Japan has a rich and illustrious history with many culturally
important sites designated as official world heritage areas by the
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO). These areas offer “oustanding universal value” and are an
important part of our history.
We chose these five as our most recommended areas to help you make the most of your time in Japan.
5. Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine
Iwami Ginzan is an old silver mine located in the mountain region of
Oda city in Shimane prefecture in Western Japan. Orginally discovered
in the 1600’s the mine was in operation for nearly 400 years with a
third of the worlds silver coming from here during its peak in the
early 17th century. The area now includes visits to the mines and
surrounding ruins from the mining period as well as museums, historical
residences and even a Japanese hot spring onsen.
- Take the Shinkansen Bullet Train west to Okayama station.
- Transfer to the JR Yakumo limited express line to Izumo station.
4. Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is considered to be one of Japan’s most spectacular
castles and is a great example of an authentic Japanese medieval castle
not destroyed by fire or earthquake. The current complex was completed
in 1609 and served as a military and political base for many clans who
rules the area, until being auction off during the Meiji Restoration.
It was the first area in Japan to be recognised as a world heritage
site and joined the official list in 1993.
- From central Tokyo, travel west on a single bullet train to Himeji station.
- The castle is a 15 minute walk or 5 minute bus journey away.
3. Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
The regions of Shirakawa-go and neighbouring Gokayama are traditional villages with an example of Japanese architecture called Gassho
farm houses. They houses are specially designed to protect from the
heavy winter snowfall and are the only houses of this kind in Japan.
The areas makes a great day trip or you can even stay overnight in some
on the traditional houses which have been converted to Minshuku.
- Take a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagoya.
- Transfer to a limited express service to Takayama station
- You can now take a bus route directly to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
2. Yakushima Island
Yakishima is an island off the coast of southern Kyushu which offers
a subtropical climate and a huge natural cedar forest. The area is a
wild jungle of giant trees, many of which are over 1000 years old and
some are even claimed to be 7000 years old! It is a great place to
visit for adventurous outdoor types interested in hiking and camping in
a natural ancient forest!
- The only way to travel to Yakushima island is by Plane or ferry from Kyushu
1. Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima Island
Itsukushima is a Shinto shrine located on the island of Miyajima
inear Hiroshima. It has been considered a sacred island for many
centuries and the dramatic red floating torii gate is on of
the most popular tourist attractions in Japan. Miyajima is definitely
worth a visit from Hiroshima and you can even use your JR Pass on the
ferry from the mainland.