50 activities and things to do in Japan

Japan is one of the safest places in the world, and it also has a variety of places and activities to do with family, children, alone or with friends. In this article, we are going to highlight 25 activities or things to do in Japan.

The following are activities and places that families and friends can and should include in their travel and vacation guide. Of course, we are only going to cover a small part of what Japan has to offer tourists.

Places to Visit in Japan

parks – Japanese cities, and Tokyo in particular, have excellent family parks, which offer almost everything from forests, gardens, beautiful landscapes and even small museums and other outdoor attractions.

Islands – Japan has a number of attractive islands, mainly the islands of Okinawa which have a very interesting local culture and an abundance of beautiful beaches. Japan is a country with more than 6,000 islands, options abound!

Cities and Towns – Japan has dozens of attractive cities that offer contact with nature, beaches, parks, onsen, castles, temples, historical sites and streets that are relatively calm.

japanese castles – Japan has over 100 castles that are mostly modern reconstructions of historic sites. Most have an extensive tower and some have large moat systems with extensive defenses.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Observation Decks and Platforms – Virtually every city in Japan has at least one tower or building with an observation deck, which provides a panoramic view of the city. The tallest by far is Skytree in Tokyo.

restaurants – Family restaurants are low-cost, in addition to serving popular Japanese dishes such as Tonkatsu and Korokke. As the name suggests, they are convenient for families, so they have some features like kids' menus and high chairs.

Zoos and Aquariums – Virtually every major city in Japan has a zoo or aquarium. The greater Tokyo area has dozens of them. Generally speaking, Japanese zoos are quite small, but aquariums are often very large.

museums – Japan has several museums and of various categories, the most popular among children are science museums, such as Miraikan, literally: “Future construction”.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Temples & Sanctuaries

Japan has around 90,000 temples and a similar number of shrines. Many of these shrines and temples are used to worship Buddhist and Shinto teachings, but these places can also serve as a tourist and resting place, they can be found in many places in the country, even among the most spectacular and peculiar places in Japan. .

Thematic parks

Japan also has several theme parks throughout the country, being used mainly as a meeting point and family fun. The biggest parks include well-known names like Disneyland, Universal Studios and Japan's original parks, such as Fuji-Q Highland.

onsen - Hot Springs

onsen (温泉) are natural volcanic hot springs that are appreciated, which also help to relax and which can have health benefits. Japan is a volcanic country full of natural and artificial hot springs, it is no exaggeration to say that onsen are Japan's passion.

City dwellers escape to the countryside on weekends for hot soaks in nature. From a Japanese point of view, onsen is a cultural activity that is important for children's socialization. In most cases, hot spring baths require you to do so naked and to be separated by sex.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Beaches - Summer only

Japan has hundreds of decent beaches, including several that are close to Tokyo, in Chiba, Kanagawa, and Izu. Most areas of Japan have a short beach season, which starts when children go on vacation from school in July and runs until the end of August.

Each beach has its own culture. As a rule, big surf beaches like Shonan tend to be party spots that are less popular with families.

Activities to do in Japan

Ski and Snowboard – Japan has hundreds of ski resorts, most of them ideal for beginners and advanced skiers. Many of them are within easy reach, particularly in Tokyo, Nagano and Niigata.

Shinkansen - The journey of bullet-train it is convenient and can be of great interest to those visiting Japan. People always ask me if I took the bullet train, but personally I find the local trains more fun.


The most popular sports for the public in Japan are baseball and football/soccer. Professional games are quite common among baseball, usually it is more lively in cities like Osaka and Nagoya that have a large fan base.

The professional football/soccer league in the country is known as J. League and has 18 teams. Sumo is another option, Sumo offers demos and practices open to the public, which are shorter and usually free.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Mochi making

mochi [餅] are Japanese chewy rice balls traditionally made by whisking a variety of Japanese rice, known as mochigome, into a dough using a wooden whisk.

This traditional method is still practiced, particularly on special occasions such as New Years. It is also a common cultural activity for children at festivals, resort hotels and other attractions in Japan.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Wear Yukata or kimono

Yukata are traditional cotton robes that are used for summer festivals and hanabi. Children's yukata are cheap and easy to find at stations, department stores, or retail stores.

When wearing a yukata, it is normal to provide a sense of cultural immersion that children and the whole family will enjoy. On other special occasions, you can try wearing the most complete traditional outfit called kimono.

50 activities and things to do in japan


Japan has many family-focused shopping areas and offers a unique range of clothing and toys. Many business districts are crowded with narrow sidewalks. Exceptions include Odaiba in Tokyo and Minato Mirai in Yokohama.

Ginza, a major luxury shopping area in Tokyo, offers a pedestrian-only zone on its main street each weekend. Shopping is an activity that every tourist looks forward to doing in Japan.

50 activities and things to do in japan


Walking is an extremely common hobby in Japan, the streets are usually lined up, with little terrain that can get in the way of walking. There are also hiking trails, both short and long distance, usually in mountainous terrain.

The country has a great incentive to be in good shape, so it is common to find its own trails for walking and cycling. There are many beautiful and idyllic places, from gardens and parks to rivers and mountains to walk around and enjoy the view.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Japan Events and Festivals

Christmas Lights – Japanese cities have amazing Christmas lights around November and December. Some commercial areas compete with each other to see who has the best lighting in the city.

snow festivals – Japan has a variety of snow festivals in the Tohoku and Hokkaido, every winter it is possible to party with snow sculptures, igloos, ice skating, performances and rides for children.

Hanami - See the flowers and cherry trees

Hanami, literally "flower that sees", is the custom to have a place under cherry trees in Japan when they bloom in spring. The term can also be used to say "take a walk under the trees".

The event known as “Cherry Blossom” is one of the most popular events in Japan. Parks and gardens that have limited hours, such as Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo, tend to be a little quieter, as they are small neighborhood spots.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Yosakoi Festivals

Yosakoi is a dance that takes place at festivals that includes both traditional and modern elements. It has exploded in popularity in recent years and virtually every university and college in Japan has a staff.

Most teams have around 100 dancers and typically hundreds of teams compete at the festival. This festival tends to have a lively and positive atmosphere.


Hanabi is the Japanese word for fireworks. Japan has been holding fireworks displays since the 1700s and is considered something of a cultural activity. People wear yukata and lie on a plastic mat on the floor for the show.

It is common for fast-food and other food vendors to be there established in sales stalls, as well as other vendors, these stalls are very successful in Japan.

Japan has great enthusiasm for fireworks and people tend to watch the show attentively. The country has numerous hanabi events each year, mostly in August.

50 activities and things to do in japan

Mikoshi Festivals

The Mikoshi Festival started out as a way to bring good luck to an area by parading the kami (God) of the local shrine through the streets. Mikoshi are vehicles that are placed on the shoulders that can weigh a few pounds. Teams are usually associated with a neighborhood and are often competitive with each other.

For example, it is common for teams of mikoshi to jump wildly with vehicles or toss them into the air in a show of strength and endurance. Despite this frenetic atmosphere, this festival can be interesting for children. Participation requires contacting your local sanctuary well in advance of the festival.

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