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Things to do in Japan

Things to do in  Japan

Welcome to Japan

In Japan, the past and the future are gloriously juxtaposed. Robots dance to techno beats in Tokyo; snow monkeys soak in hot springs in Yamanouchi; and geishas serve green tea ceremoniously in Kyoto. Tokyo, the Land of the Rising Sun's capital, is the obvious starting point for any Japan trip. Must-do activities in and around the city include watching a cabaret show at the Shinjuku Robot Restaurant, witnessing the early-morning tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market, and taking a day trip to Hakone to gaze at the snow-capped peak of Mt. Fuji during a Lake Ashi cruise. Visit hundreds of UNESCO World Heritage–listed shrines and Buddhist temples in Nara; ski and snowboard on the frozen slopes of Hokkaido; or relax on white-sand beaches lapped by the Pacific Ocean in Okinawa. Super-speed bullet trains make ticking off less central cities such as Nagoya, Osaka, and Hiroshima (home to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park) possible on a day trip, while food tours of major cities showcase the best of local Japanese cuisine, from sushi to ramen and gyoza (dumplings). For the ultimate sensory banquet, take your Japan vacation during the sakura (cherry blossom) season between March and April, when the country is carpeted in pastel-pink blooms.

Top 15 attractions in Japan

#1
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha)

Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha)

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One of Kyoto’s most sacred temples and among the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) is dedicated to Inari, the God of rice. The shrine’s five magnificent temples lie at the foot of the Inari mountain, and thousands of red torii gates (the Senbon torii) mark the forested trails to the top.More
#2
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

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With its gleaming gold tiers reflected in the lake below and a backdrop of forests and twisted pines, Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion) is an enchanting sight. Dating back to the 14th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Kyoto’s most popular attractions and among Japan’s most visited temples.More
#3
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

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The Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima commemorates the atomic bombing of the city at the end of World War II, in August of 1945. The park sits just below the site of the bomb’s mid-air explosion and includes the UNESCO-listed Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Memorial Museum, and many smaller memorials dedicated to affected groups of people.More
#4
Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market

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With more than 100 shops, stalls, and vendors selling everything from fresh-off-the-boat fish and seafood to tasty sweets and sushi takeaway, Nishiki Food Market is a wonderland of culinary delights. It's no surprise then that Kyoto’s biggest and most popular food market is a local institution and a popular attraction for traveling foodies.More
#5
Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Japan’s oldest and most eye-catching Buddhist temples. Its classic red pagoda has been influential to Japanese architecture for centuries. Located on a hilltop, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is also worth visiting for its sweeping views over Kyoto.More
#6
Gion Corner

Gion Corner

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Gion Corner is a convenient place for art lovers to visit while in Kyoto, as it brings seven traditional Japanese performing arts together under one roof. Attending one of its nightly performances is an ideal way to spend an evening in the heart of the Gion entertainment district while learning about traditional Japanese culture.More
#7
Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

Senso-ji Temple (Asakusa Temple)

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The must-see Senso-ji Temple (also known as Asakusa Temple or Asakusa Kannon Temple) combines architecture, centers of worship, Japanese gardens, and traditional markets to offer visitors a modern-day look at Japan’s rich history and culture. Erected in AD 645 in what was once an old fishing village, Senso-ji Temple was dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Stone statues of Fujin (the Shinto wind god) and Raijin (the Shinto thunder god) guard the entrance, known as Kaminarimon or the Thunder Gate. Next is Hozomon Gate, which leads to Nakamise’s shopping streets, filled with vendors selling handicrafts and Japanese snacks. Don’t miss the Asakusa Shrine or Kannon-do Hall.More
#8
Ginza

Ginza

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With its neon lights, towering department stores, and trendy nightclubs, Tokyo’s upscale shopping district of Ginza is a chic, cosmopolitan adventure. You can catch a Kabuki performance, check out the latest Japanese film or art exhibition, and dine at some of Tokyo’s best restaurants. And, then, of course, there’s the shopping.More
#9
Mt. Fuji 5th Station

Mt. Fuji 5th Station

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At 7,546 feet (2,300 meters), Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station affords incredible views over Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone National Park. Easily accessible by road, 5th Station lies at the midpoint of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji’s summit; many hikers begin their ascent here.More
#10
Shibuya

Shibuya

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The area surrounding Shibuya Station—famous for its busy streets, flashing neon advertisements, trendy boutiques, and teeming malls—ranks among Tokyo’s most energetic neighborhoods. Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in its own right.More
#11
Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

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As Japan's highest mountain, the legendary Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san) stands 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) tall. Travelers from around the world head to Hakone National Park to see the mountain, and over 1 million of them hike all the way to the top each year for the 360-degree views of Lake Ashi, the Hakone mountains, and the Owakudani Valley.More
#12
Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

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Home to Japan’s Emperor, the Tokyo Imperial Palace occupies the site of the original Edo Castle (Edo-jō), the Tokugawa shogunate's castle, which was once the largest fortress in the world. Located in the center of Tokyo, the palace is surrounded by moats and serene gardens.More
#13
Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

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The Tsukiji Fish Market was once the largest seafood market in the world, handling more than 2,000 tons of marine products a day. Although the market wasn't originally intended to be a major tourist attraction when it opened in 1935, Tsukiji now regularly shows up on visitors’ lists of must-see destinations in Tokyo for its lively atmosphere and incredible sushi.Please note: The Inner Market and tuna auction relocated to the nearby Toyosu Fish Market in 2020.More
#14
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

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The Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is the most important and popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken, in 1926, the shrine comprises buildings of worship, gardens, and a forest where each tree was planted by a different citizen of Japan wanting to pay respects to the emperor. A highlight of the shrine is the Meiji Memorial Hall, where visitors find more than 80 murals dedicated to the emperor.More
#15
Yokohama Zoo ''Zoorasia''

Yokohama Zoo ''Zoorasia''

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At Zoorasia, a zoo in Yokohama with minimal fencing, animals live in an environment as close to nature as possible. The zoo is divided into seven different geographic and climatic zones, including Asian Tropical Forest, Japanese Countryside, and Subarctic Forest, that house animals belonging to more than 100 species.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Japan

1 Day Private Mt Fuji Tour (Charter) - English Speaking Driver
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Tsukiji Fish Market Visit with Sushi Making Experience
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Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour in Shinjuku
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Private Kyoto Custom One Day Tour by Chartered Vehicle
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Kyoto Arashiyama & Sagano Walking Food Tour
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Tokyo Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
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Daytime Kyoto -Nishiki Market and Gion District Cultural Walking Food Tour
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Recent reviews from experiences in Japan

star-5
Excellent experience
Sid_A, Feb. 2022
Online Cultural Art Experience by Japan’s National Art Museum
An excellent alternative to visit museum if unable to travel.
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Tour guide John did an outstanding job!!
Julio_T, Jun. 2022
Popular Blue Cave Snorkel! 【Okinawa Prefecture】 Feeding & photo images free! English, Chinese, Korean guide available!
He was fluent in English and Japanese and accommodated for smaller children.
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1 day private tour to Mnt Fuji from Tokyo
Yoel_R, May 2022
Private Tour: Chartered Car to Mt. Fuji Lake Kawaguchiko or Hakone and Lake Ashi
Fuji Peace park We arrived at the best moment to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
star-5
A friday well spent!
Ana_C, Nov. 2020
Best of Tokyo in Small Group: Japanese Traditions, Shopping & Food Experience
the guide was well informed and spoke very good english.
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Mt. Fuji
Irv_G, Feb. 2020
Mt Fuji Day Tour with English Speaking Guide
His driving habits, knowledge and english are excellent.
star-5
The Village historu
Brian_E, Feb. 2020
[Day trip bus tour from Kanazawa Station] Weekend only! World Heritage Shirakawago Day Bus Tour
We do not speak Japanese but the tour did cater for English.
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Tokyo economy
mrjacobamiller, Feb. 2020
Private Tour - Nihonbashi Walking Tour: Founding City of Japanese Economy
The tour guide had a good command of both English and Japanese which made translation relatively easy.
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Takayama drum and live performance
Lana_L, Jan. 2020
Takayama's only Japanese drum and live performance show of traditional arts
English and Japanese narration.
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Had a great time!
snitkdan, Dec. 2019
Discovering Shibuya
Offered good recommendations for other things to do, and was general very nice and cordial.
star-5
Many thanks to Hiro!
Milada_V, Dec. 2019
Osaka Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
Adopted the tour to a senior person for whom is English a second language.
star-5
Sadahiro Yamasaki San is a super guide👍👍👍👍👍
Wanderer07913574217, Dec. 2019
Hiroshima / Miyajima Full-day Private Tour with Government Licensed Guide
His English is excellent.
star-5
Excellent Driver and Service
Patricia_B, Nov. 2019
Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver
Highly recommend the service and in particular our Spanish-english speaking driver Oriol He was well versed in the streets, parks and sights of Tokyo, often explaining the temples visited and the customs of the people of Japan.
star-5
Private tour of yokohama
Jayrome2019, Nov. 2019
Yokohama Private Full Day Tour
Mr Kitamura speaks excellent english.
star-5
Tokyo with a local
tony g, Nov. 2019
Tokyo Tours By Locals: Private & Tailored to You, See the City Unscripted
We had the great opportunity to see Tokyo and talk about the city, Japan and it’s people with a local.
star-5
Around Japan
Thys_V, Oct. 2019
Private tour - All "Must-Sees"! Enjoy your First-Time Visit Tokyo!
Ted took as around Japan to see all the amazing attractions - good understanding of english...
star-5
Fantastic !!
Dianne W, Oct. 2019
5 Top Highlights of Kyoto with Kyoto Bike Tour
This was the perfect way to see the best sights Kyoto city.
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Fantastic authentic experience
janeE8328CC, Oct. 2019
Japanese Tea Ceremony (Group session)
Tour operator had excellent English and provided a well balanced experience that was engaging, entertaining and immersive.
star-5
Excellent tour
John_S, Oct. 2019
Kanazawa Highlights Tour including Kenrokuen Garden
Our guide Makiko showed us all that there was to see in Kanazawa.
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Fun, tasty and interesting!!
donaldbetson, Oct. 2019
Walkabout Food Tour in Osaka
interesting to see a different part of Osaka to the main tourist spots and everything we tried was excellent!
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Mt fuji for a day
Isaac L, Sep. 2019
Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
100% and fluent in english and both japanese.
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All about Japan

When to visit

Summer is festival season in Japan, and major events include the Obon Festival, Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, and Awa Odori (Tokushima). The entire country blooms with cherry blossoms in springtime, with the best viewing periods typically from late March to early April—to avoid the biggest crowds, visit before Japan’s Golden Week in May.

Currency
Japanese Yen (¥)
Time Zone
JST (UTC +9)
Country Code
+81
Language(s)
Japanese
Frequently Asked Questions