One of the best things about visiting Nara Prefecture is enjoying its abundance of scenic nature. The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range were registered as World Heritage Sites in July 2004 and straddle the three prefectures of Nara, Wakayama and Mie. Among them, Nara Prefecture holds the sacred sites of Yoshino and Omine, and pilgrimage routes of Omine Okugakemichi Route including Tamaki Shrine, and the Kumano Sankeimichi Kohechi Path. These paths contain some of Japan's oldest roads, taking you through sacred mountains and ancient forests. Before you go, read up about the different trails you can take and plan your route depending on your time restrictions. More information can be found here: Nara Visitors Bureau Address: 3F Nara Visitor Center, Ikeno-cho, Nara city, Japan 630-8361 Website:  Email: [email protected]

Address: 3135-7 Koshimoda, Izu-shi, Shizuoka Website:    Tel: 0558-98-1212

How Much: from ¥3,400 Address: 76-3 Oze, Seki City, Gifu Prefecture Website:    Tel: 0575-22-2506

How Much: ¥200 entrance, ¥1,080 ropeway fare Address: 18 Kinkazan Tenshyukaku, Gifu city Website:  Tel: 058-263-4853

If you're visiting Yokohama, you'll have a hard time choosing among the dozens of bars and pubs on offer. Affectionately nicknamed "craft beer town," the city is home to many of Kanagawa's best artisanal beers. The beautiful bottles make for a unique and well-appreciated souvenir. We recommend famous British pub Full Monty or warm and cozy brewery Umaya no Shokutaku if you're looking to wind down in a casual setting. Website:

From Kintetsu-Nara Station, take a 15-minute stroll towards the famous Todaiji temple to say hello to the Great Buddha of Nara housed in the temple’s Daibutsuden hall. Both the statue and its home are noteworthy, being one of largest bronze statues of a Buddha in the world and largest wooden building in the world respectively. The Buddha, a representation of Vairocana, weighs about 500 tons and measures nearly 15 meters in height (close to 50 feet). How Much: Adults ¥600, elementary students ¥300 Address: 406-1 Zoushi-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture Website: Tel: 0742-22-5511  

How Much: Free Address: 30 Noborioji-cho, Nara city, Nara Prefecture Website: Tel: 0742-22-0375

How Much: ¥600 per hour plus one drink Address: 3-1-15 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku Website:    Tel: 03-6876-4178

Address: 1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato-ku, Osaka Website:    Tel: 06-6576-5501

Hosenin is a temple in Ohara district in Kyoto that holds many mysteries and delights of natural beauty. From the garden view framed by temple pillars and ceilings to the soothing sound of water dripping against a buried jar, to the traces of blood on the ceiling left behind by fallen samurai, Hosenin is a fascinating place to explore no matter where your interests lie. Address: 187 Ohara Shorin-in-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto Website:    Tel: 075-744-2409

Address: 6-3 Toyosu, Koto-ku Website:  

Opened in 2016, Yamanashi Prefectural Fujisan World Heritage Center is a multi-building complex dedicated to the most famous volcano in the world, Mount Fuji. The center is dedicated to providing information on this spectacular World Heritage site, as well as preserving and managing it for future generations. The complex is built with the intention of being a great resource for visitors, while still being environmentally friendly and in harmony with Mount Fuji's environment. Events and exhibitions are held regularly, and Lava Cafe on the second floor in the complex is a popular place to recharge. Address: 6663-1 Funatsu, Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture Website:    Tel: 0555-72-0259

Opened in 1906, Sankeien Garden is a traditional garden landscaped by Sankei Hara, a prosperous silk tradesman. His interest in traditional Japanese gardens and architecture led him to buy houses and structures from all over the country and relocate them to this now 175,000m2 area of green expanses and flowers. Ten of the buildings have been declared Important Cultural Properties, including the three-story pagoda, relocated from Tomyoji Temple in Kyoto, and the old Yanohara House, the former private residence of the Yanohara family. There are seasonal events year-round, including flower festivals, firefly viewings, and traditional cultural performances. How Much: ¥700 entry fee Address: 58-1 Honmoku Sannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama Website: Tel: 045-621-0634

Hikawa Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, reportedly founded over 2,400 years ago. It's the head shrine for about 280 other Hikawa shrines, mostly located in the Kanto region. The shrine complex is located in a vast area of greenery, which includes three sport stadiums, a zoo, a museum, and multiple parks. Hikawa Shrine is dedicated to three kami, including Susanoo, sun goddess Amaterasu's cheeky brother. Address: 1-407 Takahanacho, Omiya, Saitama Website: Tel: 048-641-0137

Tokyo's oldest temple, Sensoji, boasts about 30 million visitors a year, with a tenth of those arriving during the New Year period. Explore the are around the temple while you're on a rickshaw ride — remember to book in advance. Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo Website: Tel: 03-3842-0181

Naritasan Shinshoji is a Buddhist temple founded over 1,000 years ago. It's known for popularizing kabuki theater among Edo residents during the Edo period. The temple has free guided tours, but booking in advance is required. (See the official website for more details.) If you're looking for other things to do in the area, check out our guide to spending a day in Narita city. Address: 1 Narita, Chiba Website: Tel: 0476-22-2111

Address: 4-48 Daishimachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki Website: Tel: 044-266-3420

Built in 1920, this shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, although their tombs are located in Kyoto. Both were loved by the people and to commemorate them, volunteers from all over Japan and abroad donated over 100,000 trees and planted them to create a forest surrounding the shrine, which now, along with gardens, a treasure hall and a martial arts hall covers 700,000 square meters of prime Tokyo real estate. Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya Website: Tel: N/A