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The heart of Japan

Imagine Japan and you're probably picturing the central island of Honshu.

Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima; Mount Fuji, Lake Biwa and the Japanese Alps; neon and skyscrapers, geisha districts and famous temples – all of these can be found on Honshu.

Japan’s main island, it’s also the country’s largest and most populous. More than 100 million people are squeezed into pockets of flat land among the many volcanoes which form a long, mountainous arc from the northeast tip to the southwestern end. The perfect 3,776 meter peak of Mount Fuji, easily spotted from Tokyo on a clear day, reigns over them all.

Mt. Fuji, Japan viewed from Chureito Pagoda in the autumn

Climbing Mount Fuji to see the sunrise is the ultimate bucket list challenge.

Most guidebooks will divide the island into central, western and north-eastern Honshu. Traditionally, Honshu is further broken up into five smaller regions: Tohoku in the north, Kanto to the east, Chubu in the center, Kansai in the south and Chugoku to the west.

Yamadera temple in Yamagata Prefecture in the Tohoku region

Tohoku is the remote Japan of your adventure fantasies.

Tohoku is the more remote, known for skiing and onsen (hot spring baths), while Kanto is dominated by the megalopolis of Tokyo and Yokohama. Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes are in the Chubu region, as well as tourist-favorite Takayama. Visitors will usually head to Kansai for the famous temples of Kyoto and the buzzing alternative scene of Osaka, day tripping to nearby Kobe to get their fill of wagyu beef, before taking the train down south into Chugoku to see Hiroshima and the floating red gate at Miyajima.

Destinations in Honshu

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.


The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it. Especially if you have a view of the Oga Peninsula.

Tsurunomaihashi Bridge in Aomori Prefecture.


The northern tip of Tohoku and the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

chiba city Japan


There’s a lot more to Japan’s international gateway than you might expect.

Echizen Ono Castle in Fukui, Japan.


Discover dinosaurs and the art of Zen in fossil-filled Fukui!

Ouchijuku in Fukushima, Japan.


Don't miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture


Scenic Gifu prefecture is a rewarding stopping point on the way from Kanto to Kansai.


Within toe-dipping distance of Tokyo, Gunma's onsen haven is the perfect bathing escape.

Miyajima in Hiroshima, Japan.


Discover tranquil shrines, quaint port towns, and welcoming, friendly people.

Himeji Castle in Hyogo, Japan.


Touted as a "Japan in miniature," Hyogo is one of Japan’s most diverse prefectures.


Full of interesting sights, Ibaraki prefecture should natto be underestimated.

Hatago Iwa Rock Ishikawa Noto Hanto


Rich cultural heritage, great seafood and some stunning coastal scenery.

Mount Iwate Morioka city scene with buildings and promenade at Katakami river with warm sunset light


The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging—and rewarding—destination.

Yokohama Japan


A blend of nature and city life

kyoto bamboo


Break the tourist mould and head outside of the city to uncover the rest of what Kyoto has to offer.


Discover the hidden home of Japan's mysterious ninja.

snow covered Zao Mountain Miyagi Sendai


With vibrant Sendai at its core, Miyagi makes the ideal base for exploring the remote corners of Tohoku.

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano


World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

Deer at Nara Park in Japan


Beyond mystical deer, Nara Prefecture is where you’ll find the tombs of Japan’s early rulers and the headquarters of the sacred Shugendo mountain religion.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture


The rice is right in Niigata, where there's skiing in winter, festivals in summer and sake all year round.

Great Seto bridge okayama


If you'd like to experience charming rural living straight out of a picture book, Okayama is for you.

osaka castle


Japan's second smallest prefecture is the economic and commercial hub of the Kansai region.

Tunnel of Ema at Hikawa Shrine Saitama 2


If you’re looking for a no-hassle escape from the city life, Saitama is the place to run to.


In Shiga, you can't turn around without seeing something magnificent.

Scenery of Lake Shinji in Shimane


The secrets' out in Shimane where the attractions are undeveloped and far-flung—and all the better for it.

Mountain Fuji and Shimizu City in Shizuoka, Japan.


It's resorts galore in serene Shizuoka.


Hear Tochigi, see Tochigi, speak (about) Tochigi.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.


From camel riding to skiing and manga to monks, Tottori Prefecture is full of surprises.


Majestic mountains, tall dams, traditional villages and walls of snow.


Wakayama Prefecture is the spectacular, spiritual heart of Japan.

Yamadera Temple Yamagata


Discover snow monsters and a hidden mountain temple.


The departure point for Kyushu and Korea, Yamaguchi bridges the urban and rural, the traditional and modern.


Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.