Japan enjoyed nearly twenty million tourists in 2016 and the number is only expected to increase with time. This incredible country of innovation, tradition, excellent food and world-leading entertainment has captured the hearts of travellers around the world.
As the largest metropolitan area in the world, it goes without saying that the number of things to do in Tokyo is infinite. However long you stay in Japan you’re sure to feel like there’s not enough time to discover as much of the country’s amazing capital as you’d like. Tokyo is unequalled by other cities with its diverse sights and activities from the historical, traditional and spiritual to the ultra-modern architecture, fashion and pop culture.
But Tokyo isn’t the only city in Japan worth visiting. The country has hundreds of exciting towns, cities, beaches, mountains, and even sand dunes, making it a diverse and very interesting country to visit with many different experiences waiting for you to discover.
To help you find the best that Japan has to offer, we’ve compiled comprehensive lists on the best things to do in the country’s most loved areas. Visit these places and you’ll fall head over heels with Japan in an instant!
Akihabara is an unmissable spot to visit on a trip to Tokyo. Step out onto the colourful streets to discover the exciting atmosphere in this anime lover’s dream world with a concentration of unique attractions and goodies you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Nicknamed “Electric Town”, prepare for multi-storey buildings brimming with electronics, everything anime-related and every kind of themed cafe you could come up with.
If you’re wanting to see the weird and wonderful side of Japan, avoid disappointment by taking a trip to Akihabara and trying out these 15 activities.
Discover Akihabara: Top 15 Things to Do in Akihabara, the Home of Japanese Pop Culture
In perfect contrast with Akihabara, Asakusa is here to show you the spiritual side of Japanese culture, mainly thanks to the immense Sensoji Temple which is found in this area. Nestled in the Old Town, unlike much of high-tech Tokyo, Asakusa reminds us that Tokyo also has a rich history and that peace and spirituality remain an important part of the Japanese culture.
With a number of traditional and quintessentially Japanese activities to try out in the area, be sure to have a look at these 44 things to do before you head over there!
Discover Asakusa: Top 44 Things to Do in Asakusa, Tokyo’s Oldest Traditional District!
Rummage through your suitcase for your best outfit because you’re about to enter one of Tokyo’s most chic neighbourhoods: Ginza. One of the top places to visit for a shopping trip with its abundance of outlets and department stores, Ginza also offers a number of other activities and places to visit.
Be sure to have a look at our pick of 28 of the best things to do in Ginza whether you’re looking for something sophisticated, traditional or just good fun!
You may have seen Harajuku girls in glossy magazines or in Gwen Stefani videos but now’s the time to see them in real life! Harajuku is synonymous with Takeshita Street, the go-to place for young people showing off their cosplay outfits so is a must-visit for observing the fascinating Japanese youth culture in its prime. With the sprawling Yoyogi Park just a short walk from Harajuku Station, you’re sure to have a fun day hanging out in this one-of-a-kind area.
Find out exactly what to do and where to explore with our guide to things to do in Harajuku.
Discover Harajuku: 23 Things to Do in Harajuku, the Fashion Capital of Tokyo!
Easily accessed from Shibuya, Roppongi is a neighbourhood known for its art galleries, modern buildings and a lively night scene. With things to keep you occupied throughout the day and night, you will never be short of things to do around Roppongi and its popular developed area Roppongi Hills. Enjoy the culture and modern architecture before moving on to experience the nightlife through bars, clubs and performances.
Our list of 26 things to do in Roppongi gives you the whole package with cultural, creative and booze-fueled activities aplenty.
Ask any Tokyoite for advice on where to visit first in the capital and Shibuya is bound to pop up! Home to the world-renowned Shibuya Scramble Crossing, here you can realise the sheer size of Tokyo with its towering buildings, packed streets and bustling atmosphere. Observe Japanese youth culture while discovering the many things that this district has to offer from its innumerable eateries and drinking establishments, shopping opportunities and the chance to hang out with locals.
We’ve come up with 29 unmissable things to try out in Shibuya so read on to find out more!
Discover Shibuya: 29 Things to Do in Shibuya, Tokyo’s Fashionable Metropolis
Does your image of Tokyo reflect famous scenes of neon lights from Lost in Translation? Then hop on the train to Shinjuku for the brightly lit streets you’re looking for! It would be hard to get bored in this area with an unimaginable number of eating and drinking establishments lining every street and things to see wherever you go from its entertainment district Kabukicho to the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen Park.
Just one word of advice – Make sure you know which exit to take out of Shinjuku Station or you could be caught up in its sprawling labyrinth forever. Now, let’s take a look at 35 of the exciting activities that Shinjuku has to offer!
Discover Shinjuku: 35 Things to Do in Shinjuku, the Party District of Tokyo!
Combine the exciting shopping streets of Shibuya and the anime culture of Akihabara and you’ve got yourself Ikebukuro. Found in the north west of Tokyo, this neighbourhood is the proud owner of Sunshine City, a complex that houses everything from shops and restaurants to an aquarium and a planetarium, as well as incredible views from its high-rise Sunshine 60.
Find out exactly what this animated area has in store for you by taking a look at our pick of the top 33 things to do in Ikebukuro.
Discover Ikebukuro: Things to Do in Ikebukuro: 33 Places to Make the Most of Your Visit!
Kichijoji may not be well-known among Tokyo first-timers but it remains an all-time favourite among locals. Enjoy the arts while hipster spotting as you get lost down the town’s little streets. As well as the unmissable Inokashira Park (and Ghibli Museum) that the area is loved for, the creative crowd that the area attracts promises an abundance of sights and activities that will put you back in touch with your creative side while discovering some of the traditions of Japan.
Once voted one of the most desirable places to live in Tokyo, this area’s charm is undeniable and these 8 activities are bound to have you falling head over heels.
Discover Kichijoji: 8 Things to Do in Kichijoji, Tokyo’s Hip and Arty Neighbourhood
Somehow Kagurazaka doesn’t often make it onto the top lists of places to go in Tokyo and I’m still questioning why! Chic French vibes and cuisine fill the main street with a number of traditional Japanese goodies to be found dotted along the way. But for the real deal, head off the main street down cobbled alleyways that have been there since the Edo period.
There is a whole new world to be discovered in Kagurazaka and here are 6 things that will give you even more reason to go.
Discover Kagurazaka: 6 Things to Do in Kagurazaka, a District Overflowing with Tradition and Culture
There are few people that aren’t fascinated by Japan’s huge tradition of sumo wrestling. Whether it’s the wrestling or the culture and lifestyle behind it that interests you, Ryogoku will give you a good idea about what a city overtaken by sumo looks like. The area offers everything from museums to its own dishes specific to the area.
Not limited to just sumo-related sights, Ryogoku is a hub for history and tradition with a number of interesting things to keep you occupied while you’re there.
Discover Ryogoku: 7 Things to Do in Ryogoku, the Traditional Town of Sumo
If the name Tsukiji is familiar, it’s undoubtedly thanks to its fish market which just happens to be the largest fish market in the world. This one attraction keeps local restaurant owners and fascinated tourists coming back day after day so the area is always bustling with people right from the early hours of the morning.
Explore the market with these 10 activities while also checking out what else is on offer in this local area so close to the chic and touristic Ginza.
Discover Tsukiji: 10 Things to Do in Tsukiji, Home to the Biggest Fish Market in the World
Right in the heart of the capital near the beautiful red brick Tokyo Station lies Marunouchi. This area doesn’t offers sights on a different level with the business buildings scraping the sky with their impressive modern structures.
While its name reflects Edo history, its current state can only be described as ultra modern However, with those modern vibes comes a number of unique and chic things to do that will show you a side of Tokyo you won’t regret uncovering.
Discover Marunouchi: The 4 Best Things to Do in Marunouchi to Make You Fall in Love with Tokyo
Exciting bustling streets and cheerful laughter give Ebisu its name as one of Tokyo’s liveliest areas. This is the place to go to mingle with workers enjoying a drink after work. Its central location, just one stop away from Shibuya on the Yamanote circle line make it too convenient not to visit and the joyful atmosphere and number of things to do promise to put a spring in your step.
Find the best ways to explore the area and carouse with the locals by following our guide to the best 8 things to do in Ebisu.
Shinjuku’s trendy neighbour, Nakano, is bursting with shopping heaven no matter what your taste. Bordering both Shinjuku and Shibuya, the ward boasts the popular Sun Plaza, an “otaku” building for anime and manga nerds, and a beautiful Buddhist temple. Check out the below list for things to do in Nakano.
Discover Nakano: 4 Things to Do in Nakano, Shinjuku’s Stylish Neighbor!
Ueno is in northeast Tokyo, and has one of the best shopping streets in the city. With a large historical park, vibrant restaurants and bars, and exciting nightlife, Ueno is a popular hub for young people to drink, spend time with their friends, and relax on the weekend as well as checking out local history. Have a look at the list of things to do for visitors to Ueno.
One of Tokyo’s most fun districts is Odaiba, an artificial island reachable by boat, train, or over the stunning Rainbow Bridge. Odaiba is packed with restaurants, entertainment like Pallet Town and Madame Tussauds, a small beach, and shops. Sometimes called “entertainment island”, Odaiba is worth a visit if you’re into the entertaining and the ultra-modern. Here’s a great list of things to do in one of Tokyo’s most unique areas.
Discover Odaiba: 11 Things to Do in Odaiba, the Entertainment Island of Tokyo!
Osaka is thought of as one of the funniest and coolest cities in Japan with a completely different vibe to Tokyo. With amazing street food, friendly locals, and many things to do and see, Osaka is well worth a visit during your trip to Japan. Check out our huge list of things to do in Osaka.
Often called the most beautiful city in Japan and home to over 1600 temples, Kyoto is a must-visit for anyone visiting Japan. With its breathtaking beauty, its dedication to tradition, and the chance to spot geishas on its charming streets of machiya townhouses, Kyoto is an unforgettable place steeped with magic that only Japan can offer.
Check out our list of 112 things to do in Kyoto to make your trip unforgettable and experience the many amazing things Kyoto and the surrounding areas have to offer its visitors.
Located 400 miles south of Japan’s mainland is Okinawa, a beautiful group of islands famous for lovely beaches and sea activities as well as delicious food and one of the longest life expectancies in the world. Check out our list of things to do in Okinawa suitable for couples, families, and solo travellers.
Discover Okinawa: 49 Things to Do in Okinawa, the Beach Island Paradise of Japan
Hokkaido is the northern main island of Japan and is famous for its winter sports, natural phenomena, wildlife, and amazing seafood. Visiting this region in winter or summer gives you very different experiences, as our list of things to do in Hokkaido will show. Check out our list and find the perfect activity for you to enjoy the best parts of Hokkaido, one of Japan’s most beautiful and unspoiled regions.
Discover Hokkaido: 46 Things to Do in Hokkaido, the Beautiful Northern Region of Japan
While you’re sure to leave Japan wanting to come back to see more, visit these places and you’re guaranteed to head home with new knowledge about Japanese culture, great photos, and some unforgettable memories!