Japan is a beautiful country, and one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. The Department of Tourism points to Japan as one of the most popular countries that Filipinos visit, while also noting that tons of Japanese tourists visit the Philippines as well.
With such a strong relationship between the two countries, it’s no wonder that many are itching for travel restrictions to ease up so that they can finally head out!
One of the most magical things about Japan is that despite its popularity, there are lots of hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re headed to Tokyo or Osaka, keep reading below for a few hidden gems that are worth the trip alone.
Eat no-waste food in Tokyo
Everyone loves Japanese food, but why not see what else Japan has to offer? Tucked inside a wine shop in Tokyo’s Meguro neighborhood is Bio Labo House, where chef Miica Fran champions zero-waste eating.
Fran’s menu is composed of French-style cuisine with locally sourced vegetables, which are then composted. Food items that aren’t compostable, like onion skins, are given to a local artist who makes natural dyes out of them.
There are lots of adventurous chefs looking to redefine what Japanese cooking is, and their dishes are sure to add a bit of adventure to your food trip.
Visit a castle in Gifu
You read that right — you can totally visit castles in Japan. And there’s no better place to do it than Gujo-Hachiman, a quaint town that’s sure to remind you of all your favorite childhood fairy tales.
This idyllic atmosphere is a world away from the famous Shibuya crossing and is definitely a place to go for those who love the outdoors.
From clear water channels to lush green mountains, it’s truly a surprise why Gujo-Hachiman isn’t at the top of every visitor’s list. Walking around this area is truly like a blast from the past, and it’s interesting to imagine how Japanese people lived a long time ago.
Hike in Kumano Kodo
Just south of Kyoto, the Culture Trip describes how the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage is a famous trek for hikers all around the world. It’s comprised of a network of about seven trails and converges at the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine.
Hongu Taisha is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in the country, and embarking on this trail is a great way to get in touch with all of Japan’s natural splendor.
It is because of this natural beauty that Expatbets’ guide to Japan highly recommends hiking as an activity to do when visiting the country.
While skiing in Hokkaido during the winter is a well-known past-time, those who want to visit Japan during the warmer months can definitely consider a picturesque hike.
Visit bunnies in Okunoshima
Attention, all animal lovers. If you’re headed to Hiroshima during your trip, take a ferry over to the tiny island of Okunoshima.
Once you step off the ferry, you’ll be greeted by perhaps the cutest welcome crew in the whole world — bunnies!
There are lots of them on this island, so much so that it’s been lovingly named Usagi Shima, or “Rabbit Island.” Since the bunnies are so used to seeing tourists, you’ll definitely encounter at least one or two of them hopping up to you to say hello.
Hop on a camel in Tottori
Of course, rabbits aren’t the only animal friends you can visit in Japan. You can ride camels in the Tottori Sand Dunes, which is a three-hour train ride from Osaka.
Once your camel ride is done, you can even climb the sand dunes to experience views like no other. Just be careful, because climbing up a sand dune isn’t always easy! But then again, imagine the look on your friends’ faces when you return from your trip and tell them you’ve seen deserts in Japan.
We’ve written extensively about what you should know before going to Japan, which means the next step is figuring out what to do when you get there.
While you might already have an itinerary in mind, consider adding one or two of the activities above for a vacation that you’ll truly remember forever.
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