Already boasting bragging rights as having the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants as Tokyo defended its title for the eighth-year running in 2014, Japan's many lesser-known attractions for tourists are also finally getting the attention they deserve.
The recently published 'Revised 4th Edition of the Michelin Green Guide Japon', which introduces Japan's top tourist destinations (as opposed to the Red Guide, which rates restaurants and hotels), includes 59 new sites, with 17 of them receiving stars.
The Green Guide selects the best points of interest for each region or country according to a nine-item criteria:
- first impression on the visitor
- number of monuments/museums/activities
- awards & recognition
- intrinsic artistic value/historical significance
- beauty & aesthetic qualities
- authenticity, charm, and unity
- convenience & visitor-friendliness
- quality of reception and visit
Out of those chosen, the elite are rated on a three-star scale, ranging in ascending order from "interesting," "worth a detour," and "worth a trip."
The observatory of the Abeno Harukas, completed in 2014 and the tallest building in Japan, was awarded a three-star rating, while the "View from Mount Misen Observatory" in Hiroshima was upgraded to three-star status in the latest edition. Another point of note is the emergence of Shikoku as a treasure chest of prime tourist attractions, as 23 of the 59 newly introduced destinations are located on the island, with six of them receiving stars.
If you're vacationing in Japan and have some time to spare, why not try some of these newly recognized top destinations of Japan?