The Ultimate Japan Bucket List 2020 | Places to visit in Japan | Attractions | Activities

With many mountain ranges, sprawling flower fields, and an endless abundance of lakes, seas, and oceans, there are many things to do in Japan, especially with regards to breathtaking nature! Mt. Fuji rises above all the land in the nation, domineering the skies and standing tall as an emblem of the country’s profound natural beauty.” The Land of the Rising Sun” has a wide range of delights mixing past and present appeal, entailing popular martial arts cultures of samurais and ninjas, and the modern-day pleasure of VR games.

The electronic mecca of Akihabara ensures lots in the way of futurist treats and elegant shopping, while Japanese gardens across ancient castles allow visitors to relive feudal Japan. Countless amazing places to visit in Japan, including show restaurants, animal cafes, and sumo stables, are matched for interest by the many traditional experiences on offer like pottery, kimono rentals, and tea ceremonies in UNESCO world heritage villages!

Scouring every exciting corner of the country, we’ve squeezed together the best things to do in Japan into the ultimate 2020 bucket list. Don’t leave home without it!

1. Kanto: Home to Japan’s tallest Buddha Statue, the Ushiku Daibutsu!

Leave your worries behind, and get on your sunbathing grove on Chiba beaches like Tateyama, Kujukuri, and Onjuku and nature havens such as Hitachi Seaside Park. Gunma flower park and the Oze national park offer a different kind of soothing experience, entailing indigenous plants and animals like the Japanese Serow and the Asian Black Bear. Tochigi’s Ashikaga Flower Park and Nikko National Park are desirable for their flora and fauna as well.

For a slice of traditionalism and history, make time for the Kamakura buddha in Kanagawa, Ushiku Daibutsu in Ibaraki, and Kawagoe city in Saitama, which hosts merchant homes and clay warehouses of old. Don’t forget to checkout out Mario go-kart tours and the imperial palace Tokyo when in the compelling capital! Hakone and Yokohama also offer different- and fantastic- takes on city life!

カイナニパドルスポーツ(KaiNani Paddle Sports)
Kayaking Adventure in the Majestic Nature of Lake Ashi
Hakone, Kanagawa
Early Morning Canoeing Tour on Lake Chuzenji
Nikko, Tochigi
Beginner-Friendly Boat Fishing Experience in Chiba
Katsuura, Chiba
Enjoy the Thrill & Excitement of River Rafting in Minakami
Minakami, Gunma

2. Utopias of cherry blossoms and old castles in Kansai!

From Shiga SUPs on Lake Biwa and Himeji castle tours to Hyogo watersports and the Nara Deer Park, Kansai features a nature lover’s perfect menu. This list of Mother Nature’s delicacies covers Mount Yoshino, Shirahama beach, and Nara temple gardens. On the actual culinary side, Hyogo is also the place to be for the best Kobe beef known to man!

When in need of some soul-searching, you could use a Kumano Kodo pilgrimage or a visit to the sacred grounds of Mount Koya! The Wakayama castle and Wakayama watersports, additionally, are an excellent way to relax! Kyoto and Osaka are among Kansai’s other vocal attractions known for cultural and natural delights and deserve sightseeing time too! 

SUP Experience Around the Floating Torri Gate of Lake Biwa in Shiga
Takashima, Shiga
Koyasan Okunoin Cemetery Night Tour in Wakayama
Koya, Wakayama
かんなべ自然学校(Kannabe nature school)
Trekking Tour While Enjoying the Beautiful Scenery of Mt. Kannabe
Toyooka, Hyogo
Shirahama's Sandanbeki Cave Exploration Tour
Shirahama, Wakayama

3. Tokyo: A city of animal cafes and the Tokyo Skytree!

The capital of Japan has plenty for your list of things to do in Tokyo! Enjoy the bizarre and really cool themed restaurants, including Kawaii monster café, animal cafe joints, and the maid cafe Akihabara. For a taste of brimming pop culture, be sure to hit the Harajuku street and the Akihabara electric town, renowned for its endless shopping options. Rent a kimono and experience the traditional side featuring temples like Senso Ji.

Famous for its electrifying skyline, you can get views of the city lights, high-rises and skyscrapers, including the Eiffel-like Tokyo Skytree and Imperial palace Tokyo, from helicopter rides, cycling tours, and a Tokyo Bay cruise.

Exciting Public-Go Kart Experience in Tokyo
Roppongi, Tokyo
ふくろうカフェ&バー 格闘梟
Reservations For Owl Cafe Experience in Tokyo
Musashino, Tokyo
めいどりーみん 渋谷 SHIBUYA
Dine With Cute Maids at Tokyo's Maid Cafe
Shibuya, Tokyo

4. Kyoto: Home to the Golden Kinkakuji temple and the famous geisha district Gion!

Having passed down the administrative torch to its anagram counterpart Tokyo, Kyoto still retains most of its past-age appeal and symbols of power like the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Gion Kyoto is especially the heart of cultural experiences such as a tea ceremony Kyoto, a Kyoto massage, and kimono rental strolls across ancient sites like the Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Kinkakuji Temple.

More cultural things to do in Kyoto entail sitting down to a Geisha dinner, and savoring Kaiseki, among other foods, at the best restaurants in Kyoto. Moonlit walks around the Yasaka pagoda are an enthralling affair, while sunset strolls in the Kyoto botanical garden are just as magical! There are many incredible things to do in Kyoto!

Experience Japanese Tea Ceremony Wearing Traditional Kimono
Kita ward, Kyoto
Kimono Rental and Rickshaw Tour in Kyoto
Shimogyo, kyoto
八坂通り 燕楽
Mesmerizing Dinner Show with Maiko in Kyoto
Higashiyama, Kyoto
花魁体験studio雅 produced by あられ 清水高台寺
Beautiful Oiran Makeover & Photoshoot in Kyoto
Higashiyama, Kyoto

5. Okinawa promises pineapple parks, ashy beaches, and the Okinawa blue cave!

When summer rolls around and vacationing in beaches is all the rage, all signs point to Okinawa! Littered with sandy beaches, Ishigaki island serves up the best Okinawa beaches and bus tours, and the same can be said of Miyakojima that ensures tons of great things to do in Okinawa!

Wonders like the blue cave Okinawa, mysterious limestone caves at Okinawa World, and the giant whale sharks of the Churaumi Aquarium afford plenty for nature enthusiasts. More on the unique experiences department, riding a pineapple cart in the Pineapple Park Okinawa, wandering in the American village Okinawa, and snorkeling and diving with turtles and sea crabs in the region’s underwater are without equal!

Dive into the Mysterious Okinawa Blue Cave
Onna, Okinawa
Churaumi Aquarium & Okinawa Highlights Sightseeing Bus Tour
Naha, Okinawa
Yanbaru Forest Thrilling Buggy Ride Tour in Nago
Nago, Okinawa
Onna Village Fun Blue Cave Snorkeling Adventure
Onna, Okinawa
Shisa-lion Painting Experience in Okinawa
Nago, Okinawa

6. Taste Takoyaki and Kobe beef on food tours in Osaka

Perhaps most famous for its exuberant nightlife, Osaka is a town of maid cafes, culinary experiences, and handicraft workshops. The best Osaka sightseeing undoubtedly entails journeying on Osaka street food tours involving delicacies like the Takoyaki Osaka and Kobe beef, and some good-old-fashioned haggling at the Osaka fish market!

Besides food, Dontonbori Osaka also avails enchanting night walks in the neon-lights of buildings, making for one of the best things to do in Osaka! Other Osaka attractions for your bucket list include the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, Osaka castle, the artistic marvel that is the Tower of the Sun, pottery classes, Osaka aquarium, and the Osaka Museum of housing and living!

Osaka Maid Cafe Experience
Naniwa Ward, Osaka
Namba Night Walking Tour in Osaka
Chuo Ward, Osaka
C Flat
Authentic Okonomiyaki Cooking Experience in Shinsaibashi
Chuo Ward, Osaka
Must-Try Takoyaki Cooking Experience in Osaka
Nishi ward, Osaka

7. Bask in the rainbow meadows and alluring tulips of Hokkaido!

Hokkaido is known for many things such as the blue pond Hokkaido, the historical village of Hokkaido, the Hokkaido shrine, skiing in Niseko, and the Otaru Canal. That said, nothing quite compares to summertime in the lavender fields of Furano and Biei and the rainbow tulips of Farm Tomita! Colorful nature is Hokkaido’s standout quality, and attractions like Shiroi Koibito Park and Asahikawa Zoo (a haven for penguins) offer more proof of that.

The Sapporo Clock Tower makes up more great things to do in Hokkaido as far as unique architecture is concerned, while the Noboribetsu hell valley never disappoints with its showing of hot springs. Also, you’re sure to love Hokkaido dairy farming and foods like ramen!

BLACK RIVER(ブラックリバー)
Feel the Wind Blowing with a Canoeing Tour in Kushiro River
Shibecha, Hokkaido
北海道ライオンアドベンチャー(Hokkaido Lion Adventure)
Exhilarating White River Rafting in Niseko
Niseko, Hokkaido
Lake Shikotsu Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Nature Adventures
Chitose, Hokkaido

8. Cute and cuddly, Tohoku hosts the Miyagi fox village!

The Miyagi fox village should be at the top of your list of things to do in Tohoku! You’ll get to spend time with adorable arctic and red foxes, as well as miniature horses and rabbits. Beautiful greenery at the Oirase gorge ensures sightseeing adventure in Aomori, a prefecture famous for beautiful seclusions like Hirosaki Castle and canoe trips on Lake Towada.

A trip to Mount Iwate and Chuson-Ji temple visits are a must-do on Iwate tours, as is visiting the Matsushima Bay to explore its assortment of pine-clad islets. For Fukushima, the 14th century-built Tsuruga castle and Mount Bandai are excellent stopovers while Akita boasts Godzilla rock, amazing kiritanpo tours, and Lake Tazawa! Meanwhile, the Yamadera temple and Mount Haguro define Yamagata sightseeing!

Climb the 1000 Steps and Enjoy the Scenic View of Yamadera
Yamadera, Yamagata
Experience Samurai Code (Bushido) & Iaido Sword Training in Yamagata
Murayama, Yamagata, Tohoku
Towadako Guidehouse 櫂
Lake Towada Canoeing Tour in The Beautiful Nature of Aomori
Aomori, Tohoku
Guided Walking Tour and Bird Watching Experience in Sendai
Sendai, Miyagi

9. Chugoku: Fly over the Tottori sand dunes!

Blankets of sand stretch out as far as the eye can see at the Tottori sand dunes! Among Chugoku’s most prized possessions, alongside the Tottori Manga kingdom, you can explore this ocean of dunes by segway, paragliding, and sandboarding. Cross over to Hiroshima for a cruise around the floating torii Miyajima shrine gate, before paying respects and uncovering history at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Smell the flowers at Yuushien Garden and appreciate the old Edo designs of Izumo shrine, on a Shimane outing. When in Okayama, detour at Okayama castle and also check out Okayama denim and crafts. In terms of what to see in Yamaguchi, the five wooden arches that make up Kintai bridge are certainly beautiful!

えびす屋 倉敷店
Rickshaw Tour Around the Historical Attractions of Kurashiki
Kurashiki, Okayama
Paraglide Over Totorri's Sand Dunes (Half-Day Experience)
Hamasaka, Tottori
Enjoy SUP Experience Around Miyajima's Floating Torri Gate
Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima
Japani's One and Only Sandboarding Experience in Tottori
Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori

10. An 88-temple pilgrimage route awaits in Shikoku!

It might be the smallest among the country’s islands size-wise, however, it’s a case of great things coming in small packages. Shikoku beaches are full of green and white, although the island is more famous for its 88 temple Shikoku pilgrimage route and the feudal memories at the Matsuyama castle in Ehime. 22 of the 88 are found in Kagawa prefecture, also home to Naoshima island and Chichibugahama beach, including the largest temple Zentsu-Ji.

Iya valley provides beautiful scenery for sightseeing tours involving steep forest slopes, while Oboke gorge, also in Tokushima, turns into a colorful ravine in summer. The scenes and nature at Kochi castle, Niyodo river, and Shimanto River, famously known as Japan’s last clear stream, are spectacular too and ensure picturesque SUP and rafting!

Free Cloud(フリークラウド)
Explore the Seto Inland Sea in a Half-day Kayaking Trip in Kagawa
Mitoyo, Kagawa
Slip into the Edo Period with a Rickshaw Tour in Udatsu
Mima, Tokushima
Canoe the Mystical Niyodo Blue River of Niyodogawa in Kochi
Niyodogawa, Kochi
Swim with Friendly Dolphins at Cape Muroto in Kochi
Muroto, Kochi

11. Kyushu: A magical land of beautiful nature, hot springs and dolphins!

Whether you’re in it for the relaxation, wildlife, volcanoes, white sandy beaches, or cherry blossom strolls, Kyushu holiday delights carter to everyone’s taste. The tunnels of purple and green at the Kawachi Wisteria Garden, Fukuoka, make for immersive sightseeing experiences. You can find more beautiful settings at the Nagasaki Peace Park, and Ohori Park as well as the Huis ten Bosch Nagasaki, which offers an oasis of the Netherlands within Japan.

Kagoshima beaches, wildlife-laden Yakushima island, and Sakurajima volcano make up incredible Kagoshima things to do. In Saga, the cultural experiences, not least pottery and noodle-making, prove interesting entertainment. The Hells of Beppu in Oita and Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki are just as good an experience as Kumamoto watersports! Don’t forget about Kumamoto castle, and Mount Aso!

Hike Through the Beautiful Forest of Shiratani Unsuikyo
Yakushima, Kagoshima
Explore the Must-Sees in Beppu with an English-Guided Tour
Beppu, Oita
Snorkeling & Mangrove Canoeing in Kagoshima (1-Day tour)
Amami, Kagoshima
Huis Ten Bosch 1-Day Pass Ticket
Sasebo, Nagasaki

12. Chubu: Home to a national treasure in Mt Fuji!

Stealing most of Chubu’s spotlight, Mt. Fuji spins many great things to do in the Chubu region. Enjoy hiking, ATV tours, the Chureito Pagoda in Yamanashi, and much more around the beautiful plains in the backdrop! Kamikochi hiking and the Nagano monkey park should also be on an ideal Japan itinerary, particularly for those on the hunt for top things to do in Nagano.

If you have a weekend to spare in Niigata, Hokuriku, the purple illuminations of Takada Park at night are not to be missed! Yamanashi wine, Lake Saiko, and the UNESCO world heritage village of Shirakawago in Gifu, Tokai is held in similarly high regard. Uncover more beautiful trekking trails in nature via Aokigahara Jukai forest and cave explorations in Yamanashi, Koushinetsu.

Canoeing Tour in the Beautiful Nature of Lake Aoki in Nagano
Omachi, Nagano
Exciting ATV Riding Tour with the Amazing View of Mt. Fuji
Fujinomiya, Shizuoka
Enjoy Mt. Fuji Views with a Canoeing Tour on Lake Kawaguchi
Minamitsuru, Yamanashi
冨士エコツアー・サービス(fuji eco tour service)
Aokigahara Jukai Forest Trekking Tour & Ice Cave Exploration
Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi