Asia is brimming with rich cultures, amazing sights, and memorable experiences. We don’t go a year without visiting one of the countries in this continent but as there as so many to get to, we have to admit that we’ve still yet to set our foot in at least half of them. So far, however, we can confidently say that one of our favorite places to visit in Asia is The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.
Japan is an island country located in East Asia. When you think of this country, you’ll immediately think about the flashing lights of Shibuya, the lively populous of Tokyo, and the towering beauty that is Mt. Fuji. Of course, these three places don’t give Japan’s beauty the justice it deserves. That’s why we’ve decided to make a guide about the best and only the best there is in this country.
The island country is divided into 5 main islands which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa. Japan is also divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions. As it is divided in to regions already, getting around Japan is a lot easy as their bullet trains can get you from one end to the other in less than a day!
- 1 How to Get to Japan
- 2 Cool Things to Do in Japan
- 2.1 Visit the Cat Island
- 2.2 Take photos at the Wisteria Tunnel
- 2.3 Listen to the sound of swaying stalks in Sagano Bamboo Forest
- 2.4 Enter the world of Lewis Carroll
- 2.5 Go on a night out at Kabukicho Robot Restaurant
- 2.6 Eat at the Vampire Café
- 2.7 Take the kids and the kids at heart at the Kawaii Monster Café
- 2.8 Skip Disneyland
- 2.9 Bathe in wine, coffee, or ramen broth
- 2.10 Clone yourself
- 2.11 Feel like a detective
- 2.12 Visit a church/café
- 2.13 Witness Kanamara Matsuri Festival
- 2.14 See a painting come to life
- 2.15 Re-enact the scariest Ju-On: The Grudge scenes
- 2.16 Visit the Tomb of Jesus Christ
- 2.17 See the Peeing Monk
- 2.18 Bonus: Visit Super Nintendo World
- 3 Unique Accommodations in Japan
How to Get to Japan
As it is an island country, the most convenient way of getting to Japan is via airplane. There are several major international airports located in the northern, southern, and central regions of the country so where ever you are headed, you can get to it easily. While you can get to Japan via ship, the trip will be longer and more complicated than flying.
The three major international airports in Japan are Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Kansai Airport in Osaka, Central Japan Airport in Nagoya, and Fukuoka Airport. Every major international airline offers flights to these airports in Japan so wherever you may be, Japan is just a flight away.
Cool Things to Do in Japan
If you’re looking from the most unique and coolest attractions and activities, there’s probably nothing more ideal than visiting Japan. Aside from anime and being the most polite country, Japan is also known for its quirkiness too, making every visit to this place memorable, fun, and unique. It’s an extraordinary country that you should definitely visit. To give you a better idea of what kind of weird and fun stuff awaits you in Japan, here are some of the coolest things to do in Japan toad to your travel itinerary.
1Visit the Cat Island
This is not your ordinary island that is named after cats. It is literally an island filled with cats. Really, the number of cats outnumber the actual people that reside in this area. And they are well taken care of and not kept as mere pets. Rather, they roam around the island freely and are even treated like kings. And if you’re a cat lover, visiting this place is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Japan. However, if you’re traveling with your dog, you might not be able to bring him or her here as dogs are not allowed on the island to protect the cats.
2Take photos at the Wisteria Tunnel
If you’re looking for the most Instagram-worthy spots in Japan, the Wisteria Tunnel is not to be missed as this isn’t your ordinary concrete tunnel. As its name suggests, this tunnel is filled with wisteria, an ornamental vine from the pea family that blooms in cascades of long lavender flowers of varying pastel shades that are definitely perfect for that Instagram photo. If you’re planning to see this, be sure to visit in late April or early May so you can see the flowers in full bloom.
3Listen to the sound of swaying stalks in Sagano Bamboo Forest
If you’re literally looking for the coolest things to do in Japan, head to the Sagano Bamboo forest and feel the chill of the fresh wind that brushes through the swaying stalks of bamboo. Also, it is relaxing to just listen to the rustling, swaying, and creaking sounds of the bamboo trees. Aside from that, like the Wisteria Tunnel, this place is also worth visiting for that Instagram-worthy photo. Find time to visit this place when you’re traveling to Japan and savor the beauty and auditory calm that it has.
4Enter the world of Lewis Carroll
If you’re a fan of Lewis Carroll’s works, especially Alice in Wonderland, heading to Alice in a Labyrinth is one of the coolest things to do in Japan too. In case you don’t have a clue on what this place is because of its name, Alice in a Labyrinth is actually a restaurant. But what makes it a not-so-ordinary-restaurant is that this place’s interior that will make you fee; as if you’re actually Alice in Wonderland with designs and structure that look straight out of Lewis Carroll’s book.
5Go on a night out at Kabukicho Robot Restaurant
Don’t be fooled by its name, though. Apparently, this place is not a restaurant where you can have some full meals. Rather, this place isn’t actually a kids as it is a bar. Here, you can get to see spectacular performances that you will love whether you love to party, an Otaku (a person who loves anime), or not. The interiors are nice that’s made all the more lively with flashing neon lights. But what makes this place so much interesting is that if you’re lucky enough, you can get to see sexy dancing robots.
6Eat at the Vampire Café
Also one of the coolest things to do in Japan is to eat at its Vampire Café. Don’t worry, there’s no Dracula here. Rather, this Gothic paradise will send you chills with its unique interiors that seems it is actually Dracula’s house. Aside from the décor, the dishes are well-detailed too looking like it’s actually something that Dracula feasts on. They even have a dark red wine garnished with tiny skulls. Once you enter this restaurant, you’ll really feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. Hence, it’s really a must-visit.
7Take the kids and the kids at heart at the Kawaii Monster Café
One of the coolest things to do in Japan that kids, as well as the kids at heart, will surely love is dining at the Kawaii Monster Café. Here, you can get to see a cute and unique interior filled with colorful and cute monsters aesthetic. Its entrance alone is something worth seeing. To give you an idea, it’s actually the mouth of a goggle-eyed monster and you will be greeted by life-sized gummy bears, cupcakes, peppermints, and other sweets. It even has a merry-go-round. Of course, the dishes they serve also goes well with the theme.
Another one of the coolest things to do in Japan too is to skip the Tokyo Disneyland. But Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth,” you say? Don’t worry, you’ll still enjoy Sanrio Puroland. It’s just like Disneyland. However, what makes it different is that this place is leaned towards Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends. Enjoy the rides and fangirl over Hello Kitty and her friends as much as you want to as you will never get to see such theme park anywhere else but in Japan.
9Bathe in wine, coffee, or ramen broth
Another thing to add to your list the most bizarre and coolest things to do in Japan is to bathe in wine, coffee, and/or ramen broth at the Yunessun Spa Resort. And we’re not just bluffing as these pools aren’t just colored with some dye or whatnot. Apparently, the pools are actually filled with the actual drink. The coffee is really brewed in pots and poured into the pool barrel by barrel, even the sake and wine. So relax and enjoy swimming in this unique pool. It’s definitely a must-try.
Japan is really blazing the path when it comes to creating synthetic humans. Thus, where else could you be if ever you want to clone yourself?
One of the coolest things to do in Japan is to clone yourself too. However, you will not actually see a clone the way you imagine it to be or the way the screens portray clones. Rather, this place in Japan, called Clone Factory, will just create a 20-inch doll that looks exactly like you. It’s just a bit pricey, though, as to have yourself “cloned,” you will need to spend nearly $2,000. Still, it’s a unique activity to try out.
11Feel like a detective
Japan has countless themed café and of the coolest is its Detective Bar Progress, a café that is, you guessed it right, detective-themed. Like the other themed cafes in Japan, even its exteriors really goes well with its theme wherein you will see a yellow crime scene tape that stretches across the door. What makes this place even more unique is that you actually have real detectives who will serve you. Yes, they actually spend their day sleuthing around crime scenes and tracking down missing people. Also, visiting this café is also one of the coolest things to do in Japan because it actually lets its visitors pretend as if they really are at a crime scene. Here, you can get your mugshot taken, try some fingerprinting, and whatnot.
12Visit a church/café
This might be a bit confusing but in Japan, they have a café that nearly doubles like a church. Still can’t get an idea about it? Apparently, what we’re talking about is Christon Café which is a church-themed café. While Christianity exists in the land of the rising sun, it apparently doesn’t carry the same weighty history as Western nations do. Hence, its owners can not just get away with running this Catholicism-themed café but it is also one of the reasons why it is popular among locals and tourists alike. Once you enter this place, you will really feel as if you’ve entered a Medieval Catholic Church. Aside from the unique theme, they also serve dishes that taste like heaven.
13Witness Kanamara Matsuri Festival
The land of the rising sun may have a lot of festivals to celebrate but among all of those, if you’re going to ask us, it is a must that you shouldn’t miss the Kanamara Matsuri Festival. Why so? Apparently, this festival is one of the unique celebrations in Japan as such event blends religion, vagina dentate, blacksmiths, sex workers, and the straight-up facts of life altogether. Here, you can even get to see giant and colorful penis structures being paraded. But it’s not just for fun or whatnot. Rather, it is a festival that honors sexual awareness and community prosperity by donating all the proceeds to different organizations dedicated to HIV research. You’ll not only get to enjoy the festival but you can also get to help others too so why not add this to your travel itinerary?
14See a painting come to life
If you’re looking for the most picturesque and surreal place to see in Japan, then don’t forget to visit Monet’s Pond. This is because if you visit this place, your eyes will feast on the sight of insanely vibrant-colored plants, crystal clear and shimmering water, and contrasting water lilies and bright koi that will make you feel like Claude Monet’s paintings came to life. What’s even more impressive about this place is that there are no visual effects that make the view look like Monet’s paintings. Monet’s Pond is as apparently just naturally that beautiful. Take photos as much as you want or even enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this beautiful place, it’s really worth the travel.
15Re-enact the scariest Ju-On: The Grudge scenes
Japan is also known for being one of the top countries to create some of the best horror movies. One of the country’s notable movie is Ju-On: The Grudge. It is so famous that in 2004 America made a remake of it. And if you’re a fan, you must not miss visiting the actual house where they filmed it. However, while it is currently abandoned, its owners (possibly the famous director Takashi Shimizu or the film studio) don’t allow anyone to be inside the property. But it’s still worth visiting as you can still get closer to the house, making it one of the coolest things to do in Japan, especially if you’re a fan of the movie.
16Visit the Tomb of Jesus Christ
Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ was buried somewhere in or near Jerusalem. However, some people in Japan believe that He was actually buried in Japan. And the Jesus whom we knew who was crucified on Golgotha, was apparently God’s youngest son, Isukiri because the real Jesus escaped and switched places with his younger brother. According to the Takenouchi Documents, the real Jesus died of natural causes at the age of 106 and his body was buried in Shingo, a small village in Japan. However, many say that it is just a hoax. See Japan’s Tomb of Jesus Christ and decide if it’s real or not.
17See the Peeing Monk
Don’t worry, you will not see a real monk peeing. Rather a statue inspired by Belgium’s famous Manneken Pis. However, what makes this worth seeing is that this peeing monk, located in Tokyo’s Hamamatsucho Station, is that it changes fashion every month. For instance, in the month of June, you can see him sporting a raincoat with a tiny umbrella. It’s not as jaw-dropping like the other picturesque sights in Japan but it sure it unique and entertaining so don’t miss out on this too.
18Bonus: Visit Super Nintendo World
Also one thing that Japan is known for is its video games. And if you’re a gamer, you might want to visit the Super Nintendo World, a theme park designed based on your favorite Nintendo games such as Super Mario, Animal Crossing, etc. However, as of writing, it’s still under construction and we’re yet to see when it will open its gate to the public. But knowing how Japanese people work, we will probably get to see this unique attraction sooner or later so watch out for this.
Unique Accommodations in Japan
In spite of its size compared to other countries, it still has a lot to offer that you might probably not be able to try out and experience in just a day. So in case you’re traveling to Japan, why not maximize your trip and book an accommodation for a few days? But we’re not just talking about some common accommodations. Aside from your standard hotels, motels, and BnBs, there are also a list of amazingly unique hotels in Japan. If you want to try sleeping somewhere different for a change, then you may want to try these places out.
1. Book And Bed
As the name suggests, the Book and Bed accommodations in Japan will put you inside a room covered with books. If you’re having trouble getting some shuteye, then you can tire yourself out by reading a few pages or so. There are two Book and Bed accommodations in Japan, there’s one in Tokyo and there’s one in Kyoto. Also note that these are relatively cheap so if you are on a tight budget, you can try these hotels out. Rooms start at 18000 Yen per person.
2. Henna Hotel
At a glance, the Henna Hotels in Tokyo and Nagasaki feels like a regular hotel. However, upon going inside, you’ll be surprised to see that the front desk is manned by a dinosaur! Of course, these are just robots. You read that right, Henna Hotel is manned by AI machines which makes it feel like you’re in a hotel from the future. Rooms start at 7000 Yen.
3. Traditional Ryokan Hotels
Japan keeps its history and culture close to heart. Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns which give you a room for the night, as well as an authentic Japanese course meal. There are countless Ryokans across Japan so be sure to visit one before you leave. It’s also worth noting that the prices vary per hotel and it will depend on the food that they’ll serve you.
4. Mount Koya
Within Mount Koya are Buddhist communities. There are many lodges in the area that you can stay with. By choosing to spend a few days here, you’ll be treated to a very peaceful and relaxing time as well as authentic vegetarian meals. It’s a bit on the expensive side though at around 20000 Yen per night. You may want to book in advance as well as these ten to be overcrowded.
5. Capsule Hotels
The true budget hotels in Japan are the numerous capsule hotels spread out in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. As the name suggests, these hotels aren’t exactly hotels but you are given a small pod to sleep in. As the cheapest accommodation in Japan, you will spend around 2000 per night on these hotels so if you are on a budget, it’s the best option for you.
6. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
Located in the Yamanashi prefecture is the world’s oldest hotel, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan. According to its history, this hotel was founded in 705 AD and it has been standing strong ever since. It has been kept in the same condition throughout history and it has accommodated the same family for 52 generations. This is the best hotel for couples as the area is very serene. Moreover, there are several natural hot springs as well. It’s a bit on the expensive side at 40000 Yen per night though.
7. Manga Cafes
Of course, there are manga cafes in Japan! These manga cafes also double as accommodation for budget travelers so if you are a big fan of Japan’s robust manga scene, you’ll definitely get your fill here. These are available nationwide but we suggest trying out Nagomi Cafe in Akibahara.
8. Hoshino Tomamu Resort
Located in the Hokkaido region are ice hotels. There’s not much to explain about these hotels but if you want to completely cool off, then these are the best accommodations for you. The best of its kind is the Hoshino Tomamu Resort.