Photo/IllutrationThe approach to Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto is flooded with foreign visitors. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

West is best for tourist attractions in Japan, according to international users of TripAdvisor, with eight of the top 10 sightseeing spots lying on the western side of the archipelago.

TripAdvisor, one of the world's largest travel websites, on June 12 published its annual list of the top 30 tourist draws for foreign travelers based on visitor feedback posted in languages other than Japanese.

Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto, renowned for a large number of vermilion “torii” gates in its grounds, tops the list for the fifth year in a row.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, including the Atomic Bomb Dome and the peace memorial museum, ranked second, followed by the Itsukushimajinja shrine, famous for its “floating” gate on the shore of the Miyajima district in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, completing a western Japan top three.

Other tourist magnets in western Japan include Todaiji temple in Nara in fourth place, and Okunoin temple on Mount Koyasan in Koya, Wakayama Prefecture, in seventh. Many other destinations ranked between 11th and 30th positions are also on the western side of the nation.

Six of the top 30 spots are in Tokyo, headed by fifth-placed Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, where French, British and Japanese-style scenic gardens pull in crowds.

By prefecture, Kyoto leads the pack, accounting for seven spots in the top 30 including Kinkakuji temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, in eighth position and Sanjusangendo temple in 11th place.

The popularity of the top-rated destinations is thought to have a trickle-down effect on other lesser-known attractions nearby, as many tourists are posting questions on TripAdvisor’s discussion pages seeking extra destinations to experience on day-trips from well-known spots.

“Probably, an increasing number of people are making little side trips when visiting popular tourist magnets,” said a TripAdvisor representative.

The top 30 list was based on the number of comments and their content posted on the TripAdvisor website from April 2017 to March 2018 and through the company's own analysis of the data.