Must-See Attractions in Japan

If you are planning a trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun”, you will want to know the main tourist attractions of this fascinating country.

A trip to Japan means discovering its attractive mix of tradition and modernity, achieving a perfect fusion of contrasts, where you will see busy streets with neon lights and quiet temples, or unspoiled nature in contrast with incredible skyscrapers.

Visiting this faraway country will be infinitely rewarding and for you to keep it in mind, here are the 8 must-see attractions in Japan:

Mount Fuji

Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a must-see tourist attraction in Japan. Located about 100 kilometers from the capital of Tokyo, it can be reached by bus. In traditional Japanese culture, this cone-shaped snow-capped mountain is one of the “Three Holy Mountains” and has inspired countless artists throughout history thanks to its perfect symmetry. Today it remains an important pilgrimage site for followers of Shinto and Buddhism.

Visitors often head straight to the Fifth Subaru Station to take in the fabulous views of the mountain up close, but the most inspiring panorama can be enjoyed from Lake Kawaguchiko and if you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train on a clear day, the views of the country’s iconic landmark are spectacular!

Harajuku and Takeshita Street, Tokyo

You can’t go sightseeing in Tokyo without visiting the Harajuku area, one of Japan’s 8 must-see tourist attractions. Here you will find a world of pop culture, boutiques, and all things kawaii. Anime and manga lovers will be in their element, while the fun-filled streets are sure to make even the most skeptical traveler smile.

Takeshita Street is the heart of the neighborhood and the busiest and brightest street in the city. Filled with quirky stores, themed cafes, and restaurants, you can feel Japanese pop culture in all its glory – be sure to wander it on a Sunday to see the locals dressed in their outlandish cosplay costumes!

Dotonbori, Osaka

Running along the canal of the same name, in the center of Osaka, is Dotonburi. Illuminated with neon lights, it is home to all kinds of entertainment, including bars and street food markets, making it the best place in the city to enjoy Japanese gastronomic delights at street level.

The reason is that the locals have a great love for food, so you won’t find a better place to put into practice the Japanese expression kuidaore , which translates as “eat till you drop”. There is so much to see in this neighborhood that you won’t know where to start. Be sure to see the famous “Glico Running Man,” a neon sign in the heart of the district, and enjoy the incredible views from the Ebisubashi Bridge.

Shirakawago Village

Nestled in the remote mountains of the Shokawa River Valley, Shirakawago Village is another of Japan’s 8 must-see tourist attractions. This idyllic village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farms. The A-shaped roofs of these wooden dwellings were specifically designed to withstand the heavy snowfall in this area.

Some of the houses date back more than 250 years and provide a unique insight into traditional Japanese life, being home to around 2000 people still living in the village. Entering a family home is the best way to get a feel for Shirakawago, and for this, you can resort to taking a day trip from Nagoya or Kanazawa.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

The important Shinto shrine Fushimi Inari is one of the most photogenic places in Kyoto and a must-see tourist attraction in Japan. Thousands of red torii gates lead to the main temple, dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. The building is simply amazing and a great example of the country’s traditional architecture.

In addition, one of the most popular activities to do here is to explore the many mountain trails that lead visitors through beautiful tranquil forests. And if you make it to the top of the mountain, which will take you 2 to 3 hours, you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views of the city.

Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden, Osaka

The symbol of Osaka, the Umeda Sky Building is an iconic skyscraper. The reason why this is one of Japan’s most important tourist attractions is due to its incredible “floating garden”. Located 173 meters above sea level, the top floor houses a 360-degree observation deck.

Suspended between two towers, this floating observatory offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. It is ideal to visit in the evening to watch the sunset and how it lights up the entire skyline of the city offering a unique postcard.

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 the green Japanese forest leads you to this historic temple built in 1920.

It is a haven of absolute peace amidst the hustle and bustle of the capital and it is very exciting to visit during the New Year to see the thousands of locals making their first prayer of the year. The nearby Meiji Jingu Museum is also worth a visit and houses the most valuable treasures from the temple’s collection.

About Author

I'm a Japanese tour guide in Sumida. I'm excited to show you around my city and share its unique culture with you. I love meeting new people and helping them experience all that my city has to offer. I'm knowledgeable about the history and customs of Japan, and I can't wait to share that knowledge with you. When you book a tour with me, you can be sure that you'll have an unforgettable experience.