50 things to do in Japan | Ultimate Guide

50 things to do in Japan | Ultimate Guide

The top 50 things to do in Japan!

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50 things to do in Japan list

1.Visit the Bamboo Forest 

One of the most popular and instragramed places in Japan. A path which is surrounded with long bamboo shoots. The photos really don’t do this place justice. You pretty much feel immersed into nature.

We got up bright and early so we could avoid the crowds. However, it was still very crowded so just note this if you’re visiting. We had to be very patient and quick if we wanted a photo with no one in the background. In addition to this , we witnessed a proposal here too!

2. Try some fresh sushi

A staple in Japanese cuisine, sushi is a dish consisting of a small ball of rice served with fresh seafood, vegetables or even seafood. The sushi in Japan is amazingly fresh and there are alot of affordable options.

Sushi

3.Stay at the Books and Bed

Are you a book lover looking for a unique place to stay? Check out the Book and Bed hostel in the heart of Tokyo. This is a hostel themed as a bookstore with 100s of books around as well as a beautiful installation. 

4. Visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

This is by far one of the most breathtaking places I’ve visited.  There is a set trail you can follow up the mountain (warning, this is not to scale). This will take you through a different set of tori gates. Some big and some small and at some angles will make it look like there are an infinite number of gates. Perfect for that instagram photo.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

5. Take a day trip to Nara 

Take a trip to Nara and visit the wonderful sight of the bowing deers roaming around Nara Park. You can also find a stall that sells crackers for feeding the deer. One pack contains 10 crackers for only JP¥200.

6. Try some takoyaki 

Also known as octopus balls, Takoyaki is a popular street food snack in Japan. Consisting of diced octopus, pickled ginger and green onion covered in a floured batter creating a ball like shaped dish.

7. Explore the rooms at Team Borderless

Probably one of the most instagrammable places in Tokyo – TeamLab Boarderless. This is a permanent exhibition that sits in the Mori building in pallet town, Koto-ku. For you Pokémon fans, Pallet towns should sound a bit familiar.

8. Try Anything Matcha!

Matcha is a Japanese finely grounded green tea powder and has a tonne of health benefits. Matcha is offered at different cafes, ice cream stores and even dedicated dessert shops so definitely worth a try.

matcha desserts

9. Visit the running Glico man

Visit one of the most well known spots in Osaka, the Glico running man is located along the buildings in Osaka’s shopping district and can be seen on the Ebisubashi Bridge over the Dotonbori River.

Osaka Running Man

10. Try some gyozas 

If you’re looking for a late night snack after some shopping, try some Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings. There is a very affordable Gyoza stand in Osaka with a massive Gyoza sign so very hard to miss.

11. Walk along or take a cruise along the Dotonbori river

The Dontonbori river runs through the center of Osaka, the area is popular for its eye-catching neon lights billboards which light up the night sky. 

Dotonbori river in Osaka

12. Osaka Castle

Visiting Osaka Castle is a must if you’re traveling to Japan. Osaka Castle is surrounded by gardens and we sat under a tree for shade whilst walking up the hill and enjoyed the city scenery from above.

Whilst walking out towards the main exit we came across A ‘secret’ Japanese garden. This gave us a really beautiful view of the castle as well. I say ‘secret’ but when we arrive there was a row of photographers with huge cameras taking this shot.

13. Visit the Lotus Ceiling church in Tokyo |  St. Ignatius Church

 St. Ignatius Church has one of the most unique and stunning ceilings ever. This beautifully designed flower ceiling opens up the building  to the sky bringing in the sunlight.  

Lotus Ceiling church in Tokyo

14. Try some Wagyu Beef

One of the things Japan is well known for is their beef. Wagyu beef translated directly to Japanese beef, and can be any of the 4 breeds of cattle in Japan. So what makes Wagyu beef so special?  Wagyu beef has a higher level of marbling, so the meat texture is finer. Making the meat simply melt in your mouth. Check out my experience having Wagyu Beef here

Wagyu Beef

15. Visit the Umeda Sky Building

Looking for a beautiful view of Osaka? Check out the Umeda Sky building that consists of 2 towers that are connected with a bridge and escalators which you can take.

Umeda Sky Building

16. Shop at Daiso

Daiso is also known as the 100-yen store is a chain with over 300 locations in Japan. If you’re looking for affordable, cute and general products this is the place to go.

17. Visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

This park is absolutely massive and the perfect place you can completely get lost in. The Perfect place to visit during cherry blossom season and stop by the Taiwan Pavilion that sits beautifully on the lake. 

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

18. Try a delicate cream puff 

Try a decadent, light and fluffy Japanese Cream puff. Visit the ‘Shirohige’s Cream Puff Shop in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo for the cutest Totoro cream puffs.

19. Visit the Tokyo Imperial Palace 

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is very close to Tokyo Station, on the way to the Palace we walked a lot of sky buildings and not too long we arrived at the Palace and the gardens. If I were to describe the Tokyo Imperial Palace in one word I’d say Grand, the grounds around the palace were extremely spacious and extremely well maintained.

20. Explore Arashiyama Kyoto by boat

 Rent a boat and row yourself along the Hozu-gawa river, one of the most beautiful ways to explore the area and get away from the crowds.

21. Try some Ramen 

Ramen is a japanese noodle dish that is popularly served with a meat or fish both topped with sliced pork, nori etc. Definitely a must have if you’re in Japan. 

Try out Ichiran ramen if you can. They are famous for its unique solo booth set up and flavourful tonkotsu ramen. 

22. Relax in an Onsen 

Onsens are natural hot spring baths in Japan that can be enjoyed indoors and outside. Enjoy the traditional bathing house experience at an Onsen.

Outdoor Onsen

23. Visit Mt Fuji

Mt Fuji is one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Japan, sitting at a height of 3,776 metres tall, it is also the tallest. You might even be able to have a glance of the mountain  on the shinkansen if you’re lucky enough for the weather to be on your side. Gotemba is a great location to go to for a mt Fuji view. Find out more about getting from Tokyo to Gotemba here

24. Stay at a Capsule Hotel 

A unique and efficient way to spend a night in the city. Capsule Hotels provide cheap and basic accommodation in “pods”.

25. Try some Udon and Soba

If you’re looking for another hot noodle soup dish, try some udon. Udon is a thick flour noodle which tends to be served with a mild soup base. 

Soba meal

26. Walk across Shibuya Crossing 

Walk across the famous intersection that is Shibuya crossing.I would suggest visiting shibuya at night especially with the neon lights from the interactive billboards.

27. Visit the Sanrio Store 

Pop into one of the many Sanrio Stores in Japan. For all the Hello Kitty and MyMelody fans out there this shop is a dream come true. Browse around the store and see all the cute and wonderful things they make based on these characters.

28. Visit the Godzilla statue

Visit the iconic giant Godzilla statue in the Chiyoda City in Tokyo.

29. Try some Omurice 

Try some omurice which is a simple omelette over rice dish Visit the famous and popular Youshokuya Kichi Kichi in Kyoto. But do book in advance because this place is very popular!

Omurice

30. Walk through Yoyogi Park 

Walk through one of the biggest and bubbly parks in Tokyo, located in Shibuya. From circus and balancing training to dance classes this is one of the liveliest locations in the city.

31. Pay your respect Sensoji Temple 

Visiting this beautiful temple in the middle of Tokyo’s Asakusa area. This is the oldest temples in Japan  and one of the most significant. 

You can draw a Omikuji (written fortune)  around the temple for an optional donation of 100 yen.

Sensoji Temple

32. Wake up early and visit the Toyosu Market

Visit one of the biggest fish and seafood wholesalers in the world. The original Tsukiji Fish market was closed in 2014 and was replaced with the Toyosu Market.

33. Admire the Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow bridge is a beautifully colour bridge that can be predominantly seen at night. The bridge connects the Tokyo Bay to the Shibaura Pier.

Rainbow Bridge

33. Visit the Tokyo Starbucks Roastery

Visit one of the biggest Starbuck Reserve Roastery in Japan. Visit the 4-story roastery and try some of their wonderful in-house grown coffee beans.

35. Play with some furry friends at the Cat Cafe 

Take a break from exploring the city at a cat café. The perfect place to enjoy a drink and play with some cute cats.

36. Go Go-karting and drive around Tokyo 

Jump at the amazing opportunity to drive through the city streets. Live the real life Mario Kart dream and whiz through the streets.  Make sure you get your international license before going!

37. Try out and enjoy some Japanese BBQ

Enjoy the Yakiniku “Japanese BBQ” experience where you have the opportunity to grill your own meat at the table and eat there and then! 

Read more about an amazing Japanese BBQ place in Osaka here.

Japanese BBQ

38. Ferris wheel in Osaka 

Jump on the massive Ferris wheel in the heart of Osaka. Tickets cost 600¥ ~ £4.50 and the place was fairly empty but gives you a perfect skyline view of Osaka.

Ferris wheel in Osaka

39. Spend a day at Universal Studios Japan

Spend a day at Universal Studios Japan! One of the best theme parks I’ve ever been too! Experience the magic at the wizarding world and try out their amazing modern VR rides.

40. FFXIV café in Tokyo and Osaka

Are you a Final Fantasy XIV fan? Stop off at the Final Fantasy Eorzea Café which makes you feel like you’re in Eorzea. Complete with cute decorated food, computers with the game as well as well as a fun raffle this is a great place to eat and enjoy the scene.

41. Stop at the Pokémon Cafe 

Gotta catch them all! Visit the cute and wonderful world that is the Pokemon Cafe. With themed food and a store with pokemon plushies wall. This is every pokemon fan’s dream.

Pokemon Cafe Welcome

42. Rent Kimonos 

Rent a beautiful  kimono in Japan – A kimono is the national dress of Japan. It is a stunning traditional Japanese garment with wide sleeves and tied in front with a sash called an obi.

Kimonos at Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

43. Take photos are a Photo Sticker booth

Stop at a Purikura “photo sticker booth” where you can take photos with your friends and make them into cute stickers.

44. Sing your heart out at a Karaoke bar 

Sing-along to your favourite tunes at a karaoke bar in Japan. Karaoke is very popular in Japan and you’ll be able to find one quite easily and at reasonable prices.

45. Shop tax free at Donquito  

Donquito is the perfect place to shop to buy souvenirs. From the uniquely flavoured kitkats, japanese snacks, affordable japanese cosmetics or pretty much anything. Donquito is the place to go.

46. Buy something from one of the Vending Machines

Japan has the highest number of vending machines in the world, with over 5 million across the country you’ll be able to find one at pretty much any corner. From warm coffee, snacks and even toys it’s a fun, unique and fast way to grab a snack

47. Pop into a Convenience store “Konbinis” 

Konbinis in Japan are on another level, you can buy full on meals here and it’ll be absolutely amazing. They also have a microwave there to heat up the food for you to have on the go. Try their fried chicken if you get the chance

48. Explore Tokyo Disney

Spend a day wondering around Disneyland in Tokyo. The park is massive and you spend as long as 4 days exploring the depths of the place. There is a Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea so explore which ever tickles your fancy. 

Tokyo Disney

49. Go on a self walking tour in Nikko 

There are quite a few things you can do in Nikko. Going on sightseeing busses, visit the beautiful waterfalls up the mountains nearby or even visit the Edo wonderland  (aka a ninja theme-park). But if you’re looking for a budget alternative grab a free map and go on a self walking tour.

50. Try some cheesecake 

Japanese Cheesecake is amazingly fluffy and light. Check out Pablo’s Cheesecake stall, they’re spotted around the city mainly at stations. You won’t regret it.

japanese cheesecake

50 Things to do in Japan!

  1. Visit the Bamboo Forest 
  2. Try some fresh sushi
  3. Stay at the Books and Bed 
  4. Visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto
  5. Take a day trip to Nara
  6. Try some takoyaki
  7. Explore the rooms at Team Borderless
  8. Try Anything Matcha!
  9. Visit the running Glico man
  10. Try some Gyozas
  11. Walk along or take a cruise along the Dontonbori river
  12. Visit Osaka Castle
  13. Visit the Lotus Ceiling church in Tokyo | St. Ignatius Church
  14.  Try some Wagyu Beef
  15. Visit the Umeda Sky Building
  16. Shop at Daiso
  17. Visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
  18. Try a delicate cream puff
  19. Tokyo Imperial Palace
  20. Explore Arashiyama Kyoto by boat
  21. Try some Ramen
  22. Relax in an Onsen
  23. Visit Mt Fuji
  24. Stay at a Capsule Hotel
  25. Try some Udon and Soba
  26. Walk across Shibuya Crossing
  27. Visit the Sanrio Store
  28. Visit the Godzilla statue
  29. Try some Omurice
  30. Walk through Yoyogi Park
  31. Pay your respect Sensoji Temple
  32. Wake up early and visit the Toyosu Market
  33. Admire the Rainbow Bridge
  34. Visit the Tokyo Starbucks Roastery
  35. Play with some furry friends at the Cat Cafe
  36. Go Go-karting and drive around Tokyo
  37. Eat some Japanese BBQ
  38. Ferris wheel in Osaka
  39. Universal Studios Japan
  40. FFXIV café in Tokyo and Osaka
  41. Pokemon Cafe
  42. Rent Kimonos
  43. Take photos are a Photo Sticker booth
  44. Sing your heart out at a Karaoke bar
  45. Shop tax free at Donquito
  46. Buy something from one of the Vending Machines
  47. Pop into a Convenience store “Konbinis”
  48. Tokyo Disney
  49. Go on a self walking tour in Nikko
  50. Try some cheesecake

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