Aksaka Palace Photo: iStock/ Agnesstreet

5 places to visit in Japan if you can’t go to Europe

By Whitney Hubbell

Of the 10 most visited countries by international tourist arrivals (at least, according to pre-coronavirus pandemic data), five are in Europe: France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK, respectively. Given these destinations’ rich histories and cultures, it is easy to understand why they appeal to a diverse array of tourists.

But flying to Europe is expensive and purchasing a ticket needs to be justified by spending enough time there. Sometimes you may want a small taste of European culture without actually doing much travel. Or maybe you call a country in Europe home and you’re itching to visit. Luckily, several places in Japan have been designed to provide a European atmosphere.

Here are five places you can visit in Japan if you can’t (or don’t) want to go all the way to Europe.

1. Huis Ten Bosch (Nagasaki)

The tulips are popular at Huis Ten Bosch. Photo: iStock: yktr

Craving a taste of the Netherlands? Arguably the most famous Europe-like destination in Japan is Huis Ten Bosch, a recreation of a Dutch town that also happens to be Japan’s largest theme park. The park is named after one of the residences of the Dutch royal family. However, it is basically a small city the size of Monaco.

The idea may seem kitschy, but it is a beautiful park with windmills and Dutch-style architecture, cobblestone streets and a canal leading to the ocean.

Visitors on a day trip can enjoy viewing seasonal flowers, eating at one of the park’s many restaurants and watching a musical show. Staying the night in the park is also possible and visitors can choose from several European-style hotels and see the nighttime illuminations.

Huis Ten Bosch - Map

Admission: ¥7,000 for a one-day park ticket

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Click here to read more.

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Out of these, I have only visited Huis Ten Bosch, but it was always a relaxing treat every time I went there. Beautiful area and their Kingdom of Light illuminations were fantastic too. For One Piece fans, they also have that pirate ship mini cruise.

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Huis Ten Bosch? When Nagasaki is so close? I’ve been there 4 times by myself or with family. I never tire of the atmosphere.

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Craving a taste of the Netherlands?

Certainly am. Hope there's an authentic Dutch coffee shop in it.

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