There's a reason why Japan tops the list as one of the popular travel destinations in the world year after year, seemingly immune to changing trends. In fact, there are many, many reasons for this: the iconic island nation possesses everything any type of traveler could want, from a rich and renowned food culture to unique urban and natural landscapes; and from centuries-old architecture to an entertainingly quirky pop culture.

The mega-metropolis of Tokyo alone is home to the world's most Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as to 28 million people – making it the world's most populous city. The streets of Harajuku and Shibuya crossing are iconic sights that have been mused over in countless movies and literary works, but nothing beats feeling the energy of this urban gem in person.

280 miles to the west, the traditional Japan you've always imagined comes to life in Kyoto. Geishas walk past 17th-century teahouses in Gion and cherry blossoms fall like snow over Zen rock gardens – and no trip would be complete without biking through the blocks and blocks of temples spread throughout the city.

Regardless of which side of the country you choose to land in, the convergence between past traditions and futuristic innovation means that the Japan of today is never boring – and we've got the photos to prove it.

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