We love visiting Japan and always can’t wait to come back! Over the past few years, its definitely become our favorite country to go to whenever we can.
The thing about Japan is that there is just so much to do. Every city, prefecture, and region is different with different cultures, foods, and of course must dos!
There is definitely no other country like it and we’re not even slightly exaggerating when we say that.
In order to come up with the Best 101 List we possibly could, we spent countless hours going over EVERYTHING we did in Japan over the last couple of years.
On top of that, we took items from both of our own Japan bucket lists (Tom and I have different bucket lists for Japan) and combined our favorites with some of the things we have already done.
This list will continually be updated with new things that we have done, places we have visited, and things we have eaten, so keep checking back for more!
1. Hike up Fushimi Inari Shrine
2. Visiting Fushimi Inari at Night
3. Sunrise at Higashiyama in Kyoto
4. Dressing up in a Kimono in Kyoto
5. Nishiki Market in Kyoto
6. Visit Kinkakuji in Kyoto
7. Have a traditional meal in Kyoto
8. Visiting teamlab borderless in Tokyo
If you’re looking for a mind-blowing, unparallelled experience, visit teamLab Borderless. It’s an interactive art museum that moves and changes. This unprecedented encounter is unlike anything you can imagine.
9. Totoro Cafe near Tokyo
10. Gotokuji Temple in Tokyo
11. Survive the Walk Across Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
We’ve all seen the controlled chaos of the Shibuya crossing in movies. It’s an iconic Tokyo scene. If you are going to Japan, it’s a scene of beautiful dishevelment that needs to be experienced in real life.
12. Explore Harujuku Street in Tokyo
Interested in teenage culture? Have a soft spot for cosplay? Then make your way down to Harujuku street in Tokyo. This street is a hub of ahead-of-the-curve fashion botiques, cosplay stores, and a multitude of restaurants.
13. Visit Roppongi at Night
14. Visit the Anime Museum in Tokyo
15. Get Tickets to visit Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo
It’s hard to get anywhere in life without having come across something from Studio Ghibli. Once you’re in Japan, you have to visit the Studio Ghibli museum. Between short films and nostalgic exhibitions, it’s worth a visit if you’re one of the lucky few to snag a ticket.
16. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
By far one of the most stunning sights in Japan, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is both regal and incredibly zen. Pictures will never do this gorgeous phenomenon justice. Just remember, if you want to give yourself a chance at all to get a photo like this, you have to get here at or before sunrise!
17. Bike in Arashiyama
18. Stay at a Ryokan
19. Sunrise Mount Fuji Reflection at Lake Kawaguchiko
20. Hike near Mount Fuji
If you want to get outside and experience beautiful views of Mount Fuji, you have to go for a hike on one of the many trails surrounding Mount Fuji. While it’s not for the faint of heart, the Mount Onigadake offers stunning scenery and year-round access.
21. Eat at one of the Ramen Streets in a Train Station
22. Spend a Night on the Spirited Away Esque Miyajima Island
23. Step Back in Time at Nara
24. While You're there, Make Sure to Feed the Nara Deer
Are you looking to connect with nature on your trip to Japan? What better way than to feed animals that have officially been declared a national treasure? This time you’re encouraged to feed the animals.
25. Eat Yummy Food at Dotonburi in Osaka
26. Get Lost in the Books at Hirakata T-Site in Osaka
If you’ve ever dreamed of a multi-level bookstore complete with cozy cafes and a multitude of books to choose from, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Hirakata T-Site. The glass-walled building is a must-see.
27. Get High up at Umeda Sky Tower in Osaka
Everyone can agree that feats of architectural ingenuity are worth the tourism they bring. The Umeda Sky Tower is no exception. Go walk across the observation deck to complete your stay in Japan.
Pro Tip: This picture was taken on the elevator up to the entrance of the observation deck which is free!
28. Take a Photo by the Puffer Fish in Shinsekai, Osaka
Don’t blow your opportunity to get the perfect Instagram picture on your trip. The iconic puffer fish sign outside Zuboraya restaurant in Osaka will make a great photo bursting with clever puns to use as a caption.
29. Catch the Sunset Colors at Osaka Castle
30. Learn Some History Inside Osaka Castle
Despite some underwhelming coverage, going inside Osaka Castle is worth it. The castle is teeming with history and is situated so that you have stunning views of the castle moat and surrounding areas.
31. Eat Some Delicious Kushiage (fried skewers) in Osaka
32. Try Traditional Takoyaki in Osaka
33. Visit Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
34. Feed the Rabbits on Rabbit Island near Hiroshima
35. Visit the Incredible A-Bomb Site in Hiroshima
36. Munch on Okonomiyake in Osaka
37. Indulge in Sashimi near Tsukiji Market
Sashimi has gained popularity recently, but there is nothing like the sashimi when you’re near one of the world’s largest fish markets, Tsukiji.
Although the fish market of Tsukiji has closed and reopened as Toyosu Fish Market, the area around what was once Tsukiji Fish Market is still worth a visit. Most importantly, there is still a bunch of delicious sashimi to find!
38. Get your Cute On at an Official Rilakkuma Store
39. Take a Ride on the Shinkansen
40. Climb up to Chureito Pagoda near Lake Kawaguchiko
41. Hang out with Cats at a Cat Cafe
42. Cheer on a Local Team at a Japanese Baseball Game
While apple pies and baseball games are thought to be American classics, baseball is actually the national sport of Japan and going to a game while you’re there will be a wonderful addition to your trip.
43. Eat my Favorite Style of Ramen Tsukemen (dipping ramen) from a Tsukemen Joint
44. Visit Hitachi Seaside Park in the Fall or Spring
45. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Fresh Matcha Ice Cream
46. Play Pachinko or at Least Visit a Pachinko Parlor
Even if you decide that you aren’t up for trying your hand at gambling, Pachinko has such a vast culture surrounding it, you would be doing yourself a favor by at least stepping into a Pachinko parlor.
47. Eat at KFC during Christmas anywhere in Japan
48. See the Cherry Blossoms During Cherry Blossom Season
49. Visit the Hot Spring Monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park
50. Turn your Video Game Dreams into Reality by Joining a Maricar Race
51. Go Find Pikachu at the Pokemon Center
While we are fulfilling childhood dreams, imagine a place where you can forget the real world and pretend that you can catch them all. The mega Pokemon center will warm your nostalgic heart.
52. Meet Some New Monkey Friends at Arashiyama Monkey Park
53. Go Wild and Sing Karaoke
54. Rent a Fun Car to Drive from Fun 2 Drive
55. Eat a Black Volcano Boiled Egg
56. Go Back in Time at a Kabuki Performance
57. Visit a Cafe that does 3D Latte Art
58. Try as Many Kit-Kat Flavors as you Can
59. Visit the Beautiful Wisteria Tunnel in Bloom
60. Have Dinner at one of the Alice in Wonderland Themed Cafes
61. Go Find Nemo at Tokyo DisneySea
62. Hang Out with All Your Favorite Sanrio Characters at Sanrio Puroland
63. Challenge Your Friends to a Race at Sega Joypolis
Remember the arcade racing games of our youth? What if you could play one of those from behind the wheel of an actual car? Well, SEGA Joypolis lets you play arcade racing games against other players, while seated in the car you’re racing on the game. They also carry a huge assortment of other arcade games.
64. Visit Hokkaido Lavender Fields in the Summer
Forget the lavenders in France, this hidden treasure of Japan wins the beauty contest. During the summer, when the lavenders are in bloom, this treat for your senses is both relaxing and awe-inspiring.
65. Attend One of the Amazing Seasonal Festivals Anywhere in Japan
Japan has festivals all throughout the year. While each festival provides a unique experience, it’s worth it to see if any festivals coincide with your planned trip. Two festivals that I’ve had on my bucket list for as long as I can remember is the Gion Matsuri Festival in Kyoto and the Sapporo Snow Festival!
66. Travel to an Alternate Universe at the Robot Restaurant
67. Get Adventurous and Try an Intimidating New Food Like Natto
68. Get a Birds Eye View of Tokyo from the Top of Tokyo Tower
69. Find Out Why Japanese Cars are so Great at the Toyoto Museum
70. Stand in Awe Under the Great Buddha of Kamakura
Whether you want to marvel at a giant statue, appreciate the history of Buddhism, or appreciate the fact that this statue withstood a tsunami while the house around it collapsed, the great Buddha of Kamakura is a must-see.
71. Create Your Own Meal at a 7-11
72. Treat Yo Self with some Fluffy Japanese Pancakes
Pancakes so soft that they jiggle when you touch the plate and so cute you don’t want to eat. How can you say no to something like this?!
73. Tap Into Your Adventurous Side and Go Skiing or Snowboarding
While skiing and snowboarding may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine visiting Japan, if you’re there during the winter season, it’s worth shredding some powder in some pretty amazing places.
74. While you're at it, Go Scuba Diving Sometime too
Japan is surrounded by water that is teeming with unique and wonderful aquatic life. The best experience is a hands on experience, but you won’t know that until you try scuba diving in Japan for yourself.
75. Immerse yourself in a Sumo Wrestling Match
76. Satisfy Your Inner Child and Fly a Carp Kite
77. Visit the Birthplace of Sapparo Beer at the Sapporo Beer Museum
78. Get your Game On at a Japanese Arcade
79. Get Lost in at least One Bookstore in Japan
While we’ve mentioned Hirakata T-Site already, it’s honestly a treat to enter into any number of bookstores in Japan. Whether you’re looking for something filled to the brim with old books or trying to catch up on your manga collection, Japanese bookstores are always a unique experience.
80. Go Visit at Least One Candy Store
81. Try One of McDonald's Menu Items Only Sold in Japan
82. Drink a Melon Soda
83. Try Calpis
84. Explore the Amazing Fall Colors of Japan
If you can do it one time in your life, you should definitely try to visit Japan during fall color season. Magical is an understatement! The leaves throughout the country do change colors at different times, so keep an eye out on fall color reports before you go.
85. Be Part of a Chanyo (Tea Ceremony)
86. Get your Feet Sandy at Tottori Sand Dunes
87. While you're there, Visit the Sand Museum
88. Try Real Wasabi at Daio Wasabi Farm
89. Visit the Odd and Interesting Yoro Park
90. Eat as Many Soft Serve Ice Creams as you can in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is known all over Japan to have some of the best dairy products in the whole country. It’s not wonder that the soft serve ice cream here is on another level. Do as we did and try as many soft serve ice creams from as many different stores as you can!
91. Live your Willy Wonka Dreams at the Ishiya Chocolate Factory
92. Be Mesmerized by Senoji Temple
There are many temples in all of Japan, but one of my favorites of all time in Senoji Temple in Tokyo. Many consider this temple to be the most famous in all of Tokyo and I can definitely see why. Don’t forget to try the yummy food next to the temple entrance too!
93. Stumble into a Fairy Tale at the Karuizawa Picture Book Museum
The Karuizawa Picture Book Museum houses rare copies of multiple works of children’s literature. Set in the middle of a lush forest, and housed in buildings that look like a fairy tale, anyone feeling a little nostalgic will want to visit.
94. Wonder your way through the Tunnels at Tonkararin
Theorize, muse, and wonder your way through the tunnels at Tonkararin. There is very little explanation for this phenomenon and a lot of mystery surrounding it. So, don your sleuthing hat and get exploring.
95. Crepe Vending Machine. Need to Say More?
96. Confuse your Taste Buds with Wacky Flavors of Lays Chips
97. Don't Just Stop with the Lays, Make Sure to Check out the Oreos too!
98. Get your Surf On
99. Adventure through the Flower Market of Ota
What could be better than adventuring in a foreign country? What about adventuring in a foreign country and having some beautiful flowers to brighten your hotel room? Visit the Flower Market in Ota for a huge selection of beautiful wholesale flowers.
100. Have a Meal at a Maid Cafe
Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of getting served by girls dressed as maids, that doesn’t mean you won’t! Plus maid cafes are one of those things that are unique to Japan and something to definitely try out.
101. Try Jingisukan, the Soul Food of Hokkaido
All I need is 3 words here, scrumptious lamb barbeque!