Japan is an exclusive getaway destination where ancient traditions and the modern world become one.
Japan is where neon lights along with temples and shrines come together to form a unique culture unlike any other.
It has both natural beauty and man-made sights worthy of any holiday. Sound fascinating? Then keep reading to learn how to do Japan without regrets.
Top things to do in Japan
Catch cherry blossoms in bloomCherry blossoms are the elegant and colourful flower decorating Japan.Be sure to head to Japan in April for their prime season.
You can see cherry blossoms from Tokyo to Osaka. You can use our guide on cherry blossoms in Japan to help you choose the ideal spot to capture them.
Studio Ghibli Museum
Japan is arguably the home of anime and one of the biggest names in the field is Ghibli.The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo has everything from exclusive footage and storyboards to giant statues of the studio’s popular characters.
In Japan’s most popular and unique onsen (hot spring), you’ll find more than just people bathing. It is a natural habitat for the snow monkeys who have their own onsen. You’re free to take pictures from afar at a safe distance. You’ll find these monkey’s on a quick day trip from Tokyo.
Japanese tea ceremony
Watch as you’re guided through a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto with techniques unique to Japan.
You’ll learn about the history and utensils used before trying to make powdered green tea yourself.
Marvel at the immense stones used to build Osaka Castle.
It stands over the city of Osaka and holds many original relics inside detailing life in old Japan.
What trip to Japan is complete without witnessing sumo wrestling?
As Japan’s national sport, you simply have to experience the tradition and history behind this ancient sport while visiting Tokyo.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
This picture perfect shrine seems to stretch on for ages. At the base of the Inari Mountain in Kyoto, it is a part of a complex of multiple shrines.
Each of the shrine’s gates were donated by a Japanese business as Inari was seen as the patron of business.
Tsukiji fish market
When in Tokyo, wake up early to watch locals busy themselves at the world’s largest fish and seafood market.
But be quick as only 120 visitors are allowed in per day. Well worth it we say for fresh seafood cooked right before your eyes.
Best events to attend in the year
- Japanese New Year: While Japan still recognises the Lunar New Year, its official new year celebration follows the Gregorian calendar. On 31 December the country’s Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times, mochis are made and locals send New Year's postcards to one another. 31 December-1 January.
- Gion Matsuri: The most impressive feature of this festival is its 20-metre tall floats. During the day, these are parading through the Gion district. At night, they’re put to bed to give way to food stalls and street entertainment. Kyoto, 1-31 July.
- Sapporo Snow Festival: This sculpture festival features ice and snow sculptures throughout the city. Sapporo, annually over one week in February.
- Cherry blossom season: By far the most picturesque event on the calendar is cherry blossom season. Majestic rows of trees flank river banks and dress the land in a soft bed of fallen pink petals. Annually around April.