Tour and Travel

Discover Japan: Top 10 Must-Visit Cities for First-Time Travelers

Japan, a land where ancient traditions seamlessly blend with cutting-edge modernity, offers a rich tapestry of experiences for travelers. For first-time visitors, choosing where to go can be daunting due to the sheer number of incredible destinations. Here’s a detailed guide to the top 10 must-visit cities in Japan, perfectly suited for those embarking on their first Japan tour. Whether you’re looking for cultural immersion, scenic beauty, or vibrant city life, these cities promise unforgettable memories. If you’re looking to simplify your planning, consider Japan Tour Packages, including specialized options like Japan Tour Packages from India.

1. Tokyo


Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, is a city of contrasts. It’s where towering skyscrapers coexist with serene temples and lush gardens. The city’s eclectic mix of modernity and tradition makes it a must-visit destination.

Key Attractions

  • Shibuya Crossing: Often dubbed the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.

  • Asakusa and Senso-ji Temple: Tokyo’s oldest temple offering a glimpse into the city’s historical roots.

  • Tokyo Skytree: The tallest structure in Japan with breathtaking views.

  • Akihabara: A paradise for tech enthusiasts and anime fans.


Walking through Tokyo’s neighborhoods, you’ll experience the essence of Japan, from the high-tech marvels of Odaiba to the tranquil beauty of the Meiji Shrine. Don’t miss exploring the diverse culinary scene, from sushi to ramen.

2. Kyoto


Kyoto, the ancient capital, is often considered the heart of Japan’s cultural and historical heritage. With over a thousand temples and shrines, it’s a haven for those interested in traditional Japanese culture.

Key Attractions

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine: Famous for its thousands of red torii gates.

  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion): A stunning golden temple set against a picturesque backdrop.

  • Gion District: The historic geisha district, perfect for a step back in time.

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: An enchanting bamboo forest that offers a surreal walking experience.


In Kyoto, you can participate in a traditional tea ceremony, stroll through historic neighborhoods, and visit ancient temples. The city’s cherry blossom season in spring and vibrant autumn foliage are particularly breathtaking.

3. Osaka


Known as Japan’s kitchen, Osaka is famous for its food, vibrant nightlife, and friendly locals. It offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to Tokyo but is equally captivating.

Key Attractions

  • Osaka Castle: A historical landmark surrounded by beautiful gardens.

  • Dotonbori: The bustling entertainment district known for its neon lights and street food.

  • Universal Studios Japan: A fun-filled theme park with attractions for all ages.

  • Shinsekai: A retro district with a unique charm.


Osaka’s culinary scene is legendary. Don’t miss trying local specialties like takoyaki (octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). The city also serves as a great base for exploring nearby destinations like Nara and Kobe.

4. Hiroshima


Hiroshima is a city that represents both tragedy and resilience. Known worldwide for the atomic bombing during World War II, it has transformed into a symbol of peace and recovery.

Key Attractions

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum: A poignant reminder of the impact of war and a call for peace.

  • Miyajima Island: Home to the iconic floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine.

  • Hiroshima Castle: A beautiful reconstruction offering insights into the city’s feudal past.


Visiting Hiroshima is a deeply moving experience. The Peace Memorial Park is both educational and emotional, reminding visitors of the importance of peace. A trip to Miyajima Island offers a serene counterpoint with its natural beauty and sacred sites.

5. Nara


Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital, is rich in history and home to some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples. It’s a smaller, quieter city perfect for a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka.

Key Attractions

  • Todai-ji Temple: Housing the Great Buddha, one of the largest bronze statues in the world.

  • Nara Park: Famous for its friendly, free-roaming deer.

  • Kasuga Taisha Shrine: Known for its many bronze lanterns.

  • Horyu-ji Temple: One of the oldest wooden buildings in the world.


Walking through Nara Park and interacting with the deer is a unique experience. The city’s ancient temples and shrines provide a deep dive into Japan’s historical and spiritual past.

6. Hakone


Hakone is a popular destination for those looking to experience Japan’s natural beauty and hot springs. It’s part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and offers stunning views of Mount Fuji on clear days.

Key Attractions

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum: A blend of art and nature with sculptures set in beautiful gardens.

  • Lake Ashi: Known for its scenic boat cruises with views of Mount Fuji.

  • Owakudani: A volcanic valley with hot springs and sulfur vents.

  • Hakone Shrine: A picturesque shrine by the lake.


Hakone is perfect for relaxation and nature. Enjoy a hot spring bath (onsen), take a scenic cable car ride, and explore the area’s natural beauty and art.

7. Sapporo


Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, is famous for its winter activities, beer, and the annual Snow Festival. It offers a different perspective of Japan with its distinct seasons and wide-open spaces.

Key Attractions

  • Sapporo Snow Festival: Held every February, featuring spectacular ice and snow sculptures.

  • Odori Park: A pleasant green space in the city center.

  • Sapporo Beer Museum: Learn about the history of beer in Japan.

  • Moerenuma Park: A large park designed by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi.


In Sapporo, you can enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, taste delicious local cuisine like miso ramen and seafood, and explore the unique culture of Japan’s northernmost island.

8. Nikko


Nikko is a small town known for its stunning natural beauty and richly decorated temples. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Key Attractions

  • Toshogu Shrine: An ornate and elaborate shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

  • Kegon Falls: One of Japan’s most beautiful waterfalls.

  • Lake Chuzenji: A scenic lake formed by a volcanic eruption.

  • Nikko National Park: Offering hiking trails and natural hot springs.


Nikko is ideal for those who love history and nature. The area is beautiful year-round but is particularly stunning in autumn when the leaves change color. The shrines and temples offer a deep sense of Japan’s spiritual heritage.

9. Kanazawa


Kanazawa is known for its well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums, and gardens. It’s often called “Little Kyoto” for its historic charm and cultural richness.

Key Attractions

  • Kenrokuen Garden: One of Japan’s three most beautiful landscape gardens.

  • Kanazawa Castle: Offering a glimpse into the city’s feudal past.

  • 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art: Featuring innovative and contemporary works.

  • Higashi Chaya District: A historic geisha district with traditional teahouses.


Strolling through Kanazawa’s historic districts and gardens feels like stepping back in time. The city also boasts a vibrant art scene and delicious seafood, thanks to its proximity to the Sea of Japan.

10. Kobe


Kobe is a cosmopolitan city known for its stunning harbor, delicious beef, and international atmosphere. It’s located between the sea and the Rokko mountain range, offering a perfect blend of urban and natural attractions.

Key Attractions

  • Kobe Harborland: A waterfront area with shopping, dining, and entertainment.

  • Mount Rokko: Providing hiking trails and panoramic views of the city.

  • Kobe Beef: Renowned worldwide for its marbling and flavor.

  • Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens: Offering beautiful gardens and a scenic ropeway ride.


Kobe’s international flair makes it unique among Japanese cities. Enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere, taste the world-famous Kobe beef, and explore the natural beauty surrounding the city.


Japan offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Tokyo, the historic temples of Kyoto, or the scenic beauty of Hakone, each city provides its unique charm and attractions. For first-time travelers, considering Japan Honeymoon Packages can simplify planning and ensure a well-rounded experience. For those coming from India, specialized Japan Tour Packages from India can offer additional conveniences like language support and tailored itineraries.

Embark on your journey to discover Japan, and you’ll find a country that’s as enchanting as it is diverse, offering memories that will last a lifetime.