Planning a Japan Vacation: Three Must-See Cultural Attractions

Itsukushima Shrine
Itsukushima Shrine

Japan is a country that is rich in history, technology, culture, and architectural design. From popular skyscrapers and modern buildings, to world-famous temples, shrines and breathtaking national parks, Japan has a lot to offer tourists exploring the country. When you're planning your Japan vacation, make sure to put these must-see attractions on your itinerary:

Sensoji Temple

The Sensoji Temple is located in Asakusa, a popular district of Tokyo. Built in 628 CE, this Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo, and it is estimated that more than 30 million people visit it every year to reflect within its meditative atmosphere. The Sensoji Temple was originally built to honor Bodhisattva Kannon, the goddess of mercy, and today it is still a very important place of worship. You won't want to miss it when you cruise Japan.

Lake Toya

Sapporo's Lake Toya is a beautiful 100,000-year-old caldera that's lush with trout and smelt, which makes it a popular fishing spot. And because of geothermal heating from nearby volcanoes, it's ice-free all year long. Visitors can enjoy cruising Lake Toya through the lake's placid waters before heading toward Mount Usu — one of the most active volcanoes in all of Japan. You'll find no shortage of breathtaking photo opportunities on a trip to this stunning locale.

Itsukushima Shrine

Considered one of Japan's three most scenic places, the Itsukushima Shrine is located on Miyajima, a sacred island that's just southwest of Hiroshima. An iconic site, the shrine is immediately recognizable — just look for its "floating" red torii, or entrance gate. When the high tide comes in, the gate almost appears to be buoyant; and, when the tide goes back out, you can actually walk out to the pillars that hold the gate firmly to the ground and take some closer photos. Designated a National Treasure by Japan, this famous spot should at the top of your itinerary when your cruise ship arrives in port.

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