I have travelled to both Kansai and Narita numerous times now and I must say Japan is definitely my favorite Asian country to travel to. No matter which season they are into, there are always lots of things to do and explore.
Japan is a great place to visit especially to those that are traveling for the first time or those that are traveling with their families because the country itself will make you feel completely at home, the places to go to are very easy to navigate and most people are friendly. Unlike in other countries, Japanese people would respond promptly if you asked for directions.. but it wouldn’t hurt to try and learn basic Japanese phrases just to get on their good side and make a good impression.
Overall, there are TONS (practically limitless) things to do in Japan but here’s a basic checklist of activities to do especially for those that are visiting for the first time. Make sure to also check the weather before traveling so you’ll know what clothes to prepare.
1. Walk, walk and walk – Its definitely more fun to explore a new place by foot than by car. Japan offers lots of picturesque neighborhood with houses and streets like you’ve seen on Japanese-set films. These houses are intricately designed and the streets are incredibly safe to walk around at.
2. Ride the train – Take that train ride and feel the difference from our own. Theirs is more organized and is definitely faster!
3. Visit a Castle – Remember the show Takeshi’s Castle? It’s named as such because castles in Japan are really something majestic. Their castles’ exterior facade and interiors are very detailed. The photos will all come out great. I suggest visiting the Osaka castle in Kansai.
4. Visit a Shrine/Temple – the Fushimi-Inari shrine in Kyoto or the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Narita is great place to visit. Every corner is great for a photo-op plus you might even see locals walking around wearing traditional Japanese wear.
5. Eat at a Ramen House – Our best ramen establishments are NOTHING compared to an authentic Japanese ramen. Sit on the ramen house counter ledge and enjoy it the way Japanese people do.
6. Eat that Japanese Fried rice – This one is definitely my favorite and is a MUST TRY. I sometimes have dreams of myself eating their fried rice and wake up sad, hungry and frustrated. They infuse their fried rice with oils and lard which makes the flavor burst in your mouth! The fried rice goes well with Gyoza too.
7. Shop till you drop- Japan is a great place to shop with tons of cool finds and lots of brand outlets! You don’t even need to look hard. You might discover a gem by just walking around your neighborhood. Make sure to check specialty shops as well. In japan they have everything! The establishment “Don Quixote” though is great place to visit if you are looking for a Daiso/Minisio type of shops.
The Rinku outlet shop in Kansai.
8. Skadoodle at the Shibuya Crossing – This is a bit specific but hey, you gotta say you visited the busiest street in the world and graced its asphalt!
9. Visit in Springtime – Although Japan is still incredibly cold this time (note: please wear proper attire!), this is the time the Sakuras are in full bloom. This is definitely breathtaking to witness. They also hold the cherry blossom festival during this season.
10. Get yourself a souvenir – I guess its time to start collecting those ref magnets! (or whatever you prefer)
11. Enjoy the trip with your loved ones – Japan is a very beautiful country and the moments you’ll have here are best when shared.
My sister and I enjoying our moment in Narita-san Temple
12. Visit Namba – This one is if ever you choose to go to Osaka. Everything is here. I MEAN EVERYTHING. Plus this is where Japan’s signature Glico man icon is located.