Japan

Things to do in Japan

It’s nearly impossible to run out of things to do in Japan. The country is bursting with activities, from the shopping, dining, cultural and nightlife activities in Tokyo, to the traditional shows and ceremonies in Kyoto, to the breathtakingly beautiful hikes along the coast and through the Alps.

Visitors wondering what to do in Japan should start with the country’s world-renowned dining scene. Japanese cuisine is fresh, local, and typically made from seasonal ingredients. Don’t leave the country without ordering ‘omakase’ at a sushi bar. The Japanese phrase means ‘I’ll leave it to you,’ and allows the chef to present diners with whatever dishes he or she sees fit, enabling the use of the freshest ingredients.

While Tokyo and Kyoto offer an astounding number of things to do in Japan, the activities don’t end with urban life. Nature-lovers wondering what to do in Japan need only travel a few minutes by car outside Kyoto’s borders to find themselves immersed in forested mountains, perfect for a day-long hike.

If you’re traveling with a group, consider renting one of the airport’s 26 private lounges, complete with cushioned chairs, coffee tables, at least one television (you can ask the reservations desk for a DVD player), and a wall of windows.

For a unique night out in the city, attend a performance of Tsugaru shamisen, music with origins in northern Japan, played on a traditional three-stringed instrument called a shamisen. Seating is traditional-style on tatami mats, and a cover charge applies.

One of the many fashion subcultures of Tokyo is the Lolita look: bows, lace, crinolines, and bonnets. In other words, clothes that appear to belong on fairytale characters.

A seven-meter, red-granite pool with an illuminated Jacuzzi is the centerpiece of Nagomi Spa, located at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi Hills. Created by acclaimed design firm Super Potato, the spa blends contemporary style with elements from old-fashioned Japanese bathhouses.

11th-generation craftsman Kenkichi Senda creates woodblock-printed washi paper for temple doors, as well as chic handmade pendant lanterns.

This centrally located store offers easy one-stop shopping for those looking for travel-related electronics: translation machines with voice output to headphones, memory chips for your camera, and more.

Operating here since 1935, the world’s largest fish market is a sight to be seen and experienced. The jonai (inner market) area for wholesale fish merchants is closed to the general public, but the jogai (outer market) is open to everyone.

A traditional onsen (hot springs) resort that dates back to the 1870's, Arai Ryokan has a serene, old-world feel, evoked by the traditional Japenese wooden-beam architecture, covered walkways and bridges, and wooded surroundings.

Once the largest toy store in Tokyo, this century-old shop is still home to one of the most impressive toy collections in the city. Opened in 1899, Hakuhinkan is housed in a nine-story building in the Ginza district.