Home DestinationsAsia 45 Best Things to Do in Japan : Must-Visit Attractions and Activities

45 Best Things to Do in Japan : Must-Visit Attractions and Activities

by Naoi Rei
Mount Fuji, Japan

Best Things to Do in Japan : Japan, a country known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes, offers a plethora of attractions and activities for travelers to explore. From ancient temples and traditional tea ceremonies to futuristic technology and bustling cityscapes, Japan has something to offer for every type of traveler. In this article, we will delve into the best things to do in Japan, highlighting must-visit attractions and activities that will make your trip unforgettable.

Table of Contents

Best Things to Do in Osaka

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 1. Explore Osaka Castle

brown pagoda temple near trees

Photo by Shai Pal

One of the most iconic landmarks in Osaka, Osaka Castle is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts. Built in the 16th century, the castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck.

**When you purchase a ticket through Klook, you can conveniently skip the hassle of waiting in long lines for physical tickets by booking an e-ticket.

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Read More : Best Hotels Near Universal Studios Japan(Cheap+Luxury Options)

Best Things to Do in Japan : 2. Visit Universal Studios Japan

people walking near brown concrete building during daytime

Photo by Roméo A.

If you’re a fan of theme parks and entertainment, a visit to Universal Studios Japan is a must. This world-class theme park features attractions based on popular movies and TV shows, including Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Spider-Man.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 3. Experience Dotonbori

two vehicles on paved road

Photo by Chapman Chow

Dotonbori is Osaka’s most famous entertainment district, known for its vibrant nightlife, street food, and iconic neon signs. Take a stroll along the canal, try local delicacies like takoyaki and okonomiyaki, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this bustling area.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 4. Discover Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

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Home to a diverse range of marine life, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Explore the various exhibits, including a massive tank that houses whale sharks, and learn about the wonders of the ocean.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 5. Wander through 8Shinsekai

people at the city during night

Photo by Robby McCullough

Shinsekai is a nostalgic neighborhood in Osaka that offers a glimpse into the city’s past. With its retro charm and unique atmosphere, this area is perfect for leisurely strolls, trying local street food, and visiting the iconic Tsutenkaku Tower.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 6. Take a Cruise on the Tombori River

photo of city during nighttime

Photo by Ramon Kagie

For a different perspective of Osaka, hop on a cruise along the Tombori River. Enjoy the scenic views of the city’s skyline, bridges, and landmarks while relaxing on a boat. This is a great way to unwind and see Osaka from a different angle.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 7. Visit the Osaka Museum of History

Photo By Klook

Located near Osaka Castle, the Osaka Museum of History offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s past. Through interactive exhibits and displays, visitors can learn about Osaka’s rich history, from its ancient roots to its modern development.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 8. Explore the Umeda Sky Building

aerial view photography city building

Photo by Tyler Lee

The Umeda Sky Building is a unique architectural marvel that offers breathtaking views of Osaka. Take the escalators up to the observation deck, known as the “Floating Garden Observatory,” and enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 9. Shop at Shinsaibashi

lighted white concrete establishment

Photo by Steven Tso

Shinsaibashi is a bustling shopping district in Osaka, known for its wide range of shops, boutiques, and department stores. From high-end fashion brands to local souvenirs, you can find everything you need in this vibrant shopping area.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 10. Experience Traditional Tea Ceremony

photo of teacup with coffees

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture by participating in a traditional tea ceremony. Several tea houses in Osaka offer this unique experience, where you can learn about the art of tea preparation and enjoy a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 11. Visit the Osaka Science Museum

Photo By Klook

The Osaka Science Museum is a great place to visit, especially for families and science enthusiasts. With its interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, the museum makes learning about science and technology fun and engaging.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 12. Explore the Tempozan Ferris Wheel

a cruise ship docked in a harbor with a ferris wheel in the background

Photo by Dong In Ham

Located near Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel offers stunning views of Osaka Bay and the surrounding area. Hop on one of the gondolas and enjoy a leisurely ride while taking in the panoramic vistas.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 13. Discover The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living

Photo By Klook

The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living provides a unique opportunity to experience life in Osaka during different historical periods. Through meticulously recreated streets and buildings, visitors can step back in time and get a glimpse of the city’s past.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 14. Enjoy a Performance at the National Bunraku Theatre

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Bunraku is a traditional form of Japanese puppet theater, and the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka is the best place to experience this art form. Watch captivating performances that combine storytelling, music, and intricate puppetry.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 15. Take a Day Trip to Nara

two animal on grass

Photo by Worachat Sodsri

While not technically in Osaka, a day trip to Nara is highly recommended for nature and history lovers. Just a short train ride away, Nara is famous for its ancient temples, friendly deer, and serene parks.

Why Not Holiday Tips : You might require a JR Pass in order to visit Nara.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 16. Visit Pokemon Cafe Osaka

Photo By Pokemon Cafe

One of the best things to do in Osaka is to visit the Pokemon Cafe. Located in the heart of the city, this unique cafe offers a one-of-a-kind experience for Pokemon fans of all ages. As soon as you step inside, you are transported into the vibrant world of Pokemon, with colorful decor and adorable Pokemon-themed dishes. Indulge in delicious Pokemon-inspired food and drinks, such as Pikachu curry, Eevee pancakes, or Jigglypuff parfaits. The cafe also offers exclusive merchandise, including limited edition Pokemon plush toys and collectibles. Whether you’re a die-hard Pokemon fan or just looking for a fun and memorable dining experience, a visit to the Pokemon Cafe in Osaka is sure to delight and entertain.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 17. Visit Koshien Stadium

Photo By hanshin.co.jp

One of the best things to do in Osaka is to visit Koshien Stadium. This iconic baseball stadium holds a special place in the hearts of locals and sports enthusiasts alike. Known as the “Sacred Ground of Baseball,” Koshien Stadium has a rich history and is considered the birthplace of Japanese high school baseball tournaments. Watching a baseball game here is an incredible experience, as the atmosphere is electric and the passion of the fans is contagious. Even if you’re not a sports fan, a tour of the stadium is still worth it to learn about the significance of baseball in Japanese culture and witness the impressive architecture of the stadium. Whether you’re cheering for the home team or simply soaking up the ambiance, a visit to Koshien Stadium is a must-do when in Osaka.

Why Not Holiday Tips : You might require a JR Pass in order to visit Koshien Stadium.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 18. Street Go Kart Experience by Akiba Kart Osaka

Photo By Klook

One of the best things to do in Osaka is to have a street go kart experience with Akiba Kart Osaka. This unique activity allows you to explore the city’s historical sites, tourist spots, and downtown areas in a thrilling and stylish way. As you drive around in a go kart, you will pass famous attractions such as Namba, Dotonbori, and Osaka Tower, among others. What makes this experience even more exciting is the option to choose from a selection of costumes and drive around dressed as your favorite character. As you cruise through the streets, you will feel like a celebrity as tourists whip out their cameras to snap photos of you. Additionally, this activity provides an opportunity to make memories with people from all over the world. To ensure a smooth experience, an English-speaking driving guide will be there to provide guidance throughout the tour.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 19. Ninja Workshop and Costume Rental Experience in Osaka

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Immerse yourself in the ancient ways of a true Japanese warrior with a 60-minute ninja lesson in Osaka! While ninjas have gained worldwide fame, their legends actually stem from real historical figures in Japan. In this unique experience, you’ll have the chance to become a ninja for a day and delve into the art, poses, and shuriken throwing skills that define these enigmatic warriors. Through hands-on instruction, you’ll learn various fighting techniques like Kuja-kiri and Embu, as well as gain insight into weaponry and meditation. Discover the essence of the ninja philosophy, known as “ku” or no-self, which emphasizes conflict minimization. And for those feeling daring, don a ninja gi or costume, explore the streets, and capture unforgettable photos of your transformation!

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 20. Japanese initial D car charter experience in Osaka

Photo By Klook

Experience the thrill of driving a sports car on Japanese roads with the Japanese initial D. Choose from a wide range of models including NSX, AE86, RX7 FC, RX7 FD, S15 Silvia, SkylineGTR32, SkylineGTR34, Subaru GC8, Supra80, HONDA FD2, and HONDA. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try out the most professional racing simulator in Japan, where you can drive different cars from JDM to F1 on over 50 major tracks worldwide. Exciting new tracks are constantly being added! In addition, enjoy playing with the latest electric drift cars and special drift cars designed for kids. Indulge in a variety of delicious Japanese-themed drinks inspired by Initial D.

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Best Things to Do in Shikoku

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 21. Explore the 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Photo By shikoku-tourism

One of the most iconic attractions in Shikoku is the 88 Temple Pilgrimage, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage that spans the entire island. This pilgrimage, known as the Shikoku Henro, takes visitors on a spiritual journey to 88 temples associated with the famous Buddhist monk Kukai. Whether you choose to complete the entire pilgrimage or visit a few select temples, this experience offers a unique insight into Japanese culture and spirituality.

The Iya Valley, nestled in the heart of Shikoku, is a remote and picturesque region known for its stunning landscapes and traditional thatched-roof houses. Take a walk across the vine bridges, explore the lush forests, and soak in the natural hot springs. For a unique experience, stay in a traditional Japanese inn, known as a ryokan, and savor the local cuisine.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 22. Touch the skies at Hachigo-kiri Unkai

Hachigo-kiri Unkai covered in clouds

Photo By Fabrizio Conti (@conti_photos) on Unsplash

Come and discover the enchanting beauty of Hachigo-kiri Unkai, the most mystical destination in Shikoku! Witness the extraordinary sight of the “sea of clouds” as the morning mist gracefully rises from the Yoshina River and reaches towards the heavens. Marvel at this breathtaking panorama from the Asahi Outlook and allow yourself to be transported to a mesmerizing world reminiscent of Ghibli’s Spirited Away. For the best experience, we suggest visiting Hachigo-kiri Unkai between March and April, or October and December, when the clouds are at their densest.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 23. Cross the Iya Valley via zipline

a bridge above a creak in Iya Valley

Photo By Robyn Jay on Flickr

Who needs bridges when exploring the Iya Valley? Opt for zip lines instead! For an exhilarating experience in Shikoku, grab a harness and zoom past nature. At the Forest Adventure Iya Valley near the Kazurabashi Vine Bridge, you can enjoy various obstacle courses, from suspended treetops to zip lines over rivers and gorges. It guarantees a fun-filled time for the whole family!

Best Things to Do in Japan : 24. Trek the trails of Mount Tsurugi

a man standing somewhere in Mount Tsurugi posing for a photo

Photo By Stephan Ridgway on Flickr

What is Shikoku famous for? Its notable mountain ranges, particularly Mount Tsurugi, stand out. With a height of 1,955 feet, it is the second tallest mountain in western Japan and also the most accessible for hikers. Surprisingly, reaching the summit is not as challenging as one might think. Thanks to the climber’s lift, it takes roughly half an hour or less to reach the top. From there, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the Seto Inland Sea, and even Okaya in Nagano. Interestingly, Mount Tsurugi is recognized as one of Japan’s “100 Famous Mountains,” so missing out on the opportunity to witness its beauty firsthand would be a rarity.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 25. Travel back in time to Udatsu

a couple walking along a quaint street in Udatsu

Photo By irisgazer on Flickr

If you’re a history enthusiast looking for things to do in Shikoku, you’re in luck! Tokushima offers an abundance of historical and cultural experiences. One must-visit spot is Udatsu Street, a charming neighborhood showcasing a collection of traditional Japanese homes that date back to the Edo period (1603-1867). Take a leisurely walk through this area, and you’ll be captivated by the beautifully adorned houses adorned with family crests, intricate woodwork, and protective demons on their rooftops. Additionally, Udatsu Street is home to some of Japan’s finest indigo-crafting workshops, allowing you to immerse yourself in the ancient art form that has been practiced for over a millennium.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 26. Have breakfast and tea at Ritsurin Garden

a pathway near a pond in the Ritsurin Garden

Photo By Wei-Te Wong on Flickr

Attention tea enthusiasts, prepare to be delighted! The stunning flora found within the captivating Ritsurin Garden will transport you into the pages of a storybook. Renowned for its timeless beauty, this garden showcases a breathtaking display of 1,000 blooming plants throughout the year. And the cherry on top? You have the opportunity to savor these enchanting sights while luxuriating in a piping hot cup of green tea at the Kikugetsutei Traditional Tea House. For just JPY3,000, immerse yourself in a delectable assortment of Japanese delicacies, accompanied by comforting miso soup and revitalizing ocha. Undoubtedly, this is a must-do experience for any tea lover visiting Shikoku!

Best Things to Do in Japan : 27. Discover sea life at the Shikoku Aquarium

a man looking into a fish tank with hammerhead sharks in Shikoku Aquarium

Photo By Shikoku Aquarium

With its location sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea, it comes as no surprise that this island is teeming with a variety of marine creatures. The Shikoku Aquarium is the perfect place to encounter sea jellies, penguins, sharks, and schools of fish that call the Naruto Strait their home. In addition, the aquarium offers a captivating light exhibit showcasing the legend of Ryugu Shrine, as well as an entertaining dolphin show to keep the younger ones engaged.

two girls happily making udon Photo By Katerina Holmes on Pexels[/caption]

If you’re a food enthusiast, Shikoku offers a plethora of activities to indulge in. In addition to its beautiful natural surroundings, the Kagawa prefecture beckons with its delectable cuisine, particularly the renowned udon noodles. Immerse yourself in the culinary art at the Nakano Udon School, where you’ll have the opportunity to roll, knead, cut, and even stomp your way to creating this special dish. Following your culinary adventure, you’ll have the chance to savor your own creation, resulting in a memorable experience to treasure.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 29. Take a day trip to Naoshima “Art” Island

man jumping for joy beside a Yayoi Kusama art installation in Naoshima Island

Photo By Lorie Shaull on Flickr

Shikoku, particularly Naoshima Island, is a haven for modern art enthusiasts. This small island is teeming with awe-inspiring artworks created by renowned Japanese artists as well as emerging talents. As you disembark at Miyanoura Port, you’ll be welcomed by Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Red Pumpkin, a popular spot for capturing memorable photos on the island. Additionally, you can explore the architectural marvel of the Ando Museum, masterfully designed by Tadao Ando himself. Another unique attraction is the I Love Yu bathhouse, characterized by its mosaic decorations and an impressive elephant statue within its premises.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 30. Cruise the Shimanto River on a yakatabune (traditional roofed boat)

a view of the Shimanto River and people crossing a bridge

Photo By azumaya888 on Flickr

To conclude our selection of the top activities in Shikoku, we highly recommend exploring the Shimanto River, famously known as the “Last Clear Stream of Japan.” This pristine gem showcases a freely flowing river with remarkably transparent waters. Embarking on a yakatabune, a traditional Japanese boat with a roof, will offer you unparalleled views of enchanting forested canyons, undulating hills, and timeless farmlands that have retained their natural beauty over the ages.

Best Things to Do in Kyoto

Best Things to Do in Japan : 31. Visit Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

a pagoda in the middle of a lake surrounded by trees

Photo by Jean Vella

One of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks, Kinkaku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf. The reflection of the pavilion in the surrounding pond creates a breathtaking sight. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 32. Explore Fushimi Inari Taisha

empty hallway

Photo by David Emrich

Fushimi Inari Taisha is famous for its thousands of vibrant red torii gates that lead up to the sacred Mount Inari. Take a hike through the gates and enjoy the stunning views of Kyoto from the top. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the god of rice and prosperity, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 33. Wander Through Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

empty pathway between bamboo trees

Photo by Matteo Ferrero

Step into a fairytale-like world as you walk through the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. The towering bamboo stalks create a serene atmosphere, transporting you to another time. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning gardens.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 34. Discover the Geisha District of Gion

2 women in white and red floral dress walking on sidewalk during daytime

Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

Take a step back in time as you explore the historic district of Gion, known for its traditional wooden machiya houses and geisha culture. Spot geishas in their elegant kimonos as they make their way to appointments. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Hanami-koji Street, lined with teahouses and exclusive restaurants.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 35. Visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple

aerial photo of temple

Photo by Nolan Di Meo

Kiyomizu-dera Temple offers panoramic views of Kyoto from its wooden terrace, which juts out from the main hall. This UNESCO World Heritage site is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season when the temple is surrounded by a sea of pink flowers. Explore the temple’s various halls and pagodas, each with its own unique charm.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 36. Explore Nijo Castle

green tree near white and brown building

Photo by Nicholas Doherty

Step into the world of samurais as you visit Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This magnificent castle complex features stunning gardens, intricate artwork, and the famous “nightingale floors” that chirp when walked upon to alert against intruders. Take a guided tour to learn about the castle’s fascinating history.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 37. Stroll Through the Philosopher’s Path

Photo By Klook

Take a leisurely walk along the Philosopher’s Path, a scenic trail that follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees. This picturesque path is particularly popular during cherry blossom season when the trees are in full bloom. Enjoy the tranquility and beauty of this peaceful walk.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 38. Visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace

Photo By Japan Guide

Explore the former residence of the Imperial family at the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of this grand palace complex. The beautiful gardens surrounding the palace are perfect for a peaceful stroll.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 39. Discover the Nishiki Market

a couple of women standing next to each other in front of a store

Photo by Owen Roth

Indulge your senses at the Nishiki Market, a bustling food market known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen.” Explore the narrow streets filled with stalls selling fresh seafood, local produce, and traditional Japanese snacks. Sample some of Kyoto’s famous delicacies, such as yuba (tofu skin) and matcha-flavored sweets.

Best Things to Do in Japan : 40. Explore the Kyoto International Manga Museum

Photo By travel-kyoto-maiko.com

For manga enthusiasts, a visit to the Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must. This unique museum houses an extensive collection of manga and offers interactive exhibits where visitors can read and create their own manga. Immerse yourself in the world of Japanese comics and learn about their cultural significance.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 41. Take a Boat Ride on the Hozu River

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Experience the essence of Japan’s four seasons on the pristine waters of the Hozugawa River. Witness the eternal flow of the river as it carves magnificent sculptures out of enormous rocks and uniquely shaped boulders. Delight in the playful dance of fish and the graceful flight of water birds through the ravine. Skilled boatmen expertly guide their vessels through the breathtaking yet untamed landscape, employing traditional techniques. Step aboard a luxurious boat journey that transports you to a world of awe-inspiring beauty and soothing tranquility, where you can fully embrace serenity and immerse yourself in joyful serenity.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 42. Visit the Kyoto Railway Museum

Photo By kyoto railway museum

Train enthusiasts will love the Kyoto Railway Museum, one of the largest railway museums in Japan. Explore the extensive collection of vintage trains, interactive exhibits, and simulators. Learn about the history of Japan’s railways and the technological advancements that have shaped the country’s transportation system.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 43. Visit Kyoto Aquarium

Photo By Klook

Come and explore the Kyoto Aquarium to encounter the diverse marine creatures thriving in the prefecture’s waterways! In addition to showcasing the local aquatic life, this attraction also presents a variety of fish species from around the globe. Engage in interactive events that are frequently organized here, guaranteeing a delightful experience where you can discover the mesmerizing wonders of the sea. Moreover, don’t miss the chance to witness an entertaining dolphin show and indulge in feeding the playful penguins.

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Best Things to Do in Japan : 44. Visit Kyoto Tower

Photo By Klook

During your visit, take pleasure in an exclusive view of Kyoto city from the observation deck of Kyoto Tower, elevated at 100 meters. Discover a fresh perspective while sightseeing renowned attractions like Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Toji Temple, Chion-in Temple, and even catch a glimpse of Osaka in the distance! Additionally, relish the facilities offered by the building, which include souvenir shops, a restaurant, a sky lounge, and a public bath house.

Why Not Holiday Tips : A beautiful time to visit would be at sunset, around 7:00pm during the summer and 5:00pm in winter

Best Things to Do in Japan : 45. Experience Zen Meditation at a Temple

person doing yoga on floor

Photo by JD Mason

End your visit to Kyoto with a moment of tranquility by participating in a Zen meditation session at one of the city’s temples. Learn about the principles of Zen Buddhism and practice mindfulness under the guidance of a monk. This serene experience will leave you with a sense of inner peace.

More Best Things to Do in Japan

Transportation in Tokyo

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