Where to go in Honshu
List of regions
You needn't travel far from Tokyo's neon-hazed streets to escape the world's ultimate metropolis and uncover a softer side to Japan. The quiet mountain town of Nikko, the seaside setting of tranquil Kamakura and the springtime blossoms of Mito's many plum trees are just some of the highlights.
Hakone is well loved for two attractions in particular - the iconic view of sacred, symmetrical Mount Fuji seen across Lake Ashi, and its high concentration of bubbling onsen (hot springs).
As the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years, Kyoto is filled with a wealth of cultural treasures - among them 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines.
Japan's alpine backbone is all forested mountains and steaming onsen (hot springs) extending across much of central Honshu, a landscape that is particularly captivating in autumn when the koyo (colourful leaves) turn to shades of russet and gold.
The religious significance of Mount Koya stretches back to the 9th century when a monastic retreat was established on the mountain for the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism.
Magnificent temples and works of art are among the cultural treasures to be seen in Nara, a compact city that was the nation's capital before Kyoto came into the ascendancy in the 8th century.
A chance to visit Koraku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, is what brings most people to the capital of Okayama Prefecture.
Hiroshima, western Honshu's largest city, needs little introduction, synonymous as it is with the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city in August 1945.