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There’s more to Japan than just visiting Tokyo. Keep reading for best of Japan: top 5 best places to visit in Japan.

Every year, more and more people visit Japan to discover this island nation’s rich culture. While Tokyo remains the most popular destination, there’s way more to Japan than their capital city.

There are many undiscovered gems waiting for you to visit. Here are the top five best places to visit in Japan that not everyone knows about!

1. Nara

Nara, located a short train ride outside of Japan’s other large city, Osaka, is full of incredible history. The main attraction is Todaiji temple.

Built in 752, Todaiji held the record for world’s largest wooden building until recently. The main attraction is a 15 foot tall bronze Buddha statue.

Inside the temple, you’ll also find Buddha’s nostril, a post with a hole in it. Legend says if you crawl through, you’ll have 1,000 years of good luck.

2. Gifu

Gifu in the heart of Japan offers luxurious spas with a traditional feel. There are many beautiful destinations within Gifu itself that are must-sees for anyone who wants to see old Japan.

The city of Takayama is so perfectly preserved, it’s like stepping back in time. You can even catch a glimpse of traditional cormorant fishing at night.

For those looking to unwind, the Gero hot springs resort is the ultimate in all-natural relaxation. Start booking hotel stays now for the ultimate getaway!

3. Ishigaki

Ishigaki is the perfect place for those who are looking for an endless vacation vibe. West of Okinawa, it’s home to Japan’s most beautiful beaches.

During the day, you can enjoy the surf, sun, and sands of the beaches or hiking nearby Mount Nosoko. At night, hit the town and take in the nightlife.

4. Osaka

Kyoto is world famous for it’s elegance, tradition, and genteel manner. Osaka, it’s neighbor, deserves the spotlight for being down-to-earth.

Osaka has it’s flashy, neon-drenched Dontonburi neighborhood, but it’s full of down home comforts. Osaka natives have their own rough around the edges dialect and a native dish, a fried savory pancake called okonomiyaki.

5. Ise Grand Shrine

Japan has two national religions, Shintoism and Buddhism. We mentioned the beautiful Buddha in Nara before so it’s only right to talk about the seat of Shintoism, Ise Grand Shrine now.

Ise was first built around the third century. Interestingly enough, the main shrine is taken down and rebuilt every 20 years according to tradition, but there are many examples of pre-Buddhist architecture.

The main deity of Shinto, the goddess Ameterasu, is enshrined there. It’s also home to one of the three sacred treasures of Japan, a divine mirror.

The three treasures were handed down from the goddess to Japan’s first emperor. Today, the emperor still receives these three holy relics when ascending the throne.

See the Best Places to Visit in Japan

There’s nothing wrong with seeing major destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and other popular places. Sometimes, best places to visit in Japan are a little off the beaten path.

With so much to see in one nation, you’ll never run out of beautiful places to explore. If you liked this guide, check out our other travel posts and start planning your next epic getaway!