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)
21. Try drinking Shochu
Japanese shochu has a refined taste and alcohol lovers should definitely challenge themselves to a drink. Made from ingredients like rice, barley, potatoes etc. you can have fun choosing your preferred type of shochu.
22. Try drinking Japanese rice wine (Sake)
Japanese rice wine (sake or nihonshu) is a type of alcohol developed specifically in Japan. It is normally drunk little by little from a small glass cup called “ochoko”. It is made using the raw materials of rice and a fermenting agent. When drunk together with sashimi, it will allow you to fully enjoy a part of Japan’s culture.
23. Watch a sumo match
Sumo is Japan’s national sport. It’s now famous all over the world but for those who haven’t witnessed the unyielding strength live it’s hard to understand. You must watch a live match of the strongest sumo wrestler called “Yokozuna”. When it’s the season, matches are held nationwide.
Sumo matches are held during limited time and tickets are hard to get. Watching Sumo wrestlers practicing in a close distance is dynamic, and you'll get insights into sumo culture by understanding how hard they train physically and mentally. So, wake up early and join this Tokyo Sumo Morning Practice Tour with Magical Trip. They offer many tours every morning (depending on season) and lowest price among other tour operators. It’s not cheap to experience it, but it’s definitely worth the money and will be one of your highlights of your Japan trip!
24. Pray for peace at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum [Hiroshima]
Japan is the only country in the world to have an atomic bomb dropped on it. The most devastated city was Hiroshima. Currently at the Peace Memorial Museum there are exhibitions of articles of the persons who died and photos of Hiroshima just after the bombing. Persons from all over the world visit to pray for peace.
25. Go shopping at the convenience store
Japan which is called one of the major powers in the service industry also has high quality convenience stores. The product management is meticulous and there is a wide variety of goods available. For those with convenience stores in their country, it will be interesting to compare the ones in Japan.
26. Eat sushi
If there’s one thing you must eat in Japan, it’s sushi. The interior of the stores overflow with a high class feeling and right before your eyes, artisans mould the sushi into a unique product. Lately shops that serve wine have been increasing so do check before you visit the store.
27. Try going to a love hotel
For lovers who visit Japan, it would be good to spend the night at special motels called “love hotels”. Many places have amenities included that uphold Japan’s meticulous attention to detail and there are even love hotels where you can have fun singing karaoke.
28. Play games at a game center
At Japanese game centers you can enjoy many different kinds of games from token games and fighting games to crane games. The crane games are highly recommended. At the crane games, you can experience the excitement of winning a premium prize!
29. Eat tempura
Tempura one of the typical dishes of Japan. When eaten together with the soba introduced in #17, it is very delicious but we particularly recommend tendon. Crispy tempura is placed on top of steaming hot rice and along with the sweetness of the sauce, it is so delicious.
30. Go shopping at the 100 yen shop
In Japan there are stores called “100 yen shops”. Inside the store, you can buy anything without a price tag for 100 yen. The secret to its popularity is the high quality. There are so many things you can buy for 100 yen so it’s recommended that you take your time and browse around.
31. Watch fireworks
In Japan, one of the things that remind you of the summer season is fireworks. At the large scale fireworks festivals, many thousands of fireworks are released into the sky. Lately, fireworks that come in a variety of different shapes like heart shapes are popular. Be sure to experience a Japanese summer!
32. Read manga at a manga cafe
For those who understand Japanese, you should definitely pay a visit to a manga cafe. In a private room here you can read as much manga as you like. You can also use the internet and with lots of unknown vocabulary showing up you’ll be able to speak soon!
33. Have a samurai experience
In Tochigi prefecture’s, “Nikko Edomura”, you can experience being a samurai. You course you also get to use an imitation katana, study things like the samurai spirit, the samurai way of life and relish Japan’s culture to your heart’s content.
34. Go to the Sapporo snow festival [Hokkaido]
Every year, over 2,000,000 tourists visit the Sapporo snow festival which is a world-famous event. Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo becomes filled with snow and ice sculptures. During the afternoon is nice, but at night when the sculptures light up is truly impressive.
35. Go into a hot spring with monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park [Nagano]
At “Jigokudani Monkey Park” somehow you can see monkeys in a hot spring. The 850 meter tall valley is in the cold northern district but it’s a monkey’s paradise. Through contact with the animals, it will definitely be a unique experience.
36. Go to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum [Osaka]
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum is an establishment built to honor the achievements of developer Momofuku Ando. A popular corner is “My cup noodles factory”. Here you can make your own cup noodles just for you.
37. Experience science at the Miraikan [Tokyo]
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) introduces cutting edge science and technology in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s also a popular spot for foreigners who are interested in science. You can also learn about robots, medicine, space and much more.
38. Relax at Kenrokuen [Ishikawa, Kanazawa]
One of the three great gardens of Japan, Kenrokuen is a huge park reminiscent of the Edo era. The beautiful scenery expands and changes according to the season and the flow of time is relaxed. You should come and experience Japan’s delicate culture here.
39. Go to a real izakaya
At a Japanese izakaya (bar) you can drink alcohol of course, and it’s one of the best spots to have a meal with an huge menu. There are also certain tastes that you can only experience based on the area that you stay in.
It is quiet hard to find non-touristy izakayas in Tokyo. Join this Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku to hop onto hidden local izakays in Shinjuku which is hard to enter for visitors! You can enjoy drinking with authentic Japanese bar foods and chatting with locals!
40. Experience sado (tea ceremony)
One of Japan’s traditions is the “tea ceremony”. In a solemn atmosphere, the act of making the tea is carried out, a novelty for foreigners. This atmosphere is something that can only be felt in Japan and will definitely become a wonderful personal experience.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.