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.
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.
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.
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.
The pastry boutique was designed by Wonderwall, the cutting edge design firm behing Uniqlo stores.
International Japanese jewelry chain Tasaki Shinju specializes in pieces made from high-quality pearls. Browse the carefully curated collection of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings made from both salt- and fresh-water pearls.
If you are lucky enough to be in Tokyo for a sumo match, get a ticket at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s main sumo arena. The pomp and circumstance of the prefighting rituals alone is worth the price of the ticket.
Brace Yourself: The name translates roughly to “hey, what the hell,” which is what you will hear others shouting in Japanese when you’re on this ride.
To calm your preflight jitters, head to one of the airport’s seven clusters of black full-body electric massage chairs spaced about six feet apart.
Sprinkled throughout the city are “antenna shops,” which stock hard-to-find jizake (regional sake), regional food and crafts, and literature on travel to the region (the shops, each representing different prefectures of Japan, also act as PR offices).
Occupying the 45th and 47th floors of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the Club on the Park is a full-service spa open exclusively to hotel guests and private members.
The gallery-like shop sells lacquered bamboo boxes and handwoven silk capes by local designers.