05/07/2014 09:28 am ET Updated Jul 07, 2014

29 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit Japan

On my last day in Japan, I woke up in one of those crazy capsule hotels and, after indulging in some sweet libations from Mr. Donut, took to the streets of Tokyo's Shinjuku district during the middle of the morning rush.

I was just one of millions of people strolling through the center of the world's largest city that day, but I felt as if I'd been hand-picked in some universal lottery -- Tokyo, as I see it, is the apex of human civilization. I clung to every moment, trying to savor it as deeply and for as long as I could, while clouds of people swirled around me in all directions, speeding through the same moments as if they weren't happening at all, as if they were mine alone.

Each of the pictures in this post embodies one of the singular moments I savored during the three weeks I was lucky enough to spend in Japan. If you aren't yet planning your own trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, I hope these photos inspire you to take the next plane to Tokyo.

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

The Shinjuku district of Tokyo

Sakura Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo, Japan

Cherry blossoms at Chidorigafuchi in Tokyo

Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo, Japan

Senso-ji Temple

Traffic in Tokyo, Japan

Nighttime traffic in Tokyo

Nikko, Japan

Shrine in Nikko, a 17th century shogunate

Robert Schrader in Kyoto, Japan

Sunset in Kyoto

Sakura Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

Cherry blossoms on the surface of water in Kyoto

Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple

Kyoto, Japan by Night

Kyoto as night falls

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest im Japan

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kansai

Deer in Nara, Japan

Urban deer in Nara

Shrine in Nara, Japan

Ancient wooden shrine in Nara

Robert Schrader in Tottori, Japan

Tottori Sand Dunes -- yes, Japan has a desert

Tottori Japan Desert

Camels in Japan

Sand Dunes in Tottori, Japan

A fully-suited Japanese businessman walking up a sand dune

Sunset in Tottori, Japan

Sunset over the Japanese desert

Miyajima, Japan

The floating gate of Miyajima

Hiroshima, Japan Peace Park

Hiroshima Peace Park

Paper Cranes in Hiroshima

Paper cranes in Hiroshima

Robert Schrader in Yakushima, Japan

7,500-year old cedar trees on Yakushima Island

Yakushima, Japan Waterfall

Waterfall in Yakushima

Yakushima, Japan Cedar

Another massive cedar

Robert Schrader on Cat Island, Japan

An island filled with cats

Rabbit Island, Japan

And another with rabbits

Monkey Cyrus

A snow monkey doing its best "Wrecking Ball"

Japanese Snow Monkey

Another monkey bathing in an onsen

Robert Schrader at Takaragawa Onsen

A human being (me) bathing at Japan's best onsen

Takaragawa Onsen, Japan

Takaragawa Onsen, perched in the foothills of the Japanese Alps near Nagano

Traditional Japanese onsen

A woman in a traditional Japanese kimono

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