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Best Things to do in Japan - Discover Japan's Bucket list

Best Things to do in japan

Japan is a beautiful and unique country that needs to be on your bucket list. There are many amazing things to do in Japan, from natural wonders to visiting megacities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and others.

Here you will be able to visit and learn everything from ancient temples to futuristic skyscrapers, tea ceremonies to over-the-top arcades, relaxing hot springs to cosplay go-kart rides, Japan has so much to offer everyone, so let us dive into Best Things to do in Japan.

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Things to do in Japan

Table of Contents

Watch Geisha dance

Geisha walking between poles in Japan

Geishas are one of the most fascinating aspects of Japan, they are highly-skilled women who entertain using traditional arts. Seeing a Geisha dance is a traditional thing to do in Japan, with the most famous ones being in the Miyako Odori in April.

Ride a Bullet Train

Bullet train at Station in Japan

Train traveling in Japan is one of the best things to do in Japan, the network is amazing and the trains are comfortable, clean, quiet, safe, and always on time. In general, the trains are expensive due to how fast, comfortable, and on time they are, but a Japan Rail Pass makes them more affordable as you can hop on as many as you’d like without a reservation.

Explore Universal Studio Japan

Nintendo castle

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is a must for Harry Potter fans, wander the snowy cobbled streets, stroll through Hogwarts, drink butterbeer, shop for sweets in Honeydukes, and even cast your own spells if you buy a magic wand.

Discover the Colourful TeamLab Borderless Museum

colourful teamlab borderless museum japan

TeamLab Borderless Museum is a unique digital art museum in Tokyo. The main thing to do there is where you walk around in the dark (without a map) and interact with a series of colorful exhibitions of light and sound displays.

Visit Shitenoji Temple, Osaka

One of the oldest temples in Japan, Shitenoji is also the most important Buddhist structure in the City of Osaka, Japan.

Explore Meiji Shrine and Senso-Ji, Tokyo

Meiji Shrine is an escape from the city’s bustling streets. Unlike many of Japan’s temples, the structures have not been brightly painted. Instead, the wooden gates were left in their natural state, making these forested grounds all the more serene.

Senso Ji temple Tokyo, Japan

Situated in the historical neighborhood of Asakusa, Senso-Ji is Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temple. Its popularity means it is crowded at all times, but it is still very worthy of a visit while you’re in Tokyo.

Climb up to Mount Fiji

Temple with Mt Fiji in Background

One of the top Japan attractions, this perfectly shaped volcano is Japan’s highest mountain at 3776 meters, and it’s especially lovely in the winter and spring when it is snow-capped. Mount Fuji is a little bit elusive, mainly because it is often obscured by clouds. It’s best to stay a few days in the area to increase your chances of seeing the peak.

Wander through a Bamboo Forest

Walking path in Bamboo Forest

Bamboo forests are very magical and very Japanese things to do, and by far the most popular bamboo forest in Japan is in Arashiyama in Kyoto, which is considered one of the top things to see in Japan.

Stay in Ryokan

Inside of Ryokan in japan

A traditional Japanese inn, Ryokans range from simple (such as guesthouses called minshuku) to ultra-luxurious, sometimes with private baths and views overlooking exquisite Japanese gardens.

Japanese Cuisine

Food at ryokan Japan

Japan is full of amazing dishes and street food to eat, so not to write this for the next half an hour, be sure to try the following.

Ramen, Sushi, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Kaiseki meal, but the best things to do if you want to try all of the Japanese cuisine take a cooking class or a foodie guide where you will see everything and try everything.

Sumo wrestling

Sumo wrestling tournament

Sumo is Japan’s national sport, with matches including rituals that date back to its ancient origins as part of the Shinto religion such as purifying the ring with salt.

You can see sumo wresting at sumo tournaments that happen few times a year, or by taking a tour to a sumo stable in Tokyo or Osaka.

Snow monkeys at Jigokudani Park

Monkey drinking water

These snow monkeys can only be seen in the small city of Nagano, where Jigokudani Park is. In general, the park is beautiful, especially during winter where you can see it covered in snow and monkeys roaming around.

Japanese Gardens

Japanese Garden

Want to experience the most beautiful gardens in the world and get a real taste of Japan’s culture? Explore Japanese Garden, they are beautiful year-round and some of the most famous and most beautiful ones are:

  • Kenrokuen, Kanazawa
  • Korakuen, Okayama
  • Kairaku-en, Mito
  • Tenryū-Ji, Kyoto
  • Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
  • Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Japanese Hidden Villages

Japan has one of the longest histories in the world, with hidden villages being in the center of attention.

There are many villages but the most famous and best-preserved ones in Japan are:

People taking pictures at Shirakawago Village

Hida Folk Village: Outside the city center of Takayama, this historic village is pretty easy to get to.

Shirakawago: Located between Kanazawa and Takayama, this stunning village is especially picturesque in the wintertime.

Gokayama: Situated in Toyama, this village isn’t as famous as Shirakawago or Hida Folk Village, but it still offers historic charm.

Oshino-mura: Near Mount Fuji, this makes a nice stop if you are spending time near Japan’s most iconic mountain.

Drink some Sake

Bottles of sake sitting on each other

Sake is Japan’s most famous drink, usually referred to as rice wine, it is a great drink to have during dinner, also it is more similar to beer than wine. Similar to wine, Sake has several complex flavor profiles, so be sure to explore them before trying some sake.

Visit the Golden Temple

Golden temple near water in Japan

Kyoto has several attractions, with the Golden temple being one of them. Usually, these kinds of attractions are overrated and very crowded, but it turns out it is amazingly beautiful and not so crowded.

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Bucket list things to do in Japan
Perfect Guide to what to do in Japan

Hello! I’m Sara, a Croatian native. I’ve traveled all over the world and have knocked out some amazing cities and countries off my bucket list.

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