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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Around the corner from Hermès and Chanel, Sake Shop Fukumitsuya contains an informal bar that showcases fermented rice from the Fukumitsuya brewery, which was founded in 1625. The menu lists dozens o f premium sakes and mirins, including several rare or aged vintages, served by the glass.

Excited about: The rise of Japanese single-malt whiskeys. Trimble will put together a tour of the country’s best producers, including Yamazaki, outside Kyoto.
Specialities: Japan.

The airport has several free kid-friendly (and unsupervised) areas, so find the one that best suits your needs.

Escape the throngs of Ginza shoppers at this sleekly modern tearoom and shop.

Don't miss this sprawling mall known for cutting-edge Japanese labels.