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.

F.I.L (shorthand for Free International Laboratory) is the boutique of Berlin-based, Japanese fashion designer Hiroki Nakamura and his visvim clothing, a high-concept line focused on creating the opposite of disposable fashion.

Home to more than 200 shops, restaurants, and services, Roppongi Hills is one of Tokyo's premiere shopping destinations, located in the heart of an area that includes residences, a museum, hotels, theaters, and galleries.

A distilled spirit made from potatoes, rice, wheat, or barley, shochu originated in Kyushu (in southwestern Japan), but is now produced all over the country. The Sho-Chu Authority carries over 3000 varieties of the liquor, which differs from sake in that sake is fermented rather than distilled.

Taste rare brews at this low-key bar run by an Israeli expat.

The bakery in the New Otani Hotel specializes in mont blanc desserts.

At almost 38,000 square feet, Narita Nakamise is the largest airport duty-free boutique mall in Japan, linking 19 full-blown stores, including fashion bigwigs Cartier, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany, and Coach.

Feel the beat of the music as omikoshi (portable shrines) mounted on palanquins are paraded through the streets of Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood the third weekend in May. The Shinto festival honors the founders of the Asakusa Shrine and Sensoji Temple.

Sugino's creations are baked daily in minuscule quantities, which qualifies them as gentei (limited-edition) and thus extra-desireable.

Departing passengers who have gone through passport control can take advantage of the airport’s official relaxation areas, which include a bright waiting room (think polished wood floors, blue benches, and white walls), an adjacent “comfort corner” outfitted with mirrored vanities, and 13 tiny si

Most tourists come to Kappabashi (Tokyo’s “Kitchen Town”) to pick up plastic sushi key chains and refrigerator magnets, but the real find is the wooden black-and-red lacquerware at Tanaka.

Hidden away in the basement of an office bulding on the fringes of Harajuku, Dog is a literally an underground fashion spot, a hodge-podge of low-cost and designer vintage pieces (some imported from the US) and original designs by store owner Kai Satake, who takes cast-off clothing and reworks it

With its distinctive clock tower and curved granite façade, Wako is one of the most iconic department stores in Tokyo.

With everything from hardware to hobby, craft, and office supplies, even sushi-making supplies and lunch boxes, Tokyu Hands is a uniquely Japanese shopping experience and a glimpse into the country's culture.

This tea shop resembles an old-fashioned apothecary, with white-jacketed attendants measuring green tea onto scales.

The pastry boutique was designed by Wonderwall, the cutting edge design firm behing Uniqlo stores.