If you are planning a trip to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, you’ll want to know the top tourist attractions in Japan. Travelling to Japan is all about uncovering the mix of tradition and modernity. In Japan, you’ll find busy neon-lit streets and tranquil temples, unspoilt nature and incredible skyscrapers. A land of juxtapositions, travel to Japan is infinitely rewarding! Here are the tourist attractions in Japan you can’t miss!
The icon of Japan, Mount Fuji is a must-see tourist attraction in Japan. Around 100-kilometres from the capital of Tokyo, it is best reached by bus. In traditional Japanese culture, this snow-topped, cone-shaped mountain is one of the ‘Three Holy Mountains’. Having inspired countless artists with its perfect symmetry, it is still an important site of pilgrimage today for followers of Shinto and Buddhism. The highest peak in Japan, most visitors head directly to the Subaru Fifth Station to enjoy up-close views of the mountain. On the other hand, the most inspiring panorama can be enjoyed from Lake Kawaguchiko. Alternatively, if you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train on a clear day, the views of Mount Fuji are spectacular!
Harajuku & Takeshita Street, Tokyo
You cannot go sightseeing in Tokyo without visiting the area of Harajuku, one of the top tourist attractions in Japan. Here you’ll find a world of pop culture, boutique shops and all things kawaii. Lovers of anime and manga will be in their element, whilst the fun-filled streets of Harajuku are sure to put a smile on the face of even the most sceptical traveller! Takeshita Street is at the heart of Harajuku. The busiest and brightest street in the city, Takeshita is filled with quirky shops, themed cafes and restaurants. If you want to experience Japanese pop culture in all its glory, Takeshita is one of the most unmissable tourist attractions in Japan. Be sure to visit on a Sunday to see locals dressed up in their cosplay outfits!
Running alongside the canal of the same name, Dotonburi is at the heart of Osaka. This neon-lit district is home to all kinds of entertainment, bars and street food markets. In fact, it’s the best place in Osaka to experience the delights of Japanese street food! The people of Osaka are famed for their love of food, and there’s no better place to experience the Japanese expression of kuidaore, or ‘eat till you drop’! There’s so much to see in Dotonburi, you won’t know where to look! Be sure to see the famous ‘Running Man’, a neon sign at the heart of the district, and take in the views from Ebisubashi Bridge.
Nestled in the remote mountains of the Shogawa River Valley, Shirakawago village is one of the most charming tourist attractions in Japan. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this idyllic village is famed for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. The A-framed roofs of these wooden dwellings were specifically designed to withstand the heavy snows that fall in this area. Some of these houses date back more than 250 years, providing a unique insight into traditional Japanese life. Around 2,000 people still live in the village, and a homestay is the best way to experience Shirakawago. On the other hand, day trips from Nagoya or Kanazawa are also popular.
Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto
An important Shinto shrine and one of the most photogenic locations in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a must-see tourist attraction in Japan! Thousands of red torii gates lead to the main shrine, dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. The shrine building is simply incredible, and a great example of traditional Japanese architecture. Furthermore, one of the most popular things to do here is to explore the myriad of mountain trails that lead visitors through tranquil woodlands. Furthermore, if you make it to the top of the mountain (a journey of around 2-3 hours), then you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Kyoto.
Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden, Osaka
The symbol of Osaka, the Umeda Sky Building is an iconic skyscraper. The reason this is one of the most important tourist attractions in Japan is due to its incredible ‘floating garden’. 173-metres above sea level, the top floor is home to a 360-degree viewing platform. Suspended between two towers, this floating observatory offers breathtaking panoramas of the city. Be sure to visit at nightfall to catch the sunset or the illuminated city skyline after dark.
Meiji Shrine, Tokyo
Dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, this Shinto shrine is located in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. A beautiful walk through verdant Japanese forest leads you to this historic shrine, constructed in 1920. A peaceful sanctuary in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, visit around the New Year to see thousands of locals making their first prayer of the year! The nearby Meiji Jingu Museum is also worth a visit. It is home to the most valuable treasures from the shrine’s collection.
Situated in the city of the same name, Himeji Castle is one of the most important tourist attractions in Japan. Nicknamed the ‘White Heron’, it is instantly recognisable by its glistening white exterior. It is one of the only castles in Japan to survive from the feudal period. In fact, Himeji Castle dates back to the 14th-century and is the largest and most visited castle in Japan. Curiously, the castle is the source of many local legends. A supernatural entity, who lives in the castle tower to avoid humans, is said to inhabit Himeji Castle. An invaluable cultural treasure, the castle offers incredible insights into classical Japanese culture.