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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

#1
Roppongi

Roppongi

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A decade ago, going to Roppongi meant you were either visiting an embassy or out to party with the expat community. While Roppongi remains one of Tokyo’s best nightlife districts, it has successfully broadened its appeal with a wider variety of cultural and entertainment options.More
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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
#6
Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

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In the year 642, Zenko-ji Temple was founded when one of the earliest Buddhist statues in Japan, brought over from the Korean Peninsula, was enshrined at the site. Today, the temple is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the country, as well as Japan’s third largest wooden structure, with the entire town of Nagano built up around it.The structure as it stands today dates back to 1707 and contains a large hall displaying a variety of Buddhist statuary, a main alter and an underground passage beneath the alter where visitors can pass in complete darkness, feeling for a single key on the wall -- the key to paradise -- that’s believed to grand salvation to any who touch it.Behind the main temple, a newer pagoda houses the Zenko-ji History Museum with its collection of statues of the Buddha and his disciples.More
#7
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
#8
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
#9
Tokyo Tower

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
#10
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

Trip ideas

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Hiking and Biking in Hokkaido

Hiking and Biking in Hokkaido

Top activities in Japan

Japan Adventure - 13 Day

Japan Adventure - 13 Day

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11
From
$2,712.29
Kyoto Early Bird Tour

Kyoto Early Bird Tour

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From
$120.80
The right way to know Kyoto

The right way to know Kyoto

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60
From
$434.10
per group

Recent reviews from experiences in Japan

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Fun Harajuku tour
Japan_tourist, Jul 2021
Half-day Kawaii Tour in Harajuku
We visited a lot of unique places and I got to see exactly what I wanted in Harajuku, as well as some other places.
star-5
Great online Ramen class - it was super yummy
DanielGruener, Apr 2021
ONLINE JAPANESE COOKING / Chicken Ramen from Scratch
The video quality, the recipe and Fumi Sensei's English all worked super well, so that the virtual setup was no issue at all.
star-5
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.
star-5
Mt. Fuji
Monroe_G, Feb 2020
Mt Fuji Day Tour with English Speaking Guide
His driving habits, knowledge and english are excellent.
star-5
The Village historu
elaineeverett, 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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Amazing!
moonbum1, Jan 2020
Nikko 1-Day Bus Tour :World Heritage of Nikko Toshogu,Lake Chuzenji,Kegon Falls
Nikko was an amazing place to visit.
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Tokyo Day Tour
attfil22, Jan 2020
1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour
Now want to go back to see more
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Good trip
johnsong6, Jan 2020
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
We had a limited time in Japan so this was a good way to see quite a bit in a day.
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Takayama drum and live performance
Sunshine829631, 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.
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Many thanks to Hiro!
brabcovamilada, 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.
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Highly recommended Kyoto Tour
OnAir161569, Dec 2019
Kyoto Cultural Forest, Shrine and Temple Tour with Options
All mentioned attractions in the package visited.
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Sadahiro Yamasaki San is a super guide👍👍👍👍👍
Wanderer07913574217, Dec 2019
Hiroshima / Miyajima Full-day Private Tour with Government Licensed Guide
His English is excellent.
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Very good tour
Franke4651, Nov 2019
1-Day Tokyo Bus Tour
You get to see 7-8 places in a day, which is great except several of those would be worth staying half day or more on.
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Valuable and amazing tour
SubiAG, Nov 2019
Kyoto Cultural Forest, Shrine and Temple Tour with Options
It gives you a taste of the cultural Japan and offers the opportunity to see many iconic Kyoto spots in 1 day.
star-4
Well organised but you have to be lucky to see Mount Fuji
Nixon Q, Nov 2019
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Be prepared to only look at a bunch of clouds or to see the mount for 1st Station with little visibility.
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Perfect
ashleymrebello, Nov 2019
Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Ashi Cruise 1 Day Bus Trip from Tokyo
We have been very blessed to have perfect weather to see Mount Fuji.
star-5
Excellent Driver and Service
patriciaboyd, 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.
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Private tour of yokohama
Jayrome2019, Nov 2019
Yokohama Private Full Day Tour
Mr Kitamura speaks excellent english.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions
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