First Time Visiting Japan? Where to Go

First time visiting Japan, where to go? Japan is a mysterious and magnificent country unlike any other. There are so many incredible things to do there that one visit never suffices.

It offers something for everyone, from ancient shrines to modern skyscrapers, traditional tea ceremonies to fine dining, costumed go-kart rides to traditional tea ceremonies, and much more.

Whether you are on a family vacation, a romantic honeymoon, or a solo trip, there are plenty of activities and places to explore.

10 Top Places to Go for First Time Visiting Japan

10 Top Places to Go for First Time Visiting Japan

Here are some must-go places to go on your first visit:

Asakusa Senso-ji Temple

The Asakusa neighborhood of Tokyo has a more traditionally Japanese atmosphere than other parts of the city, making it one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations. This is home to the famous Senso-Ji temple and one of the city’s oldest geisha districts.

Senso-ji Temple is Tokyo’s oldest and most colourful temple, with a 200-meter shopping street. Visitors apply incense smoke to their bodies to treat ailments and improve their health. The shrine hosts annual festivals such as the Sanja Matsuri, Asakusa Samba Carnival, and Hagoita-ichi.

Address: 2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan

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Tsukiji Outer Market

Tsukiji Fish Market was once known for its tuna auctions. Although these auctions are no longer held there, the market still has a lot to offer.

The outer market is still open to tourists and contains a plethora of restaurants and sushi shops, as well as small cafés, noodle shops, and cooking-supply stores, all of which serve delicious meals at reasonable prices. Hot tamagoyaki on sticks, or Japanese-style omelettes, is a popular local dish.

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Miho Museum

The famous architect I. M. Pei designed the Miho Museum, which is located west of central Koka. The museum’s collection includes artefacts from ancient civilizations such as the Romans, Egyptians, and other Asian cultures, with the majority coming from the founder’s – Koyama Mihoko’s – private collection.

The primary exhibit rotates once a year, while special exhibits change every few months. The museum’s structural design is fascinating, with each aspect seamlessly integrated into the natural surroundings. The interior features steel, glass, and stones that contrast with the scenic views of the surroundings.

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Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizudera, also known as the Pure Water Temple, is a must-see for anyone visiting Japan for the first time. It was built in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the lush forests east of Kyoto, and its name derives from the purity of the fall’s waters.

The temple’s wooden platform offers visitors a stunning view of the many cherry and maple trees on the hill below, which bloom in a burst of colour in the spring and fall. The Jishu Shrine is said to bring visitors luck in finding love if they can navigate from one of the shrine’s stones to another.

The Otowa Waterfall is divided into three streams, each of which is thought to provide distinct benefits, including academic success, longevity, and a prosperous love life.

Address: 1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan

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Golden Pavilion

Another must-see attraction in Kyoto is Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. The gleaming gold temple is mirrored in a pond surrounded by lush greenery, creating a breathtaking sight. Gold was an excellent strategic addition to the pavilion due to its inherent symbolism and visual appeal.

In ancient times, gold was used to cleanse and reduce impurities, as well as any negative feelings or thoughts about mortality. Furthermore, it reflects the sun’s light, making it appear brighter against the background.

Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, and it can get extremely crowded. Hundreds of bright orange torii gates wind up the mountainside through a forest, and completing the entire track takes about 90 minutes.

After making an offering and praying to the kami, visitors walk out onto the grounds to admire the vermilion torii gates. Even if you don’t have time to walk around the shrine, a little stroll will reward you with a breathtaking view of Kyoto.

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

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Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

A bamboo forest, with its tall green stalks flowing in the breeze, has a beautiful Japanese feel to it. Arashiyama in Kyoto is perhaps Japan’s most famous bamboo forest, and visiting it is regarded as one of the best things to do while in Japan.

The tall bamboo stalks make a soothing rustling sound. Even in the tourist crowds, it is easy to lose track of time and become immersed in the relaxing atmosphere.

Address: Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8394, Japan

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Miyajima Island

Outside of Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine, particularly the colossal torii gate that appears to float on the water. Miyajima is a romantic destination, and staying at one of the ryokans is the best way to experience it.

Although there are usually a lot of day travellers, the neighbourhood is much quieter and more serene at night. You can also spot friendly wild deer on the island.

Address: Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588, Japan

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Nara Deer Park

Nara is an excellent day trip destination from Kyoto. It was Japan’s first permanent capital and is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is a great place to go if you like deer and want to see them in their natural environment. In Shintoism, deer are considered gods’ messengers. In Nara Park, nearly 1,200 peaceful deer roam freely.

Address: Nara, Japan

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The Himeji Castle

The Himeji Castle, also known as the White Heron Castle, is widely regarded as the most spectacular castle in the country due to its well-preserved, elegant, and complex architecture. The Sannomaru section is an excellent location for photographs due to the idyllic view of the castle from the cherry blossom trees.

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions.

Are there any Cultural Experiences I Should not Miss on my First Visit to Japan?

Take part in a tea ceremony, see a traditional kabuki performance, try on a kimono, attend a sumo wrestling match, and explore the beautiful gardens and temples that reflect Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

What Outdoor Activities Can Nature Lovers Enjoy in Japan?

Consider exploring Hakone’s scenic landscapes, hiking in the Japanese Alps, visiting the picturesque town of Kamakura, or relaxing in onsens (hot springs) in places like Beppu or Noboribetsu.

How Many Days Should I Spend in Kyoto to Fully Enjoy the City?

Spending at least 3-4 days in Kyoto will allow you to visit the city’s major temples and gardens, as well as experience its rich cultural heritage.


Place a trip to Japan at the top of your travel bucket list. This popular destination provides everything you could want in a memorable adventure, whether you dream of seeing Mount Fuji, smelling cherry blossoms, or savouring an authentic bowl of ramen in Tokyo.