Monday, August 15, 2011

Places to Visit in Japan

Since the March 11 disaster, Japan has struggled to attract visitors back to its shores. Earlier this year, the world watched in horror as the country was hit by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis, all in quick succession. The disaster left almost 25,000 people dead or missing, while the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant plunged Japan into its worst crisis since World War II.

As horrifying as the images of these natural disasters were, what caught the attention of many people around the world was the resilience of the Japanese people, who showed courage and solidarity throughout. It is this same spirit of perseverance that has led Japan to launch a campaign to invite visitors back to the country, just five months after the disaster. The Asia Inbound Sightseeing Organization recently invited 25 journalists from eight countries to spend a week in Japan, to help spread the word that the country is back on its feet and ready to welcome guests.

Chiba Prefecture

Located in the greater Tokyo area, Chiba Prefecture has many natural and cultural attractions.

Shinshoji Temple in Narita is the main Buddhist temple in the area, and was built in the eighth century. The temple known is for its fire-burning ceremony, in which people pray for their wishes to come true, led by the temple’s highest priest. Monks are often spotted filing in and out of the temple.

Yamanashi Prefecture

Located in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, Kofu is the heart of Japan’s wine country.

Mercian winery, one of the biggest wine companies in the country, which produces fine reds and whites under the Chateau Mercian label, is open to visitors all year round.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, at around 3,776 meters. It’s located around 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, on the border of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures.

Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture

For golf enthusiasts, Yugashima Club Hotel and Resort in Izu city is definitely worth a visit. The hotel and club are set in a secluded area of Izu, and the 18-hole course not only provides a challenge for golfers, but also some glorious views of Mount Fuji.

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