Exploring the Top Cities of Japan

Top 5 Cities in Japan

Japan is an island nation that occupies a north-west arc of the Pacific Ocean. It shares maritime borders with Russia, China, South Korea and the Philippines.

Train travel is efficient, affordable and comfortable in Japan. Use Hyperdia to help navigate the complex transportation system and XE Currency to keep track of rates.


A cosmopolitan metropolis, Tokyo is Japan’s capital and one of the world’s largest cities. It consists of 23 central city wards plus multiple towns and villages.

Almost all citizens are ethnic Japanese. Traditional Japanese society stresses consensus decision-making and social conformity. “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down” is an expression that sums up the attitude.

Tokyo is a major cultural center, with art and science museums and the Ueno Park zoological garden. It also hosts many theatrical and symphonic performances, operas and dance. The music scene is vibrant and diverse, from traditional kabuki to modern pop.


Kyoto is a city that’s committed to preserving Japan’s oldest traditions, but also a vibrant contemporary metropolis. From high-end cuisine to traditional handicrafts, Kyoto offers a broad spectrum of experiences.

It’s cradled in a saucer of hills that separate it from the surrounding plains. The Kamo and Katsura rivers were its original western and eastern boundaries, respectively, with the mountains of Hiei (Mount Hiei) to the northeast and Atago-yama to the northwest acting as natural guardians.

The city’s main industries are information technology and electronics. It’s the headquarters of Nintendo, as well as OMRON, Intelligent Systems, Murata Machinery and Kyocera.


The heart of Japan, Osaka may not be as glamorous as Tokyo or as refined as Kyoto but its down to earth vibe makes it fun and honest. Its residents can be crude and pushy at times but they are also warm, generous and playful.

It is the home of many entrepreneurs in the 20th century who founded railway companies, musical theatres and a huge department store chain. Their modern image helped Osaka become a major industrial city and it’s why the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori districts are so vibrant and lively.


When most people think of Hiroshima, they immediately associate it with its tragic World War II history. However, the city has since rebounded with a bustling food scene and incredible parks.

The A-Bomb Dome and the evocative monuments of Peace Park are important stops for any visitor to Hiroshima. You can also learn more about the city’s past at the impressive Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which advocates for the elimination of nuclear weapons and symbolizes a flame that will never be extinguished.

Local cuisine includes savory okonomiyaki pancakes and anago, which is a type of saltwater eel. The city is also home to many professional sports teams, including the baseball team Hiroshima Carps and their legions of fans.


Fukuoka is one of Japan’s closest cities to Korea and that reflects in the local cuisine. Hakata ramen and motsunabe (hot pot made with organs) are both famous from here. You can try them at the yatai restaurants (street food stalls) that are plentiful around the city.

Try Hakata torimon, a manju (steamed bun) with a filling that is almost a cross between Japanese and Western sweets. The creamy, buttery texture is a dairy lover’s dream. Afterwards, stroll Ohori Park’s tranquil grounds for a window into the everyday lives of Fukuoka residents.


From the misty peaks of Kirishima, to the smouldering active volcano Sakurajima in Kagoshima city and beyond – this southern prefecture is a natural wonder. Timeless traditions, cultures and a deep, rich and at times severe history are all woven together here by the inhabitants of this land of volcanoes, natural hot springs and oceans.

Previously known as Satsuma Domain, the area was home to many of the imperial patriots who drove Japan’s Meiji Restoration in 1868. Today, wanderers can see reminders of this history everywhere they go.


Tucked away by mountains that run east to west, Shikoku is a place to slow down and reconnect. Its small towns offer a wide variety of wild natural spots, scenic and historic places, traditional festivals, and delicious local food.

This narrow swath of the nation, with four Meiji-restored prefectures—Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima—has preserved its regional specialties more faithfully than other parts of Japan. Ehime’s cliffside onsen baths inspire the “Spirited Away” bathhouse in Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film, while mountain streams yield sweet-fleshed river fish and game like boar and venison.

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