Best activities to do in Japan.

Best activities to do in Japan.

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Have you ever dreamt of exploring the enchanting land of Japan? Famed for its unique culture, technology, and iconic landmarks, there is never a dull moment when you embark on a journey to this country. First-time visitors usually consume themselves in Tokyo’s bustling city life, but there are plenty of other gems to discover. From tasting authentic Japanese cuisine to hiking scenic trails and witnessing cherry blossoms in full bloom, Japan has so much to offer. Whether you are traveling alone, with friends or family, we have compiled a list of the best activities to do in Japan that will guarantee an unforgettable experience. So, fasten your seat belts, and let’s embark on a fascinating adventure together!

1. Stay in a Traditional Ryokan

Looking for a unique way to experience Japanese culture during your visit? Look no further than a stay at a traditional Ryokan! These Japanese-style inns offer guests a chance to relax and unwind in a serene atmosphere with stunning natural surroundings. From sleeping on cozy futon beds to soaking in steaming hot springs, every aspect of a stay at a Ryokan is designed for ultimate relaxation. Guests can also expect to enjoy local and seasonal cuisine with traditional kaiseki ryori dinner and breakfast. With rules that encourage quietness and a peaceful ambiance, a stay at a Ryokan offers a chance to disconnect from the fast-paced world and truly experience Japanese tradition. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture!  

2. Soak in an Onsen

One the best activities to do in Japan is soaking in an onsen. These hot spring baths come in many forms, from simple to luxurious, indoor and outdoor, small and large. Most of them are shared, but some ryokans have private baths you can reserve. While onsens may be a challenge for foreigners at first (you must be completely naked and shower thoroughly before getting in), they are a relaxing experience. In winter, soaking in the steaming hot waters of an onsen is a must-do activity. On the other hand, in summer, the hot water is less appealing. To get the full onsen experience, head to an onsen town. These small resort towns usually feature many different onsens and are popular destinations for Japanese people seeking relaxation.  

3. Explore Onsen Towns in a Kimono

One of the most exciting activities to do in Japan is to explore the beautiful onsen towns while wearing a traditional kimono. Kinosaki Onsen is voted as the best onsen town in Japan and boasts of a breathtaking panoramic view from the top of the ropeway. The town has seven tattoo-friendly public hot spring bath houses that one can enjoy with a day pass at an affordable price. By donning the traditional yukata and geta, visitors can stroll through the lovely town and soak in the steaming waters of the various onsens. From the oldest bathhouse building to the one next to the station with a beautiful panoramic view, every onsen offers a unique experience. Kinosaki Onsen is only 2.5 hours from Kyoto and can be easily accessed by train. It is a true Japanese traditional experience that is a must-try for every traveler in Japan.  

4. Visit Ancient Temples and Shrines

Visiting ancient temples and shrines is a must-do activity when in Japan. These historic sites provide a glimpse into Japanese culture, religion, and architecture. With over 80,000 temples and shrines throughout the country, visitors have plenty of options to choose from. Some of the most popular temples include Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Senso-ji in Tokyo, and Todai-ji in Nara. These sites are not only beautiful but also offer unique experiences, such as taking part in a traditional tea ceremony or lighting incense as a form of prayer. Shrines, on the other hand, are places of worship for the Shinto religion and can be found in almost every town and city. Popular shrines include Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, and Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. Whether seeking spiritual enlightenment or admiring the stunning architecture, visiting these historic sites is a must-do activity in Japan.  

5. Experience Japan’s Karaoke Culture

Japan’s karaoke culture is a must-experience activity for anyone visiting the country. Visitors can enjoy private rooms, from small spaces for one or two people to party rooms for up to 40 people. With a large table in the middle, a television screen, and microphones, guests can belt out their favorite English classics while enjoying drinks and snacks ordered from their room. The video playing in the background is often hilarious and occasionally bizarre, adding to the fun and unique experience. Visitors should prepare a list of songs they want to try in advance, and remember to take turns requesting songs. With modern chains such as Big Echo and Karaoke no Tetsujin, everyone can enjoy this fun and popular Japanese tradition.  

6. Enjoy Crazy Popular Pachinko Game

Visitors to Japan should definitely try their luck at the country’s favorite game, Pachinko. The game features small silver balls that players use to earn more balls or exchange for prizes. While the noise and confusion may be overwhelming for outsiders, Pachinko is a huge earner for the Japanese economy. The game is available all over Japan, from small village shops to large arcades in downtown Osaka. Even though gambling is illegal in Japan, Pachinko is a popular alternative for entertainment. Its glammed-up version of pinball is noisy, bright, and crazy popular, making it one of the most popular activities to try while visiting Japan.  

7. Shop in Plentiful Japanese Shopping Districts

Japan is an absolute paradise for shopaholics! With so many shopping districts to choose from, visitors will be spoiled for choice. Tokyo alone has seven districts that cater to all tastes and styles. Ikebukuro offers the largest shopping complex in Tokyo, Sunshine City, which houses an incredible number of stores and attractions. Odaiba, with its futuristic vibe, is a major entertainment and shopping destination, with large malls such as Aqua City and DiverCity Tokyo Plaza. Meanwhile, Marunouchi is a district with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century, with upscale shopping and fine dining. Visitors to any of these districts will find everything from luxury brands to quirky souvenirs to local crafts. Don’t forget to bring your passport to enjoy tax rebates on purchases!  

8. Taste Sake and Its Varieties

Japan the perfect place to experience sake, and there’s something for everyone – from tasting sessions to brewery tours. For an unlimited sake-tasting experience, explore the Tsukiji Market with a sake expert and insider. Sample different sakes paired with classic appetisers, and learn about Japanese culinary culture. Alternatively, take a personalised tour with an English-speaking guide to visit three diverse places and sample all kinds of sake. For a dining experience, try the exceptional and unforgettable Wagyu Beef and Sake Pairing. Taste seven distinct Wagyu dishes and generously-poured sake as you learn about different kinds of sake and why they’re paired with each dish. Other options include learning how to enjoy sake with food with a Japanese sake professional or tasting classic types of sake with a knowledgeable sake sommelier. Immerse yourself in sake culture and discover the history, diversity and production of this iconic drink.  

9. Walk Shibuya Crossing, the Busiest Intersection in the World

Shibuya Crossing is a must-visit site in Tokyo, Japan. With an estimated 1000 to 2500 people crossing every two minutes, it’s known as the busiest intersection in the world. Watch pedestrians cross from all directions and experience the perfect synchronization of the scramble. Take advantage of Shibuya’s wealth of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, including Tokyo’s top shopping destinations such as Shibuya 109 Center Gai and Tokyu Marui. Don’t miss the iconic symbol of Shibuya, Hachiko’s statue, a loyal dog who waited for his deceased owner at the station for almost 10 years. To fully appreciate the magnitude of Shibuya Crossing, view it from high vantage points like Starbucks in the QFRONT building. Experience Shibuya’s vibrant culture and witness the rhythmic dance of the scramble intersection.  

10. Try Japanese Cuisine: A Foodie’s Paradise

If you’re a foodie, Japan is a paradise of flavors waiting to be discovered. From the famous takoyaki in Osaka to the savory okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, there is a wide variety of regional specialties to indulge in. The noodle soup-ramen is an iconic staple of Japanese cuisine, while gyoza, a popular dumpling dish, can also be found in many Japanese restaurants. And of course, no Japanese cuisine experience would be complete without trying sushi, freshly prepared and expertly crafted in small traditional shops or accessible conveyor belt joints. Don’t forget to try Taiyaki, a unique fish-shaped snack filled with red bean paste, and Katsu kare, a flavorful dish consisting of curry sauce, rice, and deep-fried pork. Overall, Japan’s diverse culinary landscape is worth exploring and a must-try for any foodie.  

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