As most of you know, Tokyo, the capital city in Japan, is the must. Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō) is the world’s most populous metropolis. It is one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara islands also part of Tokyo.
Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. A small castle town in the 16th century, Edo became Japan’s political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world’s most populous cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo (“Eastern Capital”). Large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and in the air raids of 1945.
Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining to its visitors. The city’s history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa and in many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts.
Kyoto (京都, Kyōto) served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. It is one of the country’s ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people and a modern face.
Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.
The Fuji Five Lake (富士五湖, Fujigoko) region lies at the northern base of Mount Fuji about 1000 meters above sea level around the lakes Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance and a good base for climbing the mountain.
Fujigoko is known as a lake resort area, where hiking, camping, fishing and snow sports are among the popular outdoor activities that can be enjoyed. There are also plenty of hot springs and museums found in the area, along with Fuji Q Highland, one of Japan’s most popular amusement parks with record-breaking roller coasters.
Among the lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko is the easiest to access and offers the most things to see and do for the average foreign traveler. The four other lakes are less developed than Lake Kawaguchiko and are not as easy to access by public transportation.