With Japan’s borders currently being closed to tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic, countless people have had their Japan travel plans cancelled with no certain resumption in sight.

In the meantime, thanks to the wealth of content that we now have over the internet, there’s no lack of ways to virtually transport yourself to Japan. Here are 5 Instagram accounts you can follow to tide things over until we’re all safe to travel again.

National Parks of Japan

The National Parks of Japan Instagram account (@nationalpark_japan) is a wonderful showcase of the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes. From pure white frozen forests to seaside cliffs and lush green fields, they often feature awe-inspiring scenes from some of the parts of Japan that will make you go, “I didn’t know Japan had a place like that!”

The account is run by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). New photos are added regularly, and their captions faithfully specify where each photo was taken, making it easier to bookmark where you should plan to go to next post-travel ban.

Visit Japan

Visit Japan (@visitjapanjp) is another Instagram account officially run by the JNTO. The shots featured in the account are mostly taken by Japanese photographers, but unlike the National Parks account, Visit Japan covers a wider scope of subjects, like traditional events and famous landmarks.

Aside from the stunningly captured photos, the main appeal of this account are the interesting tidbits of information they provide in the captions. The writing style is similar to the plaques you might find in tourist spots or museums, so you’re always learning something new with each new post.

Ise Jingu

Ise Jingu’s Instagram account (@isejingu.official) can be viewed as its own kind of documentary. It lets us take a peek into the lives of Shinto priests residing in one of Japan’s historical shrine complexes — the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture — something that even those living in Japan don’t get to experience too much of.

Although there isn’t much commentary to read from, the photos are all beautifully taken and have a certain solemnity to them that can only be found in traditional Japan. The account provides a well-rounded collection of photos, from the majestic shrine & its surrounding nature, to the priests and priestesses going about their daily lives.

Tokyo Tokyo - Old Meets New

From a side of Japan that few people get to see, we switch over to the side that shows us what the most populated city in Japan is like, through the official tourism account for Tokyo, called Tokyo Tokyo Old Meets New (@tokyotokyooldmeetsnew).

As the name suggests, the account aims to highlight how Tokyo is a diverse city that knows how to merge the ‘old’ with the ‘new’. Their posts aren’t just all about the pretty places to see; they also regularly upload pictures of fun things to do and good food to eat, which will instantly take you back if you’ve ever had the chance to visit the Japanese capital.

Nihon Ryokan

Whenever you’re travelling to a different country, at the end of every day, you get to look forward to unwinding at your accommodation after all of the exploring that you’ve done. In some cases, you might be returning to a quirky backpacker hostel or maybe a modern hotel downtown, but in Japan, there’s the third option of staying at a traditional inn, also known as a ryokan (旅館).

The Instagram account Nihon Ryokan (@nihonryokan) is a collection of photos that feature ryokan spots all across Japan. They upload photos of the different things you can expect from a typical stay, such as the wooden rooms built with traditional tatami flooring, hot springs or onsens you can soak yourself into, and the elaborate meals of Japanese cuisine that fill you up before your next big adventure.


By - Jen Santelices.