There are a lot of reasons why people opt to visit Japan. You may have a plan to pay for a trip to this East Asian country. Maybe with the aim of doing business there. Or, you may have harbored a longtime fascination with the language or culture of Japan. Enjoy this list of the Top Things to Do in Japan.
For someone only planning to stay in Japan for a few days, you will likely want to plan to make only day trips that are within a short distance from your hotel. No matter which part of Japan you travel to, there are interesting things to see and do. Here are seven things that you should include in your itinerary.
Visit Some Ancient Temples
There is no shortage of temples in Japan. Kyoto itself has hundreds of them. While Kyoto’s temples may arguably be the pick of the bunch, there are also significant clusters of impressive temples in nearby Nara, and also in Kamakura, an easy day trip from Tokyo.
Wherever you find yourself, you are sure to find at least a local shrine. One can make a wish by shaking the bell rope in front of the shrine, followed by a clap together of the hands. Also look out for attendants selling small papers which tell your fortune. Find someone to translate, then tie it onto a tree like the locals, and make a wish.
Ride The Bullet Train
Japan’s marvel of modern engineering, the Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train by foreigners, must be experienced to be fully appreciated. At close to three hundred kilometers an hour, journeys are quick but surprisingly smooth and pleasant. Well-groomed and attired train attendants serve snacks during your journey. Organize a Japan Rail pass before you arrive in Japan for a good deal on unlimited travel.
Sample Some Japanese Cuisine
Famous Japanese dishes like sushi, sashimi, tempura and miso soup have become popular in the west. Enjoy the real thing in Japan, and don’t forget to ask around to find out the local specialty. Each region has its signature dish!
A visit to a local Izakaya, a Japanese style restaurant with pub type atmosphere can turn into a raucous affair. Menus are usually broad, and usually, include a lot of snack sized servings for people to share. Tasty spiced grilled chicken sticks (yakitori) are often a specialty. In areas off the beaten track, don’t be surprised if you receive a hearty (but friendly!) welcome from rowdy local drinkers.
Visit National Bunraku Theater (in Osaka)
Bunraku is the Japanese word for a special traditional form of puppet theater. These special puppet shows were started in Osaka in 1684. At a performance, you can see elements of old Japan of the Edo Period combined with modern theater technology. For a taste of traditional Japan through a Bunraku show, check out the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka.
Bathe in a Hot Spring
Bathing naked with complete strangers might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but if one can get past initial inhibitions, it’s a great experience. Beautiful Rotem buro (outdoor hot springs) occupy many amazing locations, often up in the mountains, surrounded by amazing scenery.A lot of hot springs are segregated, with a towel available for modesty when one is outside the bath.
Go On a Hike
Japan is a mountainous country. Hence hiking opportunities abound. Climbing Mount Fuji is a highly popular pastime for the Japanese, but there are plenty of other hills around, should you want to beat the crowds. Combining with a soothing dip in a nearby hot spring to relax sore muscles on your descent caps off a great day in the outdoors.
Visit Traditional Neighborhoods
Japan is a mix of old and new. Busy high-tech cities contrast with traditional agriculture-based villages, but even modern cities like Tokyo still have traditional precincts. Get a taste of the old Japan, with a stroll through such an area, as you appreciate the old wooden housing while boisterous fish salesmen call out enthusiastically for business.
For most people, Japan is a once in a lifetime trip; you’ll want to take in as much as you can and learn about its rich history and culture. Ask your travel agent if any of these sites come as part of an all-inclusive package. Alternatively, you can look online for discounts and deals. Don’t forget to bring your camera; you will want to capture all of the amazing sights and unique architecture that this country has to offer.
My name is Carolyn Ballard. I’m a passionate traveler and the founder of DesToDis as well.
I created the blog with the main aim to share guidelines, tips and my personal experiences on all things travel. By this way, I hope to inspire and help people to wander around the world safely and easily.