all the more exclusive.

Mt. Rokko serves as the towering backdrop of the beautiful city offering a “10 million-dollar view” at its peak which can be easily accessed by ropeway. You can try your hand at some simple dairy product making on a ranch located in the mountains and interact with the local four-legged residents, including an indigenous breed of small statured horse known as the Japanese Kiso horse. Marvel at distinct plant life thriving in the alpine climate of the region at the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden. Tune in at the Music Box Museum which offers a harmonious display of music boxes dating back to the 19th century. Don’t forget to create your own one-of-a-kind souvenir by partaking in a music box making workshop at the museum.

Yet another must visit destination in the mountain region is Arima Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts. These hot springs have been known for their healing properties for close to 1500 years and were originally open only to emperors. It is now a collection of hot spring resorts open to the public which are famous for their “gold water” and “silver water,” each boasting its own unique health benefits.

Hiroshima

Come and see a city of reconstruction, hope, and peace. Get a glimpse of history at the Atomic Bomb Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. In addition to serving as a moving memorial, these commemorative sites also send a positive message of peace and courage. Take a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island where the Itsukushima Shrine, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located. The shrine and famous vermilion O-torii gate appear as though floating in the sea, creating a feeling of tranquility where nature and spirituality become one. The architecture was cleverly designed so that the shrine resembles a bird stretching its wings.

During the summer, marvel at the bright splendor of the Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival where many of the pyrotechnics are launched right from the water, creating a radiant display in the night sky as well as a beautiful reflection below. You can rent a yukata (traditional summer robe) as the locals do and have a truly cultural experience. Don’t forget to try the scrumptious local oysters and okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake), a favorite comfort food for locals.

Miyazaki

Miyazaki prefecture on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, is a destination where one can enjoy adventure and history in a bucolic setting. You can get your adrenaline fix with a heart pumping workout by hiking along the Kirishima mountain range’s stunning 7 mile volcanic ridge. Step back into history by strolling through an ancient burial ground where there are over 300 tombs including: burial mounds, catacombs, and key-hole shaped tombs. Ancient warriors and clan leaders are believed to have been entombed there between 1,800 and 1,400 years ago but the true identities of those laid to rest there remains a mystery.

During the cherry blossom and rapeseed blossom season in March, you can stroll through seemingly endless fields of flowers and enjoy a stunning display of pink and yellow blooms. Meander through the volcanic Takachiho Gorge in a rowboat as rainbows from the mist of the waterfalls surround you. April to October is an optimal time to enjoy the gorge’s verdant cliff faces, or visit during the autumn season from November to December to see the vibrant vermilion fall foliage and relax in a serene and picturesque atmosphere. Try a regional specialty, “cheese manju dumplings,” which are made from a western-style outer dough stuffed with a plant-based cheese, making them a delicious and guilt-free treat.
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