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Every year, seven to eight million foreigners make the trip to Japan. But where do they go sightseeing? And, more importantly, do these places come up to scratch? A list of the most impressive sightseeing spots for the year to date, as ranked by foreign tourists, has been released by the popular travel site TripAdvisor. And while you’d think the top spot might go to a beloved and well-known destination like Kyoto or Tokyo, it actually goes to a simple-looking, modern building in the south-west of the country, in Hiroshima Prefecture.

The number one place that foreigners say they’re glad they visited is … The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Located near the infamous Atomic Bomb Dome, it might not be the most traditional nor the most picturesque place in Japan, but it’s definitely unique as the site of one of the most unfathomable events in human history. The exhibits displayed at the museum and the emotions felt as visitors go back to that place in time make a profound mark on people. Despite the tragedy and sadness, or maybe because of it, visitors ranked this as a place that met and exceeded their expectations.

Here are what some foreign visitors had to say about the museum:

“I’ve been three times, and every time I go it makes a big impact on me” (Spain)

“There are no heroes in war. I got the feeling that everybody is a victim. This is the most awesome museum in the world” (Australia)

“To visit Japan without stopping by this museum would be a mistake” (India)

“The displays are shocking but at the same time very significant” (Australia)

“This is a museum worth visiting. You can feel the fear and terror of the sufferers. The exhibits make you wish for peace and hope that this never happens again” (China)

“The exhibits deal with a very sensitive issue but people of all ages should see them. It will make them think profoundly” (Switzerland)

While the number one ranking might be surprising, the other places on the list are a little more in line with most Japanese itineraries. Get to know Japan again with the latest list of satisfying destinations below!

▼ #2: Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto)

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▼ #3: Tōdaiji Temple (Nara)

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▼ #4: Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima)

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▼ #5: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kyoto)

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▼ #6: Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto)

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▼ #7: Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano)

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▼ #8: Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

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▼ #9: Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (Chiba)

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▼ #10: Tsukiji Outdoor market (Tokyo)

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[The Top 30 Destinations]

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima)

2. Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto)

3. Tōdaiji Temple (Nara)

4. Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima)

5.The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kyoto)

6. Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto)

7. Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano)

8. Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

9. Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (Chiba)

10.Tsukiji outdoor market (Tokyo)

11. Hakone Open-Air Museum (Kanagawa)

12. Sensō-ji Temple (Tokyo)

13. Nara Park (Nara)

14. Kurokawa Onsen (Kumamoto)

15.  Sannenzaka Ninenzaka(Kyoto)

16.  Nikkō Tōshō-gū (Tochigi)

17.  Mount Fuji (Shizuoka, Yamanashi Prefecture)

18.  Kenrokuen (Ishikawa)

19.  Eikando (Kyoto)

20. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Okinawa)

21.  Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (Nagasaki)

22.  Hase-dera (Kanagawa)

23.  Sankei-en (Kanagawa)

24.  Meiji Shrine (Tokyo)

25.  Okuno approach (Wakayama Prefecture)

26.  Matsumoto Castle (Nagano)

27.  Kotoku-Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kanagawa)

28.  Chidorigafuchi (Tokyo)

29.  Yanaka (Tokyo)

30.  Sanjusangendo (Kyoto)

Images: Hatena Fotolife Ogura Sansou Ken Box  
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