Things to Do Overview

Japan Is Full of Popular Theme Parks and Activities

Image of Universal Studios Japan
Photo:Universal Studios Japan

Japan is home to many popular activities and sightseeing destinations, including amusement parks, nature playgrounds, and more.

Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea), Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka, Fuji-Q Highland in Yamanashi Prefecture, and Asakusa Hanayashiki in Asakusa are just a few of the popular amusement parks in Japan that attract millions of foreign and domestic tourists every year. Other popular amusement parks among foreign visitors to Japan include Kamogawa Sea World in Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Nagashima Spa Land in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture, Funabashi Andersen Park in Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture, Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan's Kyushu region, and Ueno Zoo in Taito City, Tokyo.
When touring Japan, you can enjoy a variety of popular Japanese entertainment and activities, such as amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, parks, sightseeing boats, hot springs, farms, and even agricultural experiences!

Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka has been ranked number one for three years in a row on TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel review site, beating Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) in the 2019 theme park rankings chosen by global travelers, with more than 2 million foreign visitors to Japan annually, meaning approximately 1 in every 10 visitors to Japan visit the park.
A large number of visitors, mainly from China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, come to visit the park, where popular characters greet them, making it a highly recommended theme park that can be enjoyed by everyone from children to adults, and various events are held throughout the year as well.
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is ranked as the 25th most popular theme park in the world and the 3rd most popular theme park in Asia.

Tripadvisor's "Top 10 Most Popular Theme Parks in Japan 2019" is as follows:

No. 1 Universal Studios Japan [Osaka City, Osaka]
No. 2 Tokyo Disney Sea [Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture]
No. 3 Tokyo Disneyland [Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture]
No. 4 Tokyo One Piece Tower [Minato, Tokyo]
No. 5 Fuji-Q Highland [Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture]
No. 6 Nagashima Spa Land [Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture]
No. 7 Megaweb [Koto, Tokyo]
No. 8 Edo Wonderland [Edo Village, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture]
No. 9 Amanohashidate Viewland [Miyazu City, Kyoto]
No. 10 Shima Spain Village [Shima, Mie Prefecture]

One of the most popular activities among foreign visitors to Japan in recent years, and one that doesn't require a trip to an amusement park, is "karting," where you can dress up in cosplay costumes of famous anime and video game characters and drive around downtown tourist areas in go-karts.
In Tokyo, you can go karting in Asakusa, Shibuya, Ginza, and near Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree.

Explore Japan's Great Outdoors!

Image of Okinawa・Snorkeling

Covered in mountains and forests, Japan is a country rich in natural scenery, with four seasons - spring, summer, autumn and winter - and popular outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in each one.

Because Japan is an island nation surrounded by the sea on all sides, you can enjoy swimming and other popular outdoor activities, such as summer sports, water sports, and more at resorts in Okinawa and other locations throughout Japan during the summer months.
Summer sports and water sports activities in Japan include surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, inner tubing, hoverboarding, bodyboarding, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) yoga, beach yoga, sea kayaking, rafting, river rafting, canoeing, whale-watching, dolphin-watching, island tours, and more.

Japan's winter season can be extremely cold, and in some areas of northern Japan, such as the Sea of Japan and Hokkaido, there are several meters of snowfall each year, so you can enjoy winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, wagashi (Japanese pond smelt) fishing, airboarding, dog sledding tours, snow canyoning, ice walking, snow trekking, snow rafting, curling, ice climbing, winter canoeing, winter rafting, drift ice viewing, snowball fights, snow inner tubing, snow wakeboarding, and more!

There are also a number of popular games, activities, and outdoor leisure activities that can be enjoyed throughout the year in Japan's great outdoors.
Bungee jumping, sea and boat fishing, horse trekking, trekking, mountain biking, adventure/obstacle courses, horseback riding, BBQ (barbecue), climbing, glamping, boat cruises, bouldering, camping, picnicking, paragliding, parasailing, skydiving, hang-gliding, cycling, walking, running, and more can be enjoyed in various areas of Japan.
Try some of Japan's fun activities in the great outdoors!

Please note that many of these activities must be booked in advance via internet reservation.

Enjoying a Fun, Casual Time in Japan

Image of a rickshaw

There are also a plethora of facilities in Japan where you can enjoy indoor activities.
In the U.S. and other countries, the increase in the number of people playing games at home has led to the decline of arcade culture, but in Japan, you can still find game arcades on the streets!
In addition to game arcades, karaoke shops, manga cafes, internet cafes, bowling, billiards, VR experiences, and animal cafes such as cat cafes and owl cafes, are also popular as places where children can enjoy themselves as well.

Hands-on classes where you can experience traditional Japanese crafts are also popular among visitors to Japan, with pottery, bonsai, and maiko experiences being particularly high in demand.
"Food sample making" and "Origami," which are unique to Japanese modern culture, are also becoming more and more popular among foreigners.

There are also unique experiences, such as sake tasting at a sake brewery or making ramen noodles from scratch.
Here we'll list Tripadvisor's 2020 "Travelers' Choice! Top 30 Activities and Tours in Japan by International Travelers 2020."

No. 1 Akiba Fukurou (Owl Cafe) [Chiyoda City, Tokyo]
No. 2 Osaka Free Walking Tour [Osaka, Osaka]
No. 3 Tokyo Localized - Free Walking Tour in Tokyo & More [Chiyoda City, Tokyo]
No. 4 Street Kart Tour Akihabara #1 and others [Chiyoda City, Tokyo]
No. 5 Street Cart Osaka [Osaka City, Osaka]
No. 6 Street Kart KYOTO [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 7 Ebisuya, Kyoto Arashiyama (Rickshaw tours) [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 8 KUJIRA ENTERTAINMENT [Shinjuku, Tokyo]
No. 9 Ninja Food Tours [Shinjuku, Tokyo]
No. 10 Private English Tours, Machi-Taxi [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 11 Ami Kyoto [Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture]
No. 12 Kyoto Insider Sake Experience [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 13 Aloha Divers Okinawa [Kadena, Okinawa]
No. 14 Mayuko's Little Kitchen Japanese Cooking Class [Shibuya, Tokyo]
No. 15 Tokyo Ramen Tours [Meguro, Tokyo]
No. 16 MAIKOYA KYOTO [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 17 Turismo Victoria [Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefecture]
No. 18 Prime Scuba Ishigaki Diving Center - Day Tour [Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture]
No. 19 Nariko's Kitchen [Arakawa, Tokyo]
No. 20 KSK-Tour [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 21 Cooking School Yuka Mazda [Minato, Tokyo]
No. 22 Street Cart Okinawa [Naha City, Okinawa]
No. 23 Comburger -Cooking with Sato- [Shinjuku, Tokyo]
No. 24 Calligraphy Kyoto [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 25 Ebisuya Asakusa (Rickshaw tours) [Taito City, Tokyo]
No. 26 Ramen Factory Kyoto [Kyoto City, Kyoto]
No. 27 Tokyo Free Guide [Shinjuku, Tokyo]
No. 28 Samurai Armor Photo Studio [Shibuya, Tokyo]
No. 29 Tokyo Localized Free Walking Tour [Shinjuku, Tokyo]
No. 30 Initia Japanese Cooking Class [Kyoto City, Kyoto]

Theme park restaurants and concept restaurants with "kawaii," "robot," and "ninja" motifs are also popular places where you can enjoy Japanese food and entertainment at the same time!

Many of these amusement restaurants are scattered throughout Japan, and are visited by thousands of foreign travelers on a daily basis.
Here are some of the more unusual concept restaurants, izakaya, and bars you can expect to find throughout Japan:

・Restaurants based on the concept of a secret base where you can drink alcohol while watching robot anime
・Restaurants with a ghost motif interior and menu
・Restaurants where you can experience the world of the Arabian Nights
・Restaurants with a medical prison as the motif
・Restaurants where you can eat while enjoying a show by impersonators
・Izakaya where you can eat the fish caught in the fishing pond inside the establishment
・An Izakaya named after the popular professional wrestler Antonio Inoki
・Cafes with a vampire theme
・Restaurants that recreate the fantasy world of Alice in Wonderland
・Izakaya where you can drink alcohol and eat school lunches in a setting reminiscent of an elementary school classroom
・Izakaya with all-you-can-eat sweets
・Izakaya with a European church theme
・Izakaya with a gas station theme, where drinks are poured from a machine that resembles a gas station pump
・A restaurant where you can experience the riverbeds of Kyoto in Shinjuku, Tokyo
・Izakaya with a nostalgic atmosphere of the early Showa period
・Izakaya with the theme of the Warring States period and famous warlords
・Izakaya where ninja will welcome you to the establishment
・Restaurants with a prison theme where you're led into the restaurant in handcuffs
・A French dining restaurant in the image of a near-future space station
・An aquarium dining bar with a wall of water tanks
・The Robot Restaurant, chosen as "Japan's #1 Amusement Restaurant" by foreign tourists
・Izakaya where you can enjoy the world of the popular game "Monster Hunter"
・Izakaya in the image of a castle town in the Edo period
・Izakaya with the theme of the Shinsengumi and Sakamoto Ryoma, a hero at the end of the Edo period
・A concept izakaya based on the motif of the world of Cinderella
・Restaurants with VR and AR games
・Planetarium bars with a dim, romantic atmosphere
・Bars where penguins swim in the establishment
・Military bars where you can shoot air guns
・Railway izakaya with railway goods and train seats
・Canned food bars where you can eat canned food from different parts of the world
・Izakaya with monster figurines filling the restaurant
・A detective bar where you can actually request to do an investigation
・A monk bar where the barmaster is a practicing monk
・Izakaya with a haunted house theme

All of these restaurants, izakaya, and bars are interactive establishments that are sure to look great on Instagram!

You can now easily get information about these popular activities through the internet and social networking sites.
The latest technology, such as time-lapse photography, drones, and 4/8K videos, has been used to film these activities and transmit them to the world via YouTube and Vimeo. There are also many great local sightseeing PR videos and promotional videos from all over the country, which can be useful for gathering information before a trip.

COOL JAPAN VIDEOS is a site that introduces the charms of Japan, including fun and activities, through video!