GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel: Hostel Life Made Chic & Cozy

This article contains sponsored content.

  • X
  • line

Sleek and stylish, GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel is not only steps from one of Tokyo’s major train stations and shinkansen hubs, it’s also a pretty comfortable place to stay during your trip to Japan’s capital. No longer must hostels be old and worn-out – GRIDS is a growing group of swanky modern hostel/hotels, made to offer reasonable accommodations to travelers in Japan’s biggest cities, without sacrificing comfort or convenience. We went to take a look at their newest location, opened just recently in October 2019, and it’s definitely a great deal. Read on to find out why GRIDS Tokyo Ueno is our Ueno hostel recommendation for Tokyo travelers!

GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel

There are many reasons to stay in a hostel when traveling. An affordable hostel in Tokyo can certainly be a boon to your budget. Plus, the low-key relaxed atmosphere of a hostel, with ample opportunities to meet fellow travelers and make new friends, is always lots of fun. Now, imagine those positives, plus the chic interiors of a modern hotel, and options for both shared rooms and privates. GRIDS Tokyo Ueno blows away any stereotypes you might have of dingy old hostels!

If a convenient location is your priority, you're not going to find a better deal than GRIDS Tokyo Ueno. It's a 2-minute walk from the Iriya Exit of Ueno Station, a stop on more train lines than you can count. Major shinkansen bullet train lines, 5 different JR train lines, 2 different Tokyo Metro lines, and even the Keisei Skyliner (which goes to and from Narita Airport) all stop in at Ueno.

Of course, being so close to Ueno Station means that GRIDS is also right near the attractions of Ueno itself! While Ueno pulls fewer international tourists than other parts of Tokyo, it's a fun place to hang out, and next to the station you'll find Ameya Yokocho (Ameyoko for short), which has an outdoor market and lots of izakayas (Japanese restaurant/bars). Additionally, the huge Ueno Park, right on the other side of the station from GRIDS, is home to Ueno Zoo, multiple art and science museums, Shinto shrines, and nice places to picnic when the weather's nice.

The wide range of rooms caters to a variety of travelers, so social events at the hostel are a chance to meet all kinds of interesting people, and maybe find some new travel companions on the way!

GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel
7-10-4 Ueno, Taito Ku, Tokyo, Japan​
Access: 2 min. from JR Ueno Station's Iriya Exit / 9 min. from Keisei Ueno Station
Check-in/Check-out: 16:00~ / ~11:00
Contact: info@grids-ueno.com / +81 3-5830-0030
Official Website (en) / Reservations

Rooms for Any Traveler

① Dormitory Rooms: Bunk Up in Style

The hostel accommodations in GRIDS are focused around their dorm-type rooms equipped with naturally stylish wooden bunk beds, generally sleeping 5 or 6 people per room. If you're still traumatized by the precarious towers of beds found in London hostels, have no fear – these beds are sturdy, comfortable, and even come equipped with a variety of built-in conveniences, like a little reading light and electrical outlets for charging all your devices (including handy USB outlets).

These sound-proofing curtains add an impressive amount of privacy when you just need your own little space!

There are lots of useful little spaces inside the bunk beds; you can hang up a towel or tomorrow's change of clothes on this little rack.

Since hostel dormitory rooms are by nature a space used by multiple people, often strangers, there's a thoughtful little safe-type cabinet on the wall inside each bunk. If you're worried about any small valuables, just lock them up for some peace of mind! (But don't forget! While traveling in Japan, foreign visitors are legally supposed to carry their passport on them at all times. Don't forget it in the safe!)

Rainy coats can also be conveniently hung on the wall away from the bunk beds.

And this being Japan, of course GRIDS provides cushy slippers for use while shuffling around the halls!

In the larger 6-person rooms, they know someone or other is likely to have a huge suitcase or two, so there's plenty of luggage storage space both under the beds and in the corner.

Of course, beds aren't the only amenities to be found at GRIDS. On the standard dorm floors there are shared toilets, shower rooms, powder rooms, and coin-operated washing machines (we always recommend you pack light and leave room for souvenirs)! Just like your standard hotel, everything's kept sparkling clean by the cleaning staff.

Always a lifesaver in hostels – the showers have little anterooms perfect for changing, so you can keep your towels and clean clothes nice and dry. They also provide toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and body soap for free! And towels can be easily rented for a small fee.

② Female Dormitory Rooms: Stay Over with the Girls

For women traveling solo or together, the women-only 6th floor of GRIDS might be just the place!

The thorough security at GRIDS means that only guests with a room key for the women-only 6th floor can get there in the elevator. 

The bedrooms on the 6th floor are essentially the same as the standard dormitory rooms.

But the 6th-floor powder room is a little special. Moisturizers and other skincare products are provided for use, which might be an interesting experience, since Japanese skincare products tend to be different from those in the West.

Guests on the 6th floor can also rent a Dyson hairdryer from the front desk. Time to see just how good these fancy appliances really are!

③ Private Rooms: A Little Privacy for the Solo Traveler, the Couple, or the Family!

When you want the convenience of being near Ueno Station and the affordable rates of a hotel/hostel, but still aren't up for sharing a room with new friends, the private rooms at GRIDS are a great option. Whether you're traveling with a special someone, a family of four, or as a group of six buddies, they've got you covered with rooms for 2, 4, and 6 people.

Above you'll see the cozy Double Room, which is really just like a simple hotel room, with a private bathroom and a TV to hang out and watch some Japanese dramas on.

The quadruple (four-person) private room is pretty ideal for families, with a safe bunk bed kids will love.

The private bathrooms for the double and quadruple private rooms are simple and clean, and include bathtubs for a nice, relaxing soak.

And the quadruple rooms have a convenient extra washbasin near the door.

The six-person private rooms are a little like the dorm rooms, but you get them all to yourself, and they've got some non-bunk beds as well. They're great for big families or groups of friends.

Of course, the six-person privates do have their own bathroom! And with a fair number of people using it, GRIDS has thoughtfully chosen a Japanese-style bathtub area, which has a door separating it from the sinks and toilet. Also, yes, sinks! There are two of them, so everyone doesn't have to line up to brush their teeth.

The private bathrooms also come equipped with amenities like scrubby towels, toothbrushes, razors, hairbrushes, and a hairdryer.

Comfortable Common Spaces

Make the most of the friendly GRIDS Tokyo Ueno hostel atmosphere! The lounge has a variety of comfortable seating where you can snack, meet other travelers, play games, and just relax – all while looking out onto the streets of Tokyo.

If you're working to entertain kids for an hour, or you're just a solo traveler looking to make friends in Tokyo, borrow a game for free!

The lounge's mini-kitchen is a convenient addition with a shared refrigerator, sink, microwave, and toaster. If you're trying to keep costs down, you can always grab food from a nearby convenience store (famously delicious in Japan!), heat it up here, and chow down in the lounge.

The Tasty Breakfast Buffet

Book the optional breakfast buffet along with your room to start every day full of energy, and ready to go! With a variety of breads, cereal and yogurt, sausages, eggs – even rice balls and hearty soups – plus of course coffee and other drinks, you'll be prepared for a full morning of seeing the sights.

The Sake Bar: Taste Regional Sake from All Over Japan

The convenient lobby bar sells a variety of drinks, but in hopes of sharing a little bit of Japanese drinking culture, their specialty is local varieties of sake (or 日本酒, "nihonshu" in Japanese) from across the nation. If you'd like to compare the different flavors, you can order a little tasting set of two or three kinds.

To go along with the drinks, you can also order a selection of snacks from the bar. Some of them are even fairly hearty, like grilled mackerel.

Regular Community Events – at GRIDS!

One of the most fun parts of staying at GRIDS is getting to participate in their regularly held events. Sometimes that involves a cultural exchange or making some kind of Japanese food while mingling with other guests, and sometimes GRIDS Tokyo Ueno even invites local experts to perform and share their knowledge of Japanese culture with guests!

They've got event schedules up in the lounge and the elevator, so you can see what events are coming up. Hopefully we can visit again sometime soon and participate in a takoyaki party – the Osaka dish is really most delicious when you make it together with friends! Before you arrive, you can also check the schedule and see pictures from recent events on the official GRIDS Tokyo Ueno instagram.

When we checked out the hostel this time, we arrived just in time to see one of their events featuring special guests. The theme? Japanese kendama!

Kendama (けん玉) are traditional Japanese toys, like a fancier version of simple, old-fashioned cup and ball toys. If you're anything like us, you've always thought "cool, but I don't have the coordination to actually get the ball into the cup." The pros at the event were there to prove us wrong, though! It turns out that with a little bit of high-quality coaching and a few minutes practice, just about anyone can do simple kendama tricks!

First, though, the event included some silly kendama games that got everyone laughing (as they tried to close their eyes, stand on one foot, and balance a kendama on their head all at once)!

⇩ Check out kendama pro Morimako showing everyone at GRIDS how it's done! ⇩
(It is seriously impressive!)

As more and more guests trickled in, and everyone was getting into the kendama spirit, a whole team of kendama experts swooped in to teach everyone the skill.

What started as a random collection of guests meandering through the lobby turned into a fun communal event that anybody could join in on.

By the end of the event, everyone felt comfortable hanging out with each other, and lots of participants stuck around chatting with new friends in the lounge. With this goal in mind, GRIDS Tokyo Ueno puts on regular events in the lounge, good for groups and solo travelers alike.

Next time you're looking for a hotel/hostel in Tokyo, between the convenience, affordability, and comfortable atmosphere, you can't beat GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel!

Have you stayed at a GRIDS hotel + hostel before? Planning on visiting Ueno? Let us know about your experience on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


NAME:GRIDS Tokyo Ueno Hotel + Hostel


ACCESS:Ueno Station

CONTACT TEL:03-5830-0030

CONTACT EMAIL:info@grids-ueno.com


Follow us @Japankuru on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

  • facebook
  • line


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon!
🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중
#tokyo #shinjuku #samurairestaurant #robotrestaurant #tokyotrip #도쿄여행 #신주쿠 #사무라이레스토랑 #이색체험 #할인이벤트 #歌舞伎町 #東京景點 #武士餐廳 #日本表演 #日本文化體驗 #japankuru #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta

⚔️The Robot Restaurant is gone, but the Samurai Restaurant is here to take its place. Check it out, and don't forget your coupon! 🍣신주쿠의 명소 로봇 레스토랑이 사무라이 레스토랑으로 부활! 절찬 쿠폰 발급중 💃18歲以上才能入場的歌舞秀,和你想的不一樣!拿好優惠券去看看~ #tokyo #shinjuku #samurairestaurant #robotrestaurant #tokyotrip #도쿄여행 #신주쿠 #사무라이레스토랑 #이색체험 #할인이벤트 #歌舞伎町 #東京景點 #武士餐廳 #日本表演 #日本文化體驗 #japankuru #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta

Japanese appliance & electronics shopping with our KOJIMA x BicCamera coupon!
用JAPANKURU的KOJIMA x BicCamera優惠券買這些正好❤️
코지마 x 빅 카메라 쿠폰으로 일본 가전 제품 쇼핑하기

#pr #japankuru #japanshopping #kojima #biccamera #japaneseskincare #yaman #dji #osmopocket3 #skincaredevice #日本購物 #美容儀 #相機 #雅萌 #日本家電 #일본여행 #면세 #여행꿀팁 #일본쇼핑리스트 #쿠폰 #일본쇼핑 #일본브랜드 #할인 #코지마 #빅카메라 #japankurucoupon

Japanese appliance & electronics shopping with our KOJIMA x BicCamera coupon! 用JAPANKURU的KOJIMA x BicCamera優惠券買這些正好❤️ 코지마 x 빅 카메라 쿠폰으로 일본 가전 제품 쇼핑하기 #pr #japankuru #japanshopping #kojima #biccamera #japaneseskincare #yaman #dji #osmopocket3 #skincaredevice #日本購物 #美容儀 #相機 #雅萌 #日本家電 #일본여행 #면세 #여행꿀팁 #일본쇼핑리스트 #쿠폰 #일본쇼핑 #일본브랜드 #할인 #코지마 #빅카메라 #japankurucoupon

Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~
일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~
#pr #calbee #jagapokkuru #japanesesnacks #japanesefood #japanesesouvenir #japantravel #japantrip #naritaairport #hokkaido #나리타국제공항 #일본여행선물 #흔하지않은기념품 #일본쇼핑리스트 #일본과자추천 #고구마과자 #일본간식추천 #일본면세점쇼핑 #개별포장 #일본감자칩 #도쿄나리타공항면세점 #현지인추천 #일본여행 #일본기념품리스트 #자가포쿠루 #자가피리카

Which snacks make the best Japanese souvenirs?~ Jaga Pirika ~ 일본과자 선물 뭐하지?~자가피리카 편~ #pr #calbee #jagapokkuru #japanesesnacks #japanesefood #japanesesouvenir #japantravel #japantrip #naritaairport #hokkaido #나리타국제공항 #일본여행선물 #흔하지않은기념품 #일본쇼핑리스트 #일본과자추천 #고구마과자 #일본간식추천 #일본면세점쇼핑 #개별포장 #일본감자칩 #도쿄나리타공항면세점 #현지인추천 #일본여행 #일본기념품리스트 #자가포쿠루 #자가피리카

Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment!
#ueno #nikigolf #golfshopping #golfgear #🏌️ #golflife #golf #golftips #golfjapan #jpangolf #golfclub #honma #ameyoko #二木ゴルフ #二木ゴルフアメ横本店 #nikigolfameyoko #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyoshopping #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta #japankuru #pr

Niki Golf offers a huge selection of new and used golf gear in Ueno, Tokyo. Between the weak yen and the shop's willingness to haggle, there's never been a better time for beginners or seasoned experts to pick up some clubs, golf wear, or limited-edition Japanese golf equipment! #ueno #nikigolf #golfshopping #golfgear #🏌️ #golflife #golf #golftips #golfjapan #jpangolf #golfclub #honma #ameyoko #二木ゴルフ #二木ゴルフアメ横本店 #nikigolfameyoko #tokyo #tokyotrip #tokyoshopping #japantrip #japantravel #japanlovers #japan_of_insta #japankuru #pr

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items!
#pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄

Odaiba's DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is home to the famous real-size 20m-tall Unicorn Gundam, and the popular shopping center has even more Gundam on the inside! Check out the Gundam Base Tokyo on the 7th floor for shelves upon shelves of Gunpla, and the Gundam Base Tokyo Annex on the 2nd floor for cool anime merchandise. Both shops have tons of limited-edition items! #pr #odaiba #tokyo #tokyotrip #japantrip #japantravel #PR #divercity #divercitytokyoplaza #tokyoshopping #gundam #unicorngundam #gundambasetokyo #anime #otaku #gunpla #japankuru #오다이바 #다이바시티도쿄 #오다이바건담 #건담 #일본건담 #건프라 #건담베이스도쿄





      VIEW MORE →

      Hokkaido (北海道) is the northernmost of the four main islands that make up Japan. The area is famous for Sapporo Beer, plus brewing and distilling in general, along with fantastic snow festivals and breathtaking national parks. Foodies should look for Hokkaido's famous potatoes, cantaloupe, dairy products, soup curry, and miso ramen!

    • Niki, in south-west Hokkaido, is about 30 minutes from Otaru. The small town is rich with natural resources, fresh water, and clean air, making it a thriving center for fruit farms. Cherries, tomatoes, and grapes are all cultivated in the area, and thanks to a growing local wine industry, it's quickly becoming a food and wine hotspot. Together with the neighboring town of Yoichi, it's a noted area for wine tourism.

    • Niseko is about two hours from New Chitose Airport, in the western part of Hokkaido. It's one of Japan's most noted winter resort areas, and a frequent destination for international visitors. That's all because of the super high-quality powder snow, which wins the hearts of beginners and experts alike, bringing them back for repeat visits. That's not all, though, it's also a great place to enjoy Hokkaido's culinary scene and some beautiful onsen (hot springs).

    • Otaru is in western Hokkaido, about 30 minutes from Sapporo Station. The city thrived around its busy harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to active trade and fishing, and the buildings remaining from that period are still popular attractions, centered around Otaru Canal. With its history as a center of fishing, it's no surprise that the area's fresh sushi is a must-try. Otaru has over 100 sushi shops, quite a few of which are lined up on Sushiya Dori (Sushi Street).


      VIEW MORE →

      Sapporo, in the south-western part of Hokkaido, is the prefecture's political and economic capital. The local New Chitose Airport see arrivals from major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, alongside international flights. Every February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Odori Park―one of the biggest events in Hokkaido. It's also a hotspot for great food, known as a culinary treasure chest, and Sapporo is a destination for ramen, grilled mutton, soup curry, and of course Hokkaido's beloved seafood.

    • Consisting of six prefectures, the Tohoku Region (東北地方) is up in the northeastern part of Japan's main island. It's the source of plenty of the nation's agriculture (which means great food), and packed with beautiful scenery. Explore the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and hot springs!

    • Akita Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, in the northern reaches of Japan's northern Tohoku region. Akita has more officially registered important intangible culture assets than anywhere else in Japan, and to this day visitors can experience traditional culture throughout the prefecture, from the Oga Peninsula's Namahage (registered with UNESCO as a part of Japan's intangible cultural heritage), to the Tohoku top 3 Kanto Festival. Mysterious little spots like the Oyu Stone Circle Site and Ryu no Atama (Dragon's Head) are also worth a visit!


      VIEW MORE →

      Fukushima Prefecture sits at the southern tip of Japan's northern Tohoku region, and is divided into three parts with their own different charms: the Coastal Area (Hama-dori), the Central Area (Naka-dori), and the Aizu Area. There's Aizu-Wakamatsu with its Edo-era history and medieval castles, Oze National Park, Kitakata ramen, and Bandai Ski Resort (with its famous powder snow). Fukushima is a beautiful place to enjoy the vivid colors and sightseeing of Japan's beloved four seasons.


      VIEW MORE →

      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

    • Japan's most densely populated area, the Kanto Region (関東地方) includes 7 prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, which means it also contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. In modern-day Japan, Kanto is the cultural, political, and economic heartland of the country, and each prefecture offers something a little different from its neighbors.

    • Gunma Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo, and in addition to the area's popular natural attractions like Oze Marshland and Fukiware Falls, Gunma also has a number of popular hot springs (Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima)―it's even called an Onsen Kingdom. The prefecture is popular with history buffs and train lovers, thanks to spots like world heritage site Tomioka Silk Mill, the historic Megane-bashi Bridge, and the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway.


      VIEW MORE →

      Tochigi Prefecture's capital is Utsunomiya, known for famous gyoza, and just an hour from Tokyo. The prefecture is full of nature-related sightseeing opportunities year-round, from the blooming of spring flowers to color fall foliage. Tochigi also has plenty of extremely well-known sightseeing destinations, like World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, and Ashikaga Flower Park―famous for expansive wisteria trellises. In recent years the mountain resort town of Nasu has also become a popular excursion, thanks in part to the local imperial villa. Tochigi is a beautiful place to enjoy the world around you.

    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

    • The Chubu Region (中部地方) is located right in the center of Japan's main island, and consists of 9 prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. It's primarily famous for its mountains, as the region contains both Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The ski resorts in Niigata and Nagano also draw visitors from around the world, making it a popular winter destination.

    • Nagano Prefecture's popularity starts with a wealth of historic treasures, like Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, but the highlight might just be the prefecture's natural vistas surrounded by the "Japanese Alps." Nagano's fruit is famous, and there are plenty of places to pick it fresh, and the area is full of hot springs, including Jigokudani Monkey Park―where monkeys take baths as well! Thanks to the construction of the Hokuriku shinkansen line, Nagano is easily reachable from the Tokyo area, adding it to plenty of travel itineraries. And after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, ski resorts like Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are known around the world.

    • Aichi Prefecture sits in the center of the Japanese islands, and its capital city, Nagoya, is a center of politics, commerce, and culture. While Aichi is home to major industry, and is even the birthplace of Toyota cars, it's proximity to the sea and the mountains means it's also a place with beautiful natural scenery, like Saku Island, Koijigahama Beach, Mt. Horaiji. Often used a stage for major battles in Japanese history, Sengoku era commanders like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu left their own footprints on Aichi, and historic buildings like Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle, and those in Meiji Mura are still around to tell the tale.


      VIEW MORE →

      Niigata is a prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, situated right on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and abundant with the gifts of nature. It's known for popular ski resorts such as Echigo-Yuzawa, Japanese national parks, and natural hot spring baths, plus local products like fresh seafood, rice, and sake. Visitors often spend time in the prefectural capital, Niigata City, or venture across the water to Sado Island.


      VIEW MORE →

      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

    • Kansai (関西) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga Prefectures. Kansai contained Japan's ancient capital for hundreds of years, and it's making a comeback as one of the most popular parts of Japan. Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and the deer of Nara are all considered must-sees. Plus, the people of Kansai are especially friendly, making it a fun place to hang out.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Nara Prefecture's important history reaches back to 710, a time now called the Nara era, when it was once capital of Japan. Called "Heijo-kyo" during its time as a capital, it's said that nara was once the end of the silk road, leading it to flourish as a uniquely international region and produce important cultural properties of all kinds. To make the most of each season, travelers head to Nara Park, where the Nara deer who wander freely, or climb Mount Yoshino, a famous cherry blossom spot.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.


      VIEW MORE →

      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.


      VIEW MORE →

      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.


      VIEW MORE →

      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!


      VIEW MORE →

      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.


      VIEW MORE →

      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.


      VIEW MORE →

      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.