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What to see and do in Japan

This is a list of all places I visited or the things I did in Japan, my all-time favorite holiday destination.

Updated May 8, 2012
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  1. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    This monument and museum was constructed and finished in 1962, to remember 26 christians that were executed on this spot back in 1597. They were killed to deter the christian community in Nagasaki. The monument is made of large concrete bricks wit…
  2. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Ueno, Japan
    This market used to be a black market during world war 2. It's located between Ueno and Okachimachi areas of Tokyo. Nowadays the shops sell lots of items from clothing, shoes, food & drinks, spices and souvenir items. If you like to shop or chase …
  3. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Kurashiki, Japan
    The Bikan District is a part of Kurashiki where canals and storage houses were build during the Edo period to ship and store rice. It was stored here temporarily, before being transported further to Osaka and Edo (Tokyo). The tour company I had bo…
  4. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    This was my first visit to a Chinatown and I liked it. Even though it was a long time ago (I was there in 2000), it's still a fond memory of my time in Nagasaki. My only regret is that because of the short amount of time in the city, I didn't got to …
  5. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I'm a big fan of temples and gardens and the city of Kyoto offers plenty of those. On my previous 2 times in the city, I had been to several of the famous temples & gardens. But this time, as I was on my own, I had picked out to start this day with a…
  6. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Ryogoku Ward, Japan
    The Edo-Tokyo Museum house 5 floors of the history of Tokyo. Once the city was called Edo and not the capital of Japan. On the various floors (there are 5 out of 6 floors) you can find displays of both the Edo period and the Tokyo period. There ar…
  7. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    The Fukusaiji Zen Temple was founded in 1628, originally as a zen temple. During the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki on august 9th, 1945, the temple was completely destroyed. It was rebuild in its present particular shape, of a…
  8. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine at night, because our tour guide had mentioned that we should see the light ceremony. The best way to get there is to take the train from Kyoto Station and stop at Inari Station, as the entrance of the tem…
  9. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    Gion is the old part of the city of Kyoto and it's located in the east. The area is surrounded by several temples and shrines. I've been here 3 times and on 2 times, I've been succesful at capturing a geisha with my camera. One time was late in th…
  10. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    The Ginkakuji Temple was known as the Joshijo Temple. The translation in english is the Silver Pavilion. But don't let that name fool you. Unlike the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which is golden, this temple never got silver. Originally des…
  11. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    Glover Garden is a park where the homes of several foreign merhcants lived during the trade period in the 19th century, after Japan ended it's seclusion from the rest of the world. One of the homes in the park is that of Thomas Blake Glover, a sco…
  12. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Ryogoku Ward, Japan
    In 4 cities, Tokyo (3 times), Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka, the annual Grand Sumo Tournament takes place. I went to the may tournament in Tokyo, which starts in the morning with matches between new sumo trainees, followed by the Jonokuchi bouts (lowe…
  13. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Sumida River, Japan
    The Hama-rikyu Gardens is a public park and was opened on april 1st 1946. It's location is directly at the Sumida River and the Tsukiji River. Entrance price was 300 yen (around 3 euro or around 4 US dollars When I was there with the tourgroup, we…
  14. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I've been to this shrine 3 times and only on the 3rd time have I been able to take the time to walk around the place. About 500 meters before the shrine, stands a giant torii. Then comes the shrine itself. The orange colour and darker green roof t…
  15. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Takayama, Japan
    The Higashiyama Walking Course is one of several walking courses that a person can do when staying in Takayama. I took this course, because it took me along temples & shrines. The first time was in 2000, doing the walk with the man I shared a room…
  16. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Himeji, Japan
    Himeji Castle was one of the (many) places that I wanted to see during my 2000 Japan trip. I did and I got to visit the castle again in 2007. Himeji Castle is on the Unesco Heritage list and despite wars, earthquakes and fires, it's still in its o…
  17. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Hiroshima, Japan
    On august 6th, 1945 at 8:15am, the A-bomb was detonated some 500 meters above the city of Hiroshima. In the blast, thousands of lives were destroyed and thousands more would perish in the years to follow. Also all, but one of the buildings were co…
  18. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Hiroshima, Japan
    Besides a visit to the Peace Park in Hiroshima, I can recommend a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum as well. An entrance ticket costs 50 yen (around 0,50 eurocent or around 0,60 US dollarcent), which is almost for nothing. Now, do bare …
  19. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Hiroshima, Japan
    Created on an open field that was created after the explosion, after the first atomic bomb ever was detonated over the city of Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park measures over 120.000 square meters. There are several "attractions" that y…
  20. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Miyajima, Japan
    Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto Shrine, listed on the Unesco world heritage list. First build in the 6th century, the shrine had been destroyed on several occasions. The current building dates from the 16th century, but needed renovations and repairs …
  21. Expensive "Sights & Attractions" in Ginza, Japan
    I had only heard about Kabuki, but never seen it. I love Japan, so witnessing a kabuki show was something I felt I had to do. And I must admit, I really wish I hadn't. The tickets were quite costly and I left the show after about 10 minutes. Ka…
  22. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I've been coming to this temple for every time I went to Kyoto. First was back in 2000, second in 2007 and the third time in 2008. The first 2 times were with tour groups, so it was rushing time. But the third time I was on my own. It was a really…
  23. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I visited this temple, because I had read that it had a really beautiful garden. And it was true. The garden was really beautiful. The temple is located near the Gion area of Kyoto and very close to the Yasaka Pagoda. The temple itself looks reall…
  24. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Himeji, Japan
    I visited the Koko-en garden for the first time in 2000, as a combined visit to the Himeji Castle. I also visited the garden in 2007, during the same visit in Himeji. The garden was opened in 1992 and consists of 9 different gardens, al in the st…
  25. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kumamoto, Japan
    The second visit of our day trip to Kumamoto, was a visit to the castle. I walked along the castle another time, back in 2007, but I didn't go inside the complex. It was constuctred under the supervision of Kiyomasa Kato between 1601 and 1607. Dur…
  26. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    If you're a fan of or like to read mangas and comics, then this museum is nice and worth for a visit. The museum has several floors, as well as a basement, which was used at the time for a special exhibition. The museum houses a large collectio…
  27. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I love visiting zoos and whenever I get the chance, I want to visit one if I'm in a new city. Kyoto Municipal Zoo is also known as Kyoto City Zoo. The zoo is closely located to the Heian Shrine and I had planned to make a combination of visiting b…
  28. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I really like going up in the sky, despite my fear of heights, and enjoy a wide view of a city or area. The observation deck is 100 meters in the air, with the total length an 131 meters. So, on my 3rd visit to Kyoto, I decided to go to the viewin…
  29. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Miyajima, Japan
    I visited this aquarium when I visited Miyajima Island for the first time back in 2000. The aquarium housed several tanks with all kinds of ocean live like sharks, turtles, tropical fish, crabs, jellyfish and many more. There were also sea lion sh…
  30. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Shibuya, Japan
    The Meiji Jingu Shrine is a shinto shrine, which is dedicated to emperor Meiji and his wife, empress Shoken. The shrine itself isn't that old, as construction had begun in 1915 and it was completely finished in 1926. I've only been here once, duri…
  31. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Miyajima, Japan
    From Hiroshima, it's easy to reach to Miyajima Island. 2 ferry lines have ferry services to this island on a daily basis, but don't forget to check when the last ferry leaves the island for the main land. The ferry costs 170 yen (around 1,50 euor …
  32. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Aso, Japan
    Mount Aso is a national park and houses several active volcanos. It measures 24 kilometers (15 miles) in length and 19 kilometers (12 miles) in width. I visited the park back in 2000 and the charges were included in my tour. Access to the park is …
  33. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    Part of the Peace Peak, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is all about the horrors and tragedy that occured on that 9th of august day, in 1945. Nagasaki was the second and last city (for now) that was hit by the atomic bomb. The museum isn't as big …
  34. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Nagasaki, Japan
    On 11:02am, on august 9th 1945, Japan "met" with another atomic bomb. It levelled the city and killed thousands of people instantly and many thousands in the years after the blast. To remember this terrible tragedy, the Nagasaki Peace Park was cre…
  35. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    The last site we would visit on this was the Nijo Castle. The place was build in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The surrounding gardens were constructed in 1626 by Enshu Kobori, shortly before the visit of Emperor Gomizuno-o. I had been to the castle 2 …
  36. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    I did this walk only once when I was in Kyoto, during my first visit back in 2000. I went with 2 ladies from my tourgroup back then. The path begins either at the Ginkakuji Temple or at the Nanzenji Temple. We decided to start at the Nanzenji Temp…
  37. Very cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    The first I went to this temple was in 2000, with a tour group. This time I was on my own. The Ryoanji Temple is most famous for its Rock Garden. In a sea of pebbles, there are small islands of rocks and moss. There are a total of 15 rocks, which…
  38. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    This was the first of several temples we were going to visit on this day. It's called the Sanjusangendo Temple, but the official name is the Rengeo-in Temple. It is famous for housing 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It was founded in…
  39. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Tokyo, Japan
    I have visited this temple 2 times. First time during my trip in 2000 and the second time was back in 2007 when there was a festival going on in Asakusa. Legend has it that a statue Kannon (a bodhisattva) was found by 2 men in the year of 627 and …
  40. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Fukuoka, Japan
    The Shofukuji Temple was the first Zen temple that was build in Japan. Founded in 1195 by the priest Eisai, the templee buildings can not be visited inside. I did found the walk around the temples quite nice. The place is located in a park like ar…
  41. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    The Shosei-en Garden is a zen garden and it's part of the Higashi Honjanji Temple. I'm a huge fan of japanese gardens, so this was one garden I wanted to visit during my 3rd time in Kyoto. As it was a really nice & sunny day and not many people ar…
  42. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Nikko, Japan
    This was one of the reasons why I went to Japan. I had read about this and saw several photos and just knew I had to see this with my own eyes. Now, this was an optional part of the tour. I could have chosen to stay in Tokyo. But I was happy that I d…
  43. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Ginza, Japan
    For those who are interested in the latest technology and electronical devices, the Sony Building offers the chance to test Sony's latest creations. On various floors, you can try out cameras, laptops, stereo systems, televisions and more electron…
  44. Average priced "General Tips & Advice" in Tokyo, Japan
    The subway system of Tokyo looks like one giant maze with all the lines crossing each other and all the colours making it looking (very) difficult to see where you're going. To make sure you don't spent a lot of money on buying the wrong tickets o…
  45. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Kumamoto, Japan
    With a free day, which I didn't want to spend in Aso, me and 2 ladies from the travel group took the train to Kumamoto. After getting a tourist map from an information desk, we decided that the Suizenji Jojuen Garden was the first place that we wante…
  46. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Nara, Japan
    Nara's most famous landmark is the Todaiji Temple. This buddhist complexwas constructed in 752 as the head temple of all of Japan's buddhist temples. The Great Buddha hall (Daibutsuden) is the largest wooden building in the world and houses the wo…
  47. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Kyoto, Japan
    The To-ji Temple was one of the first buddhist temple in Kyoto, dating back to the 8th century. The main area of the temple complex is free of charge. So I walked around the area for a while. Then I wanted to see the garden and the Kondo Hall. I h…
  48. Cheap "General Tips & Advice" in Sumida River, Japan
    To get to Asakusa, our tourguide suggested to a Tokyo Cruise. We would get on board at the Hama-rikyu Gardens (the original docking/exiting point is at Hinode Pier). The line we took was called the Sumida River Line and the ticket costs currently …
  49. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Tokyo, Japan
    The Tokyo International Forum opened its doors in 1996 and is a multi purpose building, used for conventions and other purposes. One of the hall has over 5000 seats. The architecture (depending on peoples taste) is modern and it looks a long boat.…
  50. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Shinjuku, Japan
    The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building or also known as City Hall, is a twin building which are 243 meters tall. On the 45th floor, that's 202 meters above the ground, are observatories in both buildings. Both are free to visit from morning ti…
  51. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Ueno, Japan
    I'm not a frequent museum visitor, but I did visit this one with 4 other members from my group. Now, normally I thought that a museum is one big building to wander around in. But the Tokyo National Museum is actually in 5 different buildings with var…
  52. Average priced "Sights & Attractions" in Tokyo, Japan
    The Tokyo Tower looks a lot like the Eifell Tower and is certainly worth a visit for a great view of Tokyo, during the day and/or at night. There are 2 observatories, with the main observatory 150 meters above the ground and the special observatory 2…
  53. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Tsukiji Fish Market, Japan
    The Tsukiji Fish Market is probably the biggest fish market in the world and each morning, tons of fish are traded to restaurants or find their way into the japanese households. To witness the auction of the frozen tuna fish, you have to get up ve…
  54. Cheap "Sights & Attractions" in Ueno, Japan
    Ueno zoo is a relatively small zoo, located in the south-east corner of Ueno Park. The zoo is a great gateaway from the busy streets and sounds of Tokyo. The zoo offers a great deal of animals from all over the world, housed in animal friendly env…
  55. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Tokyo, Japan
    This shinto shrine was built and dedicated to the spirits of those who fought and died for the Emperor of Japan. This shrine is not without controversy, as japanese WW2 criminals are also enshrined and remembered there, which angers neighbouring c…
  56. Free! "Sights & Attractions" in Shibuya, Japan
    Yoyogi Park is a wonderful place if you want to escape the busy life and the sometimes packed streets of Tokyo's concrete jungle. I've only been there once, during my 3 visits to Tokyo (wishing I had been there more times), but that one time was v…
jennjeff1 says:
Thanks Ivar! We will fly into Osaka but stay in Kyoto before travelling by bullet train to Tokyo.
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012
Airportman says:
If you need any more info, feel free to ask, Jeff! :) I hope you get to see a lot and have a great time there
Posted on: Apr 22, 2012
jennjeff1 says:
We will be in mainland Japan 10-16 June so we hope to see some of the same things on your extensive Japan travel list Ambassador Ivar!

~Jeff (& Jenny)
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012
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