Japan is one of the safest places in the world, in addition, it also has several varieties of places and activities to do with family, with children, alone or with friends. In this article, we will highlight 25 activities or things to do in Japan.
The following are activities and locations that families and friends can and should include in their travel and vacation guide. Of course, we are going to cover just a small piece of what Japan has to offer tourists.
Places to Visit in Japan
Parks - Japanese cities, and Tokyo in particular, have excellent family parks, offering 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 has 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, historic sites and streets that are relatively calm.
Japanese castles - Japan has more than 100 castles that are mostly modern reconstructions of historic sites. Most have an extensive tower and some have large moat systems with extensive defenses.
Decks and Observation Decks - Virtually all cities in Japan have at least one tower or building with an observation platform, which provides a panoramic view of the city. The tallest, by far, is Skytree in Tokyo.
Restaurants - Family restaurants are inexpensive, 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, such as children's menus and baby chairs.
Zoos and Aquariums - Virtually all major cities in Japan have a zoo or aquarium. Tokyo's largest area has dozens of them. In general, Japanese zoos are quite small, but aquariums are usually 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”.
Temples & Shrines
Japan has about 90,000 temples and a similar number of shrines. Many of these shrines and temples are used to worship the Buddhist and Shinto teachings, but these places can also serve as a place of tourism and rest, they can be found in various places in the country, even among the most spectacular and peculiar places in Japan. .
Japan also features several theme parks across the country, being used primarily as a meeting point and family fun. The largest parks include names known as Disneyland, Universal Studios and original parks of Japan, such as Fuji-Q Highland.
Onsen - Hot Springs
Onsen (温泉) are natural volcanic hot springs that are appreciated, that also help to relax and that can bring health benefits. Japan is a volcanic country full of natural and artificial hot springs, it is no exaggeration to say that onsen is Japan's passion.
Urban residents escape to the countryside on weekends for warm baths in nature. From the Japanese point of view, onsen is a cultural activity that is important for children's socialization. In most cases, baths in hot springs require you to do so naked and to be separated by sex.
Beaches - Summer only
Japan has hundreds of decent beaches, including several that are close to Tokyo, in Chiba, Kanagawa and Izu. Most areas in Japan have a short beach season, which begins 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, great surfing 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 which are ideal for beginners and advanced in the sport. Many of them are easily accessible, mainly in Tokyo, Nagano and Niigata.
Shinkansen - The trip bullet-train it is convenient and can be of great interest to those visiting Japan. I am always asked if I rode 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. Professional games are quite common among baseball, it is usually more lively in cities like Osaka and Nagoya which have a large fan base.
The country's professional football league is known as J. League and has 18 teams. Sumo is another option, Sumo offers demonstrations and practices open to the public, which are shorter and generally free.
Mochi [餅] are chewable Japanese rice dumplings traditionally made by beating a variety of Japanese rice, known as mochigome, until it becomes a dough, using a kind of wooden whisk.
This traditional method is still practiced, especially on special occasions, such as the New Year. It is also a common cultural activity for children at festivals, resort hotels and other attractions in Japan.
Wear Yukata or Kimono
Yukata are traditional cotton robes that are used for summer and hanabi festivals. Children's yukata are inexpensive 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 clothing called Kimono.
Japan has many family-oriented shopping areas and offers a unique range of clothing and toys. Many shopping districts are crowded with narrow sidewalks. Exceptions include Odaiba in Tokyo and Minato Mirai in Yokohama.
Ginza, a large luxury shopping area in Tokyo, offers a pedestrian-only zone on its main street every weekend. Shopping is an activity that every tourist eagerly looks forward to doing in Japan.
Walking is an extremely common hobby in Japan, the streets are usually lined up, with little terrain that can hinder walking. There are also hiking trails, both short and long distance, usually in mountainous terrain.
The country has a great incentive for fitness, so it is common to find trails for walking and cycling. There are many beautiful and idyllic places, from gardens and parks, to rivers and mountains to walk and enjoy the view.
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 regions of Tohoku and Hokkaido, every winter it is possible to make the 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 of having 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 spots in the neighborhood.
Yosakoi is a dance that takes place at festivals, which includes both traditional and modern elements. It has exploded in popularity in recent years and virtually every university and college in Japan has a team.
Most teams have about 100 dancers and usually hundreds of teams compete in the festival. This festival tends to have a lively and positive atmosphere.
Hanabi is the Japanese word for fireworks. Japan has been performing pyrotechnic shows since 1700 and is considered a kind of cultural activity. People wear yukata and lie on a plastic mat on the floor for the show.
It is common for suppliers of fast food and other food varieties to be established in sales stalls there, as well as other vendors, these stalls are quite successful in Japan.
Japan has great enthusiasm for fireworks and people tend to watch the show closely. The country has numerous Hanabi events each year, especially in August.
The Mikoshi Festival started out as a way to bring good luck to an area, parading for 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 mikoshi teams to jump with vehicles wildly or throw them in the air in a show of strength and endurance. Despite this frantic atmosphere, this festival can be interesting for children. Participation requires contact with your local sanctuary well in advance of the festival.