Japan Travel Blog Logo
Follow us:
7 MUST-SEE PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN FOR THE FIRST TIME
Article | October 25th, 2021 | Anne
Share:

VISIT JAPAN FOR THE FIRST TIME? HERE ARE SOME MUST-SEE PLACES IN JAPAN.

Japan is a country that embraces innovation and advancement while still being fiercely protective of and passionate about its traditions. Soaring skyscrapers, contemporary architecture, fast bullet trains, and a unique pop culture coexist with shrines, temples, tranquil gardens, and conventional rituals. Japan is paradoxical while nevertheless being peaceful. It is both overwhelming and soothing. Naturally, when you visit Japan for the first time, you'll want to explore all that the country has to offer.

With countless attractions, activities, and tourist spots, you might be wondering how to prioritize your itinerary if you're in a time crunch. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of the must-see places in Japan which will give a taste of their culture, technology, and lifestyle. They are:

 Tokyo
 Mt Fuji
 Hakone
 Kyoto
 Nara
 Osaka
 Hiroshima

TOKYO

Each part of the city has its own set of attractions, so picking which one to visit is mostly a matter of personal preference. If you're interested in exploring the traditional and historical areas of Tokyo, the best places are Ueno and Asakusa.

Northern Tokyo is renowned as the city's original downtown, and it's a terrific place to visit if you want to see historical landmarks, local life, and a rustic environment. It even features the renowned Tokyo Skytree in Sumida, which is the second tallest structure after Burj Khalifa.

The Asakusa district has a more traditional Japanese atmosphere than other places in Tokyo, making it one of the must-see places in Japan. The famous Senso-Ji temple is located here, and it is one of the oldest geisha districts in the city.

Ueno Park, one of Tokyo's largest parks, is home to a zoo, a number of excellent museums, monuments, and statues. In spring, it is celebrated for its blooming cherry blossom trees.

Ameyoko or Ameya Yokocho, a shopping street, is also one of Japan's most hectic areas. There are over one hundred and eighty shops, so be prepared for a lot of bustling crowds and street food.

If you're fascinated with Tokyo's nightlife, Shibuya should be on your itinerary when your visit Japan. The Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. Another district, Shinjuku, comes alive with flashy neon lights when the sun goes down. One of the top attractions in Tokyo, Robot Restaurant, is also located here.

You can experience Japanese youth culture and fashion at Harajuku. Several small, youth-oriented independent boutiques and cafés are available for shopping and eating, but the area also includes many larger multinational chain stores with high-end luxury retailers.

If you want to take in the technological advancements of the country, Roppongi and Akihabara are two of the must-see places in Japan. It has luxurious hotels, sophisticated shopping complexes, museums, bars, and more. On your visit to Japan, don't forget to take a trip down to Akihabara, the world's leading electric town. This is especially attractive for people who love anime, VR experiences, or go-karting. Plus, this is the go-to place for the best Ramen dishes.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Tokyo for 2021, 2022 & 2023

2. MOUNT FUJI

When you visit Japan, you cannot leave without catching a glimpse of its cultural icon, Mount Fuji. Although you can spot the mountain from various locations, there are many ways you can see it up close, for example, while skiing at the Fujiten Snow Resort or experiencing its hot springs at Oshino Hakkai.

Arakuayama Sengen Park, halfway up Mount Arakura in Yamanashi Prefecture's Fujiyoshida City, offers panoramic views with Mount Fuji in the background. It is well-known as a favorite sight-seeing location for Mount Fuji, but it is also well-known for its cherry blossoms.

Mount Fuji is the most visited tourist attraction in Japan, attracting both local and foreign visitors. Every year, about 200,000 people attempt to reach the peak, usually during the summertime. Climbers can stop at "Huts" along the way up the mountain for beverages, basic food and medicine, and a place to relax.

Goraiko is the name given to the dawn from Mount Fuji. Many tourists begin their ascent of Mount Fuji at night in order to catch a glimpse of the sunrise from the summit—after all, Japan is known as "the Land of the Rising Sun."

On clear days, Mount Fuji may be visible from Tokyo and Yokohama. It may also be seen from the train if you travel between Tokyo and Osaka. The best view of the volcano is around Shin-Fuji Station from the right side of the train, around 40 minutes into the ride, if you catch the shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, Nagoya, or Osaka.

For a clearer view of Mt. Fuji in a natural setting, you can head over to the Fujigoko region or to Hakone.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Mt Fuji for 2021, 2022 & 2023

3. HAKONE

Due to its numerous hot springs and scenic views of the historic Mount Fuji, the town is a famous tourist attraction. Lake Ashi gives a majestic view of the sacred mountain amidst nature, where you can go on a cruise and visit Hakone Sekisho and Hakone Shrine.

Hakone is famously known as one of the best Onsen towns in the country. Many of these outdoor hot springs offer views of Mt Fuji as you relax in the nutrient-rich water. If you'd like to catch a glimpse of seasonal flowers, Gora Park houses red-tint leaves in autumn, cherry blossoms in spring, hydrangeas in summer, and poinsettias in winter. This French-style garden also offers cultural activity workshops such as a glass blowing workshop, pottery painting, or a ceramic workshop.

The Hakone Open-Air Museum exhibits over a hundred sculpture arts, including masterpieces made by Pablo Picasso. Another museum, the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum, is a mesmerizing place. It is divided into numerous sections: a garden, a store, a restaurant and café, and a Venetian Glass Museum, and a Modern Glass Museum. The beautiful Corridoio, which is situated inside the garden, is illuminated by almost 160,000 crystal glasses.

For a look into Japanese culture, the Odawara Castle is one of the most well-preserved 15th century castles in the city, making it one of the must-see places in Japan.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Hakone for 2021, 2022 & 2023

4. KYOTO

Kyoto features three must-see places in Japan, the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, the Kinkakuji Temple, and the Kiyomizudera Temple.

The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is the most visited shrine by tourists, iconic for its red torii gates, which makes it a popular spot for photographs. The Kinkakuji Temple is also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Originally a Zen Buddhist temple, the villa has undergone several reconstructions.

Because of its underlying symbolism and visual aesthetics, gold was a calculated addition to the pavilion. The gold was used to purify and minimize any pollutants or unpleasant feelings or ideas about death. Moreover, it reflects the sunlight to make it stand out.

The Kiyomizudera Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple that is widely known for its main hall and large wooden terrace that overlooks Kyoto. It takes on different landscapes according to the season, from bright and lively cherry blossoms in spring to warm copper autumn leaves in fall.

Kyoto is the finest city to visit if you enjoy Japanese sweets, particularly Matcha. The city has indulgent Match parfait and ice cream. You can even be served tea by a Geisha in a traditional tea house in the Gion district.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Kyoto for 2021, 2022 & 2023

5. NARA

Nara, Japan's former capital, is brimming with temples, artwork, and historical treasures going back to the eighth century. The majestic Daibutsu-den, also known as the Great Buddha Hall, in Todaiji is the primary attraction as the world's largest wooden structure. The Buddha statue, which stands 15 meters tall and is made of gold and bronze, was erected in 751.

Other historical landmarks in Nara include Kasuga Taisha, famous for its bronze and stone lanterns, Horyuji Temple, famous for being the world's oldest wooden building, Tanzan Shrine, and Yakushiji Temple.

If you think wild deer are cute, Nara Park is one of the best spots to visit for first-timers. Deer are regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion. Over 1,200 friendly deer graze freely in Nara Park.

Another way you can immerse yourself in nature is at the Isuien Garden, located nearby the Todaiji Temple. Ponds, tea houses, green hills, and decorative stones create visual harmony, undisturbed by any artificial enclosure.

Lastly, if you want to visit Japan to witness the magical season when Sakura trees blossom, Mt. Yoshino is one of the must-see places in Japan during the spring. There are over 30,000 varieties of cherry blossom trees on the mountain's slopes, making it the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Nara for 2021, 2022 & 2023

6. OSAKA

One of the largest cities to visit in Japan, Osaka has a sprawling cityscape comparable to Tokyo. As the night falls, the city becomes more dynamic and vibrant, particularly due to the neon light around the Minami area and the Dotombori Bridge.

The Dotonbori River, which runs through the Dotonbori neighborhood, has earned Osaka the title of "Water Capital." In the spring, you could enjoy a cruise down the river while admiring cherry blossoms, and in the winter, you can marvel at the gleaming lights.

The area also features Osaka's regional dishes and Izakaya. Some of the delectable food you must try are Takoyaki, Kushikatsu, Tecchiri, and Tessa. Hozenji-Yokocho Alley is the best place if you're in search of traditional Japanese bars and restaurants.

A favorite tourist spot is the Shinsekai neighborhood. It is the perfect mix of nostalgic and retro-commercial displays, with colorful window displays and attractions such as the Tsutenkaku Tower.

Many foreigners pay a visit to the Osaka Aquarium, which is home to a whale shark. Universal Studios is also located in Osaka City, featuring attractions with movie themes ranging from Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Jaws, and Jurassic Park to Hello Kitty and Sesame Street.

The Osaka Castle is one of the must-see places in Japan, and best of all, it is easily accessible to the public. During festivals, the beautiful castle grounds are filled with activities, food vendors, and taiko drummers.

To catch a breathtaking view of the city at night, you can visit the Umeda Sky Building. At 173 meters, the Floating Garden Observatory allows you to take in Osaka's magical nightlife.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Osaka for 2021, 2022 & 2023

7. HIROSHIMA

Hiroshima is renowned across the globe as the first city to be brutally hit by an atomic bomb in 1945, and many travelers from Japan and outside visit its memorial monuments. Despite its tragic background, Hiroshima, Japan's reborn city, has a positive aura and a variety of activities to keep visitors entertained in different ways.

The Hiroshima Castle, or Carp Castle, is a sight to see. It was destroyed in the atomic bombing but rebuilt to serve as a museum of the city's history prior to its destruction.

The city's food culture is diverse and delicious. Their most prominent dishes are Okonomiyaki, Onomichi Ramen, and Oysters. At Okonomimura, a food theme park, you indulge in their local cuisine.

Hiroshima is frequently paired with a visit to Miyajima Island's famed, picturesque floating torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine. The island is also home to hundreds of Japanese deer. At the base of Miyajima Island's Mt. Misen, the Daisho-in Temple displays countless stoned statues of strange figures and characters.

Hiroshima's most popular souvenir is Momiji Manju. It's a little cake in the shape of a maple leaf that is stuffed with sweet red bean paste.

Click here to see our group tours that include a visit to Hiroshima for 2021, 2022 & 2023

Join one of our pre-designed escorted group tours, visiting must-see sights in Japan and including unique cultural activities. Or contact us to plan a fully customized itinerary based on your interests.


THE 5 BEST ART FESTIVALS AND TRIENNALE IN JAPAN

THE 5 BEST ART FESTIVALS AND TRIENNALE IN JAPAN

SPECIAL EVENTS | Festivals

Article | November 24th, 2021 | Anne

Art festivals in Japan captivate the imagination of locals and tourists alike, with sophisticated ga......

20 THINGS TO DO IN JAPAN FOR COUPLES

20 THINGS TO DO IN JAPAN FOR COUPLES

TRAVEL | What to Do

Article | November 6th, 2021 | Anne

When it comes to things to do in Japan for couples, there are numerous activities and tourists spots......

7 MUST-SEE PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN FOR THE FIRST TIME

7 MUST-SEE PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN FOR THE FIRST TIME

TRAVEL | Where to Go

Article | October 25th, 2021 | Anne

When you visit Japan for the first time, you might be overwhelmed with the countless sights to see a......



Search Group Tour

Search
FOLLOW US

SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL

POPULAR ARTICLES

TOP 1
TOP 2
TOP 3
TOP 4
TOP 5
TOP 6
TOP 7
TOP 8