MUST DO: 101 Things to Do in Japan

A lot of travellers are intimidated by the idea of visiting Asia.

The long flights, unpredictable weather, and culture shock make countries like Japan seem unwelcoming, especially when compared to somewhere like Ibiza or Lanzarote.

In reality, however, Japan is one of the most hospitable countries in the world. In fact, we think it’s the kind of place everybody should visit at least once. Its scenery, traditions, and countless things to do make it the perfect spot for a vacation, regardless of what you’re looking for in a getaway.

Don’t believe us? Check out this article.

In it, we’re going to be looking at some of the most popular tourist activities in Japan. As you’ll see, there are pastimes from all sorts of categories, so you won’t have any trouble finding a few that appeal to you.

If anything, the bigger challenge will be finding one that doesn’t sound fun!

Here are 101 things to do in Japan.

Table of Contents


1. Samurai Museum

There are literally hundreds of museums in Japan, many of which hone in on specific aspects of the country’s culture and history, such as the Samurai Museum.

Located in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo, this museum houses authentic samurai gear and weapons that will captivate every member of your tour group.

2. Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

The Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine, but is also home to a military museum that will teach you about some of the most important battles in Japanese history.

Full disclosure, this site has attracted international controversy for its nationalist flare. This makes it a good choice for dark tourists.

3. Shinjuku

The historic district of Shinjuku has often been compared to New York City’s Greenwich Village and it isn’t hard to see why.

While you won’t find Bob Dylan strumming his guilt in coffee houses, you will see some breathtaking works of modern art and a folk scene that refuses to fade away.

4. Kyoto International Manga Museum

One of the defining components of contemporary Japanese culture is manga. For those who don’t know, manga is the primary form of Japanese graphic novels and has garnered fans all across the world.

In Kyoto, the International Manga Museum is a great way to spend a day, whether you’re a devoted manga fan or a novice to the artform.

5. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
From Wiki.

Hiroshima is perhaps the darkest and most infamous event in Japanese history. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was erected to honour those who lost their lives on that horrible day in 1945. It is built atop the site that was hit by the A-bomb, offering a haunting insight into what life was like for those who lived and worked there.

6. Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

Japanese automobile giant Toyota is one of the most beloved manufacturers of cars in the world.

It’s no surprise, then, that the country would want to memorialise the brand’s greatest achievements with the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. This is a great way to please the auto buff in your family.

7. Toshogu Shrine

The founder of the Tokugawa shogunate lies buried at the Toshogu Shrine, which has made it a popular site among tourists and locals alike.

Located in the small town of Nikki, it provides a peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of Japanese cities.

8. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji stands at a staggering 3,776 meters and is so tall that it can be seen from Tokyo. One of Japan’s sacred mountains, it attracts more than one million determined climbers every year.

Will you be among them?

9. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle was built all the way back in 1586. It was home to a warrior and politician, who furnished it lavishly in an attempt to compliment its wondrous architecture. Today, a guided tour of the castle is a must for anybody visiting Osaka.

10. Hokoku Shrine

Resting in Osaka Castle Park is the Hokoku Shrine. This shrine dates back to 59 Ad and holds the distinction of being Japan’s first Buddhist temple.

If you’re a theology buff, you’re definitely going to want to check it out.

11. The Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace was destroyed during World War Two, but the building that now stands in its place is a spot-on recreation of its predecessor. It’s even home to the current Emperor of Japan! A guided tour of the estate is a must.

12. Himeji Castle

One of the country’s 12 original castles, Himeji Castle is one of the most picturesque buildings in all of Japan.

It encapsulates traditional Japanese architecture, so we recommend taking time to at least observe it from the outside, even if you have no desire for a tour.

13. Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Shrine is located in the heart of Tokyo. But despite being in the middle of the city, it is located in a dense forest of over 100,000 trees.

Historic and tranquil in equal measure, this is a great place to escape when you need a break from the crowds and car horns of the big city.

14. Ryokan Hotels

If you want to truly immerse yourself in Japanese history, we suggest staying in a ryokan hotel. Ryokans have existed in Japan for hundreds of years and those that are still in business are virtually unchanged in their operation.

You will be treated with old-world Japanese hospitality throughout your stay.

See link for more info.

15. The Edo Tokyo Museum

The Edo Tokyo Museum provides a comprehensive education in the history of Japan.

The museum is divided into three sections and will take you from the city’s founding – when it was originally known as Edo – all the way through to modern times.

16. The Nagasaki Peace Park

Much like the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the bombing of Hiroshima, the Nagasaki Peace Park remembers the victims of the bombing that occurred three days later.

All visitors to Japan are encouraged to visit one of the two sites to pay their respects.

17. Todai-Ji

From Kahnacademy

Everything is bigger in Todai-Ji. The Japanese headquarters of Kegon Buddhism, Todai-Ji is home to the largest bronze statue of the Buddha you’re going to find anywhere in the world.

It also boasts the world’s largest wooden building, which is truly a sight to behold (seen above).

18. Kiyomizudera Temple

The Kiyomizudera Temple Dates all the way back to the year 780, when it was built on top of the Otowa Waterfall. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, this is a breathtaking structure that provides ample opportunities for equally breathtaking photographs.

19. Land of the Rising Sun Tour

If you can’t decide which of Japan’s historical sites you’d like to see, why not take the Land of the Rising Sun tour? This guided tour will take you through some of Japan’s most noteworthy sites and will even give you the opportunity to enjoy a few traditional adult beverages at a Japanese brewery.

View tour information here.


Cuisine in Japan

20. Tsukiji Market

Japan’s fish markets are legendary and the king of these legends is the Tsukiji Market. Located in Tokyo, the Tsukiji Market is home to dozens of vendors, all offering mouthwatering traditional Japanese seafood. We suggest trying some takeaway bites from a few of the market’s stalls before moving on to your evening meal.

21. Commune 2nd

Commune 2nd is essentially an outdoor food court located in the Minato ward of Tokyo. There, you’ll find all sorts of traditional and international bites, with vegan options also available.

Music and other live performances are often held at Commune 2nd, so you can compliment your food with some of Japan’s finest entertainers.

22. Nikko Strawberry Park

The strawberries of Nikko are famous for their size and flavour. Plump and juicy, they attracted tourists from all over Japan and beyond. For just 1600 Yen (this equates to about £20), you can enjoy 30 minutes of picking at Nikki Strawberry Park and experience the city’s legendary fruit for yourself.

23. Ninja Akasaka

As its name suggests, Ninja Akasaka is a ninja-themed restaurant in, you guessed it, Akasaka.

The restaurant is laid out to recreate a ninja village from Japan’s Edo-era, with guests being led through darkened tunnels to their tables. It isn’t exactly fine dining, but the ninja performances are five star.

24. The Robot Restaurant

The Robot Restaurant is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo and it has to be seen to be believed. Bright lights, loud music, robots, ninjas, performers; the place feels more like an acid trip than an eatery, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

25. Calico Cat Cafe

Calico Cat Cafe

If you’re missing your feline friend during your time away from home, you’re definitely going to want to pay a visit to Calico Cat Cafe.

Located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, this cafe allows patrons to enjoy a delicious coffee while interacting with the many cats who call the place home.

26. Ramen Museum

Believe it or not, ramen is a whole lot more than those cheap instant noodles that got you through college. It’s a traditional Japanese broth that combines noodles with meat and vegetables for mouthwatering results.

At the Ramen Museum in Yokohama, you’ll be able to learn about Ramen’s significance in Japanese culture and sample a variety of ramen recipes.

27. Vending Machine Diners

What can you get from a Vending machine? A chocolate bar? A packet of crisps? A can of Coke? How about a burger or some hot soup? That’s right, in Tokyo, you can enjoy a full meal by simply putting some coins into a vending machine.

Vending machine diners are scattered throughout the city and provide a full feed at the touch of a button.

28. Outsider Brewing

From: beertengoku

Outsider Brewing is a microbrewery located in Yamanashi, which is only about an hour and a half outside of Tokyo. During a visit to the brewery, you’ll be able to experience its famous craft beer, which is made using wild yeast. 

29. Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi

The original Sukiyabashi Jiro – considered to be the best sushi restaurant in the world – no longer accepts reservations from the general public.

However, those who wish to experience the delicious sushi that made it so famous can visit its public arm in Roppongi, Tokyo. Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi is operated by the youngest son of the proprietor of the original restaurant, so you can be certain of an authentic experience.

30. The Rally Table

The Rally Table is a ping pong-themed bar located in the Shibuya region of Tokyo.

Drinks are served with ping pong balls floating at the bottom of the glass, while multiple ping pong tables provide the perfect means of killing time while you wait for your food.

31. Ryugin

Don’t leave Japan without experiencing Kaiseki dining. Kaiseki is a traditional form of Japanese cuisine and consists of several courses carefully crafted in accordance with the personality and artistic vision of the chef.

Chef Yamamoto is thought to be the finest Kaiseki artist in the world, so a visit to his restaurant Ryugin is a must!

32. Eat and Drink Like A Local Tour

The Eat and Drink Like A Local Tour is perfect for anybody who wants to have an authentic Japanese dining experience. A private tour, your local guide will take you on a personalized food tour consisting of six tastings.

You’ll also be treated to a quick guide of Japanese landmarks as you travel from restaurant to restaurant.

See tour info here.

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture in Japan

33. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is a unique concept. It hosts rotating exhibitions, only ever featuring three at any given time.

Regardless of the exhibitions on display when you visit, you can be certain you’ll see works from some of the very best Japanese and international photographers.

34. Mori Art Museum

The Mori Art Museum is one of the most expensive museums in all of Tokyo, but the many breathtaking works you’ll see are more than worth the money.

Its exhibitions are many and varied, stretching across the worlds of fashion, technology, architecture and more. It also boasts a panoramic view of Tokyo from above.

35. National Museum of Nature and Science

National Museum of Nature and Science
From: kahaku

The National Museum of Nature and Science is one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions. Housing countless objects of intrigue and wonder – including a meteorite – it’s a great way for kids and adults alike to spend an afternoon in Tokyo.

36. Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Tokyo doesn’t have the monopoly on Japanese museums.

Osaka is home to many museums that are worth visiting, with the Museum of Housing and Living being a favourite of residents and tourists.

The museum recreates houses and other buildings from various eras of Japanese history. Its interactive exhibits make the history of Osaka and Japan as a whole more accessible than ever before.

37. Miho Museum

Entering the Miho Museum is like stepping into another world. Ostensibly a museum, it houses the private antiques collection of Japanese eccentric Mihoko Koyama.

However, the Miho Museum is also the world headquarters of Shumikai, a religion founded by Koyama himself!

38. Yokohama Theatre Group

The Yokohama Theatre Group was largely responsible for Japan’s English-language theatre boom. Rather than staging old classics, the YTG writes and produces original English-language works, which is virtually unheard of by any other theatre group in Japan.

Productions, though professional, are affordable and definitely worth checking out if you have a free evening in Yokohama.

39. Kabuki-za Theatre

If you’d like to experience Japanese theatre that is a little more traditional than what’s offered by the Yokohama Theatre Group, pay a visit to Kabuki-za Theatre. This is Tokyo’s number-one spot for traditional kabuki performances. If you don’t have time to stick around for an entire play, you can purchase tickets for individual acts.

40. Shunkaen Bonsai Museum

The Shunkaen Bonsai Museum is home to bonsai trees of all shapes and sizes, placed artistically throughout a backdrop of gardens and Koi ponds. We recommend taking one of the museum’s bonsai sculpting classes if time permits.

41. Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan

Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan aims to introduce westerners to the joys of origami. Its museum exhibits some of the most impressive – and, in some cases, mind blowing – origami creations in the world.

Meanwhile, its classes will teach you how to create marvellous origami works of your own.

42. Udoyoshi Calligraphy Class

The Udoyoshi Calligraphy Class is ideal for anybody who wants to learn the ancient Japanese art of calligraphy from one of its few remaining masters.

Udoyoshi, the school’s founder and primary instructor, is an expert in classic and contemporary calligraphy techniques and enthusiastically passes the art on to anybody who enters the school.

43. Karaoke

Karaoke bar japan

How could you visit Japan and not spend at least one night singing karaoke in one of the country’s many karaoke bars?

There are hundreds of such bars in Tokyo alone, so it’s impossible to name one as the absolute best. Some of the city’s most popular, however, include Studio Himawari, Uta Hiroba, and Karaoke Kan.


44. Asakusa Batting Stadium

Baseball isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Japan, so you may be surprised to learn that the sport is actually pretty big in the country.

So big, in fact, that Tokyo has its own batting cage. The Asakusa Batting Stadium is a great way to keep the kids entertained or to shed some calories after a long day of sitting on buses and sampling local cuisine.

45. Iaido Classes

Iaido is a form of traditional Japanese swordsmanship. Literally translating to “Being, Encounter, Way”, Iaido is more about self-discipline and self-actualisation than it is about wielding a sword.

In the Yanesen district of Tokyo, you’ll find beginner’s Iaido classes offered in abundance.

46. Tokyo Dome Bowling Center

If you’re like us, you’re always going to be partial to a spot of bowling, no matter where you are in the world. Should you or your kids desire a game during your time in Tokyo, head to the Tokyo Dome Bowling Center.

Complimenting the center’s many lanes is a high-class lounge, where you can sip on wine and enjoy fine food between rolls.

47. Okutama Canyoning

Less than 90 minutes outside of Tokyo is the natural paradise of Okutama.

There, you’ll find flowing rivers and blossoming plants, as well as various canyoning trails. Okutama Canyoning offers tours of these trails, as well as classes to help you make the most of your canyoning experience.

48. Professional Wrestling

Professional wrestling is huge in Japan. In fact, the country’s New Japan Pro Wrestling is the second largest wrestling organization in the world.

Between NJPW and the many other promotions operating in Japan, you’ll be spoiled for choice should you decide to take in some wrestling during your time in Japan. But be warned, this is a world away from the days of Big Daddy!

49. Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling

Speaking of Big Daddy, he would have been more at home in the world of sumo wrestling. Sumo wrestling is a distinctly Japanese sport and sumo bouts are regularly held throughout the country.

Three popular sumo wrestling tournaments are held in Tokyo, while another three are held in Osaka, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a sumo event during your visit.

50. Chankonabe

Chankonabe is technically a food, but we’re including it here in the sports category instead of the cuisine category because it is so closely tied to sumo wrestling.

Made up of various high-protein meats and vegetables, chankonabe is eaten by sumo wrestlers as part of their strict weight-gain diet. If you want a really unique Japanese dining experience, find somewhere that serves this little-known dish.

51. Hiking

Kumano Kodo

There are breathtaking hiking trails all throughout Japan, each one guaranteed to satisfy the outdoors person in your group.

One of the most popular hiking trails in the country is Kumano Kodo, an ancient road and pilgrimage site located in the Kii Hanto peninsula.

It’s important to remember, however, that this is a lengthy and often treacherous road. For those searching for a trail that is shorter and more forgiving, there is the Koburi Pass in Tokyo.

52. Street Kart

There are plenty of go-kart tracks located in Japan, but few are as unique as Street Kart.

Street Kart will take you on a guided tour of Tokyo while you and your friends ride in Mario Kart-themed go-karts. You might want to get around to this one sooner rather than later, as Nintendo has just won a legal battle against Street Kart and it’s quite possible any karts that are too blatantly based on Mario Kart vehicles will disappear from the streets in the coming weeks and months.


Japan Nightlife

53. Kawaii Monster Cafe

Visiting the Kuwaiti Monster Cafe is one of the most popular evening activities among Tokyo residents and tourists alike. Comparable to a tiny Disneyland, the cafe has actors portraying popular characters from Japanese media and hosts nightly performances from Tuesday to Friday.

54. Tokyo Bay Night Cruise

The Tokyo Bay Night Cruise offers everything you could want on a night out; dinner, drinks, and live entertainment, all onboard a cruise ship sailing through the gentle waters that surround Tokyo city.

55. Tejnaya Magic Bar

Located in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, Tejnaya Magic Bar is the best place in the city for close-up magic.

Every night, the finest magicians from Japan and beyond wow audiences with their mind blowing talents and showmanship.

56. OWL Osaka

If you’re in Osaka and want a taste of authentic Japanese nightlife, the OWL is the place to go. Virtually 100% Japanese in its language and menu options, this is almost entirely devoid of tourists and is guaranteed to give you a true taste of local partying.

57. Giraffe

The Giraffe nightclub is also located in Osaka, but is markedly more tourist-friendly than the OWL. Spread across three floors, the Giraffe offers multiple musical options at any given time and attracts a variety of ages (though it veers a little to the younger side).

58. The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is one of Osaka’s most popular bars. It offers a little taste of Ireland, including perfectly poured pints of Guinness, and is a great place to meet and make friends with fellow travellers.

The Osaka Pub Crawl begins at The Blarney Stone, but it’s also a great place to spend an entire evening.

59. The Osaka Pub Crawl

Speaking of the Osaka Pub Crawl, it’s a great way to acclimate yourself to Osaka’s nightlife and is a must if you plan to be in the city for an extended period of time. Entry into three bars and a nightclub is included in the ticket price.

60. ROR Comedy Club

The ROR Comedy Club is located in Osaka’s Chuo ward. It is one of the few comedy clubs in Japan that is geared 100% towards English speakers.

On any given night, you can find some of the best comedians Japan has to offer performing their English-language sets, as well as a variety of international acts doing the same.

61. Stand-up Tokyo 

Taking us back to Tokyo is Stand-up Tokyo. This is another comedy club, but it doesn’t focus entirely on English-language performers the way ROR Comedy Club does.

While it does host multiple English-language comedy nights, you can also catch Japanese-language comedy, as well as other tongues being represented. Stand-up Tokyo also holds a weekly open mic night, so you could even get on stage yourself!

62. The Tokyo Pub Crawl

The Tokyo Pub Crawl takes place every Friday and Saturday night and covers some of the most popular bars in the city.

It is one of the most popular tourist activities in the entire country and is placed at the very top of the Trip Advisor’s Best Nightlife list.

About 150 people attend each crawl and tickets sell out early, so be sure to book well in advance!

See the website here.

63. Haunted Tokyo Tours

If you’re feeling brave during your time in Japan, you might want to try a tour with Haunted Tokyo Tours.

As their name suggests, the folks at Haunted Tokyo Tours will take you through some of the oldest and, if you’re so inclined to believe, most haunted spots in the city. This is a walking tour, but you may find yourself running from certain sites!


Shopping in Japan

64. Don Quijote

Don Quijote is arguably the most popular department store in Japan. With more than 150 locations across the country, it offers jaw-dropping deals on electronics, clothes, beauty supplies, and countless other products that would typically set you back quite a bit.

The very first Don Quijote store was opened in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo and remains there today. Be sure to visit it for some great deals you’d never find back home.

65. Mitsui Outlet Park

Mitsui Outlet Park

Mitsui Outlet Park looks more like a small town than a shopping mall, and you could conceivably spend a whole day exploring it.

It is home to numerous outlet stores belonging to the top names in fashion and is a great place to secure discounts on high-quality clothing.

66. Mandarake

If you’re a fan of anime, be sure to visit Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway mall. There, you’ll find a total of 16 Mandarake stores, each one catering to a different area of geek culture.

Mandarake is Japan’s largest chain of second-hand pop culture collectibles and the 16 stores operating out of Nakano Broadway house literally millions of rare items.

67. Taco-che

Taco-che is also located in the Nakano Broadway mall and is quite similar to the Mandarake stores. However, this store deals in underground comics exclusively, so it’s a great place to discover independent artists who have been shunned by the mainstream.

68. Ambush Workshop

Ambush Workshop is best known for its conceptual jewelry, which has won the hearts of celebrities and the general public alike. In its Tokyo store, however, you’ll also find items from its bold new clothing range.

Buy an outfit here and you can be certain you’ll never see somebody wearing the same thing back home.

69. Have A Good Time

Have A Good Time would be the embodiment of Tokyo’s rebellious counter-culture scene if it wasn’t a shop and therefore an accessory to capitalism.

Nevertheless, this is the place to hit up if you want some funky art and some sweet grunge swag.

70. Hankyu Umeda

Hankyu Umeda

Located in the city of Osaka, Hankyu Umeda is the biggest department store in all of Japan.

As such, it provides ample shopping opportunities for all the family. Be warned, this store primarily stocks the very top labels in the world, so you’re going to want to have a whole lot of spending money if you plan to visit.

71. Hanshin Umeda

Not far from Hankyu Umeda is the Hanshin Umeda department store.

Like its Hankyu counterpart, this is a mammoth building with many areas to shop. Unlike Hankyu Umeda, however, this department store stocks very reasonably priced items.

You could spend hours shopping here and still not break your holiday budget.

72. Shinsaibashi 

Shinsaibashi is one of Osaka’s most historic shopping districts. It has long been known for its Shinsaibashisuji shopping arcade, which houses 180 stores. These stores vary from small independent stalls to larger outlets carrying internationally renowned brands. 

73. Mottainai Flea Market

Mottainai Flea Market

Flea markets have an inexplicable appeal and the Mottainai Flea Market in Tokyo is no exception. Here, you’ll find unique second-hand items including clothing, books, toys, and knick-knacks. 

74. Boro-Ichi Street Market

The Boro-Ichi Street Market is also located in Tokyo and is one of the most iconic markets in all of Japan. Dating all the way back to the 1570s, this market was first established as a way to sell goods without taxes.

To this day, it remains a great place to get deals on typically expensive items. But remember, the market only operates on the 15th and 16th of January and December each year.

75. Shintennoji Flea Market

You don’t have to go all the way to Tokyo for a good flea market. Tourists in Osaka can find all sorts of treasures at the Shintennoji Flea Market.

On the 21st and 22nd of every month, the Shintennoji temple becomes home to 100 merchants selling things like pottery, clothes, and handbags.

76. Korea Town

In recent years, Osaka’s Korea Town has become one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations. Every day, tourists and residents alike empty their wallets in the district’s shops and restaurants on Authentic Korean products.

77. Super Potato

Japan is famous for its video games, so you might want to pay a visit to Super Potato during your time in the country. Located in Tokyo, this store specializes in vintage video games and consoles, but also offers plenty of newer options as well. Whether you’re after the latest release or a quick hit nostalgia, the chances are you’ll find it here.


Romance in Japan

78. Ueno Park

Ueno Park in Tokyo is a favourite of Japanese lovers because of the peace and serenity it provides.

Visit with your partner and you’ll find yourself among locals, with very few tourists to interrupt the gentle atmosphere. Visit during the summer and catch the park’s famous cherry trees as they bloom.

79. Planetarium Starry Cafe

Located inside Haneda Airport, Planetarium Starry Cafe is a great place to have a romantic meal with your partner before you board your flight home.

While you eat, you can gaze into the simulated night sky and fall in love all over again. A perfect way to end a couple’s getaway!

80. Couple’s Onsen

An onsen is a traditional Japanese bath that is typically warmed by the volcanic activity that is so common in Japan. Onsens are offered all over Japan, from Tokyo to Kyoto and a couple’s package is the perfect way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

81. Hamarikyu Gardens

The Hamarikyu Gardens is another of Tokyo’s popular couple’s spots. Nestled among the cherry trees and bright green grass, you’ll find a Shio-iri pond.

The beauty of the park must be seen to be believed and makes it the perfect spot for grabbing a couple’s photo for social media.

82. Sushi Making Experience

Tokyo’s Sushi Making Experience has received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence on multiple occasions and it isn’t hard to see why. Classes are taught by an English-speaking sushi master and provide the perfect opportunity for some couple’s bonding in the city.

83. Hozu River

Hozu River

The Hozu River in Kyoto is surrounded by cherry trees and other marvelous works of nature and provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic moment.

Private boats can be rented, so you and your partner can immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the river, far away from prying eyes.

84. Philosopher’s Walk

Philosopher’s Walk

Also located in Kyoto is the Philosopher’s Walk. Named for Nishida Kitaro, the Japanese philosopher who walked it daily while deep in meditative thought, the path is said by some to be the perfect place for a couple to stroll and reflect on their relationship and its next stage.

If you’re looking for such a place, this may be the perfect spot to pop the question!

85. Universal Studios Japan

Osaka is home to Universal Studios Japan. This theme park boasts multiple attractions based on Universal Studios’ all-time classics, such as Jaws and Harry Potter.

Many of these attractions can get pretty intense, so this is definitely a better spot for adults than kids. It’s especially popular among couples, many of whom prepare a couple’s cosplay together when visiting. 

86. Love Hotel

Love hotels were created in Osaka back in the 1960s and today can be found all over Japan. The perfect way to spend a day or two with your partner, love hotels generally feature hot tubs, room service, and lighting to set the right mood.

If you want the true love hotel experience, you should visit one in Osaka as opposed to the often cheap imitations of other cities. 

See the best love hotels in Osaka here.

87. Nakanoshima Park

Nakanoshima Park

Nakanoshima Park is one of Osaka’s most popular spots for friends and couples alike. It is the latter, however, who will really appreciate the beauty of the park. Along with its beer garden and peaceful walking areas, Nakanoshima Park features a rose garden that is home to more than 300 types of roses!

88. Umeda Sky Building

 Umeda Sky Building

What’s better than seeing a beautiful city with your beautiful partner? How about seeing it with your beautiful partner from 40-stories in the air?

This is exactly what you can do at the Umeda Sky Building, which has long been attracting lovers to its floating observatory deck. At night, you and your partner can look down from the building and experience the splendor of Osaka’s bright lights.

89. Tokyo Skytree

If you want a similar experience to that of the Umeda Sky Building but aren’t in Osaka, try visiting the Tokyo Skytree.

The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world and is the second tallest structure in the world. From its observation deck, you and your partner can see the magnificence of Tokyo from almost 2,080 feet above.

90. Couple’s Wine Tasting

The only thing better than being drunk in love is being regular drunk, and in Tokyo you can be both!

There are couple’s wine tastings offered throughout the city. Some of these private tours will let you and your partner leisurely sample the country’s finest red and white wines. But if you want to find out which one of yours is braver, you might want to consider taking a snake wine tasting tour.


Free things to do in Japan

91. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

If you’d like to keep costs down during your time in Tokyo, try visiting the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. This is a free museum dedicated to space and the heavens. Stargazing evenings are regularly held here and require no admission fee.

92. Suntory Brewery

Suntory is one of Japan’s leading beer brands. If you’ve ever spent any time in the country before, the chances are you’ve enjoyed a glass or two of Suntory. You can tour the company’s Musashino brewery free of charge and even sample some of its beer.

93. Suginami Animation Museum

The Suginami Animation Museum is dedicated to the history of animation in Japan and focuses heavily on the country’s legendary animated movies. For no cost at all, you can tour the museum and even take a shot at creating your own animation.

94. Tokyo City Day

Every October 1st, Japan celebrates Tokyo City Day. On this day, admission to the city’s zoos and museums is absolutely free!

If you can time your trip to coincide with this holiday, you can enjoy some of Tokyo’s more expensive activities free of charge.

95. Manhole Cover Spotting

This is a little odd, yes, but it’s a surprisingly fun way to spend an afternoon. The Osaka region of Dotonbori is famous for its colorful manhole covers, each one featuring its own individual design. See how many you can find while travelling from activity to activity.

96. Pokemon Center

If you’re a 90s kid, a visit to the Pokemon Center should be at the very top of your Osaka to do list. Acting as a museum and store for all things Pokemon, the Pokemon Center is a great way to satisfy your inner child.

97. Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is composed almost entirely of torii gates lined up directly in front of each other. This gives the shrine a sort of tunnel feel and makes venturing through it seem as though you’re entering another dimension. 

98. Kimono Forest

For an escape from tourists in Kyoto, pay a visit to Kimono Forest. This is not your typical forest. Rather than trees, expect to be surrounded by hundreds of pillars decorated using Japan’s traditional Kyo-Yuzen artform. This is the same method used to create Himonas, which is what gave the forest its name.

99. Flagship Free Walking Tour of Tokyo

As its name suggests, the Flagship Free Walking Tour of Tokyo is both free and the primary walking tour offered in the city. Over the span of three hours, you’ll be escorted through the city’s most famous and iconic sites and it won’t cost you a penny!

See tour info here.

100. Shinjuku Night Walking Tour

If you’re looking for a walking tour of Tokyo that’s a little on the crazy side, we highly recommend the Shinjuku Walking Tour. This free tour will take you through the wildest district in the city and will show you some of the more, shall we say, vivacious side of Japanese culture.

See tour info here.

101. Yokojikkengawa Canal Tour

One of the most unique free activities in Japan is the Yokojikkengawa Canal Tour. The Yokojikkengawa Canal is located in the Koto ward of Tokyo and was crucial to the growth of Japan’s wasen ride tradition.

In an effort to keep this tradition alive, Tokyo offers free 10-minute tour of the river to anybody who wants one!

Maria Kennedy
Maria Kennedy
Hey, I'm Maria Kennedy, the curator at The Travel Kind. Join me as we redefine travel, breaking stereotypes and celebrating diversity. Let's ditch the ordinary and vibe together on a journey where every destination is a unique experience. Ready to join the vibe tribe? Let's go! 🌍✨ #TheTravelKindVibes

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