Once you’ve decided to explore Japan, how do you choose which major cities in Japan to see? The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer; it really depends on the preferences of each individual traveler.

Do you enjoy a high-tech urban atmosphere with crowds of people or quiet solitude among nature? Would you rather shop for the hottest trends or visit historical spots? Swim among tropical fish or feed crackers to friendly deer?

Keep reading to find the perfect selection of major cities in Japan for your next travel adventure!

Top image credit: Suchart Boonyavech / Shutterstock.com

10 Major cities in Japan

1. Sapporo

Of the major cities in Japan, Sapporo, in Hokkaido Prefecture, is Japan’s northernmost major city and the nation’s fifth-largest overall. The chilly climate makes it the ideal destination for people who enjoy the winter season.

The city is the site of the famous Sapporo Snow Festival, an event held each February showcasing an array of marvelous ice and snow sculptures that is visited by about 2 million people each year!

Athletic types can visit the Sapporo Winter Sports Museum, which showcases the legacy of the 1972 Winter Olympics, or they can hit the slopes, skiing or snowboarding in one of the ski resorts near Sapporo. And of course, not to be missed is Sapporo’s delectable seafood cuisine, revered throughout Japan!

Visiting Sapporo: 9 Essentials to Know Before Traveling to Japan’s Northern Capital

2. Tokyo

Tokyo inarguably is Japan’s most well-known city. The Tokyo Metropolis is made up of 23 Special Wards, home to upwards of 35 million people. It is also known for having the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, known as Shibuya Scramble Crossing, and what many would say is the busiest train station in the world in Shinjuku.

Tokyo also is the center of otaku culture in Akihabara with a plethora of games, anime, and electronics shops; while the Harajuku and Shibuya districts are known worldwide for their contributions to fashion and kawaii (cute) culture.

However, traditional culture is still very much alive in Tokyo, with a number of shrines and temples throughout the city as in its historical Asakusa area, festivals held throughout the year, and also the world’s largest sumo stadium.

What to Do in Tokyo For a Day: 8 Must-Visit Spots from Asakusa to Roppongi

3. Yokohama

Yokohama lies south of Tokyo, on the scenic western coast of Tokyo Bay. It is known for being Japan’s first port that officially opened to foreign trade in 1859. It’s not a stretch to say that international influences have shaped Yokohama’s character, from the city’s signature brick architecture to the famous Yokohama Chinatown that was formed by Chine…

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