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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 10 attractions in Japan

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san)

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
Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

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
Aokigahara Forest

Aokigahara Forest

The dense Aokigahara Forest lies at the northwestern base of Mount Fuji, the iconic, near-symmetrical cone-shaped mountain that rises in eastern Japan. It holds the grim distinction of being the second-most popular destination for people intent on dying by suicide. Despite this, it’s a peaceful place to hike and enjoy nature.More
Tokyo Imperial Palace

Tokyo Imperial Palace

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
Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree

Since opening in 2012, the Tokyo Skytree has taken the title of Japan’s tallest building—and one of the tallest in the world—measuring an incredible 2,080 feet (634 meters) high. In addition to serving as a TV and radio broadcast tower, it has two observation decks affording spectacular views across Tokyo and the distant Mount Fuji.More
Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji-Q Highland

The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park enjoys an enviable setting near the base of Mount Fuji. Aside from its scenic setting, the park is best known for its record-setting roller coasters—four in total—that make it one of Japan’s most popular amusement parks.More
Ashikaga Flower Park

Ashikaga Flower Park

Visit Ashikaga Flower Park to see one of Japan's best displays of blue, white, and pink wisteria (“fuji” in Japanese). Less than two hours from Tokyo, it's the country's largest wisteria garden with more than 350 wisteria trees, including one that is more than 100 years old and whose branches create a huge umbrella of blue fuji flowers.More
Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)

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
Nikko National Park

Nikko National Park

Known for its impressive botanical garden, intricate Iemitsu mausoleum, and ornate Toshogu Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Nikko National Park is an area of incredible natural beauty with plenty to see and do. In addition to shrines and temples, the park is home to numerous lakes, elaborate bridges, excellent hiking trails, and two stunning waterfalls—all set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery.More
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

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

Trip ideas

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Top activities in Japan

Kyoto Rickshaw Tour

Kyoto Rickshaw Tour


Recent reviews from experiences in Japan

So fun! Fabulous people!
Kelsey_L, Jan 2022
Kyoto Arashiyama Rickshaw Tour with Bamboo Forest
He did a great job speaking English, taught us a few Japanese phrases, had excellent information about the area, entertained all of our questions, was super engaging and kind, and took excellent pictures!
Maybe know some Japanese
Brooke_B, Dec 2021
1-Hour Private Japanese Archery Experience in Kyoto
The instructor spoke very little English, but thankfully I’ve been studying Japanese for several years now so I was fine.
A wonderful day tour.
Roger_D, Aug 2021
Private Full Day Sightseeing Tour to Mount Fuji and Hakone
The tour was a great way to see the area and Khizar made it easy and efficient.
A friday well spent!
Ana_C, Nov 2020
Best of Tokyo Small Group or Private: Japanese Traditions, Shopping & Food Tour
the guide was well informed and spoke very good english.
Mt. Fuji
Irv_G, Feb 2020
Mt Fuji Day Tour with English Speaking Guide
His driving habits, knowledge and english are excellent.
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.
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.
moonbum1, Jan 2020
Nikko 1-Day Bus Tour :World Heritage of Nikko Toshogu,Lake Chuzenji,Kegon Falls
Nikko was an amazing place to visit.
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.
Had a great time!
snitkdan, Dec 2019
Discovering Shibuya
Offered good recommendations for other things to do, and was general very nice and cordial.
Many thanks to Hiro!
Milada_V, Dec 2019
Osaka Half-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
Adopted the tour to a senior person for whom is English a second language.
Sadahiro Yamasaki San is a super guide👍👍👍👍👍
Wanderer07913574217, Dec 2019
Hiroshima / Miyajima Full-day Private Tour with Government Licensed Guide
His English is excellent.
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.
Private tour of yokohama
Jayrome2019, Nov 2019
Yokohama Private Full Day Tour
Mr Kitamura speaks excellent english.
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.
Fun, informative & friendly
carrolltjv7, Oct 2019
Traditional Japanese Calligraphy Workshop (Near Tokyo Tower)
The teacher polite and well spoken with her English.
Excellent Kyoto & Nara Bus Tour
Gary S, Oct 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Very good Japanese lady with good English speaking guide.
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...
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.
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.

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.

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