Asia Travel News

5 things you must do in Japan

Visiting Japan can be an exhilarating experience. With a flurry of places to visit, sights to see and events to take part in, it's hard to decide what to do. You may not be able to do it all in Japan, but you can see some of the most entertaining and inspiring places the country has to offer. There are dozens of recommendations for a spectacular trip to the land of the rising sun, but we've boiled it down to a mandatory five you must take part in for the perfect Japanese adventure.

Sumo in Tokyo
Knowing about this ancient and intense sport is one thing, but seeing it performed in the arena between legendary pros and screaming fans is entirely different. For travelers lucky enough to visit Japan in January, May or September, these are the notorious tournament months. Fifteen-day events take place in Tokyo's National Sumo Hall throughout the month and you'll be stunned by the eager swarms of fans jumping to see these heavyweight titans go head-to-head for even just a few brief moments. The sumo experience is unmatched by any other sport you've ever seen.

Yoyogi Park
Then again, maybe you're more interested in seeing a little Western culture play out at a picturesque park. Yoyogi Park is perfect for seeing some entertaining locals. Pulling talented artists from around the city, Yoyogi Park acts as the stomping ground for Elvis impersonators, singers, bands, hip-hop dancers, Cosplayers and more. You'll find laughter and inspiration crawling through this park. Take a stroll and see the performers. Then, rent a bike for a trip along the park's more relaxing north and west sides. Equipped with snack stands with ice cream, this is the perfect area for a midday trip.

?After some of the lively entertainment, take a serene trip to Kenrokuen. Hailed as one of the most stunning and peaceful gardens in Japan, this green and expansive terrace is nearly flawless in its design. Constructed for a royal family over a period of 200 years, this garden has been finely manicured and tediously designed down to the most minute details. A walk through this garden will leave you wholly relaxed and at ease, but don't miss out on a few brief moments of meditation, as the location is recognized as one of the best places in the world for introspection.

Soak in a Natural Hot Spring
If Kenrokuen fails to relax you, there may be no other option than a luxurious soak in one of Japan's natural hot springs. Present in various locations around the island and coupled with highly popular resorts, these hot springs are wonderfully comfortable and recommended to any visitor of Japan. Pick out a hot spring by its location, decor or by the health benefits connected to them. The bath houses that own these springs use different mineral combinations in the water that are said to soothe travelers' bodies and minds.

With numerous temples and shrines and remnants of the Imperial capital, tourists can't help but trek through the timeworn streets of Kyoto. If you're looking for authentic Japanese meals, there's no better place than Kyoto. This city is a tourist hot spot for travelers eager to indulge in traditional Japanese dishes. Then again, just seeing the historic sights and sprawling cityscape can be a surreal experience for visitors. Decades ago, U.S. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson removed Kyoto from the list of potential targets for the atomic bomb because of his fond honeymoon memories, according to CNN.

And if the history of Japan sparks your interest, you should make sure to head across the sea for a tour of the vast and historic China countryside. Here, the delicious food and thrilling cities are almost as breathtaking as the ancient architecture. Take a trip to the Temple of Heaven or the Forbidden City to really be blown away.

Recommended Tours

Highlights of China: Great Wall, Warriors, & Li River

9 days from $3,780 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Centuries fall away as you climb the Great Wall, look down upon the Terra Cotta Warriors, and cruise the serene waters of the Li River. Voyage through China's must-see highlights with private guides at every stop.
More Info

Vietnam Explorer

11 days from $3,575 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Take in awe-inspiring vistas in Halong Bay as you practice Tai Chi on the deck of a luxury cruise ship at sunrise.
More Info

Myanmar Explorer

7 days from $2,303 pp*
Custom Private Tour
Much of Myanmar is still blissfully undeveloped. Be among the first to experience the magic of Yangon, the 2,000 temples of Bagan and the incredible leg-rowers of Inle Lake with a private guide.
More Info
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
  • Multi-award winning
  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

Meet Our Experts
Curators of extraordinary experiences, you won't find a more skillful team.
30,000 Delighted Customers
"Kensington, you've done it again...perfection!"

Don't take our word for it.
Here's what our clients say.

"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent."

Newsletter Subscription
Have our hand picked trips, news & specials delivered to you.
Thank you for signing up!

Your details have been received and processed successfully.
Travel + Leisure : World's Best Award 2014 Family National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime Travel Leisure Award 2015