The Kanto region of Japan is located on the main island of Honshu and is famous for being home to Japan's largest city, Tokyo. The prefectures that make up the Kanto region are a mix of traditional towns with hot springs and natural scenery and modern, large, cities. The climate in this region is best during the spring and late summer when there's less rain and mild temperatures. Winters tend to be cold and bitter and most of summer is hot, humid, and rainy.
Of course, the most popular sights in the Kanto region are located in Tokyo, where you'll find the Imperial Palace and the Sensoji Temple. Outside of Tokyo, there is the small town of Nikko, home to three large temples with adjoining, gorgeous, gardens. A must see is the Shoyo-en Garden at the Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko, which is a delightfully peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
Kanto also contains stunning natural scenery and is known for their abundant hot springs, scenic hiking trails, and beautiful scuba diving spots. The city of Atami is a great place for enjoying such scuba diving, where you'll find soft corals and plenty of sea creatures. For epic sights, head to Mt. Shirane in the Gunma prefecture; the mountain is actually an active volcano with lake Yugama, famous for its emerald green water, located at the top.
Kanto nine major cities: Chiba, Kawasaki, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura, Nikko, Atami, Kinugawa, and Mashiko. Many of the cities tend to be more suburban versions of Tokyo, while still maintaining their own history and interesting things to do.
Chiba is considered a suburb of Tokyo and is surrounded by nature, with plenty of parks and walking trails. Kawasaki is famous for being an important trade city and while it is smack dab between Japan's two largest cities, it has many historical sights that are worth checking out. Tokyo, Japan's largest city, is probably also the most famous, providing a mix of a mega metropolis and serene natural escapes. Yokohama is Japan's second largest city; it is a traditional maritime city and also home to many sports stadiums.
Kamakura is an ancient city that is very popular for their incredible temples, peaceful beaches, and overall laid-back atmosphere. Nikko is a simple temple city, complete with stunning temple gardens and beautiful architecture. Atami is a coastal city famous for their hot springs, scuba diving, and their famous MOA Museum of Art. In Kinugawa, you'll find a scenic escape from the madness of local metropolises with hot springs, river rafting, and scenic drives through the country. Then, there is Mashiko, famous for their pottery that you can explore through various museums, workshops, and even giant pottery markets.
With such a large and popular area, there are countless things to do. In Tokyo, there's the Tokyo Dome City, complete with a roller coaster and public bath. You can hike the Daibutsu trail or spend the day at the beach in Kamakura. You won't be at a loss for festivals either, with Kawasaki's brilliant fireworks displays at the end of summer and Tokyo's powerful and beaitufl Kanda Matsuri festival.
Food and Dining
The Kanto region's restaurants have received more Michelin stars than any other are in Japan! This eastern area of Japan does a few things different than their western counterparts: they use dark soy rather than light, thin soba noodles rather than fat udon ones, and love natto, a fermented soy bean product. You'll find extremely fresh fish, especially at Tsukiji, a famous fish market. While it is a bit of a splurge for a set meal, it is well worth it for the incredibly fresh and expertly made sushi.
There are plenty of places to go for a good night out in the Kanto region, with Tokyo being the best spot for an all night party. If you're looking to live like a local, look for izakayas, they're traditional bars that have a relaxed pub-like atmosphere and offer both food and drink. There are plenty of izakayas located around the region, and you'll even find a few chain options like Tsubohachi.
The Kanto region is extremely easy to travel around; there are plenty of trains, subways, buses, and many airports to get you to where you need to be. You don't really need a car, due to all of the safe public transport options. If you plan to travel a lot within the region, there are passes you can purchase from tourist offices or at airports and larger train stations that provide some discounts.
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