2023 is finally here and we are ready to travel! With so much to see and so little time, I will introduce four of the places on my bucket list that I plan to visit in Japan in 2023 – and you should too!
In Need of Some Travel Inspo? 4 Places Worth Visiting in Japan in 2023
From sun and nature to art and architecture, pick your favorites and book a trip to Japan this year 2023.
Ogasawara Islands (Tokyo)
Ogasawara island is an archipelago of over 30 small islands with a subtropical climate still located in Tokyo prefecture.
Seven of the islands –Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, and Mikurashima – are quite close to the capital. The fastest – but also more expensive – way to reach them is by plane (Chofu airport or Haneda). The most inexpensive is to hop on a passenger ship, which will take 6 to 10 hours.
The two biggest islands of the archipelago are Chichijima and Hahajima, which can only be reached with a 24 hours long journey on a ship from Tokyo.
Make sure to book your accommodation first, and then reserve your return ticket on the Ogasawara ferry that will take you from Takeshita pier in Tokyo all the way to Chichijima and Hahajima (an additional 2 hours from Chichijima) islands.
Enjoy this secluded piece of paradise while – technically – never leaving Tokyo!
Mount Omuro (Shizuoka)
Mount Omuro, an extinct volcano at 580 meters above sea level, is one of the landmarks of Izu peninsula, even though it is still quite an off-the-beaten-track destination, especially among foreigners.
Mount Omuro has a distinctive peculiar shape, and one of the reasons why it is popular is that, after taking a lift up all the way to the top, you can walk around the crater following a trail, which takes around 20 minutes to complete.
From its summit, the panorama offers a stunning view of Mt. Fuji on the northern side and of the islands of the Izu Archipelago on the southern side.
If you are feeling adventurous, try paragliding on the slopes or try archery at the bottom of the crater.
Mount Omuro is also considered a power spot and has long been the object of worship. A shrine (Sengen Shrine) is located at the summit, and a myriad of stone Buddha statues can be found throughout the trail.
Don’t miss the Yamayaki festival during the second weekend of February, when the dead grass on the sides of the mountain is burned to make room for the new fresh green grass that will grow during spring. Most of the visitors look at the incredible event from Sakura no Sato park, located at the bottom of Mount Omuro, just a short walking distance from the entrance of the lift to the summit.
Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art (Aomori)
Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art opened in the spring of 2020, and with COVID-related restrictions finally losing up and allowing foreign visitors into the Country again, a trip to Aomori prefecture is the perfect occasion to discover both Japanese and foreign contemporary art in an area not too crowded by tourists.
The museum is hosted inside a brick warehouse built around 100 years ago, which was renovated by Tokyo-born architect Tsuyoshi Tane, founder of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects based in Paris.
The museum is divided into two main areas: the exhibition area, with five small and large galleries, which requires the purchase of a ticket, and a second part, accessible free of charge, with studios for rental and a library.
The museum exhibits contemporary and experimental art, “aiming to be a dynamic cultural hub that shares contemporary creative expression and sensibilities with the public and connects people to new inspiration and ideas”.
The art at the Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art interacts with the architecture of the brick warehouse, which is an integral part of the experience of the museum itself; explores different technologies and techniques to be aware and propositive about the new possibilities of art; and promote Tohoku and aim to interact with the local community to revive its history.
Unkai Terrace (Hokkaido)
Unkai Terrace – unkai meaning “sea of clouds” – is a man-made facility located at the top of Mount Tomamu and part of Hoshino Resort Tomamu in Hokkaido. From this terrace, open from May to October and accessible by lift from Hoshino resort, you will be able to experience the feeling of “being above the clouds”.
Located at an altitude of almost 1100 meters, Unkai terrace consists of different viewing points over the “sea of clouds” where you will be able to look around and enjoy the breathtaking view.
It would not be Japan without a cafe next door offering the most perfect and aesthetic cloud-themed food, dessert, and drinks: indulge in fluffy cakes and drinks, and buy some cloud-shaped marshmallows as a souvenir for your friends and coworkers.
Last but not least, send a postcard directly from above the clouds: pick a card, write a message to your loved ones and post it in the post box installed on the terrace.
Since Unkai Terrace opens to the public again in May, the site is currently being updated, so keep an eye on the resort’s official web page for more specific information on Unkai terrace opening for 2023.
New Places to Visit in Japan in 2023
Have you found some inspiration for new places to visit in Japan this 2023?
From uncontaminated nature to art, architecture, and (why not) some insta-worthy spots, Japan still has much to offer in 2023.
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- Solo Travel in Japan: A Trip to Kyoto
- Things to Do in Osaka – A Weekend Itinerary
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