There are dozens of incredible tourist attractions throughout Japan, South Korea, and China. While many are historic, some are simply entertaining and others are designed to give visitors some of the most breathtaking views of Asia possible.
We’ve compiled a list of some of Asia’s most popular tourist attractions, as decided by the number of visitors each receives over the course of the calendar year. You might be surprised to see some of America’s favorite outposts on the list along with some of Asia’s most renowned historic attractions.
Toyko Disney Land (Tokyo)
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Tokyo Disney was the first Disney theme park ever built outside of the United States. The theme park consists of both Tokyo Disney Land and Tokyo Disney Sea. The theme park recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and it is estimated that approximately 25 million people visit Tokyo Disney each year.
Great Wall of China (Bandaling)
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The Great Wall of China spans over 4,000 miles. Originally built to protect China against invaders, the wall is now a hot destination for tourists visiting from all over the world. The most popular section can be found at Bandaling, where a 10km section is open to the public for exploration. The actual number of visitors to the wall annually varies depending on the source you ask, but rumor has it that the local municipality caps visitation at 16 million people per year.
Temple of Heaven (Beijing, China)
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The Temple of Heaven is a series of buildings that were built in the 15th century. They represent some of the finest ancient Chinese architectural works still in existence today. Spiritually, the buildings represent the special relationships between heaven and earth. It is believed that 12 million people visit the Temple of Heaven annually.
Nagashima Spa Land (Japan)
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Nagashima Spa Land is not an amusement park alone but an entire tourist complex. The largest flower festival in Japan is held in the spa’s botanical gardens each year. Visitors flock to this location to relax in both the indoor and outdoor hot springs, shop in the mall, and entertain themselves in the amusement park. Over 11.4 million people visit each year, with almost 4 million visiting the amusement park alone.
Victoria Peak (Hong Kong, China)
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During the late 19th century the highest mountain at Hong Kong Island was developed into a resort for the rich and famous. The resort can be accessed by tram car and those who visit have a wide variety of dining and entertainment options. The real treat here, however, is the view. Each year over 9.4 million people visit Victoria Peak.
Universal Studios (Osaka, Japan)
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Universal Studios, much like Disney, has theme parks all over the world. Its Japanese outpost is one of the most popular and in its first year of operation received more than 11 million visitors. The theme park has since tapered down to a cool 8.7 million visitors per year instead.
Forbidden City (Beijing, China)
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The construction of the Forbidden City in China was completed in 1420 and was believed, by the emperor at least, to be the center of the universe. The city is protected by a 30 foot high wall and was reserved for the emperor only until 1925. At that point it was turned into a museum and the public was given open access. It’s estimated that the Forbidden City receives anywhere from 7 – 9 million visitors each year, though visitation during the 2008 Olympics likely made numbers for that year spike a bit higher.
Everland (Kyonggi-Do, South Korea)
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Everland is the largest theme park in all of South Korea and, as far as attendance is concerned, is the 10th most popular in the world. Drawing close to 7.2 million visitors per year, it is believed this park draws more traffic than Universal Studios in Florida. Similar to Disney theme parks, Everland is split into different themed sections – giving visitors plenty to explore.
Mount Tai /Taishan (Tai’an, China)
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Not far North of Tai’an City you’ll find Mount Tai, which is considered one of the five mountains held sacred to Taoism. Once a respected retreat for Chinese emperors, millions of people flock to the mountain each year. Many climb the 7,000 steps to the Azure Clouds Temple which is found at the top of the mountain. Those who are wary of the stairs will simply explore the Taishan Temple at the base.
Asia is full of ancient and contemporary attractions bound to draw visitors from both local cities and the rest of the world. Make sure you take advantage of as many cultural opportunities as possible if you’re ever in the area. These are some of the most popular sites in Southeast Asia. Make room for them on your itinerary!