100 Places to See or Things to do when I Visit Japan

Unbelievably, I can now say that my trip to Japan is less than 20 days away. Since beginning the countdown I though time would have slowed down but instead it has been he opposite and now Sept 4th is closing in fast! I have been “trying” to pin down something that resembles an itinerary for the last few days but who would have thought this would be so difficult? I made a Youtube video a few days ago asking everyone to recommend ONE place in Japan they would recommend that I had to visit and from the feedback on Youtube and Twitter I decided to tweak and combine a few ideas and thus this post was born – 100 Places to See or Things to do when I Visit Japan.

Below is a random (and incomplete)  list of places I want to see and things I want to do when I get to Japan. I tried to ensure that all my interests are covered such as photography, anime, tech and gaming but also allowing for adventure, surprises while mixing in the usual tourists spots while going off the beaten track. So following on from the video I’d love to get suggestions from readers of places you have been (or want to go) or things you have done (or want to do)  in Japan you have been (or want to go) that you think I would to visit or experience on my trip to Japan next month. I dont care what or where it is as long as it is legal ^_^. Suggest via a comment below or send me a message here.

  1. Take a photo of a “Welcome to Japan” sign
  2. Visit the unfinished Tokyo Sky Tree
  3. rock, dirt and plant (secret!)
  4. Visit Kyoto
  5. Eat natto
  6. touch a bullet train’s nose
  7. ride on a bullet train
  8. photogaph at least 5 manhole covers – Drainspotting
  9. feed a deer in Nara
  10. spend a night at a mangaka
  11. take 3 photographs with perfect strangers
  12. shinjuku crossing
  13. Visit Nara
  14. buy a Gundam Figure
  15. Visit Tokyo Tower
  16. Ueno Park
  17. Take a photo of a Maid
  18. Visit Arashiyama Monkey Park
  19. Attend Tokyo Game Show 2011
  20. Take photos of Tokyo Game Show Cosplayers
  21. Karaoke!
  22. Visit Osaka
  23. Zuihoden Mausoleum
  24. Visit a conveyor-belt Sushi restaurant
  25. Spend an Entire Day in Akihabara
  26. Try to get a great photo of Mount Fuji
  27. Visit Sendai
  28. Visit Landmark Tower
  29. Find and unmask a ninja
  30. Hokane Open Air Museum
  31. Lake Ashi
  32. Sankeien Garden
  33. Eat at a Jamaican restaraunt in Japan
  34. Fushimi Inari
  35. Check out the Nippon Maru
  36. Yoyogi Park
  37. Asakusa
  38. Rikugien Park
  39. Odaiba
  40. Ride the complete loop of the Yamanote Line
  41. Todaiji Temple
  42. Katsura Imperial Villa
  43. Ride the Toden Arakawa Line (Tram)
  44. Shitennoji Temple Osaka
  45. .
  46. .
  47. .
  48. .
  49. .
  50. Club Mogra by CyberStrike on Youtube
  51. Video Game Stores in Shibuya by Brollicon on Youtube
  52. Kappa Tengoku by JapanisDoomed on Youtube
  53. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography by Jherane on Google+
  54. Studio Ghibli Museum by Thor
  55. Sony Store in Ginza by Courtney
  56. Sumigawa boat ride by Ben
  57. Shinjuku station during rush hour by Ben
  58. Kamakura by Ben
  59. Nikko by Ben
  60. Osaka Castle – JamaicaMyWay
  61. East at Kin no Kura Jr. izakaya – Yonasu
  62. Starbucks in Shibuya – Yonasu
  63. Akihabara on a Sunday – Yonasu
So what are you waiting for? suggest more places for me to add to the list!

16 thoughts on “100 Places to See or Things to do when I Visit Japan

  1. Visit Tokyo Tower at night and go up to the special observation deck for a great view. Also try the Odaiba area they have a nice Sega arcaded called Joypolis. In Ginza you can visit the Sony store and check out all the latest products. If you plan to buy anything electronic Akihabara is the place to go with lots of stores with great prices. The imperial palace tour is nice and also try to go to Yokohama

  2. Well – given that I don’t know where you’re going in general terms I’ll throw in my 5 cents worth, and the reason why (but 1 place is just not possible):

    (1) Shinjuku station during rush hour – just to experience the rush, and the squeeze… word of advice – don’t be carrying your suitcases during this. Ok – this may not be the most fulfilling element – but you should definitely try out one of the “big shopping districts”. Definitely worth going up the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku (or head off to Roppongi Hills for a great observatory)

    (2) Yoyogi-koen – this is the breath of air in an otherwise over-whelming metropolis… You also get to enjoy Meiji-jingu – which is a bonus. Plus you can combine easily with Harajuku and Takeshita-dori and countless other shopping delights

    (3) Senso-ji (Asakusa) plus Sumigawa boat ride to Zojo-ji + Tokyo Tower – the best temple area in Tokyo, plus a great urban-river cruise… to another fine temple leading to a great evening looking at the Tokyo skyline from an old favourite. Great views of Tokyo Sky Tree… also not far from Ueno (worth it).

    (4) Day-trip to Kamakura – visit many temples, Daibutsu, and great food.

    (5) Day-trip to Yokohama – China town, Sankei-en gardens, Minato Mirai 21 (plus Landmark Tower). The Ramen museum is supposed to be good (but my wife would kill me if we went there)

    (1) Ginkaku-ji (often overlooked in favour of bright kinkakuji) this has a wonderfully diverse garden, plus sits alongside one of my all-time favourite small temples Honen-in. Walk the Philosophers Walk to Nanzen-ji, another great temple/garden.

    (2) Take the romance train to Kameoka and then the river ride down to Arashiyama… visit Tenryu-ji, bamboo forests, and lots of great little shops (try the foot-onsen at Sagano station)

    (3) Try out the markets in Kyoto’s To-ji temple on the 21st of each month. A very different experience.

    (4) Day trip to Nara – definitely have to see Todai-ji. There’s a lot to explore, especially up the hills towards Kasuga Taisha

    (5) Try to see some traditional art shows, like Kabuki, or a Geisha dance (avoid the Gion Corner though, from what I’ve heard the show is a bit of a disappointment). It’s good fun to go Maiko hunting in Gion however.

    (1) You have to go to Sapporo’s Beer Factory and try a Jingisukan. In summer – try the beer festa in Odori Koen. Unfortunately not much happening in Sapporo over September

    (2) If you’re in Sapporo around autumn, definitely head up towards Jozankei, and see the incredible colours in the hills

    (3) Head out of the city to Takino – enjoy the bizarre cemeteries and the wonderful Takino Hillside Park plus Sapporo’s Art Park

    (4) Try heading out to see Daisetsuzan – and Biei and Furano are definite musts towards Spring/Summer.

    (5) Go on an overnight trip to onsen areas (Toya-ko, Noboribetsu or Niseko). Toya-ko’s quite amazing… you can even see a new volcanic mountain growing (only been growing for the last 60 years or so…but turning into a real mountain already).

    Places I’ve not been to – but would still recommend:
    (1) Hakone – onsen plus mountains plus views of Fuji (if you’re lucky)

    (2) Nikko – lots of history and lots of beautiful scenery. We were going to go here last trip, but the earthquake+radiation scare stopped us

    (3) Hiroshima + Miyajima – this is a must if you’ve got a JRail Pass. Normally good to combine with a trip to Himeji, but alas the castle’s being renovated.

    (4) Inuyama – castle + ninja museum+ so many other small things.

    (5) Kanazawa – this is supposed to be a great place to visit. Lots of history and culture, but not on the normal tourist route.

    Sorry this most probably was more info than you needed (about 20x more).

    1. you sir should be a Japan travel consultant. Combing through this info, some of the places I have heard of others I have not, I will definitely incorporate as much of them in my plans as possible. Thank you VERY much

  3. First I have to say how friggin cute you are in your vid LOL. Second, I’m beyond excited for you!! It’s so close now!

    Anyways I talked to my mom who lived in Japan for 5 years and she gave me these suggestions to give to you.

    1. Sony Museum – Tokyo

    2. The atomic bomb museum in Nagasaki. She said the city still has it’s old world charm, unlike Hiroshima.

    3. Visit one of the many castles in Japan, Osaka-Jo is one she suggested.

    4. Shirakawa – a photographers dream. 300 yr old village with no technology. Here’s a link to it. http://shirakawa-go.org/lifeinfo/info/kankou/photo/gallery.html

    5. Korakuen in Okayama city, west Japan.

    6. Visit a temple flea market, the best ones are in Kyoto.

    Those are all she recommended for now. Hope you’re not WAY beyond confused and indecisive now LOL!

  4. 1. Eat and drink beer at a Kin no Kura Jr. izakaya. The food is good, it’s cheap and you get to order using a touch screen!

    2. Grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks in Shibuya and go to the top floor and view the busy Shibuya crossing.

    3. Go to the beach in Enoshima!

    4. Experience a Japanese reggae club event (find them on iflyer.tv).

    5. Visit Akihabara on a Sunday when there are no cars on the main street.

    6. Take a picture anywhere in Japan holding a sign that says “I LOVE YONASU.COM!” ;)
    7. Interview people on the streets for you vlog and blog.

    Have fun!

  5. Hot Stuff! I can’t believe you are so close…

    Things to eat: Basashi (horse)
    Things to see: Tokyo Tower
    Things to do: Ride the Yamanote line

    1. Horse.. *Shudder*

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. But culture wise there is a reason we don’t have a word for it in English.

  6. Climb Mount Fuji

    Eat Fugu (could be a dangerous one lol)

    Visit the Prison themed restaurant (Google it) saw it on a Justin lee Collins show about Japan. Crazy!

    Sit on a hill and listen to the Cicadas (love that sound)

  7. Check this article out – http://chopsticksny.com/features/052/01

    I actually was planning to scan it from the magazine I found it in a few weeks ago but lost the magazine…heheheh. Sorry. But I guess that’s what the internet is for now.

    I second AdelaideBen’s suggestion of taking in a cultural show (among the other fantastic suggestions he has) – my friend and I missed a kabuki play but did catch a Bunraku puppet show. That was fun if not completely depressing at the same time!

    Oh, and the Ramen Museum is awesome, yummy fun times.

    Safe travels and of course, have a great time!

  8. With 8 days to go now, any thoughts on refining your list? Please don’t tell me you’re going to try and fit all of these things in (apart from being physically impossible, you won’t have time to enjoy Japan)

  9. Haha you must be on the plane now. The Edo-Tokyo museum is nice inside, though the outside looks horrible! Quite a few things are in English and it has lots of models and reconstructions of the evolution of Tokyo. Also when I went (though this was 2010) they had an exhibition of Shin-Hanga downstairs. Shin Hanga was a “second coming” of Ukyo-E style art that was around in the middle of the 20th century.
    There’s also another little museum called “The Edo Museum”, unfortunatley I can’t remember where it is, and it doesn’t have much English, but it’s a reconstruction of what Edo was like while Japan was still “closed”. There’s several houses with the tools of various trades inside. The best bit about this place is you can actually enter the old-style houses and look around at everything.

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