Group of tourists posing with their local guide at a popular temple in Japan

Top Things To Do In Japan

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Wondering what to do in Japan?

Japan is a land of contrasts, its drastically different cities each with a reputation that precedes it and a list of things to do that you could spend a year trying to tick off and still not scratch the surface. In Japan, the ancient and modern are so intimately connected that it seems the one could not exist without the other. Japan’s cities may at first glance appear to be ultra-modern metropolises filled with high-octane entertainment, but peer behind the futuristic facade and you’ll uncover a thousand ways to experience Japanese tradition. Between the centuries-old and contemporary halves of this beautiful country, the things to do in Japan are anything but ordinary.

Tourists visiting a popular temple in Japan
Traditional roots

Throughout Japan’s modern cities, countless opportunities to connect with history and heritage abound. The things to do in Japan that celebrate the country’s culture are some of the most memorable travel experiences in the world. From ancient shrines to sumo stadiums, centuries-old dining traditions to tea ceremonies, Japan’s culture is waiting to be discovered. Whether you don a kimono and explore an atmospheric temple, watch a spellbinding geisha performance, or spend a night in a wooden bathhouse, it’s the traditional things to do in Japan that make the country even more magical.

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Local women dressed in traditional clothing in an alleyway in Japan
Cities that tell stories

As a country, Japan has several attractions shared by its major cities: fantastic food, cherry blossoms, ancient temples, and dimly-lit izakaya bars. But even with these similarities, each city brings its own unique things to do in Japan. There’s Hiroshima, a city that, beyond its tragic past, is a thriving cosmopolitan community of trendy coffee shops and crowded stores. Kyoto, on the other hand, is a storybook scene of wood-built streets and lantern-lit geishas, while Tokyo and Osaka are modern hubs of high-octane entertainment featuring some of the most futuristic things to in Japan.

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Tourists experiencing a traditional Japanese meal on a food tour in Japan with a local
Spectacular cuisine

Ask any culinary expert, and they’ll tell you Japan is one of the best food destinations in the world. With an emphasis on tradition, fresh ingredients, and flavors that range from subtle to super-bold, Japanese cuisine is tremendously varied. No matter where in the country you happen to explore, phenomenal food will be found. Whether you try traditional Kaiseki in Kyoto, Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Fukuoka’s Tonkotsu ramen, and perfectly marbled Kobe beef (not to mention the lesser-known Sapporo “soup curry”), the foodie things to do in Japan will have you planning your second trip.

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