With the world on lockdown and travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, many of us are grounded at home for the foreseeable future. We can still explore virtually though, and can now enjoy a collection of virtual tours of 20 of Japan's top attractions created using Google Maps and Street View.

Main tower of the Himeji Castle in Japan
Viewers can check out the recently renovated Himeji Castle © Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock

Curated by JRPass, the collection of tours will see viewers viewing the sakura, Japan's iconic cherry blossoms, and marvelling at the sunrise from the top of Mt Fuji. As an added bonus, one person will receive a cash reward if their review of one of the virtual tours is chosen as part of a social media competition.

Visitors can check out the recently renovated Himeji Castle, which is considered to be one of Japan's most beautiful castles, take a luxurious train ride, and attend the Saga Balloon Festival. Other experiences include taking a visit to a beautiful zen garden at the Adachi Museum of Art, and virtually walking through Tokyo's iconic Shibuya Crossing, where 2500 people usually cross at once. Happily this time they won't have to worry about social distancing.

The Japanese garden at the Adachi Museum of Art in the Shimane Prefecture
The Japanese garden at the Adachi Museum of Art © Takamex/Shutterstock

Candidates interested in being chosen to be that the company is calling its "virtual travel tester" should post a throwback photo of themselves on holiday on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #JapanVirtualTravel. They should share their review of at least one of the virtual travel locations from JRPass, and follow and tag @JRPass in the post. The successful applicant will be selected based on their review at the end of the application period, and will receive £200 (€223).

Chureito Pagoda with Sakura and Mt. Fuji in the background
Visitors can explore virtually from the top of Mt Fuji © Bule Sky Studio/Shutterstock

For the full virtual travel experience, see the JRPass blog post on the locations here.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

You might also like:

Virtually hike the Appalachian Trail using this app
6 steps to stargazing from home

Explore related stories

Awa-odori dance during the Kagurazaka Matsuri (summer festival). Participants form a procession to perform a graceful traditional Japanese dance that originated in Tokushi

Art and Culture

5 destinations locals want you to visit in Japan

Jul 12, 2024 • 6 min read