7 Amazing Places to See While Stationed in Japan

Amazing Places

7 Amazing Places to See While Stationed in Japan

Zaneta Padilla | Community Writer
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller
Hiroshima Castle
Just a few blocks away from Peace Memorial Park, add this stop to your itinerary. The castle is surrounded by a moat, and the top floor offers a great view of the city.

Peace Memorial Park
Home to the infamous Genbaku Dome, the ruins from the atomic bombing serve as a sobering reminder of WWII. The park is a symbol of peace and friendship with an eternal flame and thousands of origami cranes. While you’re in the park, stop by the museum. While it’s a very sombre display, it’s an important part of history, and there are reminders everywhere of how far we’ve come in developing a relationship with the nation of Japan.

Hondori Street
This is a bustling street full of food and shopping! During Christmas, it helps to get in the spirit with the decorations and favorite holiday coffee drinks. Just outside the shopping area are the Dreamation displays of over 1.4 million light bulbs.
Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima | Travel TIme: 1 hour (42km)


Yanai
The small town of Yanai is full of old world culture. Spending the afternoon there will make you nostalgic for simpler times with its cobblestone path and white-walled buildings.
Yanai

Yanai | Travel Time: 1 hour (31 km)


Miyajima is such a magical little island. Right off the ferry you’ll be greeted by hundreds of deer who roam the island. They’re such a normal part of life here, that they’ll approach you and let you touch them. Beware though, they’re quite brazen when asking for snacks! Make sure you eat Momijimanju (maple leaf cakes) while you’re here. They’re a specialty of the island!

Aquarium
Miyajima is such a magical little island. Right off the ferry you’ll be greeted by hundreds of deer who roam the island. They’re such a normal part of life here, that they’ll approach you and let you touch them. Beware though, they’re quite brazen when asking for snacks! Make sure you eat Momijimanju (maple leaf cakes) while you’re here. They’re a specialty of the island!

Itsukushima (Floating Shrine)
Another “Wonder of Japan,” This massive Shinto shrine is built over the water. When the tide is high, it appears to be floating.

The Great Torii
This torii is part of Itsukushima Shrine. It’s different from most toriis by its location in the water, making it appear as if it’s floating. Little toriis in the water support the main one, making it able to withstand all weather. Make sure you see it at sunset. It’s an incredible site!

Mt. Misen
This mountain is a great hike, especially if you are preparing to conquer Fuji-San. Atop the mountain, you’ll see Buddhist temples and Kiezu-no-hi (eternal flame), a holy flame that’s been burning for 1,200 years. During your climb take notice of all the balancing rocks that past climbers have left!
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Miyajima | Travel Time: 1.5 hours (26 km)


Tsuwano is known as “Little Kyoto.” It’s a small, quaint town that’s rich in Japanese culture, it’s worth taking a trip, or twelve.

Yabusame Horseback Archery Festival
This is held in April during peak Sakura (cherry blossom) season. The drive is an easy one to take, or you can join an IT&T trip.

Taikodani Inari Shrine
This shrine mimics the famous Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto with its own 1,000 torii gate trail. The shrine is located at the top of a mountain, offering an incredible view of the town of Tsuwano.

Tsuwano Catholic Church
This beautiful cathedral is a great place to see where East-meets-West so perfectly.
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Tsuwano | Travel Time: 2 hours (83 km)


Himeji Castle
Also known as the “White Heron Castle,” this beautiful castle has had no damage done to it, so it offers an authentic experience to see into Japanese Imperial life.

Mount Shosha Engyoji
This temple is where The Last Samurai was filmed. A little bit of a hike up, you get to check out this beautiful, peaceful temple. Plus, you get to sit where Tom Cruise has been!
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Himeji | Travel Time: 3.5 hours (284 km)


This former capital of Japan has so many amazing sites to see. Over a thousand years old, this city has the perfect mixture of old and new, making it such an eclectic city to visit.


Golden Pavilion
This Buddhist temple features a pavilion that’s completely covered in gold-leaf. Visiting these grounds makes for a completely peaceful event with a nice walk around the gardens with food booths and burning incense.

Fushimi Inari
One of Kyoto’s top attractions, this shrine has a thousand torii gates leading to the top of the mountain. Along the red-line path, there are little altars throughout the trail that offers great photo-ops and peaceful breaks.

Gion District
This merchant area of Kyoto is where your chances are greatest for seeing Geisha, an ancient and increasingly rare artform of entertainers. The best time to sight these beautiful women is to park yourself in the district between 5 and 6 PM and have your camera ready. The architecture of this street will give you a glimpse of what life in Japan was like 300 years ago (but add some cars).
Golden Pavilion

Kyoto | Travel Time: 5 hours (400 km)


Dontonbori
This street is just brimming with energy at night. This is every foodie’s dream location as it offers hundreds of unique food finds and shopping.

Osaka Castle
Green-tiled and white-walled, this is one of the most beautiful castles to visit. During cherry blossom season, the 600 sakura trees surround the gardens of the castle.

Kaiyukan Aquarium
One of the largest aquariums, Kaiyukan offers over 30,000 creatures on display in an aquarium built around a cylindrical tank, giving visitors the feeling of being underwater themselves. Located in the same area as Universal Studios, this offers a fun day for the family in one location.
Osaka Aquarium

Osaka | Travel Time: 4.5 hours (373 km)


See Japan

Cultural Adaptation

Cultural Adaptation is here for the sole purpose of connecting you with the local area. You can take day trips, cooking, and craft classes, and learn more about Japan and its history and culture. To find out more information, stop by Cultural Adaptation in the Library!
Car Rental

The great thing about renting a car from MCCS is that those expensive tolls are taken care of with toll tickets included in your rental price! Additionally, the rental cars are regularly maintained and come with roadside assistance for extra peace of mind while you’re on the road with your family.
IT&T

IT&T is the next place to stop for information on places to see in Japan. You can book train tickets, select trips where all the planning is done for you, or pick up some maps and get some extra help planning your excursions.
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