Japan may be one of the more expensive tourist destinations in the world, but there are many things you can do for less cost. Visitors should consider staying away from the largest tourist traps, and instead, take advantage of the lesser-known spots throughout the country. Whether you’re after a relaxing beach holiday or a career opportunity, Japan has everything visitors could want.
Places to visit in Japan can be categorized into the following types.
In this article…
1. Historical Sites
Japan is home to a variety of ancient shrines, temples, and castles that offer a glimpse into the country’s past.
1. Himeji Castle
Located in Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji Castle is a magnificent example of Japanese feudal-era architecture and one of the most visited castles in the country.
2. Todaiji Temple
One of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan, Todaiji was established in 752 AD and is home to the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha.
3. Nikko Toshogu Shrine
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nikko Toshogu Shrine is an ornate complex of shrines and temples located in Nikko National Park.
4. Itsukushima Shrine
This famous Shinto shrine is located on the island of Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture and is best known for its floating torii gate.
5. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Located in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-Dera is a beautiful temple complex with a stunning view of the city.
2. Natural Wonders
From stunning mountain ranges to picturesque beaches and hot springs, Japan has some of the most awe-inspiring natural scenery in the world.
1. Mount Fuji
The iconic peak of Mount Fuji is the most famous natural wonder in Japan and an essential part of any visit to the country.
2. Jigokudani Monkey Park
This unique park is home to wild Japanese macaques, which can often be seen taking a dip in the park’s hot springs.
This stunning nature reserve is home to one of Japan’s last remaining ancient beech forests, with some trees estimated to be over 400 years old.
4. Yakushima Island
This lush subtropical island is home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Japanese macaque, as well as ancient cedar trees, some of which are said to be over 7,000 years old.
5. Ogasawara Islands
The Ogasawara Islands are a group of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean offering visitors unspoiled beaches, lush forests, and crystal clear waters.
3. Cultural Attractions
Japan is well known for its vibrant culture, offering a variety of festivals, museums, galleries, and performance arts.
1. Tokyo National Museum
This is the oldest and most comprehensive museum in Japan, boasting over 110,000 artifacts from Japan’s long history. It’s a great place to learn about Japanese culture, with its vast array of artifacts including samurai armor, Buddhist statues, and calligraphy.
2. Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the home of Japan’s Emperor, and is one of the most important cultural attractions in the country. Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace grounds, gardens, and even the private residence of the Imperial family.
3. Meiji Shrine
Located in Tokyo, this shrine was dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. It’s a beautiful shrine that is surrounded by a tranquil forest, making it a great place to relax and experience traditional Japanese culture.
4. Himeji Castle
Located in the city of Himeji, this castle is one of the most impressive examples of traditional Japanese architecture. It’s an excellent place to learn about the history of feudal Japan, as well as appreciate its stunning beauty.
5. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Located in Kyoto, this temple is one of the most iconic temples in Japan. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can also enjoy the traditional Japanese garden and experience a variety of cultural activities.
4. Shopping and Dining
From traditional markets to modern shopping malls, Japan has it all when it comes to shopping and dining.
1. Takeshita Dori, Harajuku
Takeshita Dori is one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping streets, and a must-visit for anyone looking to shop the latest trends in fashion, accessories, and souvenirs. It’s also home to many restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to hang out and people-watch.
2. Don Quijote, Shinjuku
Don Quijote is a discount store with locations all over Japan, but the one in Shinjuku is the largest. It’s a great place to find deals on anything from electronics to clothing to souvenirs.
3. Nakamise Shopping Street, Asakusa
This traditional shopping street is located just outside of Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It’s the perfect place to find unique souvenirs and snacks, as well as traditional Japanese garments and crafts.
4. Ameyoko Market, Ueno
Ameyoko Market is a popular street market in Ueno, known for its wide selection of goods, from fresh fish to clothes to souvenirs. It’s also home to many restaurants and bars, making it a great place to spend an evening.
5. Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, Osaka
The Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade is one of Osaka’s most popular shopping districts. It’s home to many high-end stores, as well as restaurants and cafes. It’s a great place to shop for both luxury goods and everyday items.
5. Theme Parks
Japan is home to some of the most exciting theme parks in the world, including Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan.
1. Tokyo Disneyland
This world-famous theme park is a must-visit for anyone visiting Japan. With its wide array of rides, shows and attractions, there’s something for everyone at Tokyo Disneyland.
2. Universal Studios Japan
Located in Osaka, Universal Studios Japan has some of the most innovative and thrilling rides and attractions in the country. It also offers a variety of live shows and entertainment, making it a great option for families.
3. Fuji-Q Highland
Home to some of Japan’s most intense roller coasters and attractions, Fuji-Q Highland is a great theme park for adrenaline junkies. Its iconic Fujiyama coaster is one of the highest and fastest in the world.
4. Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
This unique theme park features an aquarium and a sea lion show, as well as thrilling roller coasters. There are plenty of activities for the whole family, such as a lazy river and a wave pool.
5. Nagashima Spa Land
This amusement park in Kuwana City offers a great mix of attractions, from roller coasters and thrill rides to a large spa and water park. The park also features a variety of shops and restaurants.
6. Outdoor Adventures
From skiing and snowboarding to hiking and cycling, Japan offers plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy.
1. Mt. Fuji Climbing
Climbing Mount Fuji is one of the most popular outdoor adventures in Japan and for good reason. The iconic mountain, which stands at 3,776 meters, provides breathtaking views from its peak and is a great way to get a taste of Japanese culture and history.
2. Kayaking in Setonaikai National Park
With over 800 islands and an abundance of lakes, rivers, and sea inlets, Setonaikai National Park is the perfect place for kayaking. You can explore the park’s picturesque landscapes, visit its many shrines and temples, and even swim with friendly dolphins.
3. Hiking in Nikko National Park
Nikko National Park is a great place to hike and explore Japan’s natural beauty. The park is home to beautiful waterfalls, hot springs, and more than 20 hiking trails, offering plenty of opportunity to soak in the stunning views of the mountains and forests.
4. Skiing and Snowboarding in Niseko
If you’re looking for some winter fun, then Niseko is the place to be. With some of the best powder snow in the world, the resort offers a variety of ski and snowboard runs for all levels of skill.
5. Rafting in Tokushima
Tokushima offers some of the best white water rafting in Japan, with challenging rapids and spectacular views. The area is also known for its delicious local cuisine, making it a great place to relax after a day of rafting.
When looking for the best places to visit in Japan, it is important to consider what type of experience you are looking for and to do your research. There are so many amazing places to visit in Japan that it can be hard to choose.
Be sure to think about what kind of activities and attractions you want to experience and use online resources to help narrow down your choices. With careful planning, you can find the perfect places to visit in Japan to create a truly unforgettable trip.