Where to Go in Japan: A Comprehensive Cheat Sheet

There are 47 prefectures in Japan.
How do you choose which one to visit!? Read more to find out each region's quirks and charms all compiled in one place. Yes, Tokyo is a great place to visit, but how about the Tottori Sand Dunes? Or perhaps the picturesque Shirakawa-go with its thatched roofs and green fields? If you’re completely lost on where to visit in Japan, leave it to us— scroll down and find out where your dream vacation is.

The 9 Main Regions of Japan

There are 9 main regions of Japan. We'll give you a brief look into what's so special about each place. Click the links below to jump to a specific location.

Hokkaido | Tohoku | Kanto | Chubu | Kansai | Chugoku | Kyushu | Shikoku | Okinawa


Set on where you want to visit?
How about scheduling an outdoor photo shoot to commemorate the occasion?
 

Kanto (Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, etc)

A jumping pose in Shibuya Crossing!
Photo by Natsumetic Photography
A couple enjoying a shinto shrine together.
Photo by Yewkong Photography


Reasons to Visit :

1. Tokyo (capital of Japan) 2. Perfect for seeing modern and traditional Japan 3. You'll never run out of things to do

Famous Locations: Click here to find out!

Most people don't know the name "Kanto", but it's actually the home to some of the most famous locations in Japan: Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, etc. It's jam-packed with tourist attractions, and you'll never run out of things to do. (I've been here for 4 years, and I'm still finding new things everyday.) And if you want a one-stop destination for both modern and traditional Japan, then Kanto is perfect. Looking for city-life? Shibuya Crossing is PACKED, with over 2.4 million passengers daily. Want a taste of traditional Japan? Head on over to Kamakura with its famous 14-meter-tall Great Buddha.

But if you're looking for snow, you'll need to head more north. Check out Hokkaido or Tohoku.

Hokkaido

Reasons to Visit :

1. Beautiful, unique nature you won't see anywhere else 2. Flower fields galore (Lavender, Sunflowers, Shibazakura, etc etc) 3. Best chance of snow

Hokkaido is a nature-filled wonderland. The spring and summer bring beautiful fields of flowers, the autumn brings breathtaking autumn leaves, and the winter brings an impressive shower of white snow. We recommend you rent a car-- the locations are quite far from each other. If you're looking for a family vacation, Sapporo (the capital of Hokkaido) is a great location. There are many parks, and you can take day-trips to fun locations like Otaru (famous for its canal) and the Sunflower Field (called Himawari no Sato).

Tohoku (Aomori, Fukushima, Akita, etc)


  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Idyllic countryside scenery. Charming, and isn't as touristy. 2. Mild summers great for outdoor activities 3. Mountains with beautiful paths

    Tohoku is one of the most northern parts of Japan, making it the home to some amazing ski resorts with powder snow. It also has mild temperatures in the summer, making it a great place to enjoy nature on mountain paths and hikes. It's famous for its many mountains, rich history (there's an old samurai town!), amazing natural hot springs, and the largest crater lake in Japan!

Chubu (Mt. Fuji, Shirakawago, Nagano, etc)

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Amazing countryside 2. World-famous ski resorts 3. Bragging rights for climbing the highest peak in Japan (Mt. Fuji)

    If you're looking for dynamic locations (for your Instagram or for professional wedding photos), the Chubu region has got you covered. Mt. Fuji is located in the Shizuoka region, and is surrounded by lakes and parks where you can take photos with Mt. Fuji in the background. And one of my personal favorite locations--Shirakawago-- is in the Chubu region too. The greenery and Gassho-style houses in Shirakawago have a quaint countryside ambience, and is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, etc)

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Great for tourists who want shrines and temples 2. Bamboo paths and botanical gardens 3. Wild (and very friendly) deer 4Go here for a traditional Japanese experience.

    Famous Locations: Click here to see more location suggestions!

    Kansai has an abundance of tourist attractions for a traditional Japanese experiences: shrines & temples, traditional Japanese architecture/towns, and beautiful Japanese-style gardens. If you want a kimono photo shoot, this would be the perfect place to do it-- there are many landscapes and backdrops that pair nicely with traditional Japanese garments.

Chugoku (Hiroshima, Okayama, etc)

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Home to Hiroshima, a city of historic relevance 2. Interesting traditional architecture and natural spots, including sand dunes, the Kintai Bridge, etc

    The name Chugoku in Japanese means "middle country", although it leans more toward the west in modern-day geography. The region is home to Hiroshima, a city dedicated to peace after the tragic atomic bombing incident in 1945. The city is now home to carefully curated museums, memorials, and parks, making it one of the most worthwhile cities to visit. In fact, many Japanese schools around the country take trips to Hiroshima as well. In addition to Hiroshima, there are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy: the Totttori sand dunes, Miyajima (where the UNESCO-recognized Itsukushima Shrine lies), and the Kintai Bridge to name a few.

Kyushu (Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, etc.)

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Easy access from Korea, Hong Kong, etc because of its port city 2. Wide variety of nature, including dense forests, open plains, and volcanoes 

    Kansai has an abundance of tourist attractions for a traditional Japanese experiences: shrines & temples, traditional Japanese architecture/towns, and beautiful Japanese-style gardens. If you want a kimono photo shoot, this would be the perfect place to do it-- there are many landscapes and backdrops that pair nicely with traditional Japanese garments.

Shikoku (Ehime, Tokushima, etc)

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. Much more rural than other places-- not as saturated with tourists 2. The Shikoku Pilgrimage (many, many temples) 

    If you're looking to walk off the beaten path, away from all the hustle and bustle of city life and tourist attractions, consider Shikoku. It doesn't have breathtaking attractions or large cities, but it can offer a unique experience. Shikoku is most famous for the Shikoku Pilgrimage, where you walk 1-2 months to visit 88 temples (some people nowadays use transportation instead of walking.) You'll find small fishing towns, and enjoy hiking trails, rivers, and whitewater rapids as well. 

Okinawa

  • Reasons to Visit :

    1. A tropical island with crystal blue beaches 2. Luxurious hotels and wedding chapels; perfect for destination weddings!

    Okinawa is a popular tourist spot for obvious reasons: it's the perfect island getaway. Honeymoons, anniversaries, family vacations, etc are all great reasons to visit here. Leisurely explore the picture-perfect beaches with their clear blue color and white sand, and perhaps stop by the rainforest and waterfalls as well. Go scuba diving, indulge in a shopping spree, or visit historic sites (Okinawa used to be separate from Japan as the Ryukyu Kingdom, so it has a unique history!) And there are hidden beaches all over where you can take photos with just you and your partner/family-- imagine having a whole beach to yourself! If you're interested in location photography to commemorate your honeymoon, pre wedding, or family vacation, contact us. :)

Commemorate your visit to Japan with a photo shoot!

Are you ready to visit Japan? The spots we introduced above are magical and unforgettable-- but we understand that it can be overwhelming to choose! You can't go wrong.

The experiences you make together with your partner or family are precious. Remember, they are once-in-a-lifetime!
If you ever decide to visit Japan, please have a wonderful time♪

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