It's easy to see why this stunning Iwate prefecture beach was named "Jodogahama," or Pure Land.
Being an island nation, Japan's beach offerings are just as impressive as its skyscrapers and bullet trains.
In the north of Japan's main island, Jodogahama Beach (Pure Land in English) is a tranquil hidden beach with crystal-clear water and stark white rocks.
If you prefer softer (and darker) sand, Ibusuki Beach is your dream destination. The subtropical beach is famed for a unique activity -- sand bathing, or suna-mushi.
For island hoppers, you can check out a series of 260 tiny pine tree-covered islands in Matsushima.
Even macaques in Japan know how to enjoy an onsen.
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For anyone who hasn't been to a Japanese onsen, take note: Nudity isn't just the norm. It's the rule.
The word "onsen" refers to Japan's natural hot springs but it also can represent facilities like spas and inns that pipe the waters into their own bathing areas.
Though thousands of onsen exist throughout the country, Beppu is Japan's hot spring capital -- and for good reason. It's home to more than 2,500 hot springs and is the world's second-largest source of thermal spring water.
For travelers with ink, however, stripping down at a Japanese onsen can get tricky as many ban tattoos, which have been associated with yakuza gangs.
Fortunately, there's Tattoo-Friendly, a website featuring properties that allow ink. Users can narrow down the search by choosing the type of facility they want to visit -- gym, pool, hotel-and-ryokan (inn) or sento (public baths).
Each listed property includes a brief description of the place and its amenities, as well its specific policies on tattoos.
Every spring, Japanese celebrate cherry blossoms by gathering and picnicking at parks while admiring the pink blossoms.
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For just a few weeks every spring, Japan celebrates an annual ritual known as hanami: stopping to view and appreciate the beautiful spring blossoms.
It's so popular the Japan Weather Association's annual sakura (cherry blossom) forecast is broadcast live on TV, while the Japan National Tourism Organization has a regularly updated timetable of cherry blossoms predictions on their website.
A hike along the Kumano Kodo trail is a Wakayama highlight.
Being a mountainous nation, trekking is an extremely popular Japan activity.
For a spiritual journey, try Kumano Kodo, a multiday pilgrimage across Wakayama prefecture -- fueled by great food, cute rural villages and rich culture along the way. More than a thousand years ago, imperial leaders and aristocrats made their way to the main Kumano Kodo shrines through a network of hikes across the island. At the end of the hike we recommend spending the night at a temple in the mountaintop town of Koyasan, the center of Shingon Buddhism.
Here, ancient cedar forests share space with historic pagodas, paved roads, restaurants, schools, cafes and souvenir shops.
Japan excels at striking the right balance between tradition and modernity, leading the way in technological advances while also embracing its past, whether it's architecture, art, fashion, food or sports.
Here are a few experiences that will give you a taste for Japan's traditional side.
Stay in a ryokan
Nishimuraya Honkan is a seventh-generation ryokan in Hyogo prefecture.
Looking for that classic Japanese inn experience, complete with tatami floors, onsen and sliding doors?
Staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese guesthouse, is the way to go. Catering to all budgets, they can be found throughout Japan -- most commonly in the countryside outside of urban centers.
Guests are encouraged to wear yukata (house kimonos) and socks, while traditional Japanese meals are prepared in-house.
To make it, green tea leaves, grown in the shade, are dried and ground into a fine powder. This allows the tea to retain its nutrients. During the ceremony, which focuses on the rituals and mental states achieved in the process, the powder is whisked with hot water in a small bowl until a slight foam appears.
The top place to experience Japan's matcha tea ceremony -- or just enjoy a few cups of the precious drink -- is Kyoto. There are plenty of tea making classes and demonstrations available in English and other languages.
It can take up to two years to make a high-end kimono.
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Japan's most beautiful traditional attire, kimonos are undeniably an expensive souvenir to bring home. One reason for their hefty price tag is the painstakingly detailed process that goes into making them.
Another reputable kimono-making company is Okaju in Kyoto, founded in 1855 and now helmed by the fourth generation Shigeo Okajima.
If you'd simply like to don one during your Japan visit, there are a number of rental companies throughout Kyoto.
Prefer to appreciate these beautiful garments from afar? Kyoto's Gion district is where travelers can view graceful geishas, traditional Japanese entertainers, walking down the street in their kimonos.