We only had 5 days in Japan and honestly, we couldn’t fit all the activities that I had planned in my head. Last week I posted my video “Fun in Japan” and briefly explained a couple of things that we did for fun. Today in this post, I will be covering those same places plus a few ones with additional information. Some of them I have experienced first hand, some others I haven’t. Some of them I find awesome, some others not so much but, of course, that’s just personal opinion.

Before you continue reading, don’t forget to watch my YouTube video 😉

Fun things to do in Japan

Neverending quirkiness

I have always found Japanese entertainment quite atypical yet fascinating. The whole manga culture, the little trinkets and every unique quirky practice are what I think makes Japan stand out from any other country in the world.

Arcades

Japanese people love arcades, so you can find games for any age group and any type of preference. A few things that caught my attention about this popular entertainment activity are the following:

Fun in Japan
Arcade buildings in Akihabara, Tokyo
  • Pachinko is the most popular gambling arcade game. It seems to be highly addictive since Pachinko parlours are in every corner and always full of people.
  • Some arcades can be 4 floors high, each of them specialising in a particular type of game.
  • I didn’t know most of the games in the arcade buildings!
  • Music or rhythm games are a thing!
  • Inside arcades, there were signs notifying people that it was prohibited to take videos and they accuse people who do so of voyeurs. (Hence I have no footage of the inside of an arcade, not even of the sign.)
  • One of the most popular online arcade games at the moment is Fate/Grand Order Arcade. In my opinion, those games are too complicated, if you ask me I prefer the old school Pang and Space Invaders.
  • Big arcades are company-owned so you will only be able to find their own developed games.

Real life Mario Kart

Photo credit: Liz MC. License through Creative Commons

Going to an arcade not enough for you? Put on the Yoshi costume and race around the streets of Tokyo! You will need an international driving license to participate. I didn’t have one so obviously I am going to have to come back to Japan.

Themed cafés

For more random quirkiness, Tokyo has specialized in creating themed cafes or restaurants where you can find a variety of random servers. Some examples are the Kawaii Monster café, the Robot café, maid cafés, variations of maid cafés that result in women dressed as ninjas, pirates… and of course, the well-known animal cafés. I have not visited any of these places, and the reason is simple: they are low-quality food and beverage joints. Actually, I have been to a pet cafe. They need to stop calling them cafés though, might as well call it a mini zoo. Food and drinks are the least important things in these places. If you want to look at strange things or have a fun time with your friends, go ahead, but be sure to eat before you get there.

Kawaii culture

Cuteness in your face!! Kawaii literally means cute. Everything in Japan, I swear to you, is cute. There is no specific location to go to experience cuteness, it’s just part of Japanese culture so it is embedded into most mundane activities. From street signs to facial masks to food presentation… It’s like you are living inside a kids’ cartoon.

Dress up

tourists having fun dressed with kimono
Two tourists dressed up in kimonos

You can rent a traditional kimono for a day and wander around the most traditional neighbourhoods of Kyoto. Or dress like your favourite Anime character and participate in a cosplay event in Akihabara. Your choice!

More traditional ways to have fun

Above, I focused on fun activities that are very unique to Japan, but you can always find more traditional ways to enjoy your time in the country.

Fuji Q Highland

An amusement park with top-rated roller coasters, a 0% rate of completion success escape room and a not-so-scary haunted house (even though sings said otherwise). Travelling by any chance with your dog? Well, now you can enter the park with them, provided they are medium or small-sized. Poor Drogo would not be allowed in.

have fun in Japan visiting the amusement park Fuji Q

If you want one of those skip-the-line tickets, it can be a bit tedious. You have to purchase each ticket individually for each attraction and stick to a time slot. If you buy a few, you will find yourself running around the park trying to get to the next rollercoaster on time.

The highlight for me was to briefly see Mt. Fuji from the top of Fujiyama, the King of Coasters. I can’t say I enjoyed the ride, but it was a non-traditional way to see the renowned mountain.

I get that amusement parks are not unique to this country. Still, I think this is an enjoyable activity and if you are travelling with kids they would appreciate having such a fun day in Japan.

Karaoke

Most of us know that all Asian countries are big on karaoke. What you might not know is that, unlike in western countries, people rent private rooms for small groups. If you are embarrassed to sing in a bar full of strangers, this is your chance to shine in private!

Spot a Geisha!

ve fun in Japan spotting a geisha or maiko
the real geisha or maiko

A more casual way to have fun while walking around the streets is to spot a Geisha. It’s not as simple as it might seem. Some tourists dress up in traditional garments and can be easily mistaken in the distance. Geishas, Geikos (terminology used in Kyoto) or Maikos (an apprentice Geisha) will usually have a very detailed hairstyle and spotless makeup. And most obvious, they will not be carrying a camera to take selfies with their other geisha friends.

Well, that’s all I think would be fun to do in Japan. What are your thoughts? Have I missed anything? Are you dying to try any of these activities or would you pay to stay away from them? Let me know in the comments!

Japan is a country full of contrast. Ancient history and culture but also the quirkiest ways to have fun. When you visit the country make sure you participate in the most original activities to complement your visit to the land of the rising sun. In this post, you will read about different ways in which you can have fun in the country. Some of them will surprise you!
Japan is a country full of contrast. Ancient history and culture but also the quirkiest ways to have fun. When you visit the country make sure you participate in the most original activities to complement your visit to the land of the rising sun. In this post, you will read about different ways in which you can have fun in the country. Some of them will surprise you!

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18 Comments

  1. Hi Patricia,

    OMG! You made me miss Japan. I lived an entire year in Japan. I’m in love with the country. I can’t wait to go back. And I will definitely get an international drivers licence because I so want to race around Tokyo in some funny costume. That would be so much fun and crazy!

    Thanks for this lovely post!
    Diana

    1. In all honesty, we were going non stop; although there are a couple of things that I didn’t get to do and will need to save for another visit 🙂

  2. My family is going to love Japan. My son loves arcades, my husband loves karaoke and I love dress up. Now I just have to decide kimono or anime?

  3. The real-life Mario Kart thing sounds so awesome! I only spent a few days in Japan when I was living in China, but I’d love to go back and see more of the country.

  4. I am aching to get to Japan!!! When I was younger I used to play a ton of Japanese video games with my brothers, so this just brought me right back to my childhood. I’ve seen the real life Mario Kart done before and it looks like a complete riot! The arcades look like they are quite something to see too – I love all the oddities found throughout the country. The themed cafes look like so much fun!

  5. I have read some really interesting takes on maid cafes and heard of the arcade life but real life Mario Kart?! Love it!

  6. I have always wanted to visit Kyoto after reading the book ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. I had no idea they are still out there. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Japan is my ultimate favourite country and I miss it so much. I was meant to travel there this to experience the cherry blossom but had my trip cancelled. I would love to try again next year. I would love to try the real life Mario Kart, looks fun. Have seen it several time while in Tokyo.

  8. Japan is such a unique culture. It’s amazing the things you can do there that you can’t anywhere else in the world! I visited a few years ago and spent about six weeks in the country (OMG expensive!) but the cafes, and anime and intense focus on specific facets of life were pretty fascinating.

    1. That’s very true. I only visited for 5 days but I got to experience so many unique things in such a short time. I find Japan a country with an interesting mix of traditional culture and modern lifestyle.

  9. The culture in Japan is so fascinating! I want to go back and learn more about it. All of your Japan posts are great. It feels like I’m actually there while reading them.

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