Travel ideas for Japan - unique sights, worth Guinness records

Steel Dragon 2000

From the series “The Most Thrilling Roller Coasters in the World”
The longest roller coaster in the world - Steel Dragon 2000 - can be found in the Japanese city of Nagashima, within the leisure park Nagashima Spa Land. The exact length of the track of Steel Dragon is 2,478.99 meters and the maximum height of the structure is 97 meters. More than US$52 million were invested in the construction; a significant portion of these funds was spent on security of the ride. The fact is that the park is located in a seismic zone, so sponsors of this unique rollercoaster ride were trying to make it more resistant to earthquakes.
It is safe to say that Steel Dragon 2000 is one of the most emblematic rides on the planet. It was opened in 2000 - a year of the dragon on the eastern calendar. The roller coaster really resembles a back of a huge dragon; the ride looks very impressive. The maximum speed that can be developed by carriages with passengers is 150 km/h. Brave ones are offered to overcome more than ten steep ups and downs at impressive speed. The steel dragon crest is not for the faint hearted. ... Complete sights collection


From the series “The Scariest Mines in the World”
Kamioka mine is situated in the deserted village of the same name. The quarry was founded in the early 19th century on a desert island near Kyushu. Over a hundred years ago scientists have discovered rich deposits of cadmium ore, which was the reason for constructing large-scale mines. Mining was carried out until the 1980s. After the closing of industrial production of ore, Kamioka became a deserted village, and large-scale mines were rendered unnecessary.
A few years after the closing, there was opened a small research laboratory conducting research of neutrino, but most of the underground labyrinths still lay in ruins. For many years, large-scale underground structures have being attracting attention of tourists, as walking all around will certainly bring a lot of experience. Mines are located at a depth of more than kilometer, some of their grounds are flooded.
Dripping water and rusty rails used for transporting ore a few years ago give these places very mysterious and sinister look. Shadows from abandoned locomotives and drilling machines add some fear. Some land mines look quite well-organized, while others are embraced with criss-crossing networks of rusty floors and partially inundated with stones from crumbling walls. In the middle of the last century, mining camp residents began to suffer from diseases unknown to science. As it turned out later, their cause became vapors of cadmium salts, which over the years of production ore have been soaked the earth of the island. Today entrance to the village Kamioka is officially closed, but that doesn’t bother hundreds of curious tourists. ... Complete sights collection

Sky Tree

From the series “The Highest Buildings in the World”
Tokyo has the famous TV tower with an original and symbolic name, Sky Tree. Height of the building is 634 meters; the name of the unique architectural masterpiece was chosen by ordinary people via online voting. Construction of the tower has begun in 2008, and already 29 February 2012 it was completed. According to rough estimates, the conditional speed of construction was 10 meters per week.
In addition to the main facilities, TV and radio, the tower has a wealth of other features. It’s home to three hundred boutiques, popular aquarium and theater, as well as a planetarium and numerous restaurants. The tower is equipped with four observation sites, which are located at a height of 340, 345, 350 and 451 meters respectively.
Construction of the new tower has become a real national event for Tokyo. During work, locals tried to help the workers involved in skyscraper erection in every possible way. Construction of the tower literally didn’t stop for a minute; every weekend there have been hundreds of people gathered to cheer on the builders and to thank them. Choosing a name for TV tower also became an incredibly responsible and complex undertaking; originally there were about 18,500 titles to consider. Since its opening, Sky Tree became the largest TV tower in the world. It’s unique in all respects and is sure to be an incredibly attractive entertainment complex. ... Complete sights collection


From the series “Famous Sunken Towns”
Not all great discoveries are fruits of scientist’s work. Diving coach Kihachiro Arataki from Japan has found one of the oldest flooded cities on the planet, Yonaguni. It’s located in close proximity to the island of the same name at a depth of 27 meters. The historical artifact discovered by the diver is a large monolithic stone building, which has survived for thousands of years and has retained all of its unique features.
The enormous stone monument consists of a flat platform covered with elaborate ornament, perfectly flat steps and terraces of unusual shapes. After a large-scale study, scientists were able to specify layout of structures and the approximate age of construction, which is at least 3,000 years. Many other interesting objects, including sculptures made of stone that resemble animal figures, were found next to the building.
A detailed study of a monolithic building has discovered a lot of interesting items; one of the upper terraces contains a real swimming pool carved in stone. Skeptical researchers have tried to prove the modern origin of the natural wonder in the underwater city, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Uncommon form of construction, as well as beautiful murals on the walls and symbols unknown to modern science confirm the existence of a powerful nation, which had been flooded thousands of years ago under the onslaught of the elements. ... Complete sights collection


From the series “The Most Impressive Abandoned Cities on the Planet”
There are many abandoned cities in Japan. The most visited one is the town of Yashima. It has been built near the major religious site - the Shikoku monastery which attracts pilgrims from all over the world year after year. Local residents, inspired by a huge number of tourists visiting the region, decided to build here a luxury resort town. Several hotels were built in no time, gorgeous parks and an oceanarium were established.
The town of Yashima acquired its name after the Yashima Mountain. It is located on one of the mountain’s slopes. Enormous investments in the development of the resort were ineffective. The flow of tourists to the Holy site remained the same while absolutely nobody was interested in the modern resort. Yashima today is a complex of dilapidated buildings. Amazing, but after its desolation, the city began to attract a lot more visitors.
Some elements of its infrastructure are well preserved. You can see gift shops with numerous souvenirs inside in city streets. Dilapidated wooden houses with colourful plates, rickety mailboxes, overgrown parks and a forgotten tram in a depot – the abandoned city does not seem sad and frightening at all. It seems that people, who were so quick to leave their homes, may be back any moment. ... Complete sights collection


From the series “The Most Impressive Abandoned Cities on the Planet”
Gunkanjima is a Japanese abandoned city-island with rich industrial past, known for its undersea coal mines. In 1890 substantial deposits of coal were discovered on the seabed near to the island. In the same year Mitsubishi company purchased the island and began the resource development. In 1916 the first house for the workers was built there. Later Gunkanjima housed thousands of workers in its heyday.
The island reached a peak population of 5259 in the middle of the 20th century. In the early 60s of the last century coal mining declined and in 1974 the last mine was closed. More than 30 high-rise apartment buildings once occupied by workers and families survived so far.
The tiny island has had several dozen shops, a school and a hospital. There has been even a cemetery in the city. Several decades Hashima Island commonly called Gunkanjima was the most densely populated place in the world. Currently entering the territory is illegal but for persistent photographers and tourists no taboos exist. Upon the initiative of local authorities Gunkanjima has been proposed to the UNESCO World Heritage list, but this request received no response. ... Complete sights collection

Seikan tunnel

From the series “The Greatest Tunnels in the World”
Railway tunnels are of no less significance to travellers. Japan is famous for its longest undersea tunnel in the world named Seikan. The Seikan Tunnel is 53850 metres long which makes travelling underground by train incredibly interesting. Seikan is an undersea tunnel. Its construction began in 1946 in order to connect Japan’s main island of Honshu with the island of Hokkaido.
It took more than 40 years to build the enormous underground passage. The tunnel was opened on 13 March 1988. It required tremendous efforts and more than 3, 5 billion dollars to construct. The Seikan tunnel is a unique-architecture object although its construction was complete more than 20 years ago.
The Seikan descends to a depth of 240 metres. More than 2 million people use it annually. However, modern equipment systems are failing to provide complete leakproofness. The tunnel is constantly leaking and there exists a special system of pumps for pumping water. Since there is a probability of earthquakes the tunnel has been equipped with seismological detectors which record the slightest fluctuations in the earth. The Seikan tunnel also includes special platforms for emergency stops and shelters fully equipped with medical supplies and food. ... Complete sights collection

Zhongnanshan tunnel

From the series “The Greatest Tunnels in the World”
Japanese road tunnel Zhongnanshan can really be called a product of design art and architecture. It has a substantial length of more than 18000 metres and a unique design. The tunnel’s lighting system imitates rays of lights and numerous flower, lawn and plants compositions in turn are fashionable elements of decoration.
All this looks incredibly attractive and has been created to reduce eye strain and to keep drivers alert.
The Zhongnanshan tunnel passes through the Qinling mountains. It was opened in January 2007. It is Asia’s longest road tunnel and the world’s largest in terms of design and construction scale. Tunnel passage has long become a favourite form of entertainment among those tourists who’s visiting the province of Shaanxi. ... Complete sights collection

Dai-Shimizu tunnel

From the series “The Greatest Tunnels in the World”
Japan is truly the world leader in the number and diversity of tunnels. Dai-Shimizu railway tunnel deserves particular attention among them. The tunnel runs between the cities of Tokyo and Niigata, its length is 22200 metres. The first train passed through the tunnel in 1982. It’s hard to imagine but thanks to the Jōetsu high-speed express the locals have got an opportunity to get from one city to another three hours faster than before.
During the construction there was a great disaster - a serious fire which resulted in the loss of 16 workers. After this accident the superstitious Japanese wanted to end the project as they were concerned about new troubles that the unfavourable place with a bad reputation could bring.
However, the tunnel has been completed. Today it is an essential part of the country's transport infrastructure. There has been also a pleasant event related to the history of Dai-Shimizu establishment. Paving the underground passage, workers have discovered a unique mineral spring. Its development began immediately. Rich in minerals healing water is now available for guests of the country. It is sold in many nearby local stores. ... Complete sights collection

Aso Minami Route

From the series “The Most Dangerous Railroads in the World”
The Minamiaso railway crossing lies in Japan. It can be easilly called the most feared and dangerous in the world. Part of the rail lines passes across the high iron bridge whose fragile structure seems totally unreliable at first sight. The bridge is rather narrow and unfenced and one wrong move of the train driver seems to be enough for the train to break downwards. The railway bridge isn’t the only danger that expects passengers.
The train track of the Aso Minami route lies close to live volcanos along with mount Aso, Japan’s biggest active volcano. Nobody knows when the next eruption is coming, that’s why there is no guarantee that a train with passangers will not appear at the foot of the volcano. If you don’t think about all the dangers too hard, the landscapes seen from the window will seem fantastic. Green hills covered with a dense thicket alternate with ravines and rapid rivers. After the volcanic eruption the burnt landscape looks less romantic. Forests look frightening and oppressive. ... Complete sights collection
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Trip ideas for regions of Japan

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