42 Crazy Fun Things to Do in Japan

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If you’re looking for things to do on your trip to Japan, you’ve come to the right place. From super quirky, only-in-Japan experiences to must-see sights and the best food to try, we’ve rounded up the top things to do in Japan on your first visit!

事情to do in Japan Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Japan is a country with a perfect mix of quirky chaos and tranquil bliss. With epic adventures in nature as well as crazy experiences you can’t have anywhere else in the world, there are so many things to do in Japan that it will likely take a few visits to check them all off your bucket list.

From dancing robots to monkeys in hot springs to bamboo forests, we made a list of all the things you won’t want to miss on your trip to Japan.

Whether this is your first time visiting, or you are a frequent traveler to the “land of the rising sun,” we’ve got a collection of fun and exciting things to do in Japan for all travelers.

Resources for planning your perfect Japan trip

Japan Packing List PDF download | Two Wandering Soles

1. Hike the Kumano Kodo Trail

事情to Do in Japan Hike the Kumano Kodo Trail

Yes, much of Japan is crowded. But there is also a huge portion of the country where you can find peace, tranquility, and yes, solitude. If you love nature, hiking, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences, this is JUST the thing to put on your radar.

Many people have heard of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, but few know of the sister trail, which is located in Japan.The Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrimage trail that weaves through remote mountains and tiny villages, in which you can stay at traditional guesthouses.

Nachi Falls Things to Do in Japan Hike the Kumano Kodo

During our time on the trail, we saw a whopping total of 18 other people! How is that even possible in Japan?! This region has started gaining more attention in recent years, and that’s great. It is such a unique way to see Japan, and a great way to support locals living outside of major cities. But we have a feeling this trail won’t be under the radar for long.

Another great thing about this trail is that you can adjust the hiking days to fit your travel plans (it’s possible to do just 2 days or as many as 6 days). If you know anything about us, you know that we’ve gotchu covered with aninfo-packed Kumano Kodo guide(plus TONS of photos!).

Supporting off-the-beaten path experiences is a great way to keep tourism dollars local.ViaHerois a trip planning platform that will connect you to a local in Japan who will help you plan an authentic itinerary that supports their community.

2. Soak in an Onsen

事情to do in Japan Soak in an Onsen Hot Spring

You should try one (or a few!) on your trip to Japan. Let’s start by defining what is an onsen, exactly…

Onsen: a Japanese hot spring with a bathing facility

Japan has a lot of volcanic activity, meaning there are onsens all around the country. Traditionally, onsens are separated by gender, and they are a staple in Japanese culture.

The most magical onsens are the outdoor ones with a view. But you’ll find all varieties. Similarly,sentoare indoor bathing facilities that use ordinary heated water (not from geothermal activity).

If youvisit Japan during the winter, taking a dip in an onsen, or natural not spring, is a must.

While onsens are nice in other seasons as well, there’s nothing quite like immersing in steaming water while chilly winter air kisses your shoulders. Pure magic!

Both onsens and sento are meant for communal bathing.I know what you’re thinking:I have to get naked… with strangers?!

My thoughts were the same. But after experiencing ajjimjilbang(which is essentially the Korean equivalent to an onsen or sento), I realized that nobody cares what you look like. Yes, seriously. It still may feel strange at first, but it is something you’ll get used to.

Insider Tip:Be sure to read over thebasic etiquette you should follow in an onsenbecause there are definitely some things you should know before you strip down… (You’ll find everything you need to know under #18 in the article linked above.)


3. Go Izakaya Hopping

事情to do in Japan Izakaya Bar Hopping

One of our favorite ways to feel like you’re experiencing local life is to pop into an izakaya (tiny, casual bar with food) and order a drink and some small plates.

Often times, izakayas only fit around 15 people, so it becomes as much about the atmosphere as it is about trying small dishes and drinks.We had some really cool izakaya experiences where we mingled with locals, tried dishes we wouldn’t have otherwise, and had an overall great evening.

You can find izakayas all around the country, but here are some famous areas to hop from one izakaya to another:

  • Tokyo: Yakitori Alley, Memory Lane a.k.a. “Piss Alley”

  • Osaka: streets just outside of Dotonbori

  • Osaka: Shinsekai

Good to know:一些酒收取“支付费用”,不同based on the place (we paid on average around 300 yen per person). They might bring a small (aka tiny!) little dish that is supposedly what you’re paying for (as well as your seat).

If you are hesitant about going to an izakaya on your own,Magical Tripoffers tours where you can share the experience with a local and other travelers. Oh, and it is quite helpful to be with someone who speaks a bit of Japanese when ordering because many izakayas don’t have English menus.

4. Explore teamLab Borderless Museum

teamLab Borderless Museum Things to Do in Japan

Lasers, crystal “rain”, floating lanterns, and flowers that move when you touch them… anyone else reminded of Willy Wonka?!This was probably – no definitely! – the craziest museum we’ve ever visited, and it’s hard to sum up in words.

IfTokyo is on your Japan itinerary, be sure to reserve tickets to teamLab Borderless museum for an experience you won’t soon forget. And to maximize your time there and avoid the crowds as much as possible, read up onour suggested route and insider tips!

5. Japanese Photo Booth

事情to do in Japan Purikura Japanese Photo Booth

Hopping inside a Japanese photo booth, or purikura, is a quick, yet memorable experience.

You can find photo booths in many arcades, and sometimes simply typing “purikura” into Google Maps will show you any nearby.The best part is this experience takes less than 10 minutes and costs around 400 yen, meaning any traveler can squeeze it into their Japan itinerary, no matter how tight!

And at the end, you’re left with an inexpensive and ridiculously “Japanese” souvenir that’ll make you smile (or cry laughing!) each time you see it.

6. Go on a Food Tour

事情to do in Japan Food Tour Japanese Restaurant

Calling all foodies! If you want to try as much Japanese food as possible and learn about the cuisine on a deeper level, a food tour is where it’s at!

We discovered food tours a couple of years ago, and are kind of obsessed now.Not only do you get to eat at the hidden gems around the city, but you’ll learn things most other tourists are oblivious to.Oh, and you’ll get more than one freakin’ incredible meal. Need we say more?!

We went on two food tours with Arigato, one in Osaka and one in Tokyo. While they were both good, we really, really loved the tour in the Shinsekai district of Osaka.

Food Tours in Japan to try:

7. Take a Japanese Cooking Class

Kyoto Cooking Class Sushi What to do in Japan

Take your knowledge ofJapanese cuisinea bit deeper and learn what goes into some of your favorite dishes…

We thinktaking cooking classes on our travelsis one of the best ways to learn about a country’s cuisine and culture.

On our first trip to Japan, we took a sushi-making class, and on our second visit we learned how to make ramen from scratch.

Kyoto Cooking Class Sushi Things to do in Japan

Japanese Cooking Classes:

8. Take a Ride on a Bullet Train

Japan Rail Bullet Train Things to do in Japan

There’s something wonderful about train journeys, don’t you think? Pop on headphones, sit back and look out the windows at the towns and life passing by. Any route through the mountains or along the coastline is especially beautiful!

Japanese trains are famously efficient and clean, so your journey is sure to be a comfortable one.

Insider Tip:Have a good book and some snacks on hand (it’s fine to eat on the Shinkansen trains, but not the local, short-distance ones).

If you are traveling to more than two cities in Japan, you will most likely save money if you buy a JR Pass. Find out if aJR Pass is worthwhile for your trip.

9. Visit Shrines and Temples

Fushimi Inari Shrine Japan Orange Gates

Before we delve into this one, let’s have a quick chat about some basic differences between shrines and temples…

Shrines: Shinto religion

  • You know it’s a shrine when there is a largetoriigate at the entrance; you know, those orange 3-sided structures that are an icon of Japan?

Temples: Buddhist

  • Temples often have a statue of Buddha, incense burners, and some have a cemetery attached to them. Monks live and train in temples, and you may even see some walking around at the larger temples.

There are countless shrines and temples around Japan, from the ultra-famous to the small neighborhood shrines and temples for locals to visit regularly. Seeing a few of each during your trip to Japan is one of the best ways to get a feel for the country’s culture and religion.

Insider Tip:While you’re visiting shrine or temple in Japan, you may notice small wooden plaques with writing that are hanging on a fence or gate of some sort. These are calledema, and all visitors are invited to purchase one and write a prayer or wish on them. It is said that the spirits, orkami, will see your wishes. This is originally a Shinto custom, but over the years it has spread to some temples too.

Here are some of the more famous shrines and temples:

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine Japan Orange Gates Things to do in Japan

If you’ve seen “Memoirs of a Geisha”, you’ll recognize these famous orange gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Though I’d learned about these extensively in art history during university, they were far more spectacular in person than I could have imagined.

Photo Tip:The beginning of the pathway is packed with people stopping for pictures. Keep walking past the crowds until the path starts going uphill. You will be able to get a picture without anyone obstructing your shot. You will also reach a lookout point and be rewarded with a view overlooking Kyoto.

In order to walk through all of the gates, you’ll need to set aside a better portion of a day.But if your time in Kyoto is limited though, don’t fret! An hour or two should be sufficient to explore a large portion of this shrine and leave without feeling like you’re missing out.

嘘!Check out our list of themost beautiful places in Japanyou’ll have to see to believe!

Kinkaku-ji Temple (aka “Golden Pavilion”)

Golden Pavilion Kyoto Kinkaku-ju Temple What to do in Japan

Also known as the “Golden Temple”, the Kinkaku-ji Temple is one of the most famous sights in Kyoto. And as we found out, it is popular for a good reason.

Its exterior is completely covered in gold leaf and makes a stunning reflection in the lake beside it. It is definitely worth a visit, but be warned – the grounds are teeming with tour groups at practically all hours.

The morning is said to be the least busy, but dusk the most beautiful. Viewing the golden temple as the sun starts to set is spectacular.

Shitenoji Temple, Osaka

Shitenoji Temple Osaka What to do in Japan

While in Osaka, make a visit to Shitenoji, which is the most important Buddhist structure in the city, and one of the oldest temples in Japan.

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Meiji Shrine Tokyo

Not far from downtown Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is an escape from the city’s bustling streets. Unlike many of Japan’s temples, the structures have not been brightly painted. Instead, the wooden gates were left in their natural state, making these forested grounds all the more serene.

If you visit Meiji Shrine on a Saturday, you may be lucky enough to witness a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, like we did!

Senso-ji, Tokyo

Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo What to do in Japan

Located in the historical neighborhood of Asakusa, Senso-ji is Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temple. It’s popularity means it is crowded at all times, but it is still very worthy of a visit while you’re in Tokyo.

10. See Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Park

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park Things to do in Japan

Seeing the monkeys at Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park was one of our favorite things we did during our week in Japan. We escaped the chaos of Tokyo for a little day trip to Nagano (yes, the host city of the 1998 Winter Olympics).

The path leading to the monkey park is lined with towering pines, and when we visited in February they were frosted with snow. We finally made it to a river valley and we knew we were close when we spotted a monkey in the middle of the path.

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park Things to do in Japan

As we ventured further, they were everywhere. The monkeys brushed past us as if we weren’t there at all.

The most entertaining sight was to see them soaking in the natural hot spring.

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park Things to do in Japan
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park Things to do in Japan

Getting to the Monkey Park is a bit of a logistical headache, and it takes a full 3 hours from Tokyo, but it was completely worth it for us. Although we made it a day trip, we’d recommend staying the night nearby if time allows.

Budget Tip:If you have theJapan Rail pass, getting to Nagano won’t cost you anything extra!

Tip:During the winter, the trail that leads to the monkey park gets very icy, so wear sturdy footwear. I lost track of how many people I saw fall. And I made the list once or twice (or five times!).

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11. Glimpse Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji Japan Foggy Things to Do in Japan

Seeing Mount Fuji in all her glory is at the top of many travelers’ Japan bucket list.

However, it’s good to know that this iconic mountain is known for being shy.事实证明,富士山是隐藏的clouds during our visit.

We took a cable car and a ship to places that are stunning viewpoints on a clear day. Too bad for us, we only saw a thick, never-ending white fog instead.

That’s just how it goes when you’re traveling. You might not always have clear skies or get the perfect picture, but you’ve got to make the best of it!

Hopefully you’ll have more luck than we did!

Mount Fuji Japan Black Egg Things to do in Japan

Insider Tip:While on the grounds of the mountain, be sure to eat the famous black eggs. They have been hard-boiled in the nearby hot springs and are said to lengthen your life by 7 years. We shall see!

12. Wander through a Bamboo Forest

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Things to do in Japan

The most famous bamboo forest in Japan is undoubtedly in Arashiyama. Located just outside the center of Kyoto, you’ll feel a world away.The grove of giant, swaying bamboo stalks is beautiful year-round and emanates tranquility.Well, that is if you can experience tranquility amongst a crowd…

This bamboo forest is stunning, no arguing that, but it can get pretty packed, especially duringJapan’s high tourist season. We visited during low season (February) and went early, so we didn’t have too much of an issue with crowds. However, we know this isn’t always the case. We still think it’s worth visiting, as long as your expectations are managed.

Even so, we think it is well worth a visit and will certainly be one of your favorite photo ops in Japan!

Also, there are other, less crowded bamboo forests around the country. Here are just a couple:

  • Kamakura:just a 10-minute bus ride from the train station is the Hokokuji Bamboo Forest. It’s small but beautiful. And while you’re in town, might as well swing by the Great Buddha of Kamakura that dates back to the year 1252.

  • Nakasendo Trail:there is a portion of this trail where there is a wild bamboo grove. No paths, no crowds, just bamboo!

13. Explore a Japanese Castle

事情to do in Japan Osaka Castle

When picturing castles, Europe is usually the first region of the world to come to mind.

But Japan holds its own, and has some very interesting fortresses for visitors to explore and gain a better understanding of this country’s history.

There are a dozen castles still standing in Japan, but here are some of the most famous (and easily accessible):

  • Osaka– in the city and accessible by the metro, this historic castle played a major role in unifying Japan in the 16th century.

  • Himeji– if visiting Hiroshima from Osaka, you could stop off in Himeji and explore the beautiful grounds of the Himeji Castle.

  • Kanazawa– located in the center of the city, this castle is adjacent to the famous Kenroku-en, one of three “perfect gardens” of Japan.

  • Matsumoto– Also known as the “Crow Castle” for its black color, this castle is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season.

Read Next:47 Essential Japan Travel Tips + Fun Facts about Japan

14. Dine at a Theme Restaurant (or 2!)

Robot Restaurant Tokyo Japan Things to do in Japan

Theme restaurants and cafes are huge in Japan, and there is such a variety that every type of traveler should be able to find one that appeals to them.

And while we’d definitely recommend trying out a theme restaurant, just don’t expect the best meal of your time in Japan. Keep in mind that you come not for the food, but for the atmosphere.

表示可能是点,但食物本身at most of these establishments is, well, mediocre. We’re just trying to help manage expectations!


Robot Restaurant Tokyo Things to do in Japan

Join Anthony Bourdain, Katy Perry, and countless others who have been audience members of this illustriously wild show. Although it’s known as a restaurant, one doesn’t come for the food. (FYI: You can get tickets to the performance without purchasing food onKlook.)

The scantily-clad dancers, pulsating lights and giant robots are what draw large crowds of tipsy tourists and Japanese businessmen each night. The show honestly can’t be described in words. It’s an experience that is so uniquely Japanese, you won’t see anything like it elsewhere in the world.

Tip:Don’t pay full price for tickets.Book on Klookfor nearly half off tickets, and you have the choice of not getting a meal (which in our option is not worth it). Or better yet, we’ve heard that many hotels with concierge service offer 2-for-1 tickets to this show.

Robot Restaurant Show Things to do in Japan
Robot Restaurant Show Things to do in Japan

While the robot restaurant is arguably the most famous theme restaurant in Tokyo, it is certainly not the only one. So if robots and scantily clad ladies aren’t your thing, or you want to try a less popular (or less expensive!) one, we’ve got you covered with descriptions below. Note that many of these restaurants or cafes require a reservation.

More theme restaurants and cafes in Tokyo:

  • Kawaii Cafe:The theme of this cafe iskawaii, which translates to “cute”. Expect all things rainbow and cutesy. Oh, and we should let you know that most things on the menu look better than they taste. So get out that camera and snap a picture before taking a bite because, well, that’s the point.

  • Ninja restaurant:This is a full-blown experience, and one of the only theme restaurants where the food is actually known to be quite good. Dine-in what appears to be an Edo-era village, complete with waterfalls, ponds and the sounds of chirping crickets. And be entertained by ninja performances at your table. With set menus starting at 5500 yen, this experience does not come cheap, but the rave reviews speak for themselves.

  • Pokemon Cafe:Pretty much just what it sounds like — Pokemon-themed drinks and food!

  • Flower Cafe:If you’re looking for an experience that is not so showy or cutesy, the Aoyama Flower Market Tea House may be just what you’re looking for. Set inside a flower market, this cafe is undoubtedly beautiful.

  • 2D Cafe:This quirky cafe will make you feel as if you’ve hopped into a drawing. The restaurant’s black and white interior looks just like a cartoon drawing. They specialize in bubble teas and Korean-style shaved ice dessert, which pop against the 2D background!

  • The Lockup:This bar and restaurant has a very strange theme: guests are treated as inmates in jail. Well, inmates that can order food and drinks of their choosing… but you’re led to a cell and handcuffed by a warden while recordings of screams play in the background. So umm, this may not be for everyone.

  • Vampire Cafe:If creepy is your thing, you might enjoy this restaurant which is characterized by wall-to-wall red velvet, servers in French maid costumes, and blood-inspired drinks and treats.

  • Kagaya:It seems the only theme to this bar/cafe isinsanity. Patrons can expect screaming, costumes, and puppets… If you’re looking for an experience that leaves you wondering, “What the hell just happened?!” this might be it.

  • Maid Cafes:This a popular type of cafe, commonly found in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, which is known for anime. Female servers are dressed as maids in a sort of cosplay atmosphere.

    • The “maid” servers cater to their (mostly) male guests, but also don’t tolerate rude or unwarranted behavior (which can be common). Maid Cafes have a focus on being very cute – think singing songs, taking selfies, and serving latte art.

    • There has been a bit of controversy surrounding maid cafes, with some rumors connecting them to prostitution rings. Other sources swear they are totally innocent. Do your own research and decide if this would be an enjoyable experience for you.

A note on animal cafes:We’d urge you to practice caution and do a bit of research before choosing to go to an animal cafe. We’ve been to both dog and cat cafes, which seemed okay since these animals tend to like attention from people and are quite domestic.

However, we’ve heard pretty bad things about some of the other animal cafes that can be found in Japan, like owl, sheep, hedgehog, fox, etc. Many of these animals aren’t meant to be around people or constantly stimulated. If you really want to go to an animal cafe, cat, dog or rabbit cafes seem to be the best options.

Related:36 Responsible Travel Tips

15. Get Schooled on History in Hiroshima

事情to do in Japan Atomic Bomb Dome

Hiroshima is well worth a place on yourJapan itinerary, especially if you’re a history buff. Visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will teach you more than you ever could learn in history books.

Tip:If you’re planning on staying in Osaka, you can easily make aday trip from Osaka to Hiroshimato explore the highlights of the city. And it’s even included in yourJRail Pass!

As a quick refresher, Hiroshima was bombed by Americans during World War II, making it the first city targeted with a nuclear weapon. Much of the city was destroyed, and while it’s unclear the exact number of direct victims of the atomic bomb, there are estimates that more than 160,000 people died as a result of the impact and the after effects.

Even if you’re not a “museum person”, a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum is a must.You’ll find photos and personal stories from the time of World War II, which makes this tragedy come to life for visitors.

展出的文物是轰炸,including clothing that was worn by victims and survivors at the moment of impact. Seeing the shredded fabric with your own eyes, knowing someone was wearing it, makes an impact.

事情to do in Japan Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

参观博物馆后,探索广岛Peace Memorial Park, which has informational plaques, dedications and remnants from the bombing.

As you can imagine, it is heavy stuff. While painful, it is so important for people to see places like this in order to have a better understanding of our world history, and to move forward without repeating the mistakes of our past.

More things to do in Hiroshima:And on a lighter note, Hiroshima is actually a very cool and modern city with lots more to do. We’ve rounded up all the highlights including visiting the city’s castle and Japanese garden, eating regional cuisine you can only find here, and making a trip to the nearby Miyajima Island in ourday trip guide for Hiroshima.

16. See the Japanese Alps

事情to do in Japan Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Europe isn’t the only region with alps.In fact, Japan has its very own alps that are absolutely breathtaking, and somewhat off the beaten path for foreign tourists.

Depending onwhat time of year you’re visiting Japan, you can expect a very different view: a towering snow wall in early spring and stunning fall foliage in autumn, for example.

We have an entire guide that will help youplan your trip to the Japanese Alps via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

17. Eat Sushi at a Fish Market

事情to do in Japan Eat Sushi at a Fish Market

Sushi enthusiasts and newbies alike should try as much sushi as possible in Japan. And there’s no place to get it more fresh than from the source… aka the fish markets themselves.

Early each morning at fish markets around the country, fishermen arrive with the catch of the day to be auctioned off.Chefs and suppliers come to bid on the fish before it’s taken away to become yummy, yummy sushi for some lucky people.

Now if you want to get the freshest of the fresh sushi – literally made just moments after the fish is sold – you’re going to need to get up early. That’s right; sushi for breakfast! (Not as bad of an idea as it sounds!)

事情to do in Japan Eat Sushi At a Fish Market

So where can you find fish markets in Japan?In many coastal towns you’ll find fish markets, but here are some of the most famous and accessible fish markets in the country:

  • Toyosu Fish Market:Opened in 2018 to replace the older Tsukiji Market, visitors can now observe the early morning tuna auctions in this more modern facility (albeit lacking character), or eat at one of the many sushi restaurants inside.

  • Tsukiji Fish Market:While Tokyo’s oldest and most famous fish market is no longer home to the famous early morning tuna auctions, there are still vendors and fresh fish to be found in this arguably more authentic market. This may not last for long, however, as there are plans to develop this sought-after piece of real estate.

  • Kanazawa Fish Market:One of the most famous fish markets in the country, there are many restaurants inside selling all sorts of dishes.

  • Katsuura Fish Market:If you’ve just completed the Kumano Kodo Trail (see #1 on this list), you’ll likely be staying in or near Katsuura, so be sure to check out their morning fish market, which is known to bring in the most tuna in the entire country. You can observe the tuna auctions weekdays at 7 a.m., and you can get a fresh sushi breakfast in the nearby small indoor market.

Not sure what to order when it comes to sushi? Well… there’s an app for that. Here is a list of the most helpfulJapanese travel appsthat will improve your trip to Japan.

18. Stay in a Ryokan

事情to do in Japan Stay in a Ryokan Japan

Staying at a ryokan is an experience you can only have in Japan.This type of traditional Japanese inn is characterized by tatami-matted rooms and exceptional hospitality.

Often times ryokan guests are provided with yukata robes and access to private on-site onsen. Many ryokan also serves elaborate meals, which are usually included in the nightly rate.

19. Stay in a Capsule Hotel

事情to do in Japan Capsule Hotel

Spending the night in an enclosed space may sound a little… coffin-y. But, I am here to tell you that it is far less sketchy (and claustrophobic!) than it sounds.

With millions of people and limited space, it makes sense why capsule hotels are such a popular type of accommodation in Japan.

Speaking of popularity, there are tons of options meaning you can choose from the most basic of basic capsule hotels all the way to some pretty plush ones where the price reflects the level of comfort. We chose one that was somewhere in the middle.

It wasn’t as cramped as we were expecting! Each capsule hotel is different, but ours resembled a super scaled down hotel room, complete with a mini desk and television. It wasn’t so much claustrophobic as it wascozy.

We didn’t love the fact that we had to stay apart – I know, I know, we’re obnoxious! – but it was still a fun Japanese experience we’re glad we tried.

Side Note:We learned that there are some capsule hotels that have “couple capsules”, so you might want to search those out if you don’t wanna spend the night apart from your hunny. No judgment here!

There are capsule hotels around the country, but you’ll find the most options in Tokyo and Osaka.

20. Walk the Nakasendō Trail

事情to do in Japan Nakasendo Trail

The Nakasendō Trail is an ancient route that spanned more than 330 miles to connect Kyoto and Tokyo and was used in the Edo Period. While modern development has taken over many portions of the trail, there are still a few sections that remain more or less in their original form and can still be walked.

One of the most popular sections is in the Kiso Valley and runs between the small towns of Tsumago and Magome.

This section of the trail is roughly 8 kilometers (5 miles) and is relatively flat. It should take between 2 – 3 hours, depending on how often you stop (and how many photos you take!).

We’d recommend staying atMagome Chaya, which is a simple ryokan that serves an INCREDIBLE kaiseki dinner.

21. Eat ALL the Ramen

事情to do in Japan Eat Ramen

Oh, ramen. Piping hot broth, slightly chewy noodles, a perfectly gooey soft boiled egg, fresh scallions and a depth of flavors that makes you keep going back for more, bite after bite.Forget the instant noodles you feasted on after drunken nights in college. The gourmet version is leaps and bounds more delicious.

Each ramen shop has its own flavors and specialties, so you’ll want to sample as much as you can while in Japan.

Good to know:At most ramen shops, you’ll buy a ticket from a vending machine and present the ticket to an employee. Ramen shops are considered somewhat “fast food”, and your bowl of hot noodly goodness shouldn’t take long to appear right in front of you.

22. Drive a real life Mario Kart

Go Karting in Tokyo | Image Credit:Emily from TravellersHorizons.com

Go Karting in Tokyo | Image Credit:Emily from TravellersHorizons.com

If you ever wished you could hop into your Nintendo 64 and actually race alongside Mario dressed as Princess Peach (is this anyone else’s fantasy?!), you can do just that in Japan!

Don a costume and get behind the wheel of a very real go-kart which you will drive on the streets of Osaka or Tokyo (this experience is offered in both cities).Check availability in Tokyo.

Important Tip:If this experience is a “must” on your Japan trip, be sure to bring an international driver’s license with you. Ben had one but I didn’t and we were unable to do this tour. Booo! I guess we’ll just have to come back to Japan for a third time…

23. Wander through Japanese Gardens

事情to do in Japan Kenrokuen Garden

While you can find Japanese gardens all around the world, the best place to glimpse these immaculate creations is, of course, in Japan!

Japanese Gardens change with the seasons and are beautiful year-round, with springtime blossoms, fall foliage or even a dusting of snow.

Here are some of the most famous Japanese gardens:

  • Kenrokuen,Kanazawa

  • Korakuen,Okayama

  • Kairaku-en,Mito

  • Tenryū-ji,Kyoto

  • Shinjuku Gyoen,Tokyo

  • Imperial Palace,Tokyo

24. See the famous Nara Deer

Nara Deer What to see in Japan

If you want to channel your inner Snow White and get friendly with a deer (or 7!), a stop in the ancient capital of Nara should be on your Japan itinerary.

Well-known for its ancient temples, and even more famous for the deer who saunter about them,Nara is just a short 45-minute train ride from bothOsakaand Kyoto, making it a popular day trip from either city.

根据传统的神道宗教deer in Nara are said to be messengers of the gods, and are therefore sacred animals that are allowed to roam freely. And the 1,000-plus deer who call the city and its parks home will not flee when they see you.

In fact, it’s much the opposite. They have learned to bow to humans in exchange for food. Yep, you read that right… they will actuallybow.

Our personal thoughts about feeding the deer:We chosenotto feed the deer. There are small stands around the parks with “deer crackers” for sale. While these are supposedly formulated specifically for deer, it can’t be healthy for them to be constantly fed.

We witnessed some of the deer getting very aggressive with people and there were many that looked like they had consumed one too many “deer crackers”. While we haven’t found much information online about this being an irresponsible activity, we just didn’t feel right about it.

Do a little research and make your own observations before deciding whether or not to feed the deer. And know that you’re not missing out by choosingnotto feed them. We still had a great time!

25. Experience Kawaii Culture

事情to do in Japan Kawaii Culture Cute Things

Kawaiiis the Japanese word for “cute”, and it won’t take long to realize just how big the kawaii culture is. It should come as no surprise that Japan is the birthplace of Hello Kitty and many equally cute characters that have attracted cult followings.

And you don’t have to look far to see examples of how this obsession with cuteness has impacted food, clothing trends, and well, pretty much all aspects of life that can be described as “cute”.

The best place in the country to experience this ubiquitous kawaii culture is in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo.You’ll see young women who are dressed almost as lifelike dolls, and you’ll pass by people holding rainbow cotton candy (aka “Fairy Floss,” which is a much cuter sounding name). Ice cream cones have cute cartoon faces and pigtails are more abundant than in a kindergarten class.

We should warn you, this street gets busy. Like,reallybusy.But that’s kind of part of the whole experience. So be prepared for a wild and very, verycutetime!

26. Eat a Kaiseki meal

事情to do in Japan Eat a Kaiseki Meal

If you like food as much as we do, you won’t want to miss a kaiseki meal during your trip to Japan. This is essentially a large meal with all sorts of small dishes, so you’ll get to try all sorts of things.

Kaiseki meals are commonly included in higher-end ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), and it is usually a highlight of the stay.特别注意投入各自的演讲small dish, making kaiseki meals especially beautiful to photograph. (Ben always says our cameras get to eat before he does!)

Tip:If you are vegetarian, a great way to try a kaiseki meal is at a Buddhist temple stay (for example, at Koyasan). All food served is strictly Buddhist vegetarian, whereas kaiseki meals often include a lot of meat and fish. This article has more info abouttraveling in Japan as a vegetarian.

27. Go Scuba Diving in Japan

Scuba Diving in Japan | Image Credit: Corinne Klein

Have you ever considered scuba diving in Japan?! We hadn’t either…But our friend Corinne has been living and diving in Japan for the past 2 years, and she swears it is a dive location that should be on your radar!

We asked her to explainwhat makes diving in Japan so special, and here’s what she had to say:

“From the tropical waters of Okinawa (21-30C) to the temperate waters along the mainland (11C-26C) and all the way up to the icy waters of the northern island of Hokkaido (3-6C), there’s something for every diver.

The biodiversity of marine creatures is extraordinary, and you will quickly find yourself amongst fields of brilliantly colored soft coral, moray eels poking their heads out to watch you drift by while schools of fish swim all around you.

对于宏观爱好者,有大量的可爱nudibranchs (there’s even a Pikachu one!!), seahorses, and if you’re lucky you might spot the elusive blue-ringed octopus.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Mikomoto on the Izu peninsula and Yonaguni Island just north of Okinawa, offer drift dives with hundreds of schooling hammerheads.”

Check out ourultimate guide to diving in Japanfor a detailed break down of the best dive sites, and everything you need to know to plan an epic diving trip.

28. Eat a meal at a convenience store

事情to do in Japan Convenience Store Meals

While convenience store food in America conjures images of wrinkly hot dogs, rolling in an endless circle until the end of time or electric blue icy drinks in cups larger than your face, the scene is entirely different in Japan.

Eating an entire meal from a convenience store is common among Japanese people, and it’s a lot less sketchy than it sounds.Instead of shriveled up hot dogs, you’ll find steamed buns, fresh sushi, a variety of pastries, noodle dishes, and dumplings ready to be heated up.The variety and quality of food is much better than in most other places around the world.

Whether you’retraveling in Japan on a budgetor you’re just in a hurry to grab something to eat, you’ll likely have at least one convenience store meal during your trip and many more snacking opportunities!

29. See Sumo Wrestlers in action

事情to do in Japan Sumo Wrestlers Practice Stable

There aren’t any sports more closely linked to Japan as sumo wrestling. While traveling in Japan, it is a pretty cool experience to see a match in action. However, professional sumo matches only take place 6 times per year: once during each odd-numbered month. Additionally, they are set in specific locations, so it can be difficult to fit it into your trip.

The professional sumo match schedule is as follows:

  • January: Tokyo

  • March: Osaka

  • May: Tokyo

  • July: Nagoya

  • September: Tokyo

  • November: Fukuoka

If that lines up with your Japan itinerary, try your best to squeeze it in – we’ve heard it’s a pretty cool experience.

Interesting Fact: Sumo wrestling is not an Olympic Sport, but is recognized by the Olympic Committee, meaning that there is a chance it could be part of the games someday. However, with the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, sumo will most likely be part of the games in some way, Like in the opening ceremonies.

However, if you are traveling in Japan during an even-numbered month like us (womp womp), you can still have a sumo experience.

Tokyo is home to sumo stables, which is where the wrestlers train and live. And if you’re lucky, you can sit in on one of their morning practices. It is a pretty surreal experience to watch the wrestlers go through their routine, albeit different than seeing a professional match.

事情to do in Japan Sumo Wrestlers Training Stables

I do think it’s important to mention that as an observer, you have to follow a very strict set of rules:

  • No talking

  • No moving

  • No exiting (if you leave the room, you cannot reenter)

  • No videos*

  • No eating or drinking

*Photographs are fine (without flash), and you will have the opportunity to take pictures with the wrestlers after their practice is over (if they oblige).

They don’t want you to think of it as a tourist experience, because it’s really not about you. The wrestling stable is simply giving you permission to observe their wrestlers. There are a handful of chairs and thin cushions to sit on, and as guests, you will sit there until their practice is over (which can vary day to day).

We had a flight in the afternoon, and we were getting a little nervous towards the end because we weren’t sure exactly how much longer the session would go.

Good to know:The practice can get long and repetitive. Your legs may hurt from sitting in the same position, and you may get thirsty. Just keep these things in mind, especially if you’re traveling with children.

So is it worthwhile?对我们来说,这是an experience that was fascinating at first, but got a bit long in the middle. I was relieved when we could get up and walk around at the end, but I was really happy we did it. Make sense?

How to do it on your own:We’ve heard that it is free to observe morning practices, however, you must call the stable and ask permission in advance (which isn’t always granted), so knowing Japanese is a must. If you have a Japanese friend or a very friendly hotel staff member, this might be an option. Though a much easier way to arrange this is tobook a tour through Magical Trip. They take care of everything for you and give you some background information about the sumo wrestlers. We were hosted by Magical Trip and we would recommend going through them since it is so simple.

30. Go Geisha spotting

事情to do in Japan Geisha Kyoto Japan
事情to Do in Japan See Geisha in Kyoto Japan

Translating to “woman of art”, geisha are trained in dance, music, traditional arts, and the very complicated art of communication. They make appearances at dinners in ryotei (traditional restaurants) and ochaya (teahouses) where they entertain guests who pay large sums to be in the presence of these highly skilled women.

But even if you don’t have big bucks to spend on one of these experiences, it is still possible to see a geisha or maiko (geisha’s apprentice) during your trip to Japan.

Good to know:While we’re referring to them as geisha for the purpose of this article, the correct term for these women in the Kyoto region is geiko. (Geisha is the correct term in Tokyo, and is generally more well-known among foreigners.)

Where to see a geisha

事情to do in Japan Geisha Kyoto Japan

In the 1920’s there were more than 80,000 geisha in Japan. Today there are only 2,000 of these female performers who continue to follow the strict lifestyle, so spotting them is special.

The best place to spot a geisha (outside of seeing them in a paid performance) is to take a stroll around the lantern-lit Pontocho Alley in Kyoto at dusk and you may just be rewarded with a rare sighting of a艺妓ormaiko.

The evening hours (between 5:30 pm and 6 pm) are when they make their way to one of the many traditional restaurants on this street in the Gion district where they hold performances. This will be your best chance at seeing their exquisite silk kimonos and painted faces up close.

Other historic neighborhoods in Kyoto where you’ll have a chance of spotting geisha/geiko and maiko:

  • Miyagawacho

  • Gion Higashi

  • Gion Kobu

  • Kamishichiken (near Kitano Tenmangu Shrine)

Have your camera ready, because when you do see a geisha, it will be a fleeting moment as she scurries in wooden sandals to her next appointment. While taking photos of geisha is generally acceptable, be sure you do so in a respectful manner. Don’t get in their way, and keep a reasonable distance.

31. Explore one of Japan’s Preserved Historic Villages

What to do in Japan Historic Japanese Villages

Japan is often applauded for its modern infrastructure, but the architecture of the past is just as endearing. Okay, let’s be real…way moreendearing.

Immerse yourself in one of Japan’s preserved historic villages, and imagine what it would have been like to live there.

Here are a handful of the most famous preserved historic villages in Japan:

  • Hida Folk Village:Just outside the city center of Takayama, this historic village is pretty easy to get to.

  • Shirakawago:Located between Kanazawa and Takayama, this stunning village is especially picturesque in the wintertime.

  • Gokayama:Situated in Toyama prefecture, this historic village isn’t as famous as Shirakawago or Hida Folk Village, but it still offers historic charm.

  • Oshino-mura:Near Mount Fuji, this makes a nice stop if you are spending time near Japan’s most iconic mountain.

32. Do a Temple Stay at Koyasan

事情to do in Japan Temple Stay Koyasan

Not far from bustling Osaka lies the tranquil Mount Koya (or Koyasan). Dotted with ancient Buddhist relics, vegetarian eateries, and temples that allow guests to spend the night,Koyasan is a peaceful escape from Japan’s major cities.

If doing a Koyasan “temple stay” is on your Japan bucket list, here are a couple of things that are good to know:

  • Temple stays are more or less a stay at a ryokan(传统的酒店),少一个僧侣。You will eat a Buddhist vegetarian dinner and breakfast and be able to observe the monks’ morning ritual alongside other guests. Just to give you an idea of what to expect!

  • If you’re looking for a more affordable temple stay(they can get quite expensive), we stayed atKoyasan Zofukuinand would recommend it. Delicious food, beautiful facilities, tranquil garden, friendly staff, good location.

  • Okunoin Cemetery is incredible.We’d recommend setting a good chunk of time to exploring as it is pretty large. We heard there is a cemetery night tour after we had left, and thought it looked kind of interesting so you might want to check that out. But definitely go during the day too.

  • Have lunch atBon-on-shaand enjoy their yummy vegetarian food and a cute, artsy atmosphere. They serve a “plate of the day” which has several small bits of different veg dishes (there is a vegan option too). For a bit more money, it comes with a coffee drink and a slice of the cake of the day.

33. Participate in a Japanese Tea Ceremony

事情to do in Japan Tea Ceremony

Matcha is everywhere in Japan – a popular ice cream flavor, in pastries, and even appearing in KitKat Bars. Yep, it’s true.

While you can just eat ALL the matcha, one way to get a deeper appreciation and understanding for this ubiquitous green powder is to take part in a tea ceremony.

We didn’t plan on partaking in a tea ceremony at all, but “accidentally” went to two different ceremonies:

  • As we were wandering around the famous Japanese Gardens in Kanazawa, we stumbled upon a traditional teahouse. When we saw there was a tea ceremony about to take place, we paid 700 yen to partake. (The less expensive 500 yen set was already sold out). This ceremony didn’t really have much explanation, but each guest was brought their tea and sweet with a bit of a ceremonial gesture. After it was finished, we were free to explore the teahouse and grounds for a bit.

事情to do in Japan Tea Ceremony and Manju

Budget Tip:If you’re visiting a Japanese Garden, see if there is a ceremony taking place in their teahouse. This is an affordable option if you’re on a budget but want a brief tea ceremony experience.

  • Our second encounter was during ourTokyo Food Tour with Arigato. This was a private ceremony, and we were able to choose our cups from their collection of ceramics that are hundreds of years old. The gestures were explained and we had a chance to ask questions.

If you’d like to book your own tea ceremony, take a look at Get Your Guide because they havetea ceremonies in multiple cities around Japan.

34. Attend a Japanese Baseball Game

事情to do in Japan Baseball Game

This all-American sport takes on a life of its own in Japan, and going to a baseball game is a totally different experience than you’d have in the US.

For one, you can bring in your own food and booze.Yep, that’s right! The drawback for any drinks you bring is you have to open them upon entering the stadium, and the security guards will pour it into a cup for you. So it’s best to just bring one or two, and then purchase another (if you’re so inclined) from the cute and super hard-working beer girls!

Another key difference between baseball games in Japan versus North America is the atmosphere.Games in Japan (especially for popular teams like Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants!) get wild!The atmosphere is more like a high stakes professional hockey game, with chants, yelling, boozing, cheerleaders, and fan sections.

How to attend a Japanese baseball game

事情to do in Japan Attend a Japanese Baseball Game

Depending on who is playing, you may need to reserve tickets well in advance.For less popular teams, you’ll be able to buy your tickets at the stadium for a fraction of the cost.

However, if you want a reserved seat of your own at a popular game, it’s best to make a booking online before your trip (here is the info forbooking at the Tokyo Dome).你可以试试你的运气得到门票7 eleven or through your hotel concierge once you arrive in Japan, but in our experience they were all sold out during the time we were there.

Even if you’re not able to get a seat, fret not! You can still purchase “standing room” tickets on the day of at the stadium.

Our experience:We went to a Giants vs. BayStars game (a busy game!), and were able to purchase “standing room” tickets at the stadium even after the game had started. Admittedly, we didn’t have the best view of the game, but it was fun to walk around the stadium and soak up the atmosphere. Plus, it was a fraction of the price we would have paid by booking through a company. We paid just 1000 yen ($9.13 USD) each for our tickets!

35. Go Skiing in Japan

Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort (near Tokyo) // Photo credit: Lena Scheidler fromNagoya Foodie

Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort (near Tokyo) // Photo credit: Lena Scheidler fromNagoya Foodie

If you’re traveling toJapan in the winter, we’d highly recommend going skiing. Japan is known for some of the best powder skiing in the world, and it’s a dream of our to get there for it someday. So if you’re lucky enough to shred some pow, let us know how it goes!

36. Go shopping for Japanese souvenirs

事情to Do in Japan Souvenirs

Shopping districts are plentiful in every Japanese city, packed with clothing stores, cosmetic shops, discount vendors, and souvenir stores. Even if you’re not really into shopping (I’m with you!),chances are you’ll want a memento – or a few – to remind you of Japan.

There are so many beautiful things to buy in Japan that it would be a shame to come home empty-handed. We’ve actually rounded up some of thebest things to buy in Japanto help you plan out which souvenirs are worth the space in your suitcase.


37. Sing Karaoke

事情to do in Japan Sing Karaoke

Calling all singers (and those who like topretendthey’re singers… aka ME!). Karaoke is a big deal in many parts of Asia, and if you’re into music, you’ll definitely want to experience Japan’s karaoke culture.

Karaoke rooms are rented spaces where you can belt out your favorite tunes in privacy or in the company of friends. Most can be rented by the hour and serve beverages and snacks.

嘘!If you’d rather not rent a private room, we’ve heard good things about Diamond Bar in Golden Gai.

38. Cross Shibuya Intersection

Shibuya Crossing Tokyo What to do in Japan

Known as the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya crossing is everything I imagined Tokyo to be: Neon lights aglow and people walking in all directions in organized chaos.

This spot, where five intersections converge is known famously as “the scramble” and should be a must on yourTokyo to-do list. And it doesn’t take long to get here and experience the madness.

Just watch our quick time-lapse video below so you know what to expect!

YouTube video

Good to know:It is well-known that the best place to view the commotion is from the second level of the Starbucks overlooking the crossing. It is such a noted tip that there was barely room to walk through while we were there. An employee came by and told everyone with cameras to put them away, so this may no longer be a good photo op.

39. Taste Sake

事情to Do in Japan Drink Sake

Chances are you’ve had sake at your favorite Japanese restaurant at home while enthusiastically shouting“kanpai!”哦,只是我吗? !

Sake is often referred to as “rice wine”, and while that makes some sense – it is made by fermenting rice – technically,it’s more similar to beer than wine.But technicalities aside, sake is a big part of Japanese culture and should definitely be tried during your trip to Japan.

Our first time trying sake we just, well, drank it.

But when we finally did a proper sake tasting, we learned that sake can essentially be thought about by using a quadrant with the following scales: Aromatic to Low Aromatic, and Light Flavor to Strong Flavor (see photo below).

事情to do in Japan Sake Tasting Card

Just like regular ol’ wine from grapes, sake can have complex flavor profiles, and this is perhaps a simplified way of describing those flavors. But I think it’s a good reference for anyone new to sake!

Oh, and it can be served warm/hot or cold. I just thought sake was sake. I had no clue there were so many varieties.

40. Play Pachinko

事情to do in Japan Play Pachinko

This glammed-up version of pinball is noisy, bright, and crazy popular in Japan! Oh, and confusing. Did I mention it’s confusing?!

Most gambling is illegal in Japan, so instead of winning money from pachinko, you get silver balls that you can use to play more rounds to exchange for prizes, like snack foods, toys, or electronics (if you’re a really big winner!).

你可以找到弹球盘在日本,从烟熏,small village pachinko shops to large arcades in downtown Osaka.

We didn’t really understand the hype, but we also didn’t really know what we were doing…Regardless, it’s one of those “Japanese experiences” that you can’t really have anywhere else!

Pachinko instructions:

  1. Insert money and press play (玉貸).

  2. Turn the round lever, which shoots out small metal balls. The further you turn the handle, the stronger the balls will shoot. Start by just barely turning the lever until you get a feel for it, and keep it turned so balls continue to shoot.

  3. Aim the balls at the gaps in the pegs. Your goal is to make them go into the small hole in the center of the game board.Tip: Many players claim that the top left corner is the best spot to aim for.

  4. When you get the ball into the proper hole, you will be rewarded with a celebratory “ding-ding-ding” and more balls to play with (or cash in for prizes).

41. Wear a Yukata or Kimono

Us wearing Yakata that was provided by our guesthouse.

Us wearing Yakata that was provided by our guesthouse.

If you have an affinity for Japanese culture, you might like the idea of dressing up in a yukata or kimono for a day.

First off, what exactly is the difference between ayukataandkimono, you ask?

  • Kimono –made from silk, more formal, has two collars, generally heavier

  • Yukata –typically made from cotton, more casual, lighter weight, worn in the summertime, one collar, more inexpensive to buy as a souvenir

Most ryokans have yukata for guests to wear at nighttime or after soaking in the onsite onsen, so if you’re planning to stay at one of these traditional Japanese inns, you’ll likely have an opportunity to try on a yukata free of charge.

In many of the famous shrines, you’ll see Japanese men and women wearing yukata or kimonos depending on the occasion and time of year.And if you want to join in and wear a kimono or yukata in public, there are many places around the country (especially in Tokyo and Kyoto) where you can rent them.

There are all different options, from 1-hour indoor sessions that include a photo shoot and tea ceremony to all-day rentals where you can wander around town and keep the yukata to bring home.Depending on your budget and interest, you should be able to find a kimono rental experience that’s right for you.

Here are some resources that explain different rental shop experiences and prices so you can compare:

Wait… Is wearing a kimono as a non-Japanese person considered cultural appropriation?We’re certainly not experts on the intricacies of this issue, but this video dives in and gives some insight on how some Japanese people feel about Westerners wearing their cultural clothing.

Spoiler:According to the extensive interviewing in this video, it seems that many Japanese people enjoy seeing foreigners taking an interest in and having respect for their traditional clothing. Obviously, this doesn’t speak for everyone, but the video does a really good job of diving into this complex issue.

YouTube video

42. See Cherry Blossoms

Many travelers to Japan want to see the famed cherry blossoms. And for good reason — they are breathtakingly beautiful, a photographer’s dream.

事情to do in Japan See Cherry Blossoms in Japan

If you plan to travel to Japan during the springtime, be sure youread up a bit about Golden Weekand that you book your train tickets and accommodations well in advance.This is the most popular and crowded time of year to visit Japan.

But if you think you can stand the crowds, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most stunning displays of sakura and cherry blossoms you’ll find anywhere in the world.

We have an entireguide to viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan, including when to go and where the best places are. In short, some of the most iconic places to see cherry blossoms in Japan include:

  • Yoshino:Located in Nara prefecture, this mountain town becomes cloaked in pink as more than 1,000 trees bloom to signal the start of spring.

  • Fuji Five Lakes:This region is exactly how it sounds… five lakes that lie near Mount Fuji. They are indeed a stunning backdrop for the cherry blossoms.

  • Maruyama Park:这个城市公园在京都花朵而闻名(and crowds!) in the springtime.

  • Himeji Castle:If you want to see cherry blossoms and a beautiful castle at the same time, this is your spot!

  • Ueno Park:This is one of the most popular places to view cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

Japan Packing List PDF download | Two Wandering Soles

Are you planning a trip to Japan?

We have TONS of resources on travel in Japan and destinations throughout the country. Check out ourUltimate Japan Travel Guidefor all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.

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事情to Do in Japan
事情to Do in Japan

We want to hear from you!

What are you planning to do on your trip to Japan? Have you visited Japan? What was your favorite thing you did? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

评论(45)”42 Crazy Fun Things to Do in Japan

  1. Lisa Thompson says:

    Absolutely mesmerized by your ’42 Crazy Fun Things to Do in Japan’ article! It’s evident that you’ve delved deep into the heart of Japan’s vibrant culture and uncovered its most whimsical facets. Some of these activities were totally off my radar, but now they’re firmly on my must-do list for my next Japan escapade. Thank you for this kaleidoscopic journey through one of my favorite destinations!

  2. Tyler says:

    Wow, I am eager to visit Japan when I reach adulthood because, at the age of ten, I have compiled a list of activities spanning three full pages. Much of my itinerary has been sourced from this website, which has been immensely helpful. Thank you and goodbye!

  3. Alex S says:

    This post is so cool! I don’t think I will be going to Japan anytime soon but I must say your guy’s blog make me feel like I’m there just by reading!

  4. Jia says:

    wow! i want to go to japan when i grow up cuz im ten, and i have three entire pages of things i wanna do. most of it is on this website! this helped me out a lot bye!!

  5. Jamie Bartosch says:

    This story was fantastic, full of great and very useful information. Such fun ideas! And so helpful to us as we plan our trip. Thanks so much!

  6. Boston Massachusetts says:

    magnificent issues altogether, you simply gained a emblem new reader. What could you suggest about your submit that you simply made a few days ago? Any sure?

  7. Douglas says:

    Thank you for the “ travel information” – we are thinking of our first trip to Japan – we are looking to spend around 20/25 days in Japan . Unsure if we should take a guided tour or Trust our instincts like we have done in our past travels. Post COVID and now 2 years older and over 70 years of age – we are keen to experience a fun and vibrant culture.
    Fingers crossed , borders and situations will improve in 2022.

  8. relatablyjr@gmail.com says:

    Excellently helpful blog as per the usual. I’m still researching & planning my trip to Japan for next March. Thanks again for being so clear and open with the information!

  9. labanrata1@optusnet.com.au says:

    I’ve been a regular annual visitor to Japan since 1985. All my friends and colleagues asked me and were puzzled for decades (80s/90s) – why on earth would I or anybody visit Japan for a holiday – as it was just not considered the ‘cool destination’ back in the 1980s/90s. But now…. it’s crazy with over tourism in many parts.

  10. labanrata1@optusnet.com.au says:

    MariKarts have recently lost their court case and appeal with Nintendo and (in addition to having customer numbers obliterated by Covid) have now shut down.

  11. Lilduckie0192@gmail.com says:

    Have you went to any arcades or class machine arcades in Japan? If so , which do you recommend?
    Did you try any vending machines? I heard they have crazy ones and I would love to go to try those and arcades.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much, Tori. Japan is so beautiful. If you ever go, please let us know if you have any questions.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Viktoria! Who knew there was such great diving in Japan!?!? We can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

  12. kat@brightlightsofamerica.com says:

    A couple of hours ago I mentioned to my husband that the only thing I remember about Japan, from a project I did for school, was that there are cool bullet trains. So I got uncharacteristically excited when I saw bullet trains on your list.
    I’d never heard of the Kumano Kodo Trail but now I want to spend 6 days on it!

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Katherine! Hiking part of the Kumano Kodo was definitely a highlight of our trip to Japan. We loved how peaceful it was there!

  13. jodie.kern@gmail.com says:

    A group of us are going to Japan in Feb. How cold is it?? Loved all your pictures and the info was extremely helpful

    Thanks Jodie

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Jodie! In our opinion, February is a great time to go to Japan because it is not so crowded in the main tourist places. Our first trip to Japan was in Feb and we had a blast. It is typically 35°F – 55°F in Tokyo (2°C – 13°C) during the winter. Depending on where you’re from, the temperatures are not too bad.

  14. Sheydraw@gmail.com says:

    Your cooking class looks amazing! I’m trying to find it, but i don’t see it on the site. could you tell me which course you guys specifically took?

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Shey, the cooking class was great! It was called Cooking Sun School in Kyoto. You should check it out, they were excellent!

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      We updated our article and the links to our favorite cooking classes in Japan are under #7 on the list. Let us know if you try them out!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Shota, thanks for such a nice compliment! Kyoto is incredibly photogenic! We’d love to get back there someday. How nice of you to offer to teach Japanese

  15. kemccleary@gmail.com says:

    Hi Katie,

    Congrats to you and Ben on a fabulous travel blog! A friend and I are in the early planning stages for a trip to Japan in October. I love your photos of the ship to see Mt. Fuji and I’m wondering where you pick it and the cable car up. We also want to get the black eggs….can you get those near to where the ship and/or cable car are located? Thanks so much for the help!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Kerin, What an exciting trip you’re planning! You can reach the ship and the cable car very easily if you get the Hakone Free Pass (unlike the name suggests, it is unfortunately not free haha). The neighborhood (or bus stop name) that you will head to for BOTH the boat and the cable car is called Togendai. It is right on Lake Ashi. The black eggs are sold at a big store the top of the cable car, so you shouldn’t’ have trouble finding them. I just hope the weather is a bit better for you and you get to see Mount Fuji instead of the clouds we got! Happy planning ☺

  16. Alex says:

    Hi Katie, your blog is a wealth of information! So happy to stumble upon it. Just a quick question-when you stayed in the Hakone Guest house with the onsen were you able to book a room with a private onsen? Or do each of the rooms have access to a private onsen? Trying to book a room there, and it is unclear! Thanks!

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Alex, I hope this comment reaches you in time – from what I remember all the rooms had access to the onsen. There was a sign up sheet, so as soon as we arrived, we signed up for a time to use it. There’s also an indoor onsen you can use in addition to the outdoor one. (We never made it to that one because time just got away from us). I hope this helps! Have an amazing time in Japan!

  17. Kim says:

    Absolutely love your blog! Thank you for sharing! Headed to Japan next week with my beau and we have both found your blog very helpful and interesting! <3

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Thanks so much for the compliment, Kim. That really means a lot! I’m so glad you found our site helpful. Let us know if you have any questions before you leave! Have an amazing time!

  18. Gilles@oneyearoff.net says:

    Hi Ben & Katie,
    Never been to Japan, though this country has been high on my list.
    This list (beautiful pictures) show the diversity that Japan has to offer.
    Will surely be an inspiration when I start planing a trip there.
    Cheers, Gilles

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hi Gilles, thanks for the comment! We were a bit worried about going to Japan in February, but as it turns out, it is a great winter destination! You’re right – there is a ton of diversity when it comes to things to do!

  19. linesofescape@gmail.com says:

    An incredible list and such beautiful photos! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and your post has just given me a reminder to do exactly that. I think I’d feel overwhelmed at that intersection, though!

    Kasha x

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Kasha! You’ll certainly love Japan – there is so much to do! You’re right, Shibuya Crossing is super overwhelming, but a unique experience nonetheless. We didn’t stay for long though because there were just SO MANY people everywhere!

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