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Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/26 23:49
What are some of the most famous attractions or cities that you have never visited? Is there a reason you've never been there?

For me, given that Hakone is the #10 most visited on this site, Hakone is probably the most famous and well-traveled place I have never visited. I don't have much of a reason. I just tend to forget about it and plan trips to other places.

I've also never been to the Fuji Five Lakes. Planning trips around Mount Fuji tends to be annoying, because if there are clouds, it automatically puts a damper on the trip. Like Hakone, though, I also just forget about this area.

Kumamoto and Mount Aso are also places I've never been. I am a castle fan, so I've been waiting for Kumamoto Castle to become accessible again. Maybe once the keep is reopened I will think about going. I'd like for all of the work to be finished, but that seems like it could be many years away.

The last I'll list here is Karuizawa. I've considered going a few times, and I would like to visit. I'll get to it someday.
by Rabbityama  

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 07:11
Hakone is the #10 most visited on this site
Being visited frequently does not make a place/attraction necessarily good or worthwhile - simply shows a lot of people have visited - not if it was good or not. If I look at the list of attractions for central Tokyo (as an example), out of the top six I would skip more than half of them. Having good bus parking (for day tours), but not actually being able to see much makes the Imperial Palace one of the most over-rated spots in Tokyo IMO (the East gardens are nice, but there are better ones around the city).

As for the most famous place I have not visited, that would be Mt Koya, but my interest in going there is pretty low.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 08:00
Hakone
Chureito Pagoda
Jikokudani Monkey Park
Nishiki Market
Nijo Castle


by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 15:10
Autumn colours ―> yes, I have seen some , probably the best in Izu peninsula, but I haven’t seen it at the famous places like Hokkaido or Kyoto. Just never was there at the right time

Hiking in the Alps , eg Kamikochi ―> just don’t like hiking, but I guess some of these places can also be nice for non-hikers

All those amusement parks ―> I never really understood the attractiveness and even less so to travel to Japan and then end up going to a Disney park

Skiing in Hokkaido―> seems to be one if the best skiing place in Asia with superb and long lasting snow. But I am not into going skiing alone and husband doesn’t ski

Okinawa―> yeah. Never been even close. Although several friends of mine are great fans.

Hagi ―> does it count as famous? For me it is, since my mother went there all alone in 1995 and has been enchanted ever since. Still I never made it so far.

Bucket list just GROWING...
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 16:45
Also Hakone (not interested, too many tourists for my taste)

Himeji Castle (from inside) - it was closed due to renovation when i first came there and never ever seen it since then beside from the train. this is still on the todo list.

Okinawa (i think i would rather spend the money on some Thai Trip instead)
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 17:12
Hakone/Fuji Five Lakes-never quite get there. Would like to see the Venetian glass museum and the outdoor museum at Hakone, but not enough yet to actually decide on one of those rather than any one of the myriad other things to do.

Amusement parks-don't care for them much.

On the other hand I found the Imperial Palace in Tokyo fascinating-we went on a tour and even though we had to rely on the recorded tour I enjoyed it. We also took a tour of the Diet which the history/politics geek in me loved.

I have been to Nishiki Market a couple of times, and thought it was a bit dull; but then I am not much for markets. I'm a fan of department store food floors, and have enjoyed many of those a lot more than Nishiki. The outer market at the original Tsukiji site was also fun, haven't had a chance to go to the new one yet.

Hagi is an entrancing little place, perhaps even more special as we found ourselves there during the unseasonably early sakura season of 2018.

by Who? (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 17:33
Hiroshima. Just never fitted into my itineraries.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 19:59
Oh, yeah, I've never been to Tokyo Disney or Disney Sea either. I've never been to any Disney park anywhere. I like theme parks, but they're also expensive and with only weekends and holidays for travel, it just always seems like a nightmare. Plus, theme parks are more fun with friends and coordinating that can also be more trouble than it's worth. In a country with so many historic sites, it also makes the theme parks less appealing.

Actually, I was in Japan for a few years before I ever went to Tokyo. Of course there are places there that interested me, but even now when I think about going to Tokyo, my mind wanders to Saitama, Tochigi, etc.

I've never been to Yoyogi Park (3.9 seems like a really high rating for what looks like a nondescript park) or the Ghibli Museum (I do want to go here, but I rarely go to Tokyo).

I don't understand the appeal of Nishiki Market. I've been there a few times, but I don't see why so many people want to watch other people buy groceries. The shops only appeal to locals who are going to cook with them. There is very little there for tourists. It's crowded and boring, but it has a 3.8 rating, so someone must enjoy it...
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/27 21:33
There are a number of reasons why many tourists feel compelled to go to the famous places in Japan (or anywhere, for that matter), and I don't feel particularly judgmental about the ones who do. But I have a simple reason why I avoid such places: I just don't like crowds in general, and in many cases they completely ruin the ambiance or the experience I am seeking myself. But how I feel about famous places in Japan in general is that I am extremely grateful they are there! They are amazingly powerful magnets that concentrate huge numbers of people into a very limited number of venues, which keeps them away from many other places so I can enjoy them in peace.

I won't name the famous places I haven't been to (there are plenty), but nearly all of my favorite places in Japan are not famous and there are many more yet to discover, so I honestly don't see any great need to go to famous places. I've been to enough of them to know that often they are intrinsically no more appealing than many nonfamous places, and when you add the crowds, whatever value they have is completely often ruined. For me, at least.

Kyoto is a perfect example. I managed to get to quite a few of the really famous places there before the huge increase in international tourists in recent years, and they were all very nice back then, but my own personal list of must-see places in Kyoto (I mean places I have already been to and really want to visit again when I'm there) is made up of places that are not on any Top Ten lists, and none of them are "inferior" in any way to the super-famous places. So I don't feel any need to go to the famous places I haven't been to yet. Well, I might go to a few out of curiosity, and will pick times when they are likely to be least crowded. But when I go to Kyoto, I always try to visit a few of my favorites but also some new lesser-know places I have never been to before, so my list of favorites keeps growing. So if any of them suddenly become super famous and heavily infested with tourists, I will sadly cross them off my list of places to go, but I will never run out of options. On a larger scale (cities/regions of Japan), I don't think there are any that I would actually avoid. I just pick my times carefully. Hakone, for example, can apparently be an absolute zoo these days, but I had a really great visit there fairly recently by starting quite early in the day, on a weekday, in the off season.

As for the theme parks, they aren't my cup of tea either, but I don't have anything against people who go to them. Not only kids, but some adults appear to really get something out of them. I consider them and say, "Look at all the people who AREN'T at the places I want to go to right now. Hooray!"
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 03:29
Hi!

I like theme parks. I make no apologies, I also like being around people. I use to live somewhere a lot more rural than where I live now and I am so glad to be in a real city and not in the countryside. I like being able to get places by walking or by frequent public transit. I do not enjoy being car dependent. I also travel with a child, just the two of us. I like to try to find things we will both enjoy and do a mix of activities. I do try not to pick things which one of us will hate because having either of us cranky is just not fun.

I find Disney is interesting to see how the Japanese interpret a very American destination. It's also one of the few places packed with mostly Japanese tourists. I also like seeing how into it the Japanese get. A lot of young adult and adult visitors dress up or carry bags covered in merchandise. Once you are in Japan, a 1 day park ticket for me and my daughter costs less than 1 day park ticket for just me to the parks in CA or FL. We've also gone to USJ for that reason. It costs less to visit USJ from Osaka or Kyoto than to visit US parks.

However, there are still famous places in Japan that I've not been to and I've yet to see the appeal.

Topping that list are probably:

Fuji Five Lakes: Outside of hiking Mt. Fuji or the theme park, I don't really see the appeal. I like seeing Mt. Fuji, but traveling 2 hours to just possibly see it seems like a waste of a day.

Sapporo: I like cities... but beer gardens are not all that interesting and it doesn't appear to be a particularly interesting city. If I was there during the snow festival I could see visiting, but outside of that it just seems more like a way station to get to other areas.

The Alpine Route: Unless it is your jam taking lots of different types of transportation, and if that is your jam, I say go for it! I've yet to see the appeal of spending a day taking lots of different forms of transit to go up into some mountains and then back down. It seems like a lot of time and effort and money. I think doing it with children who are not into transit would be another name for hell.

For famous places I've been that I still do not get the appeal, I'm also going to say Nishiki Market. I went a bunch of times pre-2010 because I was walking around the area going to the more modern shopping streets. It was a street... with people selling food.. until I started seeing people posting here in 2016 with that as a must do, I had no idea it was a thing. I still don't get it.

The Ghibli Museum. I thought it was overrated on my first visit because it's so small and there are really only so many exhibits, but it was OK. I went back with my daughter 2 years ago and it was just awful. It was packed with people and everything had long lines. From waiting 40 minutes to take a bus from Mitaka, to waiting another 20 minutes to just get inside, to more waiting everywhere inside the museum. It felt more crowded than Disney since most of it is inside and there aren't any places to just escape to. Sound reverberates inside and with so many children it is quite noisy as well. The new outdoor Ghibli Museum near Nagoya might be better, but I'm glad we did the museum once while my daughter was a cheaper ticket so we don't need to go back!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 06:53
Reading through the comments is interesting - there should be a distinction between places like Disney/USJ and local parks like the Toei movie park in Kyoto or Edomura in Nikko.
Which brings me to an important point - there is a big difference to the ratings on a site like Japan-Guide or TA versus the sites that people locally in Japan consider famous or "must-see". If I look at the question from a domestic perspective, then the list would have common items, but would quickly diverge.
Also concurring with some previous posters, many of the places that I have enjoyed most in my travels across Japan have not necessarily been "famous", but they can still be important (cultural/historical), interesting/scenic or just really worthwhile including the journey there and back again.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 14:50
I dont want to get all philosophical but pretty much all of my most enjoyable times in Japan have been from people we've met or chance activities (like a great night at an outdoor cafe or a foresty ryokan), I dont think that anything (save maybe Kiyomizudera years ago (lantern festival) and Nara at any time) has lived up to the hype of being a top attraction.

That said, I've never been past Nikko north (we were booked in to stay at Matsushima Bay and cancelled due to the great quake, never gotten around to it since) and I've never been to Shikogu either.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 21:38
Of course most visited doesn't mean "best", but most visited does mean a lot of people have been there, so it's interesting to see who hasn't and why. If someone hasn't been to Fukiya (a great historic district with a unique hue), it's not so surprising and there probably isn't much of a reason, but if someone is reasonably well-traveled but has not been to a place like Tokyo, Kinkakuji Temple, or something, there is likely more of a reason that is not "never heard of it."
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 22:04
I think that one reason is that people tend to prejudge places. Sometimes they think "that looks like [some other place], and I've already been there and I didn't like it" (or "since I already saw something like that I don't need to see another one"). I think this often occurs with new-ish Japan travelers who form that perception of shrines and temples, before they have learned how unique and special some of those places can be, or how to appreciate the nuances that make even similar temples different. Negative reviews and judgments from others can also steer people away. There is also the "snob" factor for seasoned travelers. ("I don't want to go where all the 'ordinary' tourists go.")

If I'm going to be honest, I have to admit to being guilty of all of these things, and also of assuming that because a place is famous it will inevitably be crowded. In fact, this is not always the case. The famous places are generally famous for good reasons, and usually worth visiting if you can catch them when they aren't jam-packed with people (or if you don't mind them being jam-packed).
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/28 23:02
But I think that probably the most common reason is one you alluded to in your opening post: there are just too many places that are worth visiting, and people haven't gotten to them yet (or they have so many other places they would like to visit that they simply forget about some of them). Every time I go to Japan I have to pick a limited number of places to visit, and since there are now a lot of places I have already been to that I am dying to go back to, it can get really tough to choose new places that I've never been to (famous or not).
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/29 07:17
@Kim - There is also the "snob" factor for seasoned travelers
That line made me laugh. I has clients a couple of years back that only wanted to visit UNESCO sites, even though some of the ones in Japan are very miss-able. The National Museum of Western Art building is an example, but I do like the sculptures in the courtyard.
Still, "fame" can also depend on context and background. For example, I have people talk to me about famous authors that I've never heard of, so I'm completely in the dark about them. It is the same with sightseeing - for some very famous places, large sections of the population simply don't know about them for a variety of reasons.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/29 17:22
Osaka is such a place - I am anyway not big fan of big urban cities, so if any, then Tokio as there is many must-see places.
Kyoto represents history, culture and aesthetics, so from different league.
by girlwithpearl (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/9/29 22:01
I've travelled pretty extensively around Japan, over many trips, but there are definitely "famous places" that I haven't been to. My top 3 might be:

- Fuji Five Lakes, although I have been in the general area for a day at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. I'd like to go one day - it just hasn't ever been top of my list.
- Naoshima Island, even though friends and family all recommend it. Modern art / architecture just don't interest me that much.
- Tsukiji Fish market. I have zero interest in getting up early to see a fish auction. :)
by jth_travel (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/10/1 17:32
Hi,
I have never been to Tensha-en Garden (Shikoku), Ritsurin Garden (Shikoku), Naoshima (island, Kagawwa prefecture), Gifu prefecture, Fujisan... and many other places!
by Teddy74 rate this post as useful

Re: Most famous places you have never been? 2020/10/2 20:38
@Teddy74: Your list sounds like a nice Shikoku trip in the making!
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

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