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5 must-do experiences in Japan

Image of Mount Fuji landscape

With so much culture, history, and natural beauty on offer, it’s hard to know where to start in Japan.

Here are a few of the must-do experiences to have in this culturally rich, fascinating country…

Climb Mount Fuji

Probably the most iconic site in all of Japan, Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s three sacred mountains. It’s been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. At 3,776m above sea level, Mount Fuji is Japan’s tallest peak and is a tough old hike. But you can still get up and down in a day. Most people climb through the night in the hopes of arriving before sunrise, which can be pretty epic – provided the weather is clear.

Discover Harajuku Culture

Tokyo is an eclectic, crowded, and crazy city – but there’s probably nowhere more crazy and eclectic than Harajuku district. The area is known for its vibrantly dressed teenagers. You’ll spot them in bubblegum pink dresses with their multicoloured hair pulled into expertly curled bunches, or in outlandish cosplay outfits looking like anime characters brought to life.

As well as people watching and shopping for your own colourful outfits, you can indulge in some cartoon-esque desserts at sweet shops like Anywhere Door or the Kawaii Monster Café. Or hit one of the famous animal cafes for a coffee. Cat cafes are old hat, now; in Harajuku today you’ll find a snake café, an owl café, even a hedgehog café – to list just a few!

Explore Kyoto’s Temples

Steeped in history and absolutely stunning, Kyoto was Japan’s capital from 794 to 1868. There are thousands of temples and shrines across the city, from tiny ones tucked between houses to huge complexes like the stunning Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Boasting 17 World Heritage sites in total, Kyoto is a shining example of Japanese culture and history and well worth a visit. Visit during autumn to see the temples looking their best, surrounded by golden leaves in the warm sunlight.

Eat Your Way Around Osaka

Although not the prettiest city, funky Osaka pulses with life. And with great restaurants! This is one of Japan’s greatest food cities – in fact it’s often named one of the world’s greatest food cities! Don’t miss Okonomiyaki, a sort of grilled pancake smothered in seafood, meat and veggies. Head to the market for Takoyaki balls; gooey, deep-fried balls of dough stuffed with octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger and green onion.

And if you want to get a little off the beaten track, you can take a train to nearby Wakayama City. As well as epic seafood, this coastal town is famous amongst the Japanese for its Wakayama ramen, which is known as the best ramen in the country.

Bathe in an Onsen

You can’t get much more Japanese than a traditional Onsen. There are thousands of public baths across the country, many of them natural hot springs. There’s not much better than soaking yourself in naturally heated spring water outdoors, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes or snowy mountains. Be warned – Japanese onsen etiquette dictates that you have to bathe completely nude. It’s rude to wear swimwear, but you can cover your modesty with a small towel as you walk between pools.

Thinking of travelling to Japan? Don’t forget to check out our Annual Multi-Trip policy, which covers you for an unlimited number of trips within a 12-month period.

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