Written by Hilary Keyes
See Japan From Your Computer: MATCHA's Google Street View Series
Isn't it nice to see what a place is like before you travel? With MATCHA's Google Street View series of articles you can enjoy visiting places in Japan that are difficult to reach physically.
It goes without saying that you want to know a bit about a place before you travel there; showing up without being prepared can lead to disasters when on vacation. Here at MATCHA we strive to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest sightseeing places all across Japan. With that in mind, by harnessing the power of Google Street View, we have and will continue to bring you a surefire way to preview what traveling in Japan is like before even setting foot in an airport.
Running from the north to south, here are all the articles featuring Google Street View on MATCHA. This list will be updated every month, so please check back often if you'd like to see more of the sights in Japan.
The northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido is a snowy wonderland in winter and a cool, flower-filled paradise in the spring and summer. Take a look at the gorgeous snowy landscape here!
Kantō is made up of Tokyo, as well as Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures.
Kofun were tombs made by powerful families in ancient Japan and at Saitama's Sakitama Kofun Park you can see how cities were clustered in old Japan as well as reproductions of artifacts typically found in these keyhole-shaped mounds.
Fans of cafe culture will love each of these unique spots in Tokyo where you can relax in a hammock, be surrounded by charming stationery items or maybe even solve a murder case.
The Hokuriku region is comprised of the prefectures Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui and Nagano.
Do you like skiing? How about snowboarding? In Nagano, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to winter sports. And after a hard day on the slopes, there are plenty of hot springs to relax in.
Aichi, Shizuoka and Gifu prefecture make up the Tōkai region.
Summers in Japan are hot, but near the base of Mount Fuji you can find three incredible natural caverns that will both cool you right down and enchant you with the beauty of the underground landscape. These caves are perfect for hikers who are working up to climbing Mount Fuji.
Once you've gotten your gear all packed and are physically and mentally prepared, climbing Mount Fuji will leave you breathless, thanks to its beauty of course.
From time immemorial mountains have been worshiped in Japan as sacred homes of the divine, and these three mountains are the most revered of them all. Visiting all three at once would be fairly difficult, but think of this article as a guide to planning your mountaineering adventures in Japan.
The second largest region of Japan, the Kansai area is made up of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga and Wakayama prefectures.
Perhaps one of the most photographed shrines in all of Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine and its 1000 Shrine Gates were ranked first on Trip Advisor’s Popular Japanese Tourist Spots for Overseas Travelers (during the years 2014 and 2015).
Just when you think you have seen absolutely everything that you can in Kyoto, another side to this historical capital appears. Getting away from the downtown with its temples and shrines, Kyoto's seaside is a stunning and relaxing place to take a break.
Perhaps one of the best ways to reduce the costs that can accumulate while traveling is to stay in a guesthouse. Located throughout Kyoto's downtown, these six guesthouses make it possible for their guests to truly immerse themselves in the local culture.
Have you ever ridden on a bullet train before? Would you like to see more about these high-speed trains and their impact on Japan? Only in Kobe can you get up close and see just what makes these amazing trains so speedy.
Ah, instant rāmen, the staple food of busy university and college students the world over. Learn about the fascinating history of this delicious, speedy treat in Osaka.
On the far west of Japan you will find the Chūgoku region: Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Okayama, Shimane and Tottori prefectures.
Off-limits to humans, the interior of Hiroshima's Atomic Bomb Dome was mapped out via Google Street View, making this the only way for you to see the ruins. You will surely want to know more about this memorial to world peace after seeing these sights.
Japan has a desert all of its own - and a museum with amazing art made entirely from sand! Tottori prefecture's Sand Museum is a must-see place for history and art fans alike.
In the not-too distant past, Japan was the world's source of high-quality raw and processed silver. The Iwami Silver Mine in Shimane is a relic of this industrial past that has been partially reclaimed by nature, and is a site that many find both beautiful and inspiring.
Going further to the south you will reach the Kyushu area, which is comprised of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.
Anime and action movie fans will probably recognize this spot right away. Gunkanjima is an abandoned coal-mining center found off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture that was registered as a World Heritage site in July of 2015.
The Taio Gold Mine in Oita operated from the late 1890s until the early 1970s and has been re-purposed into a museum where you can see what life was like during the mine's heyday.
A tropical island, Okinawa is home to the Ryūkyū culture, gorgeous beaches, whale sharks, sea turtles and much, much more. Summer starts the earliest of all here in Okinawa, with beach weather beginning in April on the southern side of the island. If you would like to learn more about Shuri Castle, Okinawa's native Ryūkyū culture or have an amazing picnic on the beach, Okinawa is the place for you.
From climbing Mount Fuji to visiting otherwise unreachable places, Google Street View makes it possible in instant. Follow our series of articles and enjoy exploring sights and places of Japan that are rarely featured on travel guides!