Top 50 Things to Do When You're Traveling in Japan
We’ve chosen the best 50 spots and activities that you must experience when you come to Japan! Discover what the view is like from the top of Mt. Fuji, wear a kimono and stroll the historic streets of Kyoto, visit a maid cafe down in the electronic town of Tokyo… If you’re lost for travel itinerary or bucket list ideas, rest assured that this article has something for you! We hope that it makes your Japan trip even more enjoyable.
Sep 18 2015 (Jan 17 2020)
1. Climb Mount Fuji [Shizuoka, Yamanashi]
Mount Fuji that everyone knows, exists as one of the well-known symbols of Japan. It is also a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. Just looking at it is amazing but only those who climb it know the feeling of being moved emotionally. The time period for climbing is from July to the middle of September.
2. Playing with the monkeys at Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama [Kyoto]
There’s a place in Kyoto where you can play with wild monkeys. That place is Arashiyama Monkey Park. With 120 monkeys living there, you can feed them and play with them. Apart from that, there are also wild birds and deer so it’s perfect for animal lovers.
3. Sing songs at Karaoke
These days there is “karaoke” all over the world but the quality of Japan’s karaoke is above the rest. The efficiency of the machinery is a given and the soundproofing of the karaoke box is more developed that what you would see anywhere else in the world. There’s also a complete lineup of English songs.
On the Night-time Karaoke tour in Tokyo by MagicalTrip, you will get to experience Japanese-style Karaoke with a local guide.
Join a local karaoke enthusiast and sing your heart out! Karaoke is a very good way to have fun with friends or alone worldwide.
However, the japanese style is different than other countries! A private room, high-tech equipment, drinks and friends make this experience unique! You can sing without worrying about extrangers can hear you!
4. Ride a Shinkansen
A Shinkansen or bullet train is Japan’s high-speed transit. Despite travelling at speeds of over 200 kilometers an hour, in its 50 years of history, there has never been an accident or death making it famous worldwide for its safety. How about enjoying the Japanese scenery from a Shinkansen?
5. Experience the Otaku culture in Akihabara [Tokyo]
Akihabara, Tokyo; the place that has become the sacred place for “otaku” all over the world. Because it was originally developed as an electric town, it’s the place to get the best quality Japanese electronics. The whole town overflows with an anime vibe and is popular among tourists.
One of the best ways to make the most out of Akihabara and Otaku culture is joining a local tour in Akihabara! It might be hard to find good game shops and maid cafe there. Akihabara Anime & Game Tour will take you to local game shops you wouldn't find on your own and experience maid cafe to feel "Otaku" culture!
6. Try pachinko
Pachinko is a game where silver balls are fired from a gun and you try to get as many silver balls as you can into specific slots. You can exchange a fixed number of silver balls for cash prizes. As a pastime that only exists in Japan, why don’t you give it a try (without spending too much money).
7. Eat ramen
Japanese ramen is no longer just a variety of Chinese food, it has managed to achieve its own originality. You can eat a wide variety of ramen all throughout Japan. If you visit a bookstore, you will definitely find ramen magazines so be sure to check it out before you visit.
8. Have tea at a maid cafe
“Maid cafes” are shops where the customers are placed in the role of the master of a household and the waitresses are the “maids” who serve them. The customers are called “Master” by the maids. If you want to savor Japan’s “moe” culture, definitely pay a visit for some tea.
9. Take Purikura
“Purikura” is a machine where you can take photos of yourself and turn them into stickers. You can decorate the photos and even take pictures in cosplay. Purikura originated in Japan so why not take one as a commemoration of your trip?
10. Go to a Hanami
From the end of March to April in Japan, the cherry blossoms bloom and people go flower viewing (hanami) under the trees. A typical hanami is when you watch the flowers while eating and drinking together with your friends. The cherry blossoms at night are also beautiful so viewing the flowers at night while having a drink of alcohol is great.
11. Go to see kabuki
Kabuki is form of traditional Japanese entertainment that has been registered as a UNESCO cultural heritage art form. The kabuki which has been handed down from the Edo era till now is worth going to see. The flashy appearance and over-the-top drama is sure to please the audience.
12. Take a field trip to a castle
When speaking about larger than life buildings in Japan, its castles are famous even overseas. Even though many repairs have been carried out, today there are still many remaining portions of the structures from over 400 years ago. In the photo is Himeji castle which is renowned for its beauty. In addition, Nagoya castle and Osaka castle are also famous.
If you are visitng Osaka castle, we recommend to try this 3-hour Osaka bike tour with a local guide. You'll cycle around the Osaka castle town and visit hidden places you wouldn't find on your own.
13.Take a picture at Itsukushima shrine [Hiroshima]
Itsukushima shrine is a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. The crimson body of the shrine which rises above the surface of the water is too beautiful for words. Many tourists both from within the country and abroad come to visit the shrine so if you take a photo here you’ll be sure to create an amazing memory.
Wandering what to do at night in Hiroshima? Join this Hiroshima Bar Hopping Food Tour at night and Enjoy eating local foods and drink like a local.
14. Wear a kimono
If you mention Japan’s traditional clothing then it’s a kimono. If you’re interested you can purchase one but there are also many places across the country where you can experience wearing one yourself. In Kyoto there are many stores where you can rent kimono. Why don't you try wearing a kimono and going sightseeing around Japan?
15. Go shopping at Harajuku’s Takeshita Street [Tokyo]
Popular among foreigners is “Takeshita Street” in Harajuku that is always bustling with crowds of people. There are fashion stores on both sides of the street in every crevice. You can access it right from Harajuku station so it’s easy to go there.
There are tons of fashion and sweet shops in Harajuku and it is hard to pick right ones. Why not try Harajuku Kawaii Walking Tour?
A local guide will help you navigate through the Tokyo's latest pop-culture and fashion trends. You can experience the highlights of Harajuku in a half day!
16. Experience being a ninja
If you think Japan then of course you think of ninjas. “Ninja no Mori Akame Sijuhachitaki” in Mie prefecture is where you can experience being a ninja for yourself. Of course they will also lend you the right clothes. You can try ninja training and have an enjoyable time with other various attractions.
17. Experience soba making
Soba is one of Japan’s traditional foods. The type of soba that you dip into broth then is is popular among foreigners as well. You can try making and then eating that soba for yourself. There are many soba making workshops held all over the country so definitely check to see if your travel destination has a place nearby!
18. Overindulge yourself on food in Dotonbori [Osaka]
The area around Osaka’s Dotonbori is famous for being a district where you can “eat yourself out of house and home” At that infamous street there are tons of delicious fast food stalls that you’ll eat until you drop. You’ll also enjoy the lively atmosphere of Osaka.
Get a true experience of Dotonbori by walking through the neighborhood with a guide! This Daytime Dotonbori Walking Food tour in Osaka takes you to both popular and hidden spots in the area as well as delicious street food and food sample making!
19. Ride the Hakone Tozan Railway [Kanagawa, Hakone]
Although this railroad was developed in Japan, the Hakone Tozan Railway which climbs Mount Hakone stands out from the rest by its eye-catching colour. It is different from the trains in urban areas as you can directly experience nature. Particularly the period from June to July when the hydrangeas are in bloom and both sides of the train are coloured by the hydrangeas.
20. Try riding a crowded train
Japan is prominent throughout the world for its high ratio of congestion during rush hour. The trains at 7am are called “Manin-densha” (severely packed train). As far as Japan’s salarymen are concerned, it’s just a daily occurrence but those who experience it for the first time will definitely be shocked.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.