The Kanto region of Japan sits on the edge of Eastern Japan. It contains the largest plain in Japan, which means that it is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, lies here, right along the Pacific coast and at the foot of the legendary Fuji, as well as many other important and populated cities. There is a lot to see in the Kanto region, from spectacular islands to modern metropolises to historic landmarks.

A view of Tokyo City. Photo Credit: Wilhelm Joys Andersen at Flickr.

Naturally, if you’re in the Kanto region, you should spend some time in Tokyo. This city is not only the capital of Japan but also is the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world. Tokyo is incredibly modern and is a great place to get a taste of Japanese culture (cuisine, of course!) You could spend your entire trip in Tokyo alone and never be bored. Be sure to check out the Tokyo National Museum, the Akihabara shopping district, and the Meiji shrine, Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo Tower, to name a few of the city’s highlights.

The Ogasawara Islands are a far cry from heavily populated Tokyo. These tenure islands are found 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo. This volcanic island chain has a subtropical temperature and plenty of activities for lovers of the great outdoors. You can go whale watching, hiking, snorkeling, diving, and much more. It’s a great place to visit after you visit spending some time in the busy cities of the Kanto region.

Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city. It is massive and there is a lot to see. If you have the chance to spend some time in Yokohama, be sure to visit the city’s Chinatown, which is one of the largest in the world and is home to many Chinese expats. Yokohama recently updated their city center, Minato Mirai. The Sankeien Garden is a real gem and makes for a much more relaxing day if that’s more your speed.

Hakone is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and sits less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. It’s very famous for its hot springs and is incredible, epic views of Mount Fuji. It makes for a nice break from Tokyo whether you’re visiting the city for business or pleasure, especially because it is so close. Be sure to bring a camera and some good hiking shoes!

Manza Onsen is a hot spring resort that is located high on the slopes of Mount Shirane. It sits 1800 meters above sea level. You can find several excellent hotels here with some relaxing hot spring baths. The area also experiences some lovely seasonal changes, with guaranteed snow in the winter and incredible autumn colors.

Utsunomiya is a city about one hour north of Tokyo. It is a more historically-minded city than busy ad very modern Tokyo (which has quite a bit of history, too) and is famous for its temples and shrines. It is also quite modern, of course, and makes for a pleasant way to visit some of the more interesting cultural sites in Japan while staying somewhere comfortable. Of course, Utsunomiya is very, very well known for its gyoza, small meat, and vegetable dumplings, so be sure to try some if you visit!

The Kanto region of Japan is large and highly populated, with a lot of history and some amazing natural sights. If you can only spend one week in Japan, this area will give you a brief look at some of the most wonderful sights, tastes, and activities in the country.

  • Region: Kanto
  • Prefecture: Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa
  • Largest city: Tokyo in Tokyo Prefecture
  • Area: 32,423.90 km2

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