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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
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
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
#4
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
#5
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
#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
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
#8
Arashiyama Park

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
#9
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
#10
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

Trip ideas

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Things to Know About Visiting Japan During Golden Week

Top activities in Japan

Tokyo Asakusa Rickshaw Tour

Tokyo Asakusa Rickshaw Tour

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$44.45
Full-Day Private Guided Tour to Kobe City

Full-Day Private Guided Tour to Kobe City

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$226.63
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Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver

Special Offer

Tokyo Private Chauffeur Driving Sightseeing Tour - English Speaking Driver

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$366.14
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$523.05  $156.91 savings

Recent reviews from experiences in Japan

star-5
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.
star-5
Fun Harajuku tour
MELODY_M, 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
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
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 Nationally-Licensed Guide
Adopted the tour to a senior person for whom is English a second language.
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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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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.
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Private tour of yokohama
Jayrome2019, Nov 2019
Yokohama Private Full Day Tour
Mr Kitamura speaks excellent english.
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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.
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Fun, informative & friendly
carrolltjv7, Oct 2019
Traditional Japanese Calligraphy Workshop (Near Tokyo Tower)
The teacher polite and well spoken with her English.
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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...
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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.
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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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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.

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