A huge number of people want to visit Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. They dream to gape at the supermodern skyscrapers of Tokyo and watch the sun rise or set over the majestic Fuji-san, to take a few pictures on the slopes of Honshu or in front of some famous castles, to walk under sakura-trees and watch Kabuki and maybe even attend some tea ceremony in a real pagoda…
But where should this fabulous trip get started? We recommend you to start at the beginning – that is, with getting the Japanese visa first.
Generally, the Japanese visa process is hardly any different from that of Schengen visa. The list of documents required is pretty much the same.
You will need:
- A foreign passport, valid at least 6 months longer than the date of your trip completion, and an additional copy of your identification sheet;
- Photocopies of all the filled-in pages of your country’s passport;
- A completed form with two facial recognitions of yours, duplicated;
- An income certificate from the place of work (with the statement over the last 6 months);
- A bank statement confirming the availability of funds in your account (in case of being financed, you need a letter from your sponsor);
- If you are a private entrepreneur, don’t forget to photocopy the certificate of registration; when being a student or a schoolchild, you need a copy of your student or school card;
- A hotel booking confirmation and plane tickets.
Your visa will be ready within 7 working days following the document submission – but note that you should make an appointment beforehand. The documents can be submitted on any day except weekends. The visa will cost you $50.
However, let’s imagine that you are the proud visa owner. You are already in a plane, waiting for the journey to start. Why not dream a little bit and decide where you would like to go first?
What about visiting the famous Japanese volcanoes? Wouldn’t you like that?
So, let’s start with a brief overview of Japanese volcanoes covering their peculiarities and the most remarkable features. Japan has more than 30 volcanoes in total, both active and dormant. It is amazing how these tiny islands could manage to host such a huge number of volcanoes; together with the mountainous terrain and changeable climate, they have become the country’s calling card. The majority of them are inactive nowadays, but this can change at any moment – these fire-breathing mountains are moody and unpredictable creatures.
For instance, experts predict the possible resurgence of Kirishimayama volcano already this year, more precisely its mount Shimmoe. The mount has been active since the autumn of 2017 and is about to reach the peak of its activity.
Besides that, Japan has several volcanoes that have recently displayed activity. This is what we are going to tell you about in more detail.
One of them is Akan Volcanic Complex on the island of Hokkaido which is famous for its powerful volcanic ash clouds in the autumn of 2008. The clouds were nearly as high as 2,000 meters.
Next comes the complex volcano Asama on the island of Honshu, which has repeatedly acted as a real natural catastrophe for the local population. In the 18th century its eruption killed more than 10,000 people and about 50 towns and villages; more recently, in the winter of 2009, the resurgent volcano covered half of Tokyo with ash in just one night. Every news outlet would speak of this disaster then.
Asama’s neighbor is the second largest Japanese volcano, Ontake. Its height is 3,067 meters, and tourists adore walking in the woods that cover its slopes. It is interesting that until nearly the very end of the last century Ontake had been considered extinct; however, in the year 1979 it displayed a series of activities which resulted in emitting more than 200,000 tons of ash in the atmosphere!
Another active volcano of Japan is Mount Aso which is located in Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. Being a caldera, Aso is a giant among volcanoes. Its hollow is much bigger than an ordinary crater and has steep slopes and a flat smooth bottom. The height of Aso exceeds 1,500 meters, and its diameter is 24×18 kilometers.
It should be noted that Mount Aso is probably one of the most active Japanese volcanoes. The number of its eruptions over the last 1,500 years is more than 165.
However, the major part of volcanoes on Japanese islands is considered extinct. Still, despite this fact, they deserve your close attention. Just think of the double volcano Aogashima, a tiny isolated island with marvelous landscapes in 350 kilometers from Tokyo, or the notorious volcano Mt Mihara on the island of Izu Oshima. According to the tales of locals, it used to be the favorite suicide site of those who agonized over unrequited love. And of course, we cannot overlook Mt Fuji which is the symbol of Japan and one of its most famous attributes. By the way, this mountain is the private property of Shintoists and belongs to the great Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine.
Generally, it is no wonder that such abundance of volcanoes has earned them a major place in Japanese traditions and beliefs. It is but natural that myths of ancient Japan feature Kagu-tsuchi, god of fire and volcanoes, and the “fire shade”, Hoori, born in the chamber embraced with flames.
To crown it all, we are going to give you some tips as to how to generate a perfect itinerary. We highly recommend you to start with Tokyo; prepare for several days of sightseeing, since Tokyo is the proud owner of an Imperial Palace, Tokyo’s National Museum, Hamarikyu Gardens, Fuji-san and a bunch of various entertainments. Luckily, it is here on Honshu that the majority of volcanoes, both dormant and active, are located, so you can see them without having to leave the island – if you have such a wish, of course. However, you can also travel to the neighboring Hokkaido or Kyushu, if desired.
We wish you a fascinating, impressive and yet a safe journey to the land of the rising sun!