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Five out of 8 regions in Japan are on Honshu:
Himeji Castle (or Himeji-jo) is the best preserved castle in Japan and a must see for all tourists. Located one hour west of Osaka, it is a beautiful day trip for any visitor to the Kansai area. Himeji Castle, also known as the White Heron Castle, was designated as a UNESCO cultural site in 1993.
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If you only visit one city in Japan, be sure to make it Kyoto. Japan's capital until it was moved to Tokyo in 1868, Kyoto is considered by many to be Japan's most beautiful city. Only Rome lays claim to more designated Unesco World Heritage Sites than this city nestled amongst the mountains of Western Honshu.
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Mount Fuji is one of the best known natural features of Japan and is conveniently located in Chubu region, west of the capital Tokyo. It is 3,776 metres high and the walk up to the summit is tough but require no special climbing skills. Mount Fuji has an exceptionally symmetrical cone which is a recognisable symbol of this East Asian country.
Shirakami-Sanchi (白神山地?, literally white god mountain area) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Honshu. This mountainous, unspoiled expanse of virgin forest straddles both Akita and Aomori Prefectures. Of the entire 1,300 km², a tract covering 169.7 km² was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993. Siebold's beech trees make up a large portion of the forest. The World Heritage Site area has never been opened to human activity or trails other than mountain climbers' paths, and is planned to be protected in this state. Permission is needed from Forest Management to enter the heart of the Shirakami-Sanchi. Fishing requires permission from both the Fishing Cooperative and Forest Management.
The major airports are Narita Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND) near Tokyo and Kansai Airport (KIX) and Osaka International Airport (ITM) near Osaka and Kyoto. The latter is a major domestic airport.
Other airports offering international connections are Nagoya's Chubu Centrair International Airport (NGO) and Hiroshima Airport (HIJ). Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have extensive services, as well as dozens of international airlines.
There are regular ferry services linking Chinese ports, like Tianjin with Kobe on a weekly basis. Chinese Express Line is the major carrier on the Tianjin to Kobe route.
To add, there are also weekly ferries crossing the sea between Shanghai and Kobe and Osaka. The ferry's destination alternates each week between Osaka and Kobe and the journey takes two days. Another line travels weekly as well between Shanghai and Osaka only.
FESCO runs a service from Vostochny Port/Nakhodka in Far Eastern Russia to the ports of Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka.
Business Intour Service operates a line between Fushiki in western Honshu and Vladivostok in Russia, which is where the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow terminates.
Rail is a major form of transport on Honshu. Operated by Japan Railways Group, the services are exceedingly efficient, fast and comfortable and almost without exception represent the most convenient option for travellers.
The Japan Rail Pass, or JR Pass, is a deal devised specifically for visitors to Japan including Honshu. Seven-day, 14-day and 21-day passes will allow unlimited travel on all JR lines and affiliated buses and ferries for the period of the pass. If you planning on travelling by train for even moderate distances, the pass will likely be the cheapest option. The pass is only available to international travellers on a tourist visa and must be purchased overseas. On purchase, you will be issued a Japan Rail Pass Exchange Order, which must be exchanged for a JR Pass at a designated in JR Travel Service Centre in Japan. When you exchange the pass, you need to specify the day you want the period to commence and that day must be within three months of the issue of the Exchange Order.
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