Japan

→ Land of magnificent, temples, shrines, gardens
→ Mixture of modern lifestyles with ancient traditions
→ Is the nowhere else trip                                            

Japan is a welcoming country which is the medley of technology with ancient traditions. Japan offers visitors with riveting scenery, traditional experiences and delicious cuisines. Japan is home to fascinating temples, shrines, and castles.

Outdoor Activities Lover

Snorkeling and Scuba diving, Surfing, River boat cruising, Kayaking, Canyoning, Trekking/Hiking, Exploring National Parks, Bungee jumping, Sky diving, Sailing, Four-wheel driving, Bike riding, Paragliding, Cycling, Water sport activity, Mountaineering

Wildlife and Nature Lover

Beaches, National Parks, Forests, Mountains, Scenic Landscapes, Geological Sites

Art and Culture Lover

Architecture, Museums and Galleries, Temples, Shrines, Castles:
Culture and Traditions:
Festivals and Events:
Samurai/Geisha/Sumo/Matsuri

Food Lover

Architecture, Museums and Galleries, Temples, Shrines, Castles:
Culture and Traditions:
Festivals and Events:
Samurai/Geisha/Sumo/Matsuri

Recreation and Fun Lover

Amusement Parks:
Theme Parks:
Fun Parks:

If you are spending your most time in Tokyo and Kyoto, then the best times to go there are Late April, October, November.

The Northern Island of Hokkaido will have surplus snow in winter, with great skiing and a fantastic snow festival in Sapporo in early February.

June and September are the wettest months, while August is the hottest one.

Top destinations in Japan

This is the list of top destinations in Japan where you can have a lot of experience in one trip. This saves your time not only while surfing the internet for the top destination to travel but also while traveling or exploring that particular location. And of course, this can save your money too.

Tokyo

Tokyo

  • Tokyo offers an unlimited choice of shopping, dining, culture, and entertainment.
  • Tokyo is filled with neon lights, arresting shrines and temples.
  • There are numerous day trips near Tokyo, including Kamakura (about an hour by train from Tokyo), Nikko (2 hrs train trip from Tokyo)and Hakone (about 1.5 hrs train trip from Tokyo).

Central Tokyo:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Akihabara, a shopping hub
  • Koishikawa Korakuen, a seventeenth-century garden
  • Imperial Palace
  • Tokyo Disney Resort

Northern Tokyo:

  • Asakusa, the historical capital of Tokyo
    ⇒Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo Skytree
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum
  • Rikugien Garden

Western Tokyo:

  • Shibuya, a special ward of Tokyo
    ⇒Meiji Shrine
    ⇒Yoyogi Park
    ⇒Harajuku, a district
  • Shinjuku, a special ward of Tokyo

Southern Tokyo:

  • Odaiba, a man-made island
  • Institute for Nature Study, a park
  • Toyosu Market
  • Tokyo Tower
  • Roppongi Hills, a development project in Tokyo
  • Sengakuji Temple
  • Eat sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Visiting Sensoji Temple
  • Explore Harajuku, Shibuya
  • Enjoy nightlife in Shibuya
  • Admire temples and shrines (Meiji Shrine)
  • Tour the Imperial Palace and Imperial East Gardens
  • Go shopping at Akihabara
  • Visit Ryogoku for a glimpse of sumo culture
  • Stroll at gardens and parks
  • Visit Tokyo Skytree

Hakone

Hakone

  • Hakone is 1.5 hrs train trip from Tokyo.
  • Visitors can have a great view of Mt. Fuji
  • Visitors can relax in the hot springs tub.
  • Mount Fuji
  • Mount Kintoki
  • Lake Ashi
  • Lake Kawaguchi
  • Hakone Shrine
  • Odawara Castle
  • Owakudani, a volcanic crater
  • Ride Hakone Mountain Train
  • Visit Hakone Shrine
  • Stroll around Hakone Open Air Museum
  • Hike to Mount Kintoki
  • Boating in the Lake Ashi
  • Sample the delicious food
  • Ride Hakone’s Gondola
  • Soak yourself in one of the Hakone’s onsens (Japanese hot spring)

Nikko

Nikko

  • Toshogu Shrine Complex in Nikko is known for its enchanting decoration with scenic mountains view, lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs.
  • This place is at a distance of 2 hrs by train from Tokyo.
  • Nikko National Park
  • Toshogu Shrine
  • Rinno-ji Temple
  • Shin-Kyo Bridge
  • Scenic landscapes
  • Chuzenji Lake
  • Nikko Edo Wonderland
  • Visit Toshogu Shrine, a World Heritage Site
  • Admire the scenery from the suspension bridge
  • Trip to Kegon Falls
  • Kinugawa boat cruising
  • Hiking through Ryuokyo
  • Sample some Japanese dishes (Nikko serves best Yuba or tofu skin)
  • Visit Nikko Edo Wonderland to meet ninjas and samurais 

Kyoto

Kyota

  • With numbers of temples, shrines and zen gardens, Kyoto is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world.
  • Kyoto offers numerous day trip possibilities including Nara (less than an hour from Kyoto), Osaka (just 30 miles from Kyoto), Uji (a small city situated between Kyoto and Nara.
  • Nijo Castle
  • Fushimi-Inari Shrine
  • Ryoanji Temple
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
  • Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion
  • Ginkakuji
  • Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Rengyoin Temple (Sanjusangen-do)
  • Nishi Honganji Temple
  • The Kyoto National Museum
  • Gion, a place in Kyoto filled with temples and can see geishas
  • The Byodo-in Temple
  • Discover top sights in Osaka
  • Explore Gion and participate in the traditional tea houses rituals
  • Visit Nishiki Market
  • Eat some Japanese foods probably  the vegan and vegetarian cuisine
  • Drink green tea and taste Uji Matcha Parfait, a matcha dessert

Osaka

Osaka

  • Osaka is famous for its historic sites, cuisines, and nightlife.
  • Osaka is the second biggest city in Japan
  • Universal Studio
  • Osaka Castle
  • Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
  • Minno National Park
  • Minami (Namba)
  • Tenjin Matsuri
  • Tenmangu Shrine
  • Sumiyoshi Taisha
  • Bunraku Theater
  • Shitennoji Temple
  • National Museum of Art
  • Tennoji Park
  • Osaka Science Museum
  • Umeda Sky Building
  • Explore top sights in Osaka
  • Sightseeing
  • Explore Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
  • Eating Osaka’s famous foods
  • Visit  Dotonbori and try Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki
  • Shopping at Shinsaibashi
  • Enjoy yourself in the Universal Studio

top activities to do in Japan

Either a valid passport only or valid passport with a visa (depending on your country) may be required to enter Japan.
For Australian, Canadian, USA and EU nationals visas are not required. For nationals from other countries, it’s better to check visa requirements (required for the nationals of your country) with the embassy well before you travel.

Citizens from the selected countries (countries that are in the visa waiver program) can stay up to 90 days to 6 months (depending upon the country) without a visa for tourism purposes. Nationals from the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Austria may stay up to 6 months while other EU and USA can stay for up to 3 months.

Nationals from other countries have to apply for a visitor visa which allows them to stay for 15, 30 or 90 days.

Credit Cards and Debit Cards are widely accepted. ATMs are available throughout the country. Changing cash or traveler’s check is not that hard. It’s better to take traveler’s check in US Dollars or Japanese Yen.

Since there are lots of international flights to Japan, you should choose one based on where you want to go and what you want to see.

Domestic Flights:
Since the major attractions are well scattered across Japan, domestic flights are convenient and fast for traveling too long distances. However, Japanese Railways systems also provide the fastest and affordable services for intercity travel.

Buses/Coaches:
Japan has got a good public transport system. Major towns and cities are well connected by roads. In the case of time availability, buses are a fair option for traveling not-too-long distances. City buses/coaches are an affordable option as long as you are a familiar rider. Long-distance buses are the cheap and best way to do a sightseeing tour. You can hire camper-van too

Taxis/Cars:
Inside the city, you can get around on foot or by taxi. Hiring car or picking up a taxi (registered) can be the best alternatives too though expensive. You can rent a bike/bicycle too.

Metro and Railways:
Subway systems provide services in all of the major cities. For a city to city journey, there is the best network of rails providing the fastest services.

Purchase rail tickets in advance for a cheaper option. 

There are the Japan Rail Pass available within Japan. It is an economical pass.

Travel Tips:
Most of Japan’s attractions are free to visit while others require fees.

Weather Tips:
Since the weather in Japan can turn extreme (heavy rain and snowfall), it is a good practice to always check the latest weather updates before going to mountainous regions. Do not ignore the suggestions given by local people and always follow the instructions given by local authorities. 

Health Tips:
It’s better to take precautions against tetanus, influenza, and measles while traveling to Japan. Although immunizations are not required while traveling to Japan, it is advisable to update your standard vaccinations of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and tetanus.

It’s better to make full travel insurance.

Others:
You should be aware of the petty crimes (from pickpockets, thieves, scammers, etc.) taking place inside and outside the cities. You should take care of your travel documents, luggage, and other belongings. Don’t walk alone at night and don’t walk through less traveled areas alone.

Note: Japan falls in a major earthquake zone so that you have to be prepared for natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions.

our recommendations

Based on the places and experiences that you will never get in other countries i.e they are uniquely different from other countries, we tried to narrow down the lists in terms of ‘must-see’ places.

Must-visit destinations in Japan:

If you are outdoor activities and fun lover:

  1. Tokyo
  2. Hokkaido (Skiing and Snowboarding)
  3. Ishigaki (Water Sports, Climbing)
  4. Nikko and Hakone (Hiking)
  5. Osaka (Theme Parks)

If you are architecture, temples and shrines lover:

  1. Kyoto
  2. Nikko

If you are a nature lover:

  1. Hokkaido (Landscape)
  2. Ishigaki (Beach)
  3. Nikko (Mountainous Landscape)
  4. Hakone

If you are museums, galleries and culture lover:

               For Art, Museums and Galleries:

  1. Naoshima
  2. Tokyo

              For Cultures and Traditions:     

  1. Kyoto
  2. Tokyo

   

From the above list, you can see that Tokyo and Nikko overlap in three categories, whereas Kyoto, Hokkaido, Ishigaki, and Hakone overlap in two categories. You can make your trip worthy by planning an itinerary according to your priorities and make much out of it by having a lot of experiences in your single trip without having your time and money wasted in traveling and just covering distances in-between.

Our Pick:  Since Japan is all about the fusion of modern lifestyle with ancient traditions, magnificent temples, stunning shrines, beautiful gardens, castles and delicious cuisines, your target of a trip to Japan should be at least to visit Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto. That’s why our first pick would be Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto. 

Follow these itineraries ideas (below): If you want to make most out of your trip; if you want to have a lot of experiences  in one trip missing almost nothing in your whole trip; if you also don’t want to miss the must-see places and if you also don’t want to miss ‘nowhere-else’ destinations on the planet, then follow these tips.

If this is your first-time visit to Japan and 


If you have 7 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:

Tokyo (Day 1-2)→ Day trip to Nikko, then Hakone (Day 3)→Kyoto (Day 4-5)→Osaka and day trip to Nara (Day 6)→Return (Day 7)


If you have 10 days, then we recommend you to choose the following itinerary:

Tokyo (Day 1-3)→ Day trip to Nikko, then Hakone (Day 4-5)→Kyoto (Day 6-7)→Osaka and day trip to Nara (Day 8-9)→Return (Day 10)

Note: If you have got more days, you can extend your trip in Tokyo and Kyoto.


If you have 14 days, then you can extend the above itinerary.

Tokyo (Day 1-4)→ Day trip to Nikko, then Kamakura to Hakone (Day 5-7)→Kyoto (Day 8-10)→Osaka and day trip to Nara (Day 11-12)→Day trip to Hiroshima, then return to Osaka (Day 13)→Return (Day 14)


(Note: Please note that the itineraries mentioned here are focused on the routes or directions to follow for saving time and money and still not missing the ‘must-see’ destinations. The days mentioned here in-between the places is a rough estimation just to give you general itinerary ideas. You can shorten or lengthen this time according to your interests, season, budget and time available. For example, sometimes you might want to experience the nature, activities, and culture in a relaxed manner without any haste and without feeling cramped.)


We’ve covered our recommendations for ‘must-visit destinations’. The list of other wonderful places throughout Japan can get long. The priorities for a destination to visit can be different from person to person as it depends upon personal preferences and interests. But these are the itineraries covering ‘must-do’ or ‘must-see’ places once in your lifetime.