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If you’re traveling to Japan, you’ll definitely want to make the most of your visit. Hence, we share 20 amazing things to do in Japan in this list. You’ll love Japan!
We recently shared on the 10 best places to visit in Japan and indeed, Japan is a beautiful country to behold. While there are so many things that you can do in Japan depending on the length of your stay and budget, these 20 things should be on your priority list of the best things to do when in Japan!
Japan: 20 Best Things to do!
1. See the iconic torii gate
No one would want to miss the sight of this most photographed landmarks in Japan.
The torii gate is a typical mark to the entrance to Shinto shrines and are even used as a symbol on maps to mark the location of a shrine. Essentially, the torii gate marks entrance to a sacred place.
As much as you’re likely to know Miyajima island for its iconic floating gat, the island also has its friendly and free-roaming deer.
2. Kawadoko dining
Kawadoko is a special seasonal way of eating that helps to cool you down, usually available from May to September in Kyoto.
Enjoy this at Kibune Kawadoko dining at Restaurant Hirobun in Kibune, where tables are just a few inches from the river, which runs below the deck on which you’re enjoying your meal.
You can also enjoy this experience in Kamogawa and Takao.
Access: 50 Kurama Kibune, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
3. A Dip or Bath in the Onsens
No Japanese experience is complete without a dip in the onsens, or rather, natural hot springs. There are so many onsens around Japan and while a stay doesn’t come cheap normally, it’s definitely worth the splurge!
Get to engage in this relaxing and delicious immersion totally nude. Good enough, the Japanese onsens are not just perfect in the autumn and winter.The dip in a hot spring is perfect all year round.
The onsens baths, private gardens and seasonal kaiseki (a Japanese haute cuisine) meals are nothing short of exclusive!
For a start, you can visit Zao Onsen in Yamagata for a dip. In winter, it is surrounded by thick snow but in summer, it is surrounded by green mountains, wildlife and lush greenery.
You can also enjoy a bath in a private onsen at Mount View Hakone. The hotel is famed for its milky hot-spring water called nigori-yu, which is naturally cloudy and mineral-rich.
Hence, the best way to end the weekend is to bath in the private onsen at Mount View Hakone!
If you love road trips, then you’ll love visiting Japan just for the same!
Most especially, a drive through Hakone will blow your mind. The roads intertwine the landscapes making your drive perfect! You can take a day trip or an over-night road trip from Tokyo to Hakone and Mount Fuji.
5. Eat sushi
A visit to Japan is marked by having sushi for dinner! In fact, you should make the effort of attending a sushi cooking class in Tokyo.
Here is a complete guide to eating sushi in Japan. Better be prepared before getting to Japan.
5. Visit Sakura Tunnel
Sakura refers to the cherry blossoms and in Japan, it is so evident in spring!
In Kuse, Okiyama, there is a sakura tunnel that’s absolutely beautiful! Imagine walking through this tunnel! So romantic!
You can also see sakura blooming in Tsugaru Railway Line. This railway line looks absolutely magical during the peak of spring in the sakura season! Those traveling to Northern Japan are in for a treat, as Aomori and Sapporo bloom.
6. Go sea kayaking on Sado Island
If you’ll be looking for a way to cool off in Japan’s summer heat, then get in the water!
Go sea kayaking on Sado Island which is known for its clear waters and rocky shores. It’s located off the coast of Niigata in the Chubu region of Japan.
You May Also Like: Tips For Sea Kayaking In Sado Island
Stay In Niigata>>
7. Eat Japanese Ice cream
Japan has a reputation for its unconventional, adventurous, not-to-mention DELICIOUS ice cream flavors.
One must-try flavor is the Yubari melon soft-serve, enjoyed at Popura farm in Nakafurano town. Called ‘Santa no Hige’(Santa’s Beard), it comes served in a scooped out melon and is available in two sizes; a quarter melon and a half melon.
You May Also Like: A Complete Guide To Japanese Ice Cream
8. A Boat Ride in Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma
Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma in Miyagi Prefecture is blanketed with lotus flowers and lilies.
The lake is an internationally recognized wetland, home to over 200 species of wildlife and nearly 500 types of plants.
Imagine taking a romantic boat ride through thousands of pink flowers during the famous Lotus Festival at this lake? I would love that. And a stunning way to experience this natural delight is through a boat ride on the lake, provided by local fishermen.
Best Times To Visit: The Lotus Festival begins in mid-July!
Boat rides: 700 yen adults, 400 yen children
9. Appreciate the Tokyo SkyTree
The Tokyo SkyTree is a splendid tower rising above 634 meters hence a significant landmark in Tokyo. It features a large shopping complex with aquarium located at its base.
The tower has two observation decks which offer spectacular views of Tokyo. Hence, a splendid view that you shouldn’t miss.
You can also enjoy a dramatic sakura nighttime view up to the Tokyo SkyTree especially in early March (the best blooming season for the sakura when you can see the cherry blossom)
Also, you can take a SkyTree view with a nighttime kayak tour along Tokyo’s historic canal, which date back to the Edo period in the 1600’s. You can get a number of guided kayak tours here.
Apart from the SkyTree view, you can get into the tower and enjoy a cup of coffee at the SkyTree Cafe or dine at Mushashi Sky Restaurant which provides panoramic views of Tokyo from 345m above!
Stay At A Tokyo SkyTree Apartment>>
10. Experience the vibrant nightlife
Japan has such a vibrant night life and good enough, it is safer for visitors even at night. Most especially, in Tokyo and Osaka!
However, if you’re afraid of being outdoors at night, you can always tag along a companion or get a tour guide from your booking company.
You May Also Like: The Best Places To Go In Tokyo At Night
In Osaka, you should visit the lively Dotonbori. They are is renowned for its bright neon lights with extravagant signage, vibrant nightlife and a huge variety of amazing restaurants, street food stalls and bars.
You can either get a ride on one of the canal boats or take a walk along the Tonbori Riverwalk to soak up the busy and bustling atmposhere. Do enjoy the culinary treats in the area.
11. Make a pilgrimage to the hand-woven suspension bridge: Iya Kazurabashi
If you’re visiting the remote and mountainous Iya Valley, be sure to make a pilgrimage to the rare suspension bridges made of hand-woven vines!
Only three of these bridges survive today and this is the largest and most easily accessed (Iya Kazurabashi) which is 45m long, suspended 14m above the water- so not for anyone who has a fear of heights!
The bridges are now reinforced with steel cables and are rebuilt every 3 years for added sturdiness.
12. Visit Gyokusendo Cave
Imagine visiting an exotic world of water and stone- the Gyokusendo Caves? Terrific!
These caves are one of Okinawa’s most popular tourist attractions, famed for its thousands of spectacular stalagmites and stalactites formed over 300, 000 years ago.
Access to the caves is through Okinawa World, a theme park about Okinawan culture. The park is also home to a hotchpotch of unique Okinawan attractions including a snake museum, a brewery, a traditional Ryukyu arts and craft village, and a cultural center.
You May Also Like: Diving Experience At the Okinawa Underwater Blue Cave
Stay In Okinawa Island>>
13. Marvel at the sacred Niyodo Blue river
Niyodo river in Kochi prefecture has been named one, if not the most, beautiful rivers in Japan! The bright turquoise water is so unique and clear. It has even been named ;Niyodo Blue.
Considered sacred by locals, visitors are asked to respect the rules of this serene place- no swimming and to refrain from boisterous activity.
You May Also Like: A Complete Guide to Niyodo Blue
14. Visit Osaka castle in Japan.
Osaka Castle was the largest and most formidable castle in Japan during the golden age of the samurai in Japan.
This iconic symbol in Osaka offers fantastic views of the city and is a popular tourist destination in spring, especially for the beautiful cherry blossoms.
The castle opens at 9:00 a.m. and is easy to reach from downtown Osaka.
Stay In Osaka>>
15. Hike Kamikochi
Do you enjoy hiking? Then take a fitness trip to Kamikochi.
Part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park in the Northern Japan Alps, Kamikochi is a hiker’s paradise famed for its breathtaking views, mountain peaks and clear waters.
Open between mid-April and mid-November, the area boasts of a number of hiking trails ranked from beginner to expert.
You May Also Like: Essential Kamikochi Hiking Guide For The Japanese Alps
16. Visit Ouchijuku Village
Ouchijuku in Fukushima is one of the most photogenic spots in Japan!
This Edo-era post town once connected Nikko and Aizu. Nowadays many of the traditionally thatched buildings have been preserved, making it a fascinating place to explore. The village even looks much more beautiful in winter!
17. Step in Monet’s Pond
Tucked inside of Japan, hiding beautiful gardens, and gorgeous flowing rivers is Gifu prefecture. In Gifu is a sight that many tourists never get to hear – the beautiful Monet’s pond!
Monet Pond is a scenic pond known for its clear waters, water lilies, koi fish and colorful, seasonal foliage.
At Monet’s pond, art comes to life! With a visit to the pond in Seku City in Gifu prefecture, you’ll witness pure masterpiece- nature at its best!
The picturesque pond is named because of its likeness to one of its paintings.
Stay In Gifu>>
18. Visit Arta Aquarium
Stay cool in Tokyo this summer with a visit to Artaquarium, a special art exhibition at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall featuring 10,000 goldfish!
Every night, the space becomes Night Aquarium, and you can browse the exhibits with a cocktail or sake in hand.
19. Catch Waterfalls
If you’re a nature enthusiast, then catching waterfalls has to be your thing.
Good enough, you won’t be disappointed in Japan because there are so many awe-inspiring waterfalls to be caught.
Even if your stay in Japan is the shortest, you can visit Ryumon waterfalls especially in autumn or the 133m Nachi Falls which fall by the vermilion three-storied pagoda of Seigantoji Temple. The Nachi falls are a part of the Sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the KiiMountain range on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Apart from enjoying the waterfalls, you should probably think of having a waterfall meditation experience in Japan if you’re a wellnes, spiritual or meditation junkie.
Japan boasts of beautiful vintage railway stations with railway lines spanning through beautiful tunnels.
For example, Miura station in Okiyama which looks like a fairy tale in spring with sakuras blooming all over and the Choshi Electric railway station with the trains and tunnel of the greenery in Chiba Prefecture being so perfect!
You can also hop on the bullet train and experience adventure as the train passes by Mt.Fuji.
This list can help you get started anytime you’re visiting Japan as much as there are so many more things to do in Japan like:
- Enjoying the Saga International Balloon Fiesta from October 31st.
- Enjoying the romantic winter illuminations at Enoshima Sea Candle from November 23rd to February 17th .
- Having Japanese dessert.
- Appreciating the magical view of waterlilies at Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden in Shiga Prefecture!
Well, have you been to Japan? Which of these things did you do? And if not, what would you do if you went to Japan?
Please speak to us in the comments below…