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.

Around the world, the name Mikimoto is synonymous with the highest quality pearl jewelry.

The store's tailors stitch men’s overcoats from wool, cotton, silk, and hemp.

On New Year's Day, eat osechi (a special feast of seafood and vegetables) and join the happy crowds huddling outside the Meiji- Jingu Shrine to get good tidings.

To spot the Harajuku girls, stroll along this pereptually crowded, store-lined street.

Simplicity rules at the 750-square-foot outpost of Muji, the popular Japanese accessories giant.

The neighborhood of Tsukishima, on a man-made island of the same name, is an off-the-beaten-tourist-path destination for local food.

Tachinomi, casual, inexpensive bars without seating, is a trend with a formula: low-key atmosphere, countertops and no chairs, bumping music. It works, keeping customers (many of them young) coming in for a few drinks and small plates.

Often called the "Japanese Gap," Uniqlo is a fashion retailer specializing in casual, affordable clothing for men, women, and children. While the company has more than 700 stores in Japan (and others worldwide), this flagship Ginza location is its biggest and flashiest.

Japanese pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki established a reputation in Paris before opening his all-white, ultra-modern Marunouchi shop, where exquisite pastries are displayed like works of art.

The Cultural Experience Program organizes homestays and offers hands-on lessons on Japanese cuisine, dance, calligraphy, and ikebana (flower arranging). Four-week intensive summer courses start in July.