Japan is an exotic land of endless possibilities. Whether you’re visiting Japan for the purpose of adventure, nightlife, entertainment, enlightenment, shopping or cultural curiosity, you will find all of that and more in this amazing country. The climate changes from seriously cold and snowy winters to hot and sticky summers with everything in between; so no matter what time of year you find yourself in there, you will always find plenty of things to have fun in Japan.
Things to Do in Japan
Try Sleeping on the Floor
Check into a traditional Japanese ryokan for a few nights. Although it may be more expensive, it’s an up close and personal look into long-standing and sacred Japanese customs. In a ryokan, you will find lovely gardens, communal baths, rice paper, sliding doors on all of the rooms, and kaiseki, a traditional and extravagant meal. The floors are tatami matted, and you will sleep on a futon. Extra cushioning is usually provided for tourists who require a bit more padding.
Enjoy a Communal Bath
Communal baths, also known as onsen or sento, are a traditional evening activity. The water is hot and makes you feel incredibly relaxed. The atmosphere is meditative, and you’ll feel as though you have been transported to 700 AD. Japanese communal baths always provide you necessary bathing essentials like soap, shampoo, moisturizer and a towel, so all you have to do is show up!
Take a Bullet Train
The Shinkansen high speed bullet trains run on more than 12,000 miles of tracks throughout Japan, travelling at speeds of about 186 miles per hour. A trip from Tokyo to Kyoto only takes two hours! The Japan Railways Group offers different types of passes, depending on your length of stay. You can ride the Shinkansen around to all of your destinations and find all fun things to do in Japan. There is even a convenient bullet train route from Tokyo to Mount Fuji.
Get Your Zen On
Hit up Kyoto to visit some gorgeous temples and get your Zen on. The peaceful tranquility of a traditional temple’s surrounding gardens are the perfect place to relax and take a step back. Kyoto is the perfect place to visit some famous sites and national treasures. The Todaiji Temple is notable, as it is the world’s largest completely wooden building.
Check Out Sumo Wrestling
There is so much more to sumo wrestling than just couple of big guys pushing each other around. If you are lucky enough to see a tournament, you will quickly find yourself at the center of one Japan’s most electrifying atmospheres. Pick a side and cheer on vehemently until someone gets pushed out of the circle or loses his or her balance and falls over. Hang on tight though! The earth may shake beneath you!
Try karaoke the real way in Japan, locked in a soundproof room with all your closest friends. Act like fool and belt out some tunes like there is no tomorrow. There are always plenty of English songs to choose from, and you will probably run out of time before you sing all of your requests!
Try Your Luck in a Panchinko Parlor
The Pachinko Parlor is where some go to chill out and let off some steam. It’s not for the faint of heart though, as the Pachinko Parlos is quite noisy and smoky. The game is similar to western style slot machine, where you gamble money to play balls through a machine. It’s a very quick way to empty your wallet, but it certainly worth the experience!
Check Into a Love Hotel
There are more than 25,000 love hotels in Japan, which get more than 500 million visits per year. You can check in for just a few hours or for the night, depending on how much love you plan to make! Love Hotels are discreet, yet quite tacky. You won’t find any staff around for the entire time of your stay, but the establishment is hard to miss on busy streets with all their tacky bright lights.
See the Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry blossom trees are a staple of Japanese landscape. These gorgeous pink trees bloom to mark the beginning of spring. This event is celebrated nationwide at parks everywhere. You can find this event happening between March 20th and April 8th, giving or taking a few days depending on the season. This festival is truly one of the most authentic things to do in Japan and it should not to be missed! So for this reason, expect some crowds.
Pay Respects at the Meiji Shrine
You cannot miss visiting at least one temple in Japan. The simple wooden designs are beautiful and understated, and exist in peaceful gardens. In the forest of Shibuya, you’ll find the Meiji Shrine which was built in honor of the Empress Shoken and Emperor Meiji. The traditional architecture of the Meiji Shrine exists in perfect harmony with the tranquil nature surrounding it, and it is considered a peaceful refuge just near chaotic Tokyo.
Wander Around Yoyogi Park
Just beside the Meiji Shrine you will find Yoyogi Park. Yoyogi Park is an excellent site for people watching, where you can catch a glimpse of the latest fashion trends, alternative culture and some quite unique styles. Sundays are definitely the best day to go, where you’ll find the most interesting characters.
Meow Out at the Cat Café
The Cat Café in Nekorobi, Ikebukuro is a cat lover’s haven. Visit the kitties at the Cat Café and chill out with a cup of tea. Make some furry new friends, but be prepared to say goodbye when you leave as you can’t take these babies home with you!
Scale the Tokyo Tower
The design of the Tokyo Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Make your way to the top of this observation tower to take in an incredible 360 degree view of Tokyo from above. Though not the tallest in Tokyo anymore, it is still the symbol of Tokyo. It is open every day, and you can get there from the Akabanebashi or Onarimon Stations.
Smell the Flowers at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Want more fun things to do in Japan? Go to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Meditate in peace at the most well-kept garden in Japan. The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden has many smaller gardens to wander through and admire, all with different themes. No matter what time of the year you find yourself in Japan, these gardens will surely take your breath away.
Eat as Much Sushi as Possible
Sushi lovers rejoice in Japan, as there is no better place in the world to have it. Travelers ought to respect the sushi culture of Japan, and the sushi master who has been perfecting his sushi for most of his life. Japan takes sushi very seriously, so indulge every chance you get!
Explore Shibuya’s Treasures
The trendy district of Shibuya in Tokyo is the best place for shopping in Japan. Although very crowded, Shibuya has some of the busiest crosswalks in the world. Shibuya is always bustling, so no matter what time of day or night you visit it, you’re sure to find an exciting atmosphere.