14 Unmissable Things to do in Kyoto, Japan 14 Unmissable Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

Japan
Travel Guide

Ancient traditions meet futuristic innovation! Dive into a sensory-filled journey of robots, sushi, and Mount Fuji views.

Weather in Japan

Experience Japan's beauty year-round! Enjoy cherry blossoms in the spring, warm weather and little rain in summer, vibrant maple tree colors in fall, and snowy landscapes in winter. For the best chance of seeing Mount Fuji, the winter months are perfect.

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Hello / Greetings:Kon'nichiwa
Thank you: Arigato
Excuse me: Sumimasen

Japan is the ultimate playground where neon-lit cities coexist with ancient temples, and sushi-making is practically an art form. Where else could you stroll through shrines and serene cherry blossom gardens one moment and belt out karaoke hits in a high-tech wonderland the next? 

While definitely not a cheap destination, Japan’s unique charm makes it worth it! The bulk of the costs are on accommodation, food, and transport. Keep your budget down by visiting in the low season, exploring free attractions, taking public transport, and dining on delicious street food. 

You can drink from the tap in most places in Japan! In an area with vending machines on every corner, choose the eco-friendly option and bring a reusable water bottle, filling up in restaurants and metro stations as you go. 

Amazing news! Travelers from over 65 countries can explore Japan for 90 days with a free visa on arrival. Just make sure to check your entry requirements in advance to avoid any hiccups.

Japanese is the primary and only language spoken by locals in Japan. As you explore this intriguing country, a warm “Konnichiwa” (hello) and “arigato” (thank you) will be very welcomed. Google Translate is sure to become your best friend!

Whether savoring sushi in Tokyo or skiing in Hokkaido, travel insurance is an absolute must in Japan! It will ensure you are covered for the unexpected, like lost luggage or medical emergencies. 

Absolutely! Japan is one of the safest places to travel, with low crime rates, secure public transport, and accommodating locals. As always, exercise caution and learn how to stay safe for your adventures. 

Japan primarily uses Type A plug type, with two flat parallel pins, and Type B plug type, with two flat parallel pins and a round earth pin. Keep your devices charged for endless photo opportunities by purchasing a plug adapter before your trip. 

Japan is adored for its unique experiences, irresistible food, breathtaking scenery, unparalleled safety, efficient infrastructure, and mix of tradition and modernity. Whether you’re exploring the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo or watching the sun rise over the snow-capped peaks of Mount Fuji, Japan has something for everyone. 

Travel to Japan 

With a fusion of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology, Japan is one of the world’s most captivating countries. From the vibrant energy of bustling Tokyo to the tranquil ambiance of Kyoto, Japan has many phenomenal experiences. Boasting majestic temples, serene gardens, mouthwatering cuisine, sensational shopping, relaxing onsens, and lush national parks, this remarkable land of contradictions calls for the most extraordinary vacation in Japan

How to plan your trip to Japan

If you’re looking for an extraordinary adventure, follow our Japan travel guides. Whether you’re getting lost in the bustling streets of Tokyo, full of neon lights, bizarre sights, and mouth-watering food, or discovering the calming lakes overlooking magnificent Mount Fuji, taking in the colors of the season, there are so many fascinating things to do in Japan. 

We recommend renting a car in Japan and spending at least 10 days exploring this weird and wonderful place. Alternatively, if you have more time, 3 weeks is perfect to discover the country’s best experiences!

Best time to visit Japan

Whether chasing cherry blossoms or enjoying the vibrant maple tree hues, discover the best time to visit Japan

Spring (March-May): For a quintessentially Japanese experience, spring is the perfect time to visit, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and streets are filled with pink petals, creating a magical atmosphere. Temperatures are mild, and you may get lucky with clear blue skies, making it a beautiful time of the year to join locals by indulging in “hanami”, meaning flower viewing, with a picnic under the blooming trees. It’s worth noting that this is the busiest time of the year in Japan, with crowds flocking, causing prices to rise and heightened demand for accommodation, so make sure to book well in advance.

Summer (June-August): The weather in Japan during summer is warm, yet often experiences heavy cloud cover and lots of rain. Nevertheless, this is still a great time to explore, bringing vibrant festivals like Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and spectacular fireworks displays such as Nagaoka in Niigata Prefecture. Embrace the heat at one of the beautiful islands or explore the amazing mountainous regions for a hiking retreat. 

Autumn (September-November): Witness breathtaking landscapes in places like Nikko, Nara, and the Japanese Alps as the autumn months paint Japan in hues of red and orange as the maple trees are in full bloom. This is a fantastic alternative to spring, as prices are a little lower, and colors are still popping, creating a stunning backdrop while enjoying the tranquility of the temples and gardens. 

Winter (December-February): For a serene and magical atmosphere, the winter months are breathtaking, especially in places like Jigokudani Valley and the Japanese Alps. The snow-covered landscapes create postcard-worthy scenes, especially in places like Snow Monkey Park, where you can witness monkeys bathing in thermal springs. Winter sports enthusiasts can hit the slopes, while those seeking more relaxing experiences can enjoy cozy onsens and clear days with dreamy Mount Fuji backdrops.

Coastlines and beaches in Japan

Beyond the bustling city life, Japan’s coastlines and beaches offer a tranquil escape, revealing a side of the country often overlooked by those on holiday in Japan

Head to Okinawa, Japan’s tropical gem, where pristine white-sand beaches meet fascinating coral reefs. The islands of Ishigaki and Miyako boast some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan, like Yonaha Maehama and Sunayama, ideal for relaxing under swaying palm trees or snorkeling the incredible waters.

On the central-western coast, you’ll find the Noto Peninsula, home to a rugged Bali-like coastline, with terraced rice fields overlooking dramatic cliffs and hidden beaches, making for an ideal coastal getaway with breathtaking views. 

On the eastern coast, just 40 minutes from Tokyo, is the Izu Peninsula, renowned for its onsen resorts and stunning beaches like Shirahama and Tatadohama. Embrace the coastal charm, explore scenic coves, and unwind in seaside hot springs with panoramic ocean views. 

Food, culture and religion in Japan

Dive into Japan’s wonderland, full of fascinating culture, where ancient traditions dating back thousands of years blend seamlessly with futuristic society, cutting-edge technology, pop, anime, manga, and avant-garde fashion trends.

Culture: Explore ancient temples and shrines, such as Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha and Tsurugaoka shrine in Kamakura, where spiritual practices blend seamlessly with daily life. Engage in a traditional tea ceremony known as Omotenashi, sipping matcha while appreciating the art of serving and drinking tea. Embrace the elegance of the kimono, Japan’s iconic traditional dress, and participate in seasonal festivals celebrating the country’s cultural richness.

Religion: The religions of Shinto and Buddhism shape Japan’s landscape. As you travel Japan, you’ll spot countless Shinto shrines to house spirits called “kami”, characterized by torii gates, and Buddhist temples, like Hōkan-ji Temple in Kyoto.  

Food: Japanese food is on a whole other level, full of unique ingredients and flavors, with iconic dishes like sushi, ramen, bento boxes, and tempura taking center stage. Japan has a wide variety of eateries, from budget-friendly options such as vending machines, supermarkets, and street food to restaurants with solo dining booths, Michelin stars, geishas, and robots serving your food. You name it, Japan probably has it! 

Why you should travel to Japan

From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the tranquil temples of Kyoto, Japan offers a sensory overload of experiences. Its diverse landscapes, from the iconic Mount Fuji to the enchanting Japanese Alps, showcase some of the best places in Japan to visit for breathtaking views. For those looking to immerse themselves in the culinary extravaganza, from sushi to hearty ramen, Japan promises a gastronomic adventure. 

Timing your visit during cherry blossom season adds a magical touch, with blooming sakura trees transforming the landscape. But a vacation in Japan is fantastic year-round, whether you’re drawn to scenic wonders, ultra-modern experiences, or cultural richness.

Safety and travel advice Japan

A holiday in Japan guarantees endless adventure and out-of-this-world experiences! As one of the safest countries in the world, exploring Japan has never been easier, but it’s always worth being prepared. The following information will help visitors get the most out of their travels. 

Crime and safety in Japan: With very low crime rates and a culture rooted in respect and orderliness, Japan is a very safe country to explore, even at night. As with anywhere, petty theft may happen, so always exercise caution and keep valuables secure. 

Natural Disasters: Japan’s geographical location exposes it to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and typhoons. However, the population’s preparedness ensures a swift response to such occurrences. Always follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

Tip: Register with your embassy to receive emergency updates. 

Traffic in Japan: With a growing population and thousands of tourists visiting per day, traffic in Japan can be chaotic. In busy areas like Tokyo, it’s definitely worth avoiding taxis. Instead, use the impeccable public transportation system; it’s clean, affordable, punctual, and very safe. 

Travel Insurance: Before you travel Japan, one of the most important things you need is travel insurance. Despite Japan being a very safe country, accidents can happen, for example, losing luggage, delayed flights, or skiing injuries. Check out these great travel insurance options.