Home to all things kawaii, Japan is the ideal place for those who want to experience the best of both worlds; it’s where cultural heritage meets the future—think high-rise buildings and rapid subways that don't feel out of place with the old Japanese houses, shrines, mountain tops, and cherry blossom trees. The streets are always alive, but you’ll also find yourself discovering a peaceful spot every now and then.
If you're after scenic travel photos, autumn is a great season to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. The weather is just right and it's the perfect time to do some sightseeing and soul-searching. Whether you're up for a food trip, street shopping, or simply enjoying the fall foliage, here are 10 things to do in Japan that will make you fall in love during the autumn season.
1. Cross the streets of Shibuya.
The pulsing Shibuya Crossing is defined as a place of movement, having hundreds of people going across particular directions all at the same time. It's the perfect spot to experience how energetic the country is.
2. Attend autumn festivals.
Make your trip extra merry and bright by going to various festivals, from witnessing float parades (check out the Niihama Taiko Festival) to art-themed ones (like the Design Festa). Expect a handful of performances and street markets lined with local cuisine and merchandise.
3. Rent a bicycle.
Here’s one fun way to explore Japan: Ride a bike. Not only can you feel the cold breeze caressing your skin, you can also bask in the beauty Japan has to offer without spending too much or getting too tired from walking. Opt for a mamachari (mom’s bicycle) that comes with a basket attached to get that ultimate anime vibes.
4. Get a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.
The Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Observation Deck are a must for first-time travelers. In here, you can see Japan from a bird's eye view and enjoy taking lots of pictures of the beautiful skyline.
5. Try authentic Japanese food.
What’s a Japan trip without authentic Japanese food? Osaka, known as the “kitchen of the nation,” is where you can “eat 'til you drop.” Spend time in food heaven a.k.a Dotonbori and at the Kuromon Market— both sprawling with food stalls for you to try, from seafood to yakitori (grilled skewered meat). Takoyaki? More like tako-yummy!
6. Experience how the Japanese commute.
Japan’s public transportation system is no joke. It’s high-tech and punctual—just like their people! You will be impressed with their bus, ferry, and railway system, too. Take the Shinkansen, which is a high-speed bullet train that's worth the price. If you’re on a budget, though, don’t worry: Tourists can avail of the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) that comes with unlimited rides for all Japan Railway Networks. Fun fact: The Japanese are known for being one of the most hospitable and friendly people in the world, so don't be afraid to ask for directions if ever you get lost!
7. Relax in a Japanese hot spring.
Nothing beats the classic experience of going to a spa—after all, the whole reason for going on a trip is to relax! Onsens (Japanese hot springs) are found everywhere, where you can truly unwind after a long day of walking or shopping. It might surprise you at first (you'll be required to go in naked, after all), but the feeling of dipping in a warm bath will leave all your worries behind.
8. Try their one-of-a-kind vending machines.
There are many unique finds you can get from Japan’s many vending machines! Taking convenience to a whole new level, apart from beverages, you can also purchase T-shirts, flowers, and even eggs, all with the click of a button.
9. Visit shrines and temples.
Surrounded by the stunning colors of fall, Japan’s shrines and temples will be a delight to visit. Take a trip down memory lane with their rich history and culture, preserved in these well-built structures. FYI, you can also roam around wearing a kimono!
10. Cap the night off at a Japanese pub.
Celebrate good times in a pub, Japanese-style! An izakaya is a go-to place for those who want to enjoy after work; you can have a round of drinks or eat-all-you-can dinner. The setting is lively and cheerful, so expect a lot of singing, dancing, and conversing.