Japan, known as the “Land of the Rising Sun,” is a captivating blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels. From bustling cities and serene temples to breathtaking landscapes and mouthwatering cuisine, Japan offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, this comprehensive list of the 20 best things to do in Japan will ensure an unforgettable journey through this mesmerizing country.

The 20 Best Things To Do In Japan

1. Explore the Historic Streets of Kyoto

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Japan by wandering through the historic streets of Kyoto. Begin with a visit to the iconic Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, famous for its shimmering golden exterior and stunning garden. Continue your exploration with a trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine, renowned for its thousands of vermilion torii gates that lead up to the sacred Mount Inari.

Conclude your Kyoto adventure with a stroll through the ethereal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, where towering bamboo stalks create a mesmerizing atmosphere.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto | @veronicavisits

2. Marvel at the Great Buddha in Nara

Embark on a journey to Nara, Japan’s ancient capital, and encounter the awe-inspiring Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Todai-ji Temple. As the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, it stands tall within a majestic hall, leaving visitors in awe of its sheer magnitude.

Explore the adjacent Nara Park, where you can encounter friendly deer that are considered sacred messengers in Japanese culture.

Great Buddha, Nara
Great Buddha, Nara | @ayasanpom

3. Experience Traditional Tea Ceremony in Tokyo

Indulge in the art of tea in Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan. Take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an age-old practice that showcases the harmony between the host and the guests.

Delve into the intricate rituals, from the graceful preparation of matcha tea to the serene atmosphere that fosters a sense of tranquility.

4. Witness the Magnificent Mount Fuji

No visit to Japan is complete without witnessing the grandeur of Mount Fuji, the country’s iconic symbol. Journey to Hakone, a picturesque town near the mountain, and savor stunning views of Fuji-san from various vantage points.

Take a scenic boat ride on Lake Ashi, relax in natural hot springs, and, if weather permits, ascend the mountain for an unforgettable adventure.

Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji, Japan | @number_shiiix

5. Discover the Historic Hiroshima

Pay homage to history in Hiroshima, a city that endured the devastating impact of an atomic bomb during World War II. Visit the Peace Memorial Park, a solemn space dedicated to promoting peace and reflecting on the consequences of nuclear warfare.

Explore the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which offers a poignant narrative of the city’s history and resilience.

6. Enjoy the Vibrant Atmosphere of Tokyo

Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital city. Begin in Shibuya, known for its famous pedestrian scramble intersection, trendy shops, and vibrant nightlife.

Explore the iconic Shinjuku district with its towering skyscrapers, entertainment centers, and the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Dive into the futuristic world of Akihabara, a hub for anime, manga, and electronic goods.

Colorful streets of Tokyo
Colorful streets of Tokyo | @tokyo_streets_shots

7. Soak in a Traditional Onsen

Embark on a rejuvenating experience by visiting a traditional Japanese hot spring (onsen). Journey to towns like Hakone, Kusatsu, or Beppu, renowned for their therapeutic waters.

Unwind and relax in the soothing mineral-rich baths, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and serene natural beauty.

8. Wander the Streets of Takayama

Step into a bygone era in the charming town of Takayama. Explore the preserved Edo-period streets of Sanmachi Suji, lined with beautifully preserved wooden buildings housing shops, sake breweries, and traditional craft stores.

Visit the Hida Folk Village to experience traditional thatched-roof houses and learn about the local history and culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the succulent Hida beef, a local delicacy.

A rainy day in Takayama | @hotel_wood_takayama

9. Discover Ancient History in Kamakura

Venture from Tokyo to Kamakura, a coastal city steeped in ancient history. Marvel at the Great Buddha of Kamakura, an impressive bronze statue towering at over 13 meters. E

xplore the serene temples of Hase-dera and Kencho-ji, immersing yourself in the peaceful ambiance and exquisite architecture. Take a stroll along Kamakura’s picturesque beaches and indulge in local street food.

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