Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to the Land of the Rising Sun? We've stumbled upon the ultimate list of must-visit places in Japan, and we can't wait to share it with you. From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto, this diverse country has something for everyone. Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and marvel at breathtaking landscapes. Let's dive into our top 10 places to visit in Japan!
- Tokyo offers a mix of must-see attractions, cultural experiences, hidden gems, and a vibrant cityscape.
- Kyoto is known for its historical landmarks, iconic shrines, traditional Japanese culture, and enchanting beauty.
- Osaka is a blend of tradition and modernity, with attractions such as Osaka Castle and a renowned culinary scene.
- Hiroshima holds historical significance with its Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome, as well as the scenic Miyajima Island.
When it comes to visiting Tokyo, there are three main points that cannot be missed: the must-see attractions, the cultural experiences, and the hidden gems. From iconic landmarks like the Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace, to traditional tea ceremonies and sumo wrestling matches, Tokyo offers a diverse range of cultural experiences. And for those looking to explore off the beaten path, the city is filled with hidden gems waiting to be discovered, such as the quaint neighborhoods of Yanaka and Kagurazaka. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo.
Must-See Attractions in Tokyo
One of the must-see attractions in Tokyo is Tokyo Disneyland, located in Urayasu, just outside of the city. This world-famous theme park offers a magical experience with its enchanting rides, colorful parades, and beloved Disney characters. But Tokyo has more to offer than just Disneyland. Here are some other must-see attractions in the city:
- Meiji Shrine: A serene oasis in the middle of bustling Tokyo, this Shinto shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Visitors can explore the lush forest surrounding the shrine and witness traditional ceremonies.
- Senso-ji Temple: Located in Asakusa, this ancient Buddhist temple is Tokyo's oldest and most significant. Its vibrant red gate, Nakamise shopping street, and main hall are must-see sights.
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: A tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle, this expansive garden showcases different styles, including Japanese, French, and English gardens. It's perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.
- Tokyo Imperial Palace: The primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, this historical site offers guided tours of the palace grounds, where visitors can admire the traditional architecture and beautiful gardens.
Tokyo's attractions go beyond its famous Disneyland. From serene shrines to ancient temples and peaceful gardens, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy in this vibrant city.
Cultural Experiences in Tokyo
Now let's delve into the cultural experiences that Tokyo has to offer. Tokyo is a city that immerses you in the rich tapestry of Japanese culture. From traditional art museums to vibrant geisha districts, there is something for everyone to explore and appreciate.
One of the cultural highlights of Tokyo is its art museums. The city is home to world-class institutions such as the Tokyo National Museum, which showcases a vast collection of Japanese art and artifacts spanning thousands of years. The Mori Art Museum offers a contemporary twist, featuring cutting-edge exhibitions from both local and international artists.
For a taste of old-world charm, a visit to the geisha districts is a must. Areas like Asakusa and Kagurazaka transport you back in time, with their narrow streets lined with traditional wooden houses. Here, you can witness the elegant geisha performers, experience a traditional tea ceremony, or indulge in exquisite kaiseki cuisine.
In Tokyo, cultural experiences are abundant, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty and traditions of Japanese culture.
Hidden Gems in Tokyo
We discovered several hidden gems in Tokyo that are worth exploring during our visit. Tokyo, as the cultural capital of Japan, offers more than just its famous attractions. Here are some of the hidden gems we found in the city center:
- Yanesen: This charming neighborhood is a hidden oasis in the bustling city. It is known for its traditional Japanese houses, quiet streets, and beautiful temples.
- Nakameguro: A trendy and hip area, Nakameguro is famous for its picturesque Meguro River lined with cherry blossom trees. It is the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a visit to one of its stylish cafes.
- Omoide Yokocho: Located near Shinjuku Station, this narrow alleyway is a step back in time. It is filled with tiny restaurants serving delicious yakitori (grilled skewers) and nostalgic atmosphere.
- Kagurazaka: Known as "Little Kyoto," Kagurazaka is a charming neighborhood with a mix of French and Japanese influences. It is home to traditional shops, cafes, and beautiful cobblestone streets.
These hidden gems in Tokyo offer a unique and authentic experience that goes beyond the usual tourist spots. Exploring these lesser-known attractions will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the city's rich culture and history.
When it comes to historical landmarks, Kyoto is a treasure trove. From the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of vibrant torii gates to the majestic Kinkaku-ji Temple covered in gold leaf, this city is a history lover's dream. But Kyoto is not just about monuments; it offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in traditional Japanese culture through tea ceremonies, kimono rentals, and exploring the charming geisha district of Gion.
Historical Landmarks in Kyoto
Let's explore the iconic shrines and hidden historical treasures that Kyoto has to offer. From the majestic Kinkaku-ji Temple, adorned with gold leaf, to the serene Ryoan-ji Temple and its famous rock garden, Kyoto's historical landmarks are a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage. As we wander through the narrow streets lined with traditional wooden houses, we'll discover the subtle beauty and intricate details that make Kyoto a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts.
Kyoto's Iconic Shrines
Among the top 10 places to visit in Japan, one cannot miss exploring the iconic shrines in Kyoto, which are renowned for their historical significance and cultural charm. Kyoto, located in the Japanese countryside, is a city steeped in history and tradition. These shrines, scattered throughout the city, offer a glimpse into Japan's rich past and spiritual heritage. From the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha with its thousands of vibrant red torii gates, to the serene Kinkaku-ji Temple, adorned in gold leaf, Kyoto's iconic shrines are a must-see for any history enthusiast or cultural explorer.
|Shrine Name||Location||Historical Significance|
|Fushimi Inari||Southern Kyoto||Dedicated to Inari, the god of rice and agriculture.|
|Kiyomizu-dera||Eastern Kyoto||Built in 778, known for its wooden terrace and panoramic city views.|
|Kinkaku-ji||Northern Kyoto||Originally built in 1397, famous for its golden exterior.|
Hidden Historical Treasures
We discovered numerous hidden historical treasures while exploring Kyoto, including a variety of remarkable landmarks that showcase the city's rich history and cultural heritage. From the solemn Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to the serene Nara Park, each site left us in awe of Japan's past. The majestic Himeji Castle and the picturesque Miyajima Island provided insight into the country's architectural marvels. And the intricate Toshogu Shrine offered a glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship of the era. These hidden gems truly brought Japan's history to life. As we continued our journey, we were excited to delve into the traditional Japanese culture experiences that awaited us.
Traditional Japanese Culture Experiences
To fully immerse ourselves in traditional Japanese culture, we must explore the enriching experiences Kyoto offers. One of the highlights is the opportunity to visit traditional Japanese gardens. These gardens, meticulously designed and maintained, provide a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Walking paths, vibrant flowers, and tranquil ponds create a harmonious atmosphere that transports visitors to another time. Kyoto is also home to numerous Buddhist temples, where one can witness ancient rituals and immerse themselves in the spiritual practices of Japan. Spring is a particularly enchanting time to visit, as cherry blossoms blanket the city, creating a magical scene. For a taste of authentic village life, Kyoto offers the opportunity to stay in traditional Japanese guesthouses, known as ryokans. Here, visitors can experience traditional meals, sleep on futon beds, and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals. Kyoto truly offers an unforgettable journey into traditional Japanese culture.
Osaka offers a vibrant and bustling cityscape that draws visitors in with its rich cultural heritage and modern attractions. As a Japanese city, Osaka is known for its lively atmosphere and friendly locals. The city boasts a unique blend of traditional and contemporary culture, making it a must-visit destination for travelers.
One of the main attractions in Osaka is its stunning castles. The most famous one is Osaka Castle, a magnificent structure that dates back to the 16th century. With its towering walls and beautiful gardens, it provides a glimpse into Japan's feudal era. Inside the castle, visitors can explore the museum and learn about the city's history.
Aside from its castles, Osaka is also renowned for its culinary scene. The city is often referred to as the "Kitchen of Japan" due to its delicious street food and diverse dining options. From savory takoyaki to mouthwatering okonomiyaki, Osaka is a food lover's paradise.
As we transition to the next section about Hiroshima, it's important to note that while Osaka showcases the vibrant and modern side of Japan, Hiroshima offers a different perspective with its historical significance.
When it comes to visiting Hiroshima, there are three must-see attractions that should not be missed. First, the Peace Memorial Park stands as a poignant reminder of the city's tragic past and the importance of peace. Next, the Atomic Bomb Dome serves as a haunting symbol of the devastating impact of nuclear warfare. Lastly, a visit to Miyajima Island offers a serene escape with its picturesque Itsukushima Shrine and friendly deer that roam freely.
Peace Memorial Park
Why should we visit Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima? Located in the historic city of Hiroshima, Peace Memorial Park is a powerful tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing that took place during World War II. This sacred site serves as a reminder of the devastating impact of war and the importance of peace. As you explore the park, you will come across various memorials, including the Peace Memorial Museum, which offers a detailed account of the events surrounding the atomic bombing. The park also houses the iconic Hiroshima Castle, a beautifully reconstructed fortress that provides a glimpse into the city's rich history. Visiting Peace Memorial Park allows us to reflect on the past and embrace a future filled with peace and understanding. Now, let's move on to the next section and learn about the symbolic Atomic Bomb Dome.
Atomic Bomb Dome
The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima holds immense historical significance and serves as a powerful symbol of the devastating impact of nuclear warfare. Despite being heavily damaged during the atomic bombing in 1945, the dome has been meticulously preserved and restored, standing as a solemn reminder of the city's tragic past. Its presence has also played a significant role in shaping Hiroshima's identity, as it serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of its people in the face of unimaginable destruction.
Historical Significance and Symbolism
We were deeply moved by the historical significance and symbolism embodied in the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. This iconic structure stands as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of the atomic bomb during World War II. Amidst the bustling city of Hiroshima, the Dome serves as a solemn tribute to the lives lost and a testament to the resilience of the Japanese people. As we continued our journey through Japan, we encountered other historical landmarks such as Osaka Castle, Nikko National Park, Matsumoto Castle, Nagoya Castle, and Itsukushima Shrine. Each of these sites holds its own unique historical significance and offers visitors a glimpse into Japan's rich cultural heritage.
|Landmark||Historical Significance and Symbolism|
|Osaka Castle||A symbol of power and prestige, this castle played a major role in Japan's feudal history.|
|Nikko National Park||Known for its stunning natural beauty and sacred Shinto shrines.|
|Matsumoto Castle||One of Japan's most beautiful original castles, representing the samurai culture.|
|Nagoya Castle||A symbol of the city's historical significance and architectural grandeur.|
|Itsukushima Shrine||Famous for its floating torii gate and status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.|
These landmarks not only provide insight into Japan's past but also serve as reminders of the importance of preservation and restoration efforts.
Preservation and Restoration Efforts
Continuing our exploration of Japan's historical landmarks, one site that stands out for its remarkable preservation and restoration efforts is the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. This iconic structure, also known as the Genbaku Dome, stands as a poignant reminder of the devastating atomic bomb that struck Hiroshima during World War II. Despite the destruction, the dome has been meticulously preserved, serving as a powerful symbol of hope, resilience, and the importance of peace. Its inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the ongoing efforts to ensure the preservation of this significant historical landmark.
|Preservation and Restoration Efforts|
|– Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome|
|– Lake Ashi|
|– UNESCO World Heritage Sites|
|– Ancient Temples|
|– Hiroshima Castle|
Impact on Hiroshima's Identity
As we delve into the impact on Hiroshima's identity, it is important to consider the profound significance of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. This iconic structure stands as a poignant reminder of the devastating atomic bomb that was dropped on the city during World War II. Located within the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome is a UNESCO World Heritage site and serves as a powerful symbol of hope, resilience, and the pursuit of peace. Its presence has had a lasting impact on Hiroshima's identity, shaping the city's narrative and fostering a commitment to peace and nuclear disarmament.
|Column 1||Column 2||Column 3|
|Location||Peace Memorial Park||Hiroshima, Japan|
|Significance||A symbol of the atomic bomb's impact and the city's resilience||UNESCO World Heritage site|
|Impact on Identity||Shapes Hiroshima's narrative, fosters a commitment to peace and nuclear disarmament||Promotes remembrance and education about the consequences of war|
The Atomic Bomb Dome stands as a stark reminder of the devastation caused by the atomic bomb. Its twisted and skeletal structure serves as a physical representation of the horrors of war and the lasting impact it can have on a community. This powerful symbol has become an integral part of Hiroshima's identity, shaping the city's narrative and fostering a commitment to peace and nuclear disarmament.
Situated within the Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome is surrounded by other memorials and exhibits that aim to promote remembrance and education about the consequences of war. This location, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, draws visitors from around the world who come to pay their respects and learn about the tragic events that unfolded in Hiroshima.
The impact of the Atomic Bomb Dome extends beyond its physical presence. It has become a symbol of hope and resilience for the people of Hiroshima, who have rebuilt their city from the ashes of destruction. The dome's preservation serves as a reminder of the importance of peace and the need to prevent such atrocities from happening again. Through its preservation and the efforts of the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima continues to honor the memory of those who lost their lives and advocate for a peaceful world.
One of the most frequently visited places in Japan is Miyajima Island, located in Hiroshima. This picturesque island offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. As you step onto the island, you will be greeted by the iconic sight of the Itsukushima Shrine, a magnificent Shinto shrine that appears to float on the water during high tide. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush Momijidani Park, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of Mount Fuji in the distance. After exploring the island's serene gardens and tranquil forests, treat yourself to a relaxing soak in one of the island's soothing hot springs. Miyajima Island truly offers a delightful escape from the bustling cities of Japan, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a harmonious balance of nature and culture.
- We really enjoyed visiting Nara, one of Japan's most culturally significant cities. Nara is known for its historic villages, ancient temples, and beautiful landscapes. One of the must-visit attractions in Nara is the Kasuga Taisha shrine. This Shinto shrine is surrounded by a serene forest and is famous for its hundreds of stone lanterns. It is a truly mesmerizing sight, especially during the biannual lantern festivals. Another highlight of Nara is its Japanese castles. One of the most well-preserved castles is the Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It showcases the elegance and architectural brilliance of feudal Japan. Additionally, Nara is home to the Higashi Chaya district, a traditional geisha district where visitors can experience the charm of old Japan. Strolling through its narrow streets and admiring the well-preserved wooden buildings is like stepping back in time. Nara is a city that effortlessly blends history and culture, offering visitors a unique glimpse into Japan's rich heritage.
Mount Fuji, one of Japan's most iconic landmarks, offers a unique and unforgettable experience for adventure enthusiasts. With its towering presence and picturesque surroundings, Mount Fuji provides numerous opportunities for climbing and hiking, attracting visitors from all over the world. As you ascend to the summit, be prepared to witness breathtaking panoramic views that will leave you in awe of Japan's natural beauty.
Iconic Japanese Landmark
We can't help but be captivated by the beauty and grandeur of this iconic Japanese landmark. Mount Fuji, located about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, is Japan's highest mountain and a symbol of the country. Its perfectly symmetrical cone shape, surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, makes it a must-visit destination. While Mount Fuji itself is not easily accessible for climbing and hiking, there are plenty of other attractions nearby to explore. In Kyoto, you can visit the Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, a stunning Zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf. The Kiyomizu-dera Temple, with its wooden terrace overlooking the city, is another popular spot in Kyoto. And in Hiroshima, you can learn about the city's history and visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. From these cultural landmarks to the breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, Japan offers an unforgettable travel experience. Now, let's move on to discuss the climbing and hiking opportunities that this magnificent mountain has to offer.
Climbing and Hiking Opportunities
To embark on an exhilarating adventure up Japan's highest mountain, visitors can take advantage of the abundant climbing and hiking opportunities on Mount Fuji. As one of Japan's most iconic landmarks, Mount Fuji is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, this majestic mountain offers breathtaking views, challenging trails, and unique experiences. Hiking up Mount Fuji allows you to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding landscape, including the stunning Fuji Five Lakes and the vibrant cherry blossom trees that bloom during springtime. Whether you're an experienced climber or a beginner hiker, there are various routes to suit all skill levels. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on Mount Fuji.
Stunning Panoramic Views
As we ascend the majestic heights of Japan's highest mountain, Mount Fuji, the awe-inspiring panoramic views unfold before our eyes. Standing tall at 3,776 meters, this iconic volcano offers a breathtaking sight that captures the essence of Japan's natural beauty. The snow-capped peak pierces through the clouds, contrasting with the vibrant green landscape below. The view from the summit is truly unparalleled, with a sweeping vista of the surrounding countryside, including the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, a stunning masterpiece of Japanese landscaping. Other notable sights include the Hirosaki Castle, with its cherry blossoms in full bloom, and the Iya Valley, renowned for its deep gorges and traditional thatched-roof houses. For an urban panorama, the Tokyo Tower provides a mesmerizing view of the city's skyline, a testament to Japan's modernity and innovation.
Located just southwest of Tokyo, Hakone offers a picturesque escape with its stunning natural landscapes and hot springs. As part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is known for its breathtaking views of Mount Fuji, which can be seen from various vantage points throughout the area. One of the best places to admire the beauty of Mount Fuji is from Lake Ashinoko, a scenic lake surrounded by mountains and forests. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride on the lake or relax in one of the lakeside hot spring resorts while enjoying the captivating view of the iconic mountain.
To fully immerse oneself in the beauty of Hakone, a visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum is a must. This unique museum showcases a collection of contemporary sculptures set against the backdrop of the surrounding nature. Visitors can stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens and admire the artwork, which includes pieces by renowned artists such as Rodin and Picasso.
To further enhance your experience in Hakone, here is a table highlighting some of the top attractions and activities in the area:
|Lake Ashinoko||Boat rides, hot spring resorts|
|Hakone Open-Air Museum||Sculpture viewing, garden strolls|
|Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park||Hiking, nature photography|
With its stunning natural landscapes, hot spring resorts, and cultural attractions, Hakone is an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation amidst Japan's natural beauty. Now, let's move on to our next destination, Sapporo.
Let's explore Sapporo, a vibrant city in Japan that offers a unique blend of modern attractions and cultural experiences. Sapporo is known for its beautiful parks, especially during cherry blossom season when the city is awash with delicate pink hues. One of the must-visit parks is the Maruyama Park, where you can stroll through picturesque landscapes and relax under the blooming cherry trees. Another popular spot is Odori Park, a spacious green oasis that stretches for over a kilometer in the heart of the city. It's the perfect place to have a picnic, enjoy outdoor concerts, or simply take a leisurely walk.
Aside from its natural beauty, Sapporo is also home to a number of fascinating museums. The Sapporo Beer Museum provides a glimpse into the history of beer brewing in Japan, with interactive exhibits and tastings of their famous brews. For art enthusiasts, the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art showcases a diverse collection of contemporary artwork from both Japanese and international artists.
In addition to parks and museums, Sapporo boasts an array of other tourist attractions. The Sapporo Clock Tower, a symbol of the city, is a historical building that offers insight into Sapporo's past. The bustling Sapporo Underground Pedestrian Space is an underground shopping mall that stretches for kilometers, offering endless opportunities for shopping and dining. With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and modern attractions, Sapporo is definitely a must-visit destination in Japan.
Moving on to the next destination, we will now explore Okinawa, a captivating region in Japan that offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and cultural heritage. Okinawa is a group of islands located in the southernmost region of Japan. Known for its stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and white sandy beaches, Okinawa is a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts.
In addition to its natural beauty, Okinawa has a rich cultural history. Being a hub for international trade in the past, Okinawa has been influenced by various cultures, including Chinese and Southeast Asian. This is evident in the architecture, cuisine, and traditions of the region. Visitors can explore ancient castles and temples, experience traditional Ryukyuan music and dance performances, and indulge in delicious Okinawan cuisine.
When traveling to Okinawa, the nearest airport is Naha Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in Japan and other Asian countries. It is advisable to check for flight availability and book in advance.
It is important to note that Okinawa is prone to natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes. Visitors should stay informed about the weather conditions and follow any safety instructions provided by local authorities.
One of our top 10 places to visit in Japan is Yokohama, a vibrant city with a rich history and modern attractions. Located just south of Tokyo, Yokohama is a stunning port city that offers visitors a unique blend of traditional Japanese culture and contemporary experiences.
One of the highlights of Yokohama is its beautiful gardens. The city is home to several meticulously landscaped gardens, such as the Sankeien Garden and the Yokohama English Garden. These tranquil oases provide a peaceful escape from the bustling city and offer stunning views of colorful flowers, serene ponds, and traditional Japanese architecture.
Another must-visit area in Yokohama is Minato Mirai, a futuristic waterfront district. Here, visitors can explore iconic landmarks like the Landmark Tower and the Cosmo Clock 21, which offers panoramic views of the city. The area is also home to numerous shopping malls, gourmet restaurants, and entertainment venues, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
For those seeking a taste of Yokohama's vibrant nightlife, the city's entertainment district is the place to be. Known as the Yokohama Nigiwaiza, this area is filled with theaters, bars, and clubs offering a variety of entertainment options, including traditional Japanese performances and live music.
Yokohama truly offers something for everyone, whether you're interested in history, nature, or modern attractions. With its beautiful gardens, bustling port, and vibrant entertainment district, this dynamic city should definitely be on your list of must-visit places in Japan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Visa Requirements for Visiting Japan?
We don't need a visa to visit Japan for up to 90 days if we are from certain countries, including the United States. However, it's always a good idea to check the latest requirements before traveling.
What Is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Mount Fuji?
When is the best time to visit Mount Fuji? It's important to consider the weather and visibility. Spring and autumn offer clear skies and breathtaking views, making them ideal for a trip to this iconic mountain.
How Can I Travel From Tokyo to Hiroshima?
Well, folks, let's talk about how we can travel from Tokyo to Hiroshima. It's quite the journey, but fear not, we've got some tips and tricks up our sleeves to make it a breeze!
Are There Any Traditional Festivals in Kyoto That I Should Not Miss?
Yes, there are several traditional festivals in Kyoto that you should not miss. From the vibrant Gion Matsuri to the enchanting Hanatouro, these festivals showcase the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto and are truly unforgettable experiences.
Can I Visit Nara as a Day Trip From Osaka?
Yes, you can visit Nara as a day trip from Osaka. It's just a short train ride away, and you'll be amazed by the ancient temples, friendly deer, and the famous Great Buddha statue.