Japan is a fantastic country that offers its citizens and tourists technology, development, gastronomy and a rich culture protected for thousands of years.
The “land of the rising sun” has so many places that it takes several days and good planning to know the ones that are most worth visiting.
This is our TOP 40 places you should see in Japan before you die.
Naoshima is one of the most important cultural and artistic destinations in Japan.
Its Chichu Art Museum is an impressive piece of architecture with most of its exhibits underground.
On this island in the Seto Sea, south of Okayama, you will also find the Benesse House, a conglomeration of art museums, restaurants, shops, open-air exhibitions and accommodation, spread over 4 buildings. Noted for very famous works such as Yayoi Kusama’s yellow pumpkin, a symbol of Naoshima.
Shibuya is one of the largest commercial districts in the country. It has nightclubs, restaurants and shops of recognized fashion brands. It looks like Times Square in New York, but in Tokyo.
In Center Gai, a street with dozens of shops and fast food outlets, you will find some pubs where you can enjoy the young scene of the country.
In Shibuya there is the statue of Hachiko, the famous Akita dog that was the inspiration for the movie, “Always by your side”.
The best of the city is at Shibuya Crossing, the most famous pedestrian crossing in the world.
In Asakusa you will find the most important and oldest temple in Tokyo, the Sensoji Temple.
The attraction of this district devastated by World War II is also what is found on the way to the temple. You must cross the Nakamise Dori shopping street and go through the Kaminarimon gate.
On Kappabashi Dogugai Street, you’ll find one of Japan’s rarest and most sought-after souvenirs: replicas of typical dishes used as part of restaurant displays in Tokyo.
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Odaiba was an artificial island built to protect Japan from foreign invasion during the attacks of 1853. Now it is a tourist landmark where the impact of cultural advancement in the nation is evident.
In it you will find a replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York and the DiverCity shopping center, an almost obligatory stop to buy but above all, to visit his life-size Gundam, allegorical to the animated series that recounts the war between humans with the use of robots.
In Odaiba, located in Tokyo Bay, you will also find the headquarters of Fuji TV where you can find out how the channel works.
Akihabara is considered the home of technology in Tokyo and in Japan. You can buy under the “duty free” concept in stores that offer this service for foreign customers who have purchases over 10 thousand yen.
This Tokyo neighborhood is one of the most prominent among tourists for the openness of its staff, who are often skilled workers who speak at least two languages and enhance the consumer experience.
Akibahara is also recognized for having one of the largest sex shops in the world, a 7-story store with endless merchandise on the subject. Also for having large electronics stores where presentations of photographs, videos, audios and technological advances are exhibited.
6. Ueno Park
In Ueno Park you can enjoy one of the biggest attractions in Tokyo: the cherry trees. Visit its museums and meet the adorable pandas at the zoo.
The Kiyomizu Kannan-do Temple, built in 1631 inspired by the Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto, is one of the buildings that survived World War II.
Inside is a presentation of Kosodate Kannon, a goddess of conception who blesses couples and makes them prone to procreate.
From the balcony of the temple you can enjoy a privileged view of the hundreds of cherry trees that make up the park.
Nikko is a village with hiking trails between mountains and waterfalls. In it you will find the Toshogu shrine, a building that defies any precept of art and religion, by mixing Shinto and Buddhist elements, resulting in the first Tokugawa leyasu mausoleum full of fascinating images.
In this Japanese city there is the Shinkyo bridge, one of the 3 most beautiful in the country and which symbolically represents the exit from the hectic Western life, towards the entrance to spirituality.
You also have to know its botanical garden with its large number of plants and varieties of vegetation.
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan and the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture. In it is the Minato Mirai 21 area, an area with the Landmark Tower Observatory, one of the highest in the country from where you have a complete view of the city, the port and its activity.
The Cosmo World Amusement Park is perfect for a walk with the children. From its great Ferris wheel you can also see the port and the buildings.
Visit the Old Red Brick Warehouses (Akarenga Soko), now filled with restaurants and tourist areas. Also the Noodle Museum where you will learn how to make instant noodles.
Be sure to go to the cemetery for foreigners built in the second half of the 19th century when Commodore Perry arrived.
Tohoku is one of the last regions to be added to present-day Japan. In its 6 prefectures, very attractive summer and winter festivals are held for tourists.
Tohoku is called the entire northern part of the main island of Japan, Honshu, an area that suffered the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011.
10. Hitsujiyama Park
Strolling through Hitsujiyama Park, also known as the park of infant flowers, is like walking through “paradise”.
Visit it in summer, when all the flowers of Japan show their splendor and when the meadows and trees present the most beautiful shades of green. Marvel at Shibazakura’s nearly 1,000 cherry trees, including the Yoshino Cherry, whose blossoms have only two petals.
In the “little Edo”, a city 30 minutes from Tokyo by train, you can visit the Kitain Temple, one of the most important in the Japanese capital.
Something special about Kawagoe is the Gohyaku Rakan, 540 statues of Buddha’s disciples each with their own expression on their faces.
Visit and get to know the impressive Honmaru Goten, a building that belonged to the Kawagoe castle, the feudal residence, which despite the years still stands.
Learn interesting things about sake, a typical Japanese liquor, at the Koedo Kurari Distillery.
12. Mount Fuji
The 3 thousand 776 meters of height of Mount Fuji make it one of the most representative and well-known elements of Japan. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2013.
The mountain has a volcanic cone at its top and large lakes at its base. The area where it is located is known as the Five Lakes Region, one of the best places to enjoy a visit to the mountains and nature.
The air is cooler and cleaner in winter, the ideal season to visit the mountains.
The shrines, temples and beaches make Kamakura a very popular tourist spot. It is a destination for those who want tranquility, relaxation and peace.
The size of the Great Buddha of Kamakura statue will leave you in awe. You can also enjoy the Jizo statues and be filled with emotion at the Hase-Dera temple, with the offerings made to the deceased children. Likewise, the bamboo forest of the Hokokuji temple is unique and unrepeatable.
The beaches are to enjoy the summer. The best known, Yuigahama, Zaimokuza and Koshigoe.
Be sure to eat or buy souvenirs on Komachidori Street and visit Jomyoji Temple, the fifth of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kamakura whose roof is a marvelous work.
Hakone, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo, is a tourist city for its hot springs or onsen, beautiful natural landscapes and hiking trails. It is also an ideal place to contemplate Mount Fuji.
In Hakone is the old checkpoint of the Tokaido route, one of the oldest that left Edo to connect this city with Kyoto.
Walking through the Hakone Shrine gains spirituality and peace.
On the hiking trails to Motomiya Shrine you will have beautiful views of Mount Fuji and the lake. If you prefer, you can go by funicular.
Try black eggs cooked in hot sulfur-rich water that bubbles up from the ground in the Owakudani volcanic area.
In the cable car you will be able to observe the wonderful views of the city and in a “pirate” ship enjoy Lake Ashi.
In Hakone there is also the Imperial Park of Hakone, in which you will admire the Imperial Villa or Palace of Hakone built in 1886.
Nagoya is the fourth most important city in Japan between Tokyo and Kyoto, which stands out for being a business center and port.
You can visit the Nagoya Castle rebuilt in 1959 or stroll through Sakae, the city’s motor center with bars, restaurants and places for entertainment.
You can also go up to the Nagoya TV Tower, the first television tower installed in Japan or visit the Pokemon Center on the fifth floor of the Matsuzakaya shopping center.
You cannot miss the Nagoya Science Museum with one of the largest planetariums in the world and some experimental laboratories such as tornadoes, freezing and electrical discharges.
16. Kiso Valley
Kiso Valley was on the ancient Nakasendo route that connected it to the ancient city of Edo, today’s Tokyo, with Kyoto. It was one of the 5 old routes that started from the city.
One of the attractions of the valley is the excursion from Nakatsugawa to Magome, where you will arrive by bus and from where you can walk to reach Tsumago or Nasigo.
The ideal is to make the route from Magome to Tsumago, not the other way around, because from Magome onwards the distribution has fewer climbs than from Tsumago.
Although its relevance was overshadowed by its distance from the capital, the inauguration of the Hokuriku line that connects it with Kanazawa gave it tourist value again.
See the Tsuzumi Gate and Motenashi Dome at Kanazawa Train Station, whose value was boosted by the opening of the shinkansen high-speed train line.
You also cannot miss a walk through the geisha districts of Higashi Chaya and Kazuemachi, as well as through the Ishikawa Japanese sweets museum where you will learn more about this gastronomic branch of Japan.
Do not forget to stroll through the Kenrokuen gardens considered one of the 3 most beautiful in the country .
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Historical village declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1995. Shirakawago is considered a beautiful destination for being surrounded by mountains and being crossed by the Shogawa River.
It is an excellent place to enjoy the small gassho-zukuri-style villages, whose attraction is their sloping triangular-shaped thatched roofs, which allow them to withstand snowfall.
It is a beautiful destination no matter what season it is because Shirakawago enjoys all well-established weather seasons.
Delight yourself with the cherry trees at their best during spring, the freshness and greening of summer, the thousands of reddish tones of autumn and of course, the snow-covered town in winter.
Most of the houses function as restaurants, museums and lodgings. In some you can witness the silkworm farms that were a source of sustenance and attractiveness of the town.
You cannot leave the place without first passing through the Shiroyama viewpoint where you will see the landscapes. Its ancient hot springs are also a reason to stay in Shirakawago.
Tourist city to the west of the city of Kyoto popular for its spectacular Arashiyama bamboo forest, a fantastic place to keep memories in photographs.
You cannot leave the city without visiting the Terenyuji Temple, the most notorious in the place and one of the Five largest Zen Temples in Kyoto.
Walking through Kameyama Park will give you tranquility and peace. Crossing the mountainous area of Arashiyama on the Sagano Scenic Train that runs from Arashiyama to Kameoka will give you the opportunity to have unbeatable views of the landscape, as the tracks run parallel to the river.
Participate in traditional Cormoran or Ukai fishing on the Hozu River in July and August.
After Tokyo and Yokohama, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan.
Watch the sunsets from the Umeda Sky Building, a modern high-tech building with “floating” escalators. It is also worth visiting for the Gate Tower Building, where a highway passes through its interior. Spectacular views of Osaka can be had by riding the Ferris wheel at HEP Five Shopping Mall; ride that kids love.
Visit the Osaka Castle and its magnificent gardens that can be visited at any time of the year.
In the Spa Word you can be between a traditional onsen and a water park, a variety that attracts many tourists.
Hiroshima itself is a city to visit due to the tragic atomic event that occurred in 1945.
The Peace Park, built on the site where the atomic bomb dropped by the United States during World War II fell, is an invaluable historical and human reference that you cannot miss.
In the Cenotaph of the Victims of the Bomb the names of all the victims of that disastrous August 6, 1945 are written.
The Dome of the Atomic Bomb is a difficult visit for many people that allows you to see how the Hall for Industrial Promotion was built.
The Flame of Peace burns since 1964 and its light will not be extinguished until all nuclear weapons disappear from the earth.
In the National Peace Memorial Hall you can see the great clock stopped at the exact time that the bomb fell on Hiroshima, 8:15 a.m.
The island of Shikoku has a varied gastronomic offer, a privileged nature, thermal baths or onsen, routes for bicycle rides, tourist trains, art galleries and festivals, which make it a tourist destination to explore.
23. Nara Park
At the foot of Mount Wakakusa, considered one of the places of greatest scenic beauty, it is the most famous public park in the city of Nara.
At the edge of the park is the Todaiji Temple, one of this prefecture’s favorite destinations. You must cross the Nandaimon Gate made of wood and 20 meters high.
The park has deer that roam freely among people who can feed them rice crackers. They are sacred animals for Shintoists.
You will see the Daibutsuden hall, the main hall of the temple and one of the largest wooden structures in the world.
Before leaving Nara Park you will have to see the bronze statue of the Great Buddha that reaches 15 meters high and weighs 500 tons.
Fukuoka is a tourist city on the island of Kyushu in the north of Japan and of great commercial value, due to the merchandise that enters the port due to its proximity to China and South Korea.
Try a Hakata ramen at a Yatai, a popular casual street food stall. Also visit the roof of the ACROS building with more than 30 thousand floors, which gives a very different perspective of the cosmopolitan city.
It also passes through the viewpoint of the Fukuoka Tower with more than 230 meters high. You will have a privileged view of the metropolis and the entire bay.
Nagasaki was also attacked by another atomic bomb dropped by the United States, three days after the one dropped on Hiroshima.
You will be able to get to know the city and visit the memorial of the victims of the attack where you will see the chronology, impact and consequences of the attack, as well as the history of its resurgence and reconstruction.
In Nagasaki you will see one of the Confucius shrines accompanied by important temples and shrines of Shinto deities, where you can connect with the spiritual life of Japan.
Sapporo is one of the 5 largest cities in the country known for the beer that bears its name and for many of its festivals, among which the Sapporo Snow Festival stands out, which has to be on your travel itinerary.
Its architectural lines are quite influenced by the western style. You can enjoy Odori Park and its Snow Festival.
The nightlife is provided by Susukino, a neighborhood with a variety of venues, restaurants and bars, where you can eat some Japanese cuisine, enjoy a drink and the local scene.
At the Sapporo Beer Museum you can learn about the history of the famous drink and enjoy some tastings.
Kyushu has a lot to offer when it comes to the travel experience.
Further north, in its port city, you will have access to all of Japan’s technological boom and its contact with other cultures, which have made it a multicultural island. It also has hot springs in Oita.
Visit Kumamoto, a historical area with great passages of the island and the country that explain how it became what it is today.
In Kagoshima you can enjoy a natural reservoir with samples of what is the flora of Japan, rich in medicinal plants, flowers and trees typical of the region. Its large and beautiful gardens must be visited, especially in spring.
28. Hida Takayama
An opportunity to meet classic, historical and oriental Japan. Takayama, in the Hida Valley, in the heart of the Japanese Alps, has hundreds of traditional sake breweries, lodgings in period structures and an old town that dates back to the past.
You must enter one of the old houses to get a glimpse of the Edo period architecture, which has undergone but unnoticeable modifications.
The historic center is also a reference point. You will get museums, shops, restaurants and you will be able to enjoy a guided tour that will tell you anecdotes about what lived in these streets and how fascinating their history is.
You cannot leave the city without visiting the Hida Kokubun-ji temple, where you will find one of the oldest trees in the world with more than a thousand years.
Nagano has a variety of experiences to offer you. The famous Jigokudani hot spring baths are available, you will be able to see the hot spring monkeys up close and connect with a classic Japanese spiritual experience.
The 1988 Winter Olympics facilities are still in use and open to the public.
The ninja villages are an attraction for any tourist. They hear stories about this lifestyle, the importance of discipline and its meaning for the locals.
Visit the Shiga Kogen ski resort to enjoy the snowy mountains of the prefecture, especially on Japanese winter days.
Very western style city by foreign influence during the Edo period.
Kobe is renowned for the famous Kobe Beef, a cut of meat with special characteristics and certification, which starts with beef and some cuts of beef. It is basically a marbled piece with an exquisite taste.
After the earthquake that hit the city in 1995, a memorial park was built to remember the victims, where there is an area without intervening to observe how the phenomenon was devastated.
Meriken Park was built to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the port’s commissioning. You can’t stop visiting it.
In Kobe’s Chinatown you will feel like in China. You can taste traditional Chinese food and shop for souvenirs.
Okinawa has a tropical climate, beautiful beaches and coral reefs for a perfect day out.
This prefecture made up of more than 150 islands in the East China Sea, between mainland Japan and Taiwan, also has historical sites such as the Peace Memorial Museum, which commemorates the Allied invasion in 1945.
Miyako Island, south of Okinawa, also has white sand beaches and emerald green waters for swimming and diving. Their Churaumi Aquarium is fantastic because it exhibits whale sharks and manta rays.
Naha, its capital, mixes modernity and an old style resulting in a combination of native Japanese and Taiwanese influences.
Tourists are drawn to Kyoto for its traditional Buddhist temples, extensive gardens, Shinto shrines, imperial palaces, and traditional wooden houses.
The long-time capital of the country has one of the most popular destinations in the city: the Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji. This was built in 1397 with its two upper floors covered in gold leaf.
To the east is the spectacular Kyomizu-dera Temple, named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
You can’t miss Kyoto’s gastronomy such as Kaiseki meals and the traditional and famous geishas, located in the Gion district.
Kabukicho is an area of the city of Shinjuku that is ideal for shopping, bars, going out, and lots of neon. Destination for adult entertainment with some eccentric Japan attractions and theme parties.
If you are a fan of technology and video games, Kabukicho has what you need. Enjoy the best experience in the most impressive virtual reality zone in Tokyo, where Mario Car “comes to life”.
In Kabukicho, Godzilla’s head pokes out of the Gramercy Hotel, where you can go to one of Golden Gai’s little pubs for a beer.
Be sure to visit the Robot Restaurant, one of the great attractions of this red light district. You can take pictures with the robots and see a live show with them.
Tokyo’s hippest is in Harajuku, the center of Japan’s fashion and quirkiness. It has the most exclusive clothing stores in the country, which makes it a destination for fans of the hipster scene.
A street show full of color and extravagance is held on Sundays in this neighborhood. If you like, you can be part of this fashion by visiting one of the stores and buying your own costume.
A stroll down Omotesando, the largest tree-lined avenue in the area, will give you the opportunity to shop at the world’s leading stores such as Chanel, Dior, Bulgari and Tommy Hilfiger. It is known as the Champs Elysees of Tokyo.
Known as the Asian “Fifth Avenue”. Ginza is a reference to the most cosmopolitan life in Tokyo, highly influenced by the West of the world.
His Sony Building has become an icon of this district and the country. It has a huge showroom where the brand pleases its fans with displays of its upcoming releases and creations.
Ginza also has its Apple Store which allows you to connect to its fast internet for free.
Before leaving the district, stroll through the Kabuki-Za Theater, whose performances are one of the longest and most important shows in the area with audio guides available in English.
Saitama is one of the quietest cities in the country. At Omiya you will learn everything you need to know about bonsai, Japan’s iconic tree. There you will find at least a dozen gardens with them and the Bonsai Art Museum open since 2010.
At Tobu Dobutsu Kouen Park you can visit a zoo, enjoy a swimming pool and other family attractions.
Also get to know the Chichibu Night Festival and take a walk in Nagatoro, a town where you can navigate the river in a traditional Japanese boat.
Japan also has deserts, one of them, Tottori. You can ride a camel through its dunes that occupy 131 hectares traveled by 1.3 million people annually.
Climb to the top of the highest dune, the Umanose. From above you can see the entire coast, the sunsets and the light of the fire that the fishermen light to look for squid.
The place is also ideal for paragliding or sandboarding.
Roppongi is an international area influenced by other cultures. There you can enter a Hard Rock Café, a global and clearly Western icon, and then small pubs with clear Eastern lines, such as Gas Panic.
The neighborhood also has 3 of the tallest buildings in Tokyo: the Tokyo Tower, the Mid Town Tower and the Mori Tower.
You can’t leave Roppongi without first seeing Roppongi Hills, the “city within a city,” an incredible piece of architecture that showcases the advancement of technology. It has buildings with shops, restaurants, lodgings, cinemas, residences and art galleries.
39. Tsukiji Market
It is the largest fish market in the world with a daily sale of more than 2,500 tons of fish. It will be a fantastic visit to buy seafood from more than 450 species of fish and shellfish.
Their Great Tuna Auction is only 1 hour and 15 minutes long, but it is fascinating to see tons of freshly caught and frozen tuna being bought and sold.
Surrounding the place are the best sushi restaurants in town.
Construction that is in the 2011 Guinness Book of Records. It is a 634-meter-high communications tower, perfect for enjoying the view of Tokyo.
One of its two viewpoints is 350 meters high with a glass floor that allows you to see the interior of the tower. It’s called Tembo Deck.
The second viewpoint, Tembo Galleria, is 450 meters high. It has views of more than 60 kilometers around that you can accompany with a coffee or sandwiches.
You have to give a lot of credit to Japan and its citizens, as it is a country that rose after being devastated during World War II. It is now the third largest economy in the world and a very attractive nation for business and for tourists. Has it all. Entertainment, culture, history, gastronomy and development.
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