People visit Japan for many reasons including adventure, cultural experience, visiting friends, business, shopping, hobbies, nightlife, intellectual curiosity, entertainment and enlightenment.
Whatever your mission, the following activities may play a part. They represent Japan’s many possibilities.
1. Temples & Shrines
Japan has around 85,000 temples and 95,000 shrines. Many are wonders of architecture, nature and culture. You may find that they put you in a strangely pleasant frame of mind. Every Japanese city has at least a few temples and shrines. Kyoto has thousands of them.
Festivals are Japan at its best — the fun side of Japanese culture. With approximately 100,000 festivals going on each year it’s usually possible to find something that matches your travel schedule.
When the Japanese travel in Japan they head straight for hot springs. It’s the country’s most popular travel activity by far. Hot springs are considered a way to renew and connect with nature. There are thousands of hot springs at hotels, ryokan, resorts and spas all over the country. Be sure to familiarize yourself with onsen manners before your trip. Otherwise, something embarrassing might happen.
Japanese cities offer an impressive array of nightlife options. Tokyo’s restaurants, bars, pubs, izakaya and clubs are busy every night of the week. Nightlife in Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kyoto, Kobe and Fukuoka is also worth checking out.
Japan’s luxury shopping neighborhoods such as Ginza in Tokyo are lively districts filled with the flagship buildings of fashion brands, department stores, and fine restaurants. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, these can be interesting places for a walk. Beyond luxury, Japanese cities offer interesting niche shopping areas such as streets filled with used book shops.
6. Small Towns
Japan is larger than most visitors expect, with a total area that exceeds Germany. Most of the country is mountaineous with farms and communities dotting any flat spots such as valleys and plains. Amongst this great expanse of countryside, Japan has dozens of interesting small towns filled with castles, temples, ryokan, onsen, beaches and other attractions.
There’s a big difference between western and Japanese sushi. Experiencing quality Japanese sushi is highly recommended. Keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between cheap and expensive sushi. Once you try the good stuff you’ll never want to go back.
8. Japanese Castles
Japan once had around 5000 castles. Today, more than 100 remain in one state or another including surviving castles, reconstructions and ruins. Many Japanese Castles have an interesting history that includes samurai battles and ghost stories. Others are visually stunning structures that still rival modern architecture in their grandeur.
Shinkansen bullet trains are the way to travel in Japan. They are stress free, inexpensive and fast compared with flying or driving. Japan’s train system is the most efficient in the world. Shinkansen are rarely delayed. When they are late it’s not by much — the average delay on the Tokaido Shinkansen line is 20 seconds. Bullet trains have a 45-year history in Japan. They have carried over 7 billion passengers without a single passenger fatality due to derailments or collisions.
10.Snowboarding & Skiing
Japan has excellent snowboarding and skiing in winter with hundreds of operating resorts. Among these a dozen or so are particularly large and popular among foreign skiers.