Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Japan

Japan is an island nation in East Asia, situated in the Pacific Ocean; it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia. Japan is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world. The country of Japan is a unique blend of traditional and contemporary, with many temples and buildings from the past co-existing with modern achievements in architecture and technology. The natural beauty of Japan can be seen all year. The country of Japan offers plenty of things to do and see. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Japan along with your family are listed below:

1. Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Japan; the capital of Japan is its largest city. The city of Tokyo offers plenty of things to do and see. It is a unique urban cape where modern skyscrapers and ancient shrines blend together in this giant metropolis. Tokyo is also regarded as among the world’s economic commanding centers today. The city of Tokyo is well considered as a true Asian megacity with an energy and frenetic pace of life which continues to draw the crowds.

2. Kyoto

The city of Kyoto is indeed the Japan’s cultural and imperial capital, is one of the most sought after tourist destinations of Japan. This beautiful city is also home to the country’s some of the finest temples, gardens and shrines. Constructed during the year 794AD, it was the imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years and the emperor’s residence up till the 19th century. The city is situated on Honshu Island towards the southern part of Japan, 17 of Kyoto’s attractions are today listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site as the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

3. Nara

Nara is one of the most interesting cities of Japan and among the most visited tourist destinations of the nation. It is regarded as the country’s first permanent capital, with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites to its credit; in fact Nara has Japan’s most number of world heritage sites. The city of founded during the year 710 at Heijo, it is the ancient capital city of Nara Prefecture in Kansai region. The city of Nara offers some of the best beautiful sites and may prominent historical places.

4. Kobe

Another most fascinating tourist destination of Japan is Kobe. It is among the most attractive cities of the country and also the capital of Hyogo Prefecture and one of Japan’s ten largest cities. The beautiful city of Kobe is bounded by the grand Rokko mountain range. Kobe indeed has been a prominent port city in Japan for centuries. It was one of the first cities in the country open to foreign trade in the 19th century.

5. Fukuoka

The city of Fukuoka is considered as one of the most delightful destinations of Japan. The city indeed is the one of the country’s assets in terms of tourism and commerce. Fukuoka offers plenty of things to do and see such as its beautiful natural wonders. The city is also famous for modernized facilities as well. The city boast some of the best shopping places, wide range of museums, diverse cultural traditions, and extraordinary variety of food as the reasons they chose the city.

6. Okinawa

One of the extremely popular tourist destinations of Japan is Okinawa. It includes approximately tiny hundred islands towards the southwest of mainland Japan. The island chain has a comfortable subtropical climate with high temperatures and high rainfall, which keep the islands lush through out the year. This island is among the tip visited tourist destinations of Japan.

7. Hiroshima

The city of Hiroshima is among the most prominent cities of Japan. The city bore the destructive shock of the first atomic bomb during World War II. It is to be believed that the city went through tremendous devastation. Today, this Japanese city stands proudly with its notable landmarks and attractions that are frequented by visitors from across the world.

8. Nagasaki

Nagasaki is regarded as the nation’s window to the world, as this particular region of Japan has excellent harbors that are easily accessible since the 16th century. Today, these harbors work as the country’s main port area. It is considered as one of the prime tourist spots in the country. Ports were turned into tourist destinations and shrines were built to open the city for world fame.

9. Kanazawa

You will find the amazing place called Kanazawa towards the northwest coast of Honshu at the point where the Noto Peninsula projects into the Sea of Japan and the River Asano reaches the sea. You will find here some of the beautiful and attractive gardens such as the Kenrokuen Park in the heart of the city. Kanazawa is regarded as one of the most popular and the biggest cities in the Hokuriku region and its cultural center.

10. Kurashiki

You will find the beautiful town of Kurashiki located towards the western Honshu quite close to the Inland Sea. The village attracts plenty of visitors with its old dwelling houses and warehouses, the willow-fringed canals and stone bridges. The city also has some of the finest museums.

11. Matsushima Bay

Matsushima Bay is the internal part of Sendai Bay located towards the east coast of Honshu. It is also known as the “Island of pines”, suggesting the pine occupied rocky islands and islets, it has approximately 260 in number which is considered to be its major attractions. The landscape of the district, diversified by its beautiful different rock formations and the uniquely shaped trees, which grow in its scanty soil, has lengthy been famous all through the nation of Japan.

12. Sapporo

Sapporo is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the Japan. It is the nation’s fifth largest city also. Earlier it was regarded as a little fishing town; today turned into an important tourist destination. The city hosted the 1972 Olympic Winter Games, the first winter Olympics to be held in Asia. The city is also well known for its tremendous winter season, which explains the popularity of the snow festival held every year in this city.

13. Akashi Kaikyo Suspension Bridge

The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge also known as the “Pearl Bridge” is among the major tourist attractions of Japan. It is considered as Japan’s finest engineering feat. This bridge in fact is the longest suspension bridge in the world with a length of 3911 meters (12,831 ft). This spectacular bridge functions as a link between the city of Kobe and Iwaya by crossing the Akashi strait. It is said that it took 12 years to complete the construction. The bridge plays an important role in providing three routes across the inland sea.

14. Golden Pavilion

Temple of the Golden Pavilion also known as the Kinkaku-ji is the most popular tourist attraction in Japan. It is said that it was initially constructed as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu during the 14th century. Sadly, fire broke down and the pavilion was completely burnt down during the year 1950 by a young monk who had become obsessed with it. Exactly after 5 years, the temple was reconstructed as an exact copy of the original. More Highlight is placed on the building and surrounding gardens being in harmony with one another.

15. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at the height of 3,776 meters, is one of the most attractive tourist attractions of the Japan. The volcano’s amazing symmetrical cone is a most famous symbol of Japan and it is mostly represented in art and photographs. It is believed that almost 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji annually; out of this 30% are foreigners. The ascent can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours.

16. Tokyo Imperial Palace

The Tokyo Imperial Palace is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Japan. It is said that Japan Emperor makes his home at the Tokyo Imperial Palace. The palace holds an interesting museum that displays Japanese art and history and also functions as an administration center. You will find it located on the remains of older castles that were smashed by fire or war, and architects have honored the past by incorporating design elements of the different eras into the modern palace. This beautiful place is today completely surrounded by traditional Japanese gardens and has many reception and function rooms to receive guests and welcome the public.

17. Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower is an immensely popular tourist attraction of Japan. It is considered to be a evidence to the advancement of technology and contemporary life style of the country of Japan. The Tokyo tower is said to have been inspired by the Eiffel tower design and today it is regarded as the second tallest man-made structure in Japan and functions as a communications and observation tower. Visitors can climb the tower for unparalleled views of Tokyo and the surrounding areas as well as visit shops and restaurants.

18. Todaiji Temple

The Todaiji Temple is among the most visiting tourist attractions in Japan. You will find it in Nara and well regarded as a feat of engineering. The temple is home to world’s largest bronze Buddha statue and at the same time it is the world’s largest wooden building. This beautiful temple is occupied some of the finest gardens and wildlife, the Kegon school of Buddhism is centered here and the grounds hold many artifacts of Japanese and Buddhist history.

19. Great Buddha of Kamakura

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is considered as the country’s most celebrated Buddhist figures. It is a colossal outdoor symbol of Amida Buddha. Cast in bronze, its height measures over 13 meters and weighs nearly 93 tons and date back to 1252. It was initially housed in a little wooden temple; the Great Buddha now stands in the open air as the original temple was washed away in a tsunami in the 15th century.

20. Himeji Castle

The Himeji Castle is well regarded as the finest existing example of Japanese castle architecture. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country. It was equipped to defend against opponents during the feudal period, but it has been reconstructed various times throughout the centuries and represents the many design periods. The castle also survives the bombings that happened during the World War II. The white exterior and design give the castle the appearance of a bird taking flight, earning the the castle the nickname ‘white egret castle’.

21. Kiyomizu-dera

The famous Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple is among the spectacular tourist attractions of Japan to be found in Eastern Kyoto. The temple dates back to the year 798. An indoor waterfall fed from the outside river keeps the temple in synchronization with nature, leaving some of the spectacular views. It is said that not even one nail was used in construction. While locals used to jump off the edge to have a wish granted, modern visitors can enjoy the shrines and talismans and artwork on display without risking life and limb.

22. Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park is a one of the most popular hot spring area near Nagano. The meaning of Jigokudani is “Hell’s Valley” the reason behind its name is the steam and boiling water that bubbles out the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold forests. You will find a large population of wild Snow Monkeys that go to the valley during the winter when snow covers the park. This park is considered to be an ideal picnic spot for the entire family.

23. Hiroshima Peace Memorial

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is regarded as a haunting acknowledgment to the lives lost when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima during the year 1945. It is located inside a park and features Genbaku Dome, it is considered as the only structure left standing in the locality after the bomb dropped.

24. Tokyo National Museum

The Tokyo National Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Japan to be found in the country’s capital. This spectacular museum is situated inside the famous Ueno Park and it is regarded as one of Japan’s best and largest museums. The Tokyo Museum is world-class and an extremely fascinating place to visit as it serves as a history, art and archeological museum all in one. You can check out amazing artifacts such as samurai armors and swords; and gain a glimpse into Japanese ancient history.

25. Ueno Park

The Ueno Park is one of Japan’s most attractive and largely visited parks. The park is popular for its spectacular Sakura blossoms. Visit Ueno Park, if you want to enjoy the real beauty of this flower. Ueno Park is the most famous and has become the location of Japan’s most popular tourist to do hanami, picnic while enjoying the blossoming of the Sakura. The park is regarded as an ideal picnic spot.

26. Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios of Japan is one of the immensely popular tourist attractions. Particularly, it attracts those visitors who like the world movie. You will find these Studios located in Osaka and offers a wide range of entertainment to the people of all ages, ranging from the attractions of the Hollywood film industry, cinema (2D, 3D and even 4D), or you can just walk in places that look a lot like a movie film locations.

27. Ginza District

Ginza District is one of the most exclusive districts in Tokyo and considered as one of the finest places in Japan for fascinating nightlife and shopping opportunities. The district of Ginza is fully occupied with designer boutiques, elegant cafes and fine dining restaurants. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Japan and an ideal place for hanging out.

28. Roppongi District

Another most famous place to visit in Japan is the Roppongi District; it is regarded as the cultural heart of Tokyo. The district specially attracts those who admire art. It offers some of the best attractions to visitors. You will also find some of the best art museums here that include the Mori Art Musuem in Roppongi Hills, the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo Midtown complex, and the National Art Center, which is positioned quite close to Tokyo Midtown. This place offers you the best and amazing nightlife and variety of international restaurants, clubs and bars on offer.

29. American Village

The American Village is definitely among the top 10 tourist destinations in Japan. The American Village is situated in Osaka in the Minami District and is said to have captured the western vibe and feel of typical city in the US. Once here you can also witness a mini-replica of Lady Liberty in the American Village that you can see and also various international bars, fast-food joints and night clubs if you fancy a night out in town.

30. Nagoya Port

Nagoya Port is positioned in Nagoya; it is one of the major tourist attractions to visit in Japan as the port itself boasts some of the other attractions like as an icebreaker ship (Fuji), which was used in expeditions to the Antarctica. Currently the Fuji icebreaker is docked at Nagoya Port and available for visitors. There is also the Italia Mura appeal nearby where you’ll find the replica of Venice’s top attractions Grand Canal and San Marco Square.

31. Yokohama Chinatown

The Yokohama Chinatown is one of the most visited and extremely popular tourist attractions of the country. You will find three extremely attractive Chinatowns in Japan. The Yokohama Chinatown is the largest one in Japan and if you’re a fan of Chinatowns, you’ll enjoy spending time in Yokohama Chinatown sampling tasty delicacies.

32. Ginza

The Ginza is one of the largely visited tourist attractions of Japan. This place is also considered as a shopper’s paradise. It is also popular for its amazing nightly display of colorful neon. It is also home to some great western style and contemporary architecture and the major street in closed to traffic on weekend afternoons which make being seen that much easier.

33. Shibuya

Another most popular destination to visit in Japan is the Shibuya. It is considered as one of the trendiest places of the nation. The most popular Hachiko Crossing is among the busiest intersections in the world and is home to large video screens, cool billboards and one of Starbucks busiest stores in the world. The area is also filled with some of the best stuffs to purchase.

34. Harajuku

The Harajuku is one of the most beautiful places in Tokyo. In Harajuju the famous tourist attraction is the Gothic Lolitas. Takeshita Dori is home to stores that cater to the areas denizens and also offers insight into most fashionable streets in Tokyo. In start contrast, only a short distance away from the cutting edge of the Tokyo youth scene you will find the peaceful confines of the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

35. Osaka

You will find Osaka just two-and-a-half hours from Tokyo. This region of Japan is home to traditional architecture and the most popular Osaka Castle. You will also find Himeji castles around 40 minutes away from this place it is a famous World Heritage Site constructed between the 14th to 17th centuries.

36. Takayama

The little beautiful town of Takayama in central Honshu towards the west of the Hida range, part of the Chubu-Sangaku National Park, is one of the major attractions of Japan. It has well conserved much of its old-world beauty. Takayama is well known for its traditional pottery and lacquerware. You will notice that even today many of its old houses still demonstrate the skill of the local carpenters, who were famous in the medieval era for their mastery of their craft.

37. Niju Castle

Nijo Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Japan. It was constructed during the year 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo era. His grandson Iemitsu completed the castle’s palace structure 23 years later and additional expanded the castle. The castle was designated a UNESCO world heritage site during the year 1994. The castle can be roughly divided into 3 areas: the Honmaru (main circle of defense), the Ninomaru (secondary circle of defense) and some gardens that encircle the Honmaru and Ninomaru.

38. Shukkei-en Garden

The Shukkei-en Garden is one of the major tourist spots of Japan to be found in Hiroshima. It is considered a perfect place for people who want to view natural scenic sights and also the traditional Japanese gardens. The meaning of Shukkei-en Garden’s name is “shrunken-scenery garden” in English. Living up to its name, the garden’s landscapes feature forests, mountains and valleys in miniaturized sceneries.

39. Kanagawa Prefectural Kanazawa Bunko Museum

The museum is considered as one of the best ways of knowing Japan’s colorful history and tradition. This museum of Japan contains the Kamakura sculpture, numerous philosophical writings of the Buddhist religion and Song period celadon. On the other hand, this museum also houses wide range of collection of the works of the Hojo family, who contributed a lot to Japan’s history. Another aspect that would surely draw the attention of tourists is the exterior of the museum which was in classic Japanese design.

40. The Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum is one of the famous art museums in Japan and among the leading tourist attractions of the country. It is located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, it majorly empathizes on collections of Asian and pre-modern Japanese art. The museum was open to the public during the year 1897.

41. The Osaka Castle

The Osaka Castle is one of the most popular castles to be found in Japan. This magnificent castle was constructed during the year 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The castle is actually built on a platform standing on the walls supported on a rock. The castle at the center is of five stories from outside and eight stories from inside and it was made on a high stone in order to safeguard from enemies.

42. Hakone Lake District

Hakone is a town in Kanagawa region positioned towards the eastern foot of Hakone pass. It gained the reputation of being one of the best holiday resorts of the world throughout the year and it has about twenty different qualities with nick name “Hakone Seventeen Spas”. In addition to spas, you will also find various interesting museums and large historical zone.

43. Horyuji Temple

Horyu Gakumonji is also known as the Horyuji temple, is one of the major tourist attractions of Japan. It is a renowned Buddhist temple located in Ikaruga, in the region of Nara. This temple is also famous by the name temple of the Flourishing Law because the architecture serves as both a monastery and a seminary.

44. Asakusa Shrine

The Asakusa Shrine is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Japan. It is also famous nown by the name Sanja-sama, which means “Shrine of the Three Gods”. It is certainly one of the known Shinto shrines that can be found in Tokyo. Initially it was constructed as a token to honor the founders of Senso-ji, which are three men. Once here you can also notice that the Asakusa Shrine is only a piece of a larger group of sacred buildings in Asakusa.

45. The Ghibli Museum

The Ghibli Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Japan. The museum was designed for the entertainment of children through Japanese anime projects of the Ghibli Studio. The museum is considered to be one of the finest arts museums in Tokyo. The museum offers a more chaotic and thrilling experience than what you would normally expect.

46. Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens is one of the famous parks in Tokyo that is equally liked by tourist and locals. The park is located at the mouth of Sumida River in Chuo-ku. The beautiful gardens were started during the year 1946. The park is very beautifully made and also features seawater ponds whose level changes with the tides.

47. Chion-in Temple

Chion-In Temple is regarded is among the most sacred places to visit in Japan, to be found in Kyoto. The Temple is considered as the head temple for Jodo sect of Buddhism. It was initially constructed by the priest Honen who is said to be the founder of Jodo sect and it is a place where the Jodo priests used to stay. The temples gate is the largest wooden gate in Japan till date. Chion-in Temple was constructed during the year 1234.

48. Heian Shrine Garden

The Heian Shrine Garden was actually constructed in honor of the first and last emperors of the Heian dynasty; these consist of 4 sub-gardens surrounding the major shrine. They were constructed following the four major directions of south, west, middle, and east. Approximately on an area of 33,000 square meters of land, these gardens built in the stroll-style design were originally designated as a national scenic place that represents the design of the gardens of the Meiji-era.

49. Yokohama

The town of Yokohama is a beautiful port town, is among the most visited tourist destinations of Japan. The town is also home to one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world and some great examples of foreign architecture. The Minato Mirai region is home to a contemporary shopping area and a Ferris wheel that presents a spectacular view of the bay.

50. Byodo-In Temple

The Byodo-In Temple is among those temples of Japan that had survived from the Heian era. The temple is among the most visited temples of the nation by locals and also by tourist. The temple was built during 1502 by Fujiwara Yorimichi to serve as a villa. But on 1503, his regents constructed another feature called the Phoenix Hall or Amida Hall which made it turned into a Buddhist temple. It is believed that the temple serves as the literal representation of the Western Paradise of the Buddhists.

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