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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tofuku-ji Temple

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Founded in 1236, Tofuku-ji is a large Zen Buddhist temple in southeastern Kyoto. It’s one of the most important Zen temples in Kyoto (and therefore in Japan, and is the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. It’s an especially popular place to see the vibrant colors of the trees in fall.More

Arashiyama Park

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For classic Kyoto in a nutshell, head to Arashiyama Park. The perennially popular area is rich in temples and a riot of fall colors in November, with pink cherry blossoms in April.The park area embraces several major sights, including Tenryu-ji Temple, founded in 1339. The main temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, Tenryu-ji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by tranquil Zen gardens and bamboo forest.There are many other temples in Arashiyama, including the Gio-ji, Jojakko-ji and Daikaku-ji temples. Another highlight is walking across the Moon Crossing Bridge, with views over to Mt Arashiyama.More

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

Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho)

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The Japanese royal family lived in Kyoto Imperial Palace(Kyoto Gosho) until 1868, when the capital moved to Tokyo. It’s located within the Kyoto Imperial Park, which also houses other palaces and shrines. This must-visit attraction allows visitors to gain a greater understanding of Japan’s rich history and culture while enjoying landscaped gardens.More

Tokyo Tower

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At 1,092 feet (333 meters) tall, Tokyo Tower is an impressive Japanese landmark offering 360-degree views of the city from its two observation decks. Built in 1958 from red and white latticed steel, the Eiffel Tower-inspired structure houses a wax museum, a Shinto Shrine, an aquarium, restaurants, and other entertainment spots.More

Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu)

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Built in the 17th century by Prince Hachijo Toshihito, Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu is regarded as one of the cornerstones of Japanese architecture and garden design. With its landscaped gardens, bamboo forests, and traditional teahouses dotted around a central lake; it’s an idyllic spot for strolling.More

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
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Recent reviews from experiences in Japan

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It was a really great...
Yuri_Y, Feb 2023
Go-kart tour Shinjuku drive metroporitan area ※must have IDP
We will definitely take that tour again when have opportunity to visit Japan in near future
star-5
Wonderful tour with taku!
Iris_U, Jan 2023
Kyoto Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
Great way to see Kyoto.
star-5
Excellent
Corey_M, Jan 2023
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone seeking to visit Mt Fuji and Hakone.
star-5
Miho is wonderful
Vanessa_G, Jan 2023
Tokyo Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
She showed me what I wanted to see and helped me experience new things I wouldn't have thought to ask for.
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Traditional Tea Ceremony in Kyoto
Joseph_M, Jan 2023
Traditional Tea Ceremony wearing a Kimono in Kyoto MAIKOYA
Speaking Japanese is not required, as the employees are friendly and all speak English.
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awesome Mt Fuji
Timothy_H, Jan 2023
VIP: Mt Fuji Private Tour with Sengen Shrine Visit from Tokyo
Our guide spoke great English and Japanese.
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Great food, drinks and conversations
Chia_C, Jan 2023
Shibuya Bar Hopping Night Food Walking Tour in Tokyo
Had a great time with Riona, a local Japanese that was fluent in English.
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Excellent
Nadejda_A, Jan 2023
Kyoto Half-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide
Hiro was a perfect guide fluent in English and showed us marvelous places in Kyoto.
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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

Japan information

Number of Attractions

316

Number of Tours

3,478

Number of Reviews

35,942

Currency

USD
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