Japan known as the Land of the Rising Sun, the Geisha, the Samurai, and of course anime, technology and the famous bullet train. Japan is a fascinating land of culture, traditions and history. Check out our Japan 10 things to see and do below to add to you bucket list. Japan is a year-round destination with four distinct seasons, and is beautiful at any time of year. If you want to explore Japan by train please check our this guide: Traveling Japan by train.
If your looking for a great guide on Japan check out – Ultimate Japan Travel Guide: Everything You need To Know For Your First Visit.
The name Itsukushima literally means ‘island of worship’ and from ancient times the island itself was worshipped as a god. The stunning Itsukushima Shrine built on the water was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. A place where people have long carried out ancient rites, Itsukushima Shrine has become world-renowned, attracting visitors from all over Japan and the rest of the world. The shrine was built-in its current form by Kiyomori Taira in the 12th century. Itsukushima Shrine was registered as a world heritage site in 1996. There are many cherry trees around the shrine, so many visitors come here in spring to enjoy the gorgeous blossoms.
Harajuku’s Takeshita Street
Harajuku is an incredibly famous and popular district near central Tokyo, close to other shopping areas such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. Harajuku is home to stylish, unique and well priced stores, restaurants and jewellery shops. Try to avoid visiting Harajuku on peak days such as Saturday afternoons.Other localities to visit are Shibuya and Harajuku for shopping, there are also plenty of great clothes stores on Takeshita Street that are definitely worth a visit. If your feeling hungry there are loads of places in the area to try delicious Japanese foods. A popular snack in the area is Crepes with yummy fillings such a banana, chocolate, and cream. Bubble tea is another great drink to try it comes in different flavours and has tapioca bubbles in them.
The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and a major landmark in Tokyo, it is the tallest structure in Japan and it has a shopping complex and aquarium. One of the biggest attractions off the Tokyo tower are the observation decks – which give you fabulous views over Tokyo city.
Climb Mount Fuji [Shizuoka, Yamanashi]
Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters (12,388 ft). The volcano is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as a popular tourist attraction for sightseers and climbers. An estimated 200,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, which can take three and eight hours to climb up while the descent can take anything from two to five hours.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
This intriguing shrine was dedicated to the god of rice and sake by the Hata family in the 8th century. There is a path of over 5000 orange tore gates that winds through the hills behind the shrine, this is one of the most popular shrines in Japan, and most people come here to hike around the trail, where you will find many graveyards, and smaller shrines along the way. This shrine is the central location for some 40,000 Inari shrines throughout the entirety of Japan. The shrine first started being by the Hata family in the 7th century. The Fushimi Inari Shrine is located in Kyoto city where you can also explore and visit may other beautiful and spectacular shrines and temples.
Sensoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Around 30 million visitors from throughout Japan and abroad visit the temple every year. It was the center for the development of Edo culture, and these traces still remain today. Many seasonal events are held including the Hozuki (Chinese lantern plant) Market and Hagoita (wooden paddle) Market. The huge lanterns hung at Kaminari (Thunder) Gate are very famous throughout Japan.
To-Ji temple was built-in 796 AD to guard the city. It is more commonly known as Toji (Eastern Temple) because it once had a partner, Saiji (Western Temple), and the two stood alongside the Rashomon, the gate to the Heian capital. UNESCO designated Toji a World Heritage Site in 1994. Toji’s most eye-catching building is the 57 metre five-story pagoda, reconstructed in 1695. It is the tallest wooden tower in Japan. The Kodo (Lecture Hall), dating from 1491, contains 15 original statues of Buddhist deities that were carved in the 8th and 9th centuries. There is a popular antiques market held at Toji on the 21st of every month.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is a haunting tribute to the lives lost when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Set in a park, the memorial features Genbaku Dome, the only building left standing in the vicinity after the bomb dropped. This memorial is a reminder to honour the victims.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Jigokudani Monkey Park is a famous hot spring area near Nagano,. The name Jigokudani (meaning “Hell’s Valley”), is due to steam and boiling water that bubbles out the frozen ground, surrounded by cliffs and forests. It is famous for its large population of wild Snow Monkeys that go to the valley during the winter when snow covers the park. The monkeys come from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm hot springs, and return to the forests in the night.
The Himeji Castle is known to be one of the most beautiful examples of Japanese castle architecture. It survived the bombings of World War II and is frequently seen in domestic and foreign films, including the James Bond movie “You Only Live Twice”. The white exterior and design give the castle the appearance of a bird taking flight, earning the castle the nickname ‘white egret castle’.