There’s no doubt that Japan has a lot to offer visitors, consider the fact that its incredible cuisine consistently ranks amongst the world’s finest; its cities are dichotomous marvels of both tradition and modernity; and its cultural exports continue to find fans across the globe.
As tourist interest in Japan continues to grow, the destination has put together a wide range of attractions that include everything from art exhibits to a living recreation of 17th century Japan.
The following are just a few examples of what Japan has to offer its visitors:
- Walk among the Samurai at Edo Wonderland — The Edo period is Japan’s version of the Wild West: an era romanticized in film, art, and culture for its quintessential “coolness”. Tochigi Prefecture is the home of Edo wonderland: a cultural theme park channeling the architecture and atmosphere of life in the 17th century. Don a kimono and interact with ninja and samurai in this faithful recreation of Edo life. Daily performances include traditionally themed shows, outdoor live shows, street performances, parades, seasonal festivals and special events. The ninja maze is a highlight, requiring those quick in mind and body to interpret ninja proverbs in order to progress through a maze of secret doors and moving panels.
- Go Beyond at teamLab Borderless Tokyo — Usually recognized for the Toyosu fish market and giant Gundam statue, Odaiba has a new claim to fame as home to an art gallery without boundaries. A fixture on social media throughout 2019, Borderless is an immersive experience designed by art collective teamLab to make artists of us all. Travel through each cosmic dreamscape and re-frame it with your cell phone. Bounce and slide along the surface of the moon into a room of giant orbs. Draw pictures of fish and scan them to find them swimming along the walls as you navigate a forest of lanterns. Art comes alive in this one-of-a-kind exhibit that transports you to a truly new world.
- Embrace the Brick at Legoland Japan Resort, Nagoya — We’ve all built a few Lego trains and spaceships in our day, but this is ridiculous! Marvel at ten recreated Japanese landmarks like Osaka Station (67,000 Lego blocks!) and Tokyo Sky Tree (600,000 Lego blocks!!). There’s even a dynamic rendition of Miyajima’s Itsukushima Shrine equipped with water pumps to simulate the tidal flow. These are truly awesome structures that, along with Lego-shaped French fries and Lego-shaped hot dog buns, serve to whet one’s appetite for other attractions like the aquarium, Ninja-Go Puppet Show, and over 40 rides.
- Savour a Signature at Starbucks Reserve Roastery — Recently opened in Tokyo’s Nakameguro district, this ‘coffee wonderland’ is only the fifth of its kind in the world and a can’t-miss pilgrimage for devotees of a good cup of joe. Staffed by master roasters and baristas crafting custom and experimental beverages, this four floor 3000-ft space is an aesthetic marvel built to honour traditional Japanese architecture and construction materials. Signature beverages use exotic ingredients like coffee beans aged in whiskey barrels, providing indelible flavours you won’t find anywhere else.
- Find the Next Level at Nintendo Tokyo — Perhaps no two characters have dominated the last few decades as a certain electric rodent and a mustachioed plumber have. Tokyo’s brand-new Nintendo flagship store is the best place to score the Pokemon and Mario merchandise of your dreams. Located on the 6th floor of the Shibuya Parco department store in the ever-trendy Shibuya district, this sprawling megastore offers tons of merchandise reflecting Nintendo’s incredible history and beloved characters. The perfect shopping excursion for those who fondly remember finding an SNES under their tree at Christmas.
In the photos
Top: Lab Borderless – courtesy of TeamLab Borderless
Bottom: Legoland – photo by A. Waxman