12 Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Japan

kyoto kimono Places to visit in Japan

One of the most exciting parts when planning an international trip is to decide where to visit in the country. We can help you complete your itinerary smoothly with a comprehensive list of most popular tourist attractions that will never disappoint you. It might be difficult to travel internationally at the moment, but it’s always good to have something you can look forward to. Here are the most popular tourist attractions that we recommend in Japan! 

1. Sapporo

Sapporo is known as the largest city in Hokkaido with a population of about 2 million people. While it plays a role as a political and economic center, it also boasts a range of tourist attractions and popular spots which attract people from around the world. Sapporo Clock Tower is an iconic landmark with 130 years of history which is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. Goryokaku refers to a historical spot featuring a star-shaped fort located in a peaceful park known as a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in spring. Susukino is a lively drinking district which offers a range of entertaining  experiences as well as a number of Izakaya bars. Sapporo Snow Festival is a symbolic annual festival held in February which fascinates visitors with incredible exhibitions of ice sculptures! Don’t forget to try fresh seafood and local specialties, including high-quality crabs and Sapporo Miso ramen! Read Best 2-Days Itinerary in Sapporo, Hokkaido for more fun ideas in Sapporo!


2. Shibuya Crossing

Located in the Shibuya area in Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing is widely known as the busiest crossing in the world. It consists of 5 cross roads which allow pedestrians to come and go in every direction of the crossing. At the busiest time of the day, more than 3,000 people are estimated to cross it at the same time without bumping into each other, which creates an incredible view! Shibuya Scramble Square is a giant shopping complex which features Shibuya Sky, a popular observation deck offering 360-degree views of the iconic crossing as well as Shibuya district full of skyscrapers!

shibuya crossing
Shibuya scramble crossing

3. Yokohama Minatomirai

Yokohama Minatomirai refers to a popular sightseeing district in Kanagawa prefecture with a range of commercial complexes and entertaining spots. It plays a role as the economic and shopping center of Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan by population which is accessible in less than 30 minutes by train from Tokyo. Visit Yokohama Landmark Tower which offers a spectacular night view of Yokohama city from the observation deck at the elevation of 273 meters. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse is home to numerous shops and restaurants selling a large variety of products and items perfect for a gift. Head to Cup Noodles Museum to learn the history of instant noodles which originated in Japan through interactive exhibitions. You can also attend noodle making classes as well as pay extra to design your own noodle cups!  

Yokohama night view

4. Nikko 

Nikko is a peaceful city nestled in the northwestern part of Tochigi prefecture. From Tokyo, it can be reached in approximately 2 hours by train, making it a perfect weekend trip destination. It is home to Nikko Toshogu, a world-famous Shinto shrine dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the first Shogun of Tokugawa Shogunate which once ruled the entire country for 260 years from the beginning of the 17th century. The original establishment of the shrine dates back to 1617, and it has been visited by numerous tourists as a symbolic structure listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other historical sites in the Nikko area. You can explore the sacred shrine grounds full of magnificent buildings, including 8 National Treasure and 34 Important Cultural Properties. Kegon Falls is another popular spot which offers a refreshing experience in nature with an impressive scenery created by the beautiful waterfall and surroundings!         

5. Mt. Fuji

There is no doubt that Mt. Fuji is a must-visit place since it’s a symbolic mountain in Japan. Known as the highest mountain in Japan, it fascinates numerous visitors with its extraordinary beauty and presence. You can enjoy the symbolic peak from a distance, or tackle the exciting hiking trails which allow you to explore the surrounding nature. It also offers a variety of outdoor adventures such as kayaking or boat cruise at scenic lakes called Fuji Five Lakes (”Fujigoko” in Japanese). BBQ and camping can be other options around there. Winter is the best season to catch the glimpse of the snow capped mountain and also it is said January and February is the best time to see Mt.Fuji with a clear view (Read 12 Recommended Places to See the Best View of Mt.Fuji for the reason and the best viewing spots)

Mount Fuji from Miho no Matsubara

6. Shirakawago

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago attracts people around the globe despite age or nationality. The beautiful village is nestled in a peaceful mountainous area in Gifu prefecture. What makes it a world-famous place is the stunning scenery created by traditional Japanese houses are called Gassho-zukuri. It features a unique architectural style such as a steep thatched roof which protects the house from heavy snowfall in winter. Exploring the beautiful village also allows you to take a glimpse of the local community that have preserved the impressive scenery and traditional lifestyle for over centuries! Winter changes the peaceful village into a white world completely covered with snow!

Picture by xiquinhosilva

7. Snow Monkey Park

Have you ever imagined wild monkeys bathing in a hot spring? It may sound unreal, but actually does exist as a world-famous tourist attraction in Japan! Snow Monkey Park is a unique nature park which has suddenly become famous when it was featured in Life, the American magazine. Visitors can watch wild monkeys move around freely in a great natural environment. Nestled at the elevation of 850 meters, the park is covered with snow when the temperature drops during a long winter season. The severe weather encourages monkeys to soak in a natural hot spring bath to warm up their body, which attracts numerous international tourists every year.

8. Osaka Dotonbori

Known as the second largest city in Japan, Osaka awaits you with a lively atmosphere unique to the Kansai region which is completely different from what you can experience in Tokyo! Dotonbori refers to a vibrant downtown district with numerous shops, restaurants, Izakaya bars, entertaining spots and much more! Walking around the area will easily deprive you a couple of hours with too many things to do and see. Ebisubashi is a symbolic bridge over Dotonbori canal which is a perfect spot to take memorable photos with a giant signboard known as Guriko Sign. Try local specialties such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Enjoy a memorable night life at Izakaya bars offering high-quality Japanese sake and a variety of dishes!  

Dotonbori Osaka Glico

9. Kyoto (Fushimi Inari)

Kyoto never stops fascinating visitors with the extraordinary townscape with beautiful shrines and temples. It used to be an ancient capital of Japan until Tokyo took over its place and became the largest center of economy and politics. Walking around the scenic town will take you to world-famous historic sites such as Arashiyama, a peaceful area known for the stunning bamboo grove. Kiyomizudera is a sacred Buddhist temple designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. 

Another highlight you should not miss is Fushimi Inari a Shinto shrine situated at the base of Mt. Inari. The scenic shrine is visited by numerous tourists from around the world as the most popular tourist attraction in Kyoto. It welcomes visitors with Senbon-torii (千本鳥居), which literally refers to a thousand of red Torii gates creating a stunning scenery. Visiting there in the early morning will enable you to take stunning pictures of beautiful Tori gates without crowds. It is also a perfect hiking spot which allows you to explore the mysterious and sacred shrine grounds while feeling the refreshing air.   

Places to visit near Fushimi Inari

10. Nara Park

It is about a 50 minutes train ride from Kyoto to reach Nara, which is known as another historic city. It is home to numerous historical spots such as Todaiji, a symbolic Buddhist temple established by the emperor Shomu in the early 8th century.
Nara offers not only traditional temples and historical sites but more! Nara Park is a vast park which opened in 1880. It covers approximately 502ha with a number of popular historic sites such as Todaiji, Kofukuji and Nara National Museum around. Nara Park is also known as Deer Park since over 1,000 deer actually live in the park! You can buy some deer crackers to feed them and some deer even bow to you to get a cracker! But be careful, these deer are usually tame and friendly but can be aggressive sometimes. Nara Park is also known as a popular cherry blossom viewing spot which is filled with stunningly beautiful pink flowers in spring!

Nara park

11. Miyajima

Miyajima is a scenic island which belongs to Hatsukaichi city in Hiroshima prefecture. It can be reached by regular ferry service from Miyajima-guchi pier which takes passengers to the scenic spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As you take the first step into the island, you will be welcomed by friendly deer living there. But unlike deer in Nara Park, it is strictly prohibited to feed them. Itsukushima Shrine is an iconic Shinto shrine which was originally established in 1168. It is also widely famous for the floating Torii gate, which refers to the symbolic giant Torii gate standing in the water. The breathtaking scenery created by the contrast of blue ocean and blight red Tori gate attracts tourists from around the world! Don’t forget to try local specialties such as Okonomiyaki and fresh oysters at restaurants!    

Itsukushima Shrine, in Miyajima Island. Hiroshima, Japan

12. Okinawa

If you are planning a long trip in Japan, head to Okinawa to make the most of your time! You can take direct flights from domestic airports such as Narita, Kansai International Airport and Chubu Centrair to reach the southernmost prefecture consisting of numerous remote islands. The emerald-green ocean and sandy white beaches allow you to discover the beauty of untouched nature through a range of guided tours for marine activities such as sea kayaking and snorkeling. Naha is a prefectural capital which boasts popular tourist attractions such as a remain of Shurijo Castle and Kokusaidori street which is a perfect shopping hub.  

Miyakojima is one of the remote islands that belong to Okinawa. Take a relaxing stroll at Maehama beach while feeling the comfortable sea breeze. You can also rent a car and drive across Irabu Ohashi Bridge which boasts a length of 3,540 meters, making it the largest free bridge in Japan!  

Miyako Island

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency offering guided tours in Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we will organize the best tours for you! If you want to explore around Japan to learn more histories and backstories of the area, our knowledgeable and friendly guide will happily take you to the best spots! 
Also, we can provide you with any assistance for your upcoming trip in Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions/need some help! 

Japan awaits you with a range of memorable experiences that can be found at great tourist spots across the country. Immerse yourself in the scenic nature spots as well as historical sites surviving for centuries. It will make your once in a life time experience in Japan!

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