Since ancient times, Japan has relied heavily on commerce by the seas to link the chain of islands. Today there are many ways the country can be crossed, from bullet trains to planes, but boats are still important to the identity of Japan. Docked in Aomori Bay is a ferry ship that played an important role in the identity of northern Japan, the Hakkoda-Maru.
Shimane Prefecture sits on the southwestern portion of Japan's main island, and is the perfect spot to visit if you're looking for an off the beaten path travel experience. Often overlooked by visitors in favor of better known destinations, the region has culture, nature and history by the bucketload – just without the massive crowds to battle!
If you go to Sapporo, never skip this beautiful port city. Otaru, situated in the western part of Hokkaido, the city has developed and prospered as "the sea entrance of Hokkaido" over the last 100 years and it has gained the nickname "Wall Street of the North".
The Tokyo Yakatabune Association is promoting a new spin on the traditional ride. Not only will you be able to enjoy a luxurious yakatabune ride, you’ll be doing it dressed as a ninja, playing with ninja weapons, and partaking in ninja games.
Just a ten-minute ferry ride from Yokosuka is Sarushima Island – billed as the only natural island in Tokyo Bay. The ferry leaves once an hour from Mikasa Pier near the US Yokosuka Navel Base, approximately a kilometre from the JR Yokosuka station.
Japan has a deeply established maritime tradition. From the myths of its foundation (islands rising out of the sea as a product of the union of the primordial gods and goddesses) to the still world-leading harvesting and consumption of marine products, when you are in Japan, rivers, lakes, and of course, the ocean are ever-present themes in daily life.
Shiga Prefecture, located in the Kansai Region of Central Japan near Kyoto and Nara is an area rich in natural beauty and historical attractions. It is home to more temples and shrines than Kyoto, making it a must see destination for any fans of Japanese history and culture.