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What are some places in Japan that you think are overrated as tourist attractions?

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I went once to Meiji shrine, and it was kind of a disappointment for me. After hearing so much about it, I found it much less pretty than others like Dazaifu Tenmangu for example. Not worth being quoted more than any other shrines in my opinion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can't think of one off the top of my head. Even the everyday mundane charms me.

I guess I was disappointed by the Imperial Hotel, in Tokyo. I expected all manner of Frank Lloyd Wright wonderment but that era of the hotel is long gone. There was a little exhibition by the lobby but it didn't quite recapture the spirit of the times.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tokyo Station. Nice outside and the ceilings are pretty in two sections although wired up with chicken wire which messes up photos.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of Tokyo. You can the things worth seeing (museums) in about 3 days.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In close up, everything is fine. There is lots of beauty in Japan.

Zoom out and at wide angle, there is a lot of mess. I would not recommend anyone going to Kyoto to expect anything like a European town. It is mostly a grey urban landscape, with beautiful temples and shrines dotted about, and the odd refuge like Gion. Despite some people's best efforts, many traditional houses in Kyoto are still being knocked down to this day. The city had a great opportunity to do something with the station, but just put up the kind of modernist structure you will find in any other town with no architectural heritage.

As often stated on this site, Japan has gone gung-ho to get UNESCO Heritage branding for lots of places, but some of them look of very limited interest to me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Nearly all of the major ones. Kyoto is up there, with its drab provincialness outside the temples, as well Kamakura with its awful traffic, horrendous pedestrian crowding and snooty locals. And don't get me started on Tokyo Disneyland.

Skiing, camping and hiking can be great in Japan, but sightseeing -- no thanks.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

That ridiculous clock tower in Sapporo. Most European towns have something much bigger and more impressive.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Miyajima

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Almost all of them are disappointing, not just in Japan, but around the world. So many people travel who never used to before, any place that becomes a tourist attraction is instantly ruined by the crowds. A beautiful scenic place is spoiled by the noisy crowds and tourist traps, even a happening and vibrant place is spoiled by lowbrow tourists and the types of businesses they bring in.

Yet, there is plenty to enjoy if you just stay away from the well-known tourist attractions. There are endless beautiful pockets of nature in Japan with few people enjoying them (especially on weekdays). Lots of great little towns with local artists, and great little neighborhoods in the cities. I just wander (or drive around) and we always find something memorable.

The only reason most people go to the bigger attractions is to say "me too."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

That ridiculous clock tower in Sapporo. Most European towns have something much bigger and more impressive.

To be fair, its attraction is based on the fact it is so unimpressive. I went to see for myself what is regarded as one of the most unimpressive ‘landmarks’ in Japan. Yep, unimpressive.

Sapporo itself is great in spring. Had a great time there a few years ago in Golden Week.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To be fair, its attraction is based on the fact it is so unimpressive. I went to see for myself what is regarded as one of the most unimpressive ‘landmarks’ in Japan. Yep, unimpressive.

Sapporo itself is great in spring. Had a great time there a few years ago in Golden Week.

I'm not convinced that Japanese people do irony in that way, but I agree that Sapporo is a nice place.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm not convinced that Japanese people do irony in that way

My Japanese coworkers did. They recommended it for that reason.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The only reason most people go to the bigger attractions is to say "me too."

Dunno about that. Personally, I enjoy the more obvious attractions and the lesser known.

I can't complain about tourists flocking to the more popular places because, everyone has their own reason for visiting.

I prefer to take in a place of interest/beauty without the inevitable camera phone etc. For me, it will stay in my mind and I'd rather experience the moment, iyswim.

I count myself very lucky to live here and be able to see all these places, whether some might consider them naff or oversubscribed to.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Miyajima for me too. Tinpot ferry on the way over stuffed with tourists and horrid canned music over the unnecessary loudpeakers. The shrine itself and the view out with the Torii are nice, but close up you have the tourist hordes, the well-tramped paths, little choice of eateries, and the aggressive deer.

There is a cave called Ikura-Do with stalactites, but it has always depressed me over the years whenever I get dragged there. The whole place has been run through with metal walkways and colored lights, most of the filthy brown stalagmites and stalactites have been broken off, and a long modern tunnel has been blasted out to get the tourists moving out and round the back way.

Meiji Jingu and many of the Tokyo parks are tired from the masses of tourists and locals. Not a blade of grass left underfoot. 

Kyoto though is easier to 'see' if you have read the Heike Story etc. Lots of hidden gems for the curious. Just stay away from the in-season big sights there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The UNESCO silk factory has got to be one of the most over-rated. I only went there because I got a free ticket at the hotel I stayed in. It was only half finished. They really were scraping the barrel. When we arrived, the first thing one of my friends said was 'How on earth did this place get on the UNESCO list?!' However, I don't blame them for being this desperate - it's in a barren place, in terms of tourism. It's the only highlight of the railway in that area.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To compare the Sapporo Clock Tower to bigger ones in Europe, which has a long history of clock towers, is unfair. In 1878, when it was built, it was an important milestone for Sapporo. It isn’t just the actual building that is important and interesting, but also the historical background and cultural significance. The same can be said for the Tomioka Silk Mill.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There is nothing else to see in Sapporo, so while you're there you may as well see the clock, but yes, it is very underwhelming.

The imperial palace in Kyoto is quite dull as well - big buildings of a style you have seen elsewhere, filled with tatami mats.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fuji-san.  Nice from far but far from nice.

Kabukicho - too foreigner unfriendly, even with ok spoken Japanese.

Yes, many provincial towns with temples or castles ort other sights are almost all uniformly drab otherwise.

apart from these few, generally attractions are worthwhile.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't bother with Harimaya Bridge in Kochi-city. You can hop across it in three hops.

I seventh the Clock Tower in Sapporo. It's really nothing.

Meh-Oto Rock in Toba/Shima in Mie is just a couple of medium-sized protruding rocks with a rope tied between them.

The Ijinkan in Kobe. A small building with a chicken weather-vane on top.

Aoshima in Miyazaki. An island outcrop that you can walk out to. But that's about it.

I disagree with Miyajima being listed as overrated. It's pretty awesome to see the torii "floating" in the water and walking among a billion deer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto. All Japanese cities are the same badly-zoned, concrete jungles. You need to get away, up into the mountains to see the real beauty Japan has. It's best to avoid anywhere popular with Japanese people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To those who say Miyajima is overrated, try staying overnight on the island. You will not be disappointed. At night the shrine and torii are illuminated until late, and after the daytrippers go home, there's really nobody. Silence except for the sound of waves. Then get up early to see the morning fog turn to gold in the sunrise, the momiji park area was stunning in the early morning.

In Kyoto, most people flock to Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkakuji, Fushimi Inari with all the torii gates. Of those I think Kiyomizu-dera is very overrated. If you want the feeling of giant wooden buildings on a hillside, try Eikando instead, much less crowded (except in momiji season). If you want calm atmosphere, try Chishakuin temple with its great garden and art, between Fushimi Inari and the Gion area.

Kyoto's appeal for me is less the traditional buildings (only a very few streets of them left) but hidden gems and historical surprises hidden in the midst of everyday lifestyle. Find sword notches in Sanjo bridge, gaze at a garden Sen-no-rikyu also loved, in May see the tiny pond filled with iris flowers mentioned in songs and poems for 1000 years, don't forget to look up at the ceiling of Genkoan and Hosen-in temples to see the re-purposed blood-stained floorboards of defeated Fushimi Castle...there's plenty of cool stuff if you do some research.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

None of Japans tourist attractions really appeal to me. I enjoy Japan when I am off the tourist trail.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of Japan's castles are not originals but reproductions, like Osaka Castle. It's a bit disappointing to know that, given the emphasis that many Japanese place on their country's long, unbroken history as an independent political entity. Some Asian countries that experienced centuries or at least decades of Western imperial rule, like India and Vietnam, appear to have a larger quantity of original structures intact from the era before Western imperialism and such structures are also worth visiting. But on the more positive side, I would absolutely recommend Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture--one that is largely an original structure dating from the 16th century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Matsumoto Castle is indeed worthy of a visit.

fwiw, it fell into disrepair in the past and used to lean to one side. It was even up for sale for redevelopment at one point, but was saved thanks to the efforts of concerned individuals. It could easily have been lost like so much of Japan's cultural heritage.

If we are talking stuff you personally think is over-rated, in Nagano I will say the snow monkey park near Shiga Kogen. This became famous from some telephoto shots of monkeys sitting in the onsen in that "Baraka" movie, and now gets hundreds of foreign visitors every day, especially during the ski season. People say the monkeys are "wild" but they sit in a concrete pool where a bloke feeds them. It's basically an open-air zoo. The monkeys are very cute, but almost every artistic photo you see will be in close up hiding the concrete. You can see actual wild monkeys all over Nagano, often with little effort, so there are much better places to observe them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most of Japan's castles are not originals but reproductions, like Osaka Castle.

The problem with Osaka Cstle is, unlike many others that have been rebuilt, no thought or planning went into maintaining some kind of authenticity, as a tourist website notes, 'it's now entirely modern on the inside'. It's about as realistic as a Disney Castle. The obtrusive lift ruins the aesthetic somewhat, you can make it look less of a jarring eyesore, and the interior is just a badly thought out and underwhelming provincial museum. I would never recommend it to a visitor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To those who say Miyajima is overrated, try staying overnight on the island. You will not be disappointed. At night the shrine and torii are illuminated until late, and after the daytrippers go home, there's really nobody. Silence except for the sound of waves. Then get up early to see the morning fog turn to gold in the sunrise, the momiji park area was stunning in the early morning.

Yep. Did the stayover many years ago and it was magical. It was off season as well, which helped.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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