Destinations in Japan

2023-2024 Destinations:

Osaka & Hiroshima

Founded in 1589 as a castle town on the Ōta River delta, Hiroshima is the capital city of Hiroshima prefecture. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Hiroshima rapidly transformed into a major urban center and industrial hub. As of June 1, 2019, the city had an estimated population of 1.2 million people, which is about twice the population of Portland.

The city and the Prefecture of Hiroshima may have been devastated by the atomic bomb over 75 years ago, but today, this site of the destruction with a memorial peace park is one of the top tourist destinations in the entire country as well as the World Cultural Heritage sites, the iconic Itsukushima on Miyajima—the floating shrine with a red gate set in the sea.

Setagaya, Tokyo

Setagaya City, a special ward in Tokyo, is a diverse residential area with an urban village, colleges and universities, historical temples, and Olympic Park.

During the Edo period in the 17th century, 42 villages occupied the area, but the special ward of Setagaya was only founded on March 15, 1947. Today’s Setagaya has the largest population and second largest area of Tokyo’s special wards. As of January 1, 2020, the ward has an estimated population of about 940,000.

Setagaya is home to many trendy coffee shops, book stores, and parks. Its close proximity to central Tokyo, many green spaces, cute shops and surprising Mount Fuji views make the city a popular place to live for locals. The atmosphere of urban Setagaya is much more relaxed and down to earth than other districts around Tokyo.