Founded nearly 2,700 years ago, the nation of Japan has a formidable gastronomic reputation, and is also known for its technological prowess, bustling skyscraper cities and dazzling mountains. In fact, unlike many other locations in the world, slurping one's food here is actually an act of good manners and an indication that the food being eaten must be good.
From the very picturesque Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and majestic Meiji Shrine to the state-of-the-art attractions of Disneyland™ and the enormous Skytree observation tower, there's simply no excuse to be bored in this mesmerising mega city. In terms of Michelin stars, Tokyo is also the world's gourmet capital, with hundreds of outstanding restaurants such as French-inspired Joel Robuchon and the local-themed Ishikawa and Kanda restaurants.
Take the time to explore the magnificent Tokyo Imperial Palace, and spend a few hours at the Tokyo National Museum, which houses many intriguing archaeological and artistic artefacts related to Japan. For affordable accommodation in the Japanese capital, you could book a room at the Annex Katsutaro in Ryokan, the Hotel Mystays Higashi-Ikebukuro in Toshima, or the Hotel Mystays Asakusa-bashi in Taito. Alternatively, the Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La Hotel offer more deluxe rooms and are perfect for romantic, well-earned holidays in Japan.
Aim to spend at least an entire day at the outstanding Universal Studios attraction, or visit the charming Osaka Castle, the incredible Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, or the acclaimed National Museum of Art, Osaka. Top-rated deluxe hotels in the city include the Intercontinental Hotel Osaka and The St Regis Osaka, while more budget-friendly accommodation establishments include the Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier and the Namba Oriental Hotel.
Have a stroll in the pictorial woodlands of Arashiyama, see the terrific Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, and explore the iconic Nijō Castle and more than a dozen other impressive shrines and temples included in the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of Kyoto's top-notch hotels include the Kyoto Brighton Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, while some of the best value-for-money accommodation can be found at the Rumor Plaza or the Aranvert Hotel.
Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Memorial Park and Memorial Museum, and don't forget to see the alluring reconstructed 16th-century Hiroshima Castle. You can also head to the breathtaking island of Itsukushima, which is well known for its remarkable Itsukushima Shrine, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stay at the affordable Hiroshima Washington Hotel or ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima, or book a stay at the opulent Sheraton Hotel Hiroshima or RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima.
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