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18 things to do in Japan and event guide for 2020

Japan is an exclusive getaway destination where ancient traditions and the modern world become one.

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Japan is where neon lights along with temple, real-life Mario Kart 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

1. Catch cherry blossoms in bloom

Cherry blossoms are likely the first thing that comes to mind when planning a visit to Japan. Try out the Japanese custom of "Hanami", which is the traditional practice of having a picnic under a blossoming cherry blossom tree. Take a tour to see cherry blossoms in prime locations and learn about the fascination behind cherry blossoms with your local guide.

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2. See Mount Fuji

A must in Japan is setting your eyes on Mount Fuji, just east of Tokyo. Climb, drive, fly or see it from afar. We recommend you take the journey to see it up close as clouds usually hide this 3,776-metre tall mountain during the day, but you can see it from Tokyo on a clear day. Day trips to Mount Fuji usually involve additional stops at Oishi Park, Arakurayama Park and Kawaguchi Lake.

  • "Mount Fuji is even better up close and in person! My friends and I rented bikes which were available from Fuji station for very cheap and rode to Mount Fuji which was a great way to see a bit of Honcho as well," Lucy Tian, Finder Crew.

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3. Experience sumo wrestling live in action

No trip to Japan is complete without witnessing sumo wrestling. As Japan's national sport, the tradition and history is a big aspect of Japanese culture and the perfect entertainment to get engrossed in while visiting Japan. Get up close to sumo wrestlers by watching a practice session or attend a tournament to experience the action first-hand.

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4. Explore the 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.

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Top things to do in Tokyo

5. Enjoy a magical day at Disneyland

Head to Disneyland to meet all of your favourite Disney characters at Disneyland and DisneySea. The world-famous theme park offers unlimited entertainment with rides including the iconic Space Mountain, shows, parades and fireworks.

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6. Visit the tallest building in Tokyo

Head to Tokyo Skytree to witness views of Tokyo Metropolitan, Tokyo Bay and Mt Fuji. The building has a neo-futuristic design, with 360-degree views. You can choose to see the views from the 250-metre observation deck or the 450-metre Tembo Gallery, which is the world's largest skywalk with a sloping spiral ramp.

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7. Explore anime and manga culture

Head to Tokyo's centre of anime and manga, where your guide will give you insight about the popular culture in Japan and take you to a cosplay maid cafe.

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Private Tour of Akihabara with maid guide

Private Tour of Akihabara with maid guide from Viator

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Top things to do in Osaka

8. See marine life at Aquarium Kaiyukan

Visit one of Japan's most interesting attractions that houses 620 species and over 30,000 animals. There are over 15 large fish tanks to explore and if you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the marine animals during their feeding and training.

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9. Eat your way through Osaka

Stroll through historical streets of Osaka with a tour guide while stopping by a variety of popular and hidden eateries to try authentic Japanese cuisine and dishes including sushi, takoyaki and more. You'll be directed to a cluster of bars where you can stick to your favourites or venture out and try a Japanese rice wine, nihonshu.

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10. Roam around Osaka like a local

Explore Osaka like a local with a private guided tour. You'll get tips on what to see and where to go. Plus, your guide will take you to the best spots you won't find in a guidebook. You have free reign to ask questions about Japanese cultural traditions and the option to tailor your itinerary based on your interests.

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Fun things to do in Japan

11. See snow monkeys up close

In Japan's most popular and unique hot spring, you'll find more than just people bathing. It's a natural habitat for snow monkeys who have their own onsen (hot spring). You're free to take pictures from afar at a safe distance and you'll find these monkeys on a quick day trip from Tokyo.

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12. Experience all the action at Tsukiji Fish Market

You may not consider the largest and busiest fish market in the world to be a popular tourist destination, especially with a 4:30am wake-up call. Chances are you'll change your mind when you arrive and experience the unique and lively tuna action first-hand.

Once all of the action dies down, stop by the restaurant section for a traditional sushi breakfast with the freshest fish you'll have ever tasted. If you'd rather have a sleep-in and want time to explore with a local guide, you might want to lean towards a tour that includes lunch instead.

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13. Visit the Robot Restaurant

Immerse yourself into a new world of entertainment with a Robot Restaurant show experience. You'll witness a show of glittering robots and flash dancers among bright multi-coloured lights and a high-tech laser display. It's an experience you're unlikely to forget, with exhilarating dances and music unlike anything you've seen before.

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14. Experience a 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 in the tea making process before getting the opportunity to make powdered green tea yourself.

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Things to do in Japan with kids

15. Let your creativity run wild at Legoland

Imagine having a massive playground filled with Lego right before your eyes. Kids and adults will have an absolute stellar time putting together building blocks and taking turns in Legoland's three amusement rides. Test out your Lego building skills by putting together your own city in the Lego City Builder, be fascinated by the world's capitals displayed in miniature form in Miniland and take a tour of the Legoland factory.

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16. Enjoy a day of non-stop thrill at Fuji-Q Highland

Get access to all of the rides and entertainment at Fuji-Q Highland, which is home to roller-coasters that will get your heart racing, with views of Mt Fuji in the background. There are rides ranging from child-friendly to thrilling adventures, so the whole family will find something they enjoy. You have the convenience of booking a half-day or full-day pass to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

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17. Explore Universal Studios

Whether you're a movie fanatic or you love the thrill of rides, a day trip to Universal Studios is the ultimate fun experience for kids and adults alike. Explore the world of magic at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Wonderland that features Hello Kitty and Sesame Street zones, that will especially appeal to a younger audience, while providing nostalgia for adults.

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18. Embrace the world of Hello Kitty

Meet all of your favourite Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, at Sanrio Puroland. People of all ages will enjoy the wide range of rides, shows, unique gift shops and photo opportunities with the characters at the outdoor theme parks. Explore Hello Kitty's house, which features portraits of her family and displays her purses and jewellery.

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Seasonal events in Japan

Things to do in Japan in summer

  • Gion Matsuri
  • Tanabata (Star Festival)
  • Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Display)
  • Hozuki Ichi (Ground Cherry Pod Fair)

Things to do in Japan in winter

  • Winter Solstice Festival
  • Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)
  • Dezomeshiki (New Year's Parade of Firemen)

Things to do in Japan in autumn

  • Ultra Japan
  • Tokyo Game Show
  • Fashion's Night Out
  • Autumn Rose Festival

Things to do in Japan in spring

  • Yayoi Matsuri
  • Design Festa
  • Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival)
  • Takatsuki Jazz Street Festival
  • Tokyo International Animal Fair


Book your flights

Feeling inspired? Secure your flights to experience the cherry blossom season below:

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