Bucket List 2023: Things To Do In Japan

Japan is a country that offers a rich variety of experiences for travelers, from ancient temples to modern skyscrapers, from hot springs to thrilling theme parks and outdoor adventures. Whether you are looking for culture, history, nature, relaxation, or fun, Japan has something for everyone. Here are some of the things that you should not miss on your trip to Japan.

Climb Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is the highest and most iconic mountain in Japan, and a symbol of the country’s beauty and spirituality. Climbing to the summit of this majestic volcano is a challenge that many people aspire to achieve. The official climbing season is from July to September, when the weather is relatively stable and the trails are well-maintained. There are four main routes to choose from, each with different levels of difficulty and scenery. You can also enjoy the views of Mount Fuji from various locations around the mountain, such as Lake Kawaguchi, Hakone, or Shizuoka.  The cost of climbing Mount Fuji varies depending on your route, transportation, accommodation, and equipment, but it can range from $100 to $300 per person.

Visit the Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace (Kyokyo) is the official residence of the Emperor of Japan and a symbol of the country’s imperial history and tradition. The palace is located in the heart of Tokyo, surrounded by a moat and lush gardens. The palace grounds are open to the public on certain days of the year, such as January 2 (New Year’s Greeting) and December 23 (Emperor’s Birthday), when you can see the Emperor and his family greeting the crowds from a balcony.

Explore Tokyo’s Nightlife

Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, and offers a wide range of entertainment options for night owls. You can experience the dazzling neon lights and crowds of Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, or visit Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, where you can find bars, clubs, karaoke, arcades, restaurants, and more. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the city from Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree, or watch a traditional performance of kabuki, a form of classical Japanese theater that combines drama, music, dance, and costumes. The cost of visiting Tokyo depends on your itinerary, accommodation, and transportation choices, but it can range from $50 to $200 per day per person.

Experience Cherry Blossom Season

One of the most beautiful and popular times to visit Japan is during cherry blossom season (sakura), when the country is covered with delicate pink flowers that create a stunning contrast with the blue sky. The cherry blossoms usually bloom from late March to early May, depending on the region and weather conditions. You can enjoy the cherry blossoms in various ways, such as having a picnic under the trees (hanami), taking a boat ride along a river or canal, or visiting famous spots such as Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, or Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. The cost of experiencing cherry blossom season depends on your location, activities, and accommodation options, but it can range from $50 to $150 per day per person.

Learn about Hiroshima’s History

Hiroshima is a city that was devastated by an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, during World War II. Today, it is a city that promotes peace and resilience, and honors the memory of the victims and survivors of the tragedy. You can visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which displays exhibits and testimonies that tell the story of the bombing and its aftermath, or the Atomic Bomb Dome, which is a preserved ruin of a building that was directly under the explosion. You can also pay your respects at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, which contains a list of names of those who

Discover Kyoto’s Temples

Kyoto is the former capital and cultural heart of Japan, and a city that preserves its ancient heritage and charm. It is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines, many of which are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can visit some of the most famous ones such as Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizudera (Pure Water Temple), Fushimi Inari Taisha (Thousand Torii Gates), or Ryoanji (Rock Garden). Admire some of the other attractions and landmarks of Kyoto, such as the Nijo Castle, the Gion District, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, or the Nishiki Market. Experience some of the traditional arts and crafts of Kyoto, such as tea ceremony, kimono wearing, pottery making, or calligraphy. The cost of exploring Kyoto depends on your itinerary, transportation, and entrance fees, but it can range from $50 to $150 per day per person.

Enjoy Osaka’s Food

Osaka is Japan’s second-largest city and a gastronomic paradise, where you can find a variety of delicious dishes that reflect the city’s lively and friendly character. Some of the specialties that you should try in Osaka include takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), and kuidaore (eat until you drop). You can also visit Dotonbori, a bustling street along a canal that is lined with restaurants, shops, and neon signs, or Kuromon Market, where you can buy fresh seafood, meat, vegetables, and more.

Have Fun at Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan is one of the most popular theme parks in Japan, where you can enjoy rides, shows, and attractions based on your favorite movies and characters. You can explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can visit Hogwarts Castle, ride a broomstick, or drink butterbeer; or experience the thrill of Jurassic Park, where you can encounter dinosaurs and escape from a T-rex. You can also visit other areas such as Minion Park, Super Nintendo World, Hollywood Dream, and more.

Relax at an Onsen

An onsen is a natural hot spring that is believed to have healing and relaxing properties. Japan has thousands of onsens across the country, each with different water quality, temperature, and scenery. You can enjoy an onsen in various settings, such as in a traditional inn (ryokan), a public bathhouse (sento), or an outdoor pool (rotenburo). Some of the most famous onsen destinations in Japan include Beppu, Hakone, Kusatsu, Noboribetsu, and Nyuto. When visiting an onsen, make sure to follow the etiquette rules, such as washing yourself before entering the water, not wearing any clothes or accessories, and being respectful of other guests.

So, these are some of the things I want to do in Japan in 2023. I hope you enjoyed reading my bucket list, and maybe got some inspiration for your own. Japan is such a wonderful and diverse country, and I can’t wait to explore it more. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more updates on my travel plans!

For more travel inspo, please check out my post about the most affordable holiday destinations: 10 Affordable Holiday Destinations