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.

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.

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

Among the most popular toy stores in the city, Kiddy Land is a national chain with more than 80 locations throughout Japan.

New York-born Ivan Orkin's 12-counter-seat ramen house opened in 2007, originally drawing customers curious about a gaijin "noodle man," and later because of the flavor of his dishes.

Sushi chefs who arrive at the crack of dawn for the finest-grade tuna and yellowtail in the massive, centrally located Tsukiji-Jogai Market head to Sugimoto, sandwiched between other specialty stalls, to have their knives professionally honed.

Welcome to popular Japanese children's character (and lifestyle brand) Hello Kitty's world, where visitors can check out the friendly feline's castle, take a boat ride through her friends' cavernous underground apartments, and soar on a Ferris wheel of character heads.

The bold structure of undulating glass walls designed by Kisho Kurokawa is Tokyo's largest art venue.

A lack of Japanese language skills is no barrier to enjoying this terrific market on the grounds of the Togo Shrine—just bring pad and pen, and negotiate the price on paper.

Set in a residential downtown-Tokyo neighborhood, Toyo Ito’s design of the new Za-Koenji public theater is unabashedly theatrical. The building is mysterious and all purple-black, its tentlike roof and walls punctuated by several hundred porthole-style windows.

The Japanese are obsessed with stationery, and Ito-ya is just the place to satisfy the habit, with 11 floors of paper, notebooks, photo albums, pens, pencils, markers, decorative boxes, office supplies, and other things you don’t need but soon find yourself craving.

Perhaps the natural next step for the extension of the brand, Gucci's first cafe is located on the fourth floor of its Ginza store, giving shoppers a chance to experience more of the Gucci lifestyle, while dining or sipping coffee surrouned by Gucci-inspired decor, such as streamlined upholstered

Known informally as the pet hotel, this facility—accessed from the first-floor basement in the north wing of Terminal 1’s car park—is staffed with veterinarians who take care of pets (from $42/day) while their owners are overseas; call up to 30 days in advance to make a reservation.