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Spring baths, teen fashion meccas, tea ceremonies, and spectacular shrines – there are more must-do activities in Japan than it’s possible to see in one trip, but here are some of the highlights.

Things to do in Japan

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Now a fashionable, youthful city, Hiroshima is still best known for the devastating bomb dropped on it in August 1945. Visit the tranquil Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum and learn more about this world defining event.

Naka-ku, 1-2 Nakajimama-cho, 011-81-82-242-7798, www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp
Tags: family | things to do | history | museum


The sight of the sun setting on the Itsukushima shrine, built in the 6th century on the island of Miyajima, is world famous. Its main rooms were built partially over the water and its red “torri” gate was specially constructed in the bay so it appears to float at high tide.

Miyajima-cho, Saeki-gun, 011-81-829-44-2020, www.miyajima-wch.jp
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history

Onsen (spring baths)

Famous spa town Hakone has a wide selection of hot spring baths (called onsen), one of Japan’s great pleasures. Most hotels in the region offer access to their indoor and outdoor onsen at a charge, and the popular Tenzan Notemburo onsen complex features open-air baths and steam baths.

Hakone machi; Ashigara Shimo-gun; Kanagawa Prefecture, 208 Yumoto Chay, 011-81-460-86-4126, tenzan.jp (Japanese only)
Tags: things to do

Shopping in Harajuku

This area in Tokyo is the home of crazy teen fashion and includes Takeshita Dori, a winding street packed with cheap and wild clothes and accessories. Every Sunday hordes of teenagers come to see and be seen, dressed in outrageous outfits including French maids, blood splattered nurses, and gothic Lolitas.

Harajuku bridge nr. entrance to Meiji shrine, www.harajuku.jp/eng
Tags: shopping | things to do | culture | clothing

Tea in Kyoto

Taking tea in Japan is more than just a means to caffeine. Discover all about this meditative art in Kyoto. Teahouses are scattered throughout the city, but for a demonstration in English let one of the instructors from the Women’s Association of Kyoto welcome you into her home and teach you about the ceremony.

WAK Japan Co, Kawaramachi Marutamachi sagaru; Kamigyo-ku; 506-412 Iseya-cho, 011-81-75-212-9993, www.wakjapan.com
Tags: things to do | culture | culinary

Toshogu shrine complex

Located in Nikko, Toshogu is Japan’s most lavish shrine complex. It’s easy to wander through the shrines, spread up the hillside among lush green forest, but take a guided tour with Sunrise Tours for a more in-depth picture of the site’s history.

Sunrise Tours, 011-81-357-96-5454, www.jtbgmt.com/sunrisetour
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history

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