10 Gorgeous Japan Photos That Will Feed Your Wanderlust

Japan has enough otherworldly landscapes, culinary experiences and off-the-beaten path adventures to fill several itineraries. Still need convincing to add it to your bucket list? These 10 shots should do the trick.

Memory Lane, Shinjuku, TokyoPhoto: Robert Liwanag/readersdigest.ca

Memory Lane, Shinjuku

Few places define “hustle and bustle” quite like the ward of Shinjuku in Tokyo: its railway station is used by an average of 3.5 million people a day—by far the busiest in the world. Hidden behind the district’s skyscrapers and shops, however, are yokocho: traditional-style alleyways that date back to Japan’s postwar reconstruction. One of the prettiest is Omoide Yokocho, which translates to “Memory Lane.” Formerly a black market, the lantern-filled Memory Lane is now home to dozens of tightly-packed snack bars and food stalls—each can accommodate only a handful of people at a time.

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Japan photos: Meiji Shrine, Central TokyoPhoto: Robert Liwanag/readersdigest.ca

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Although Tokyo’s neon lights and Shibuya Crossing often steal the spotlight, the city’s quieter enclaves are just as picturesque. Enter the Meiji Shrine. Located in the heart of Tokyo and comprising a 200-acre park, this exceptional Shinto (the traditional religion of Japan) shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji—who opened Japan to the West—and his consort, Empress Shōken. Unsurprisingly, its serene landscape is a sight to behold. The 12-metre-high gate at its entrance is made of 1,500-year-old cypress. Visitors are welcome to use the cleansing station inside the shrine to purify their hands and mouth, while offering up a prayer.

Matsumoto Castle, NaganoPhoto: Robert Liwanag/readersdigest.ca

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano

Thinking of sticking to just Tokyo? There’s still so much of Japan to explore! Case in point: the city of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture, one of the highlights of G Adventures’ remarkable Backroads of Japan tour. Built in the 1500s, Matsumoto Castle is the oldest remaining castle in the country and still retains much of its original wood and stonework. As many as 23 lords from six different ruling families have called Matsumoto Castle home throughout the centuries—its astonishing collection of artifacts, including the first guns ever used in Japan, is as impressive as its enduring architecture.

Rest assured, none of these iconic Asian attractions will leave you disappointed.

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