Tuna Auction in Tsukiji fish market (Photo: Senén Germade)
- 4 min read

5 Things Everyone Must Try and See in Japan

A simple guide for a traveler new to Japan

For those traveling to Japan for the first time or those who are looking for new experiences, we suggest five things. Some of these things we are going to mention, such as mummers’ cafes and unique Japanese photo booths cannot be found in any other country. Intrigued? Let’s start the list!

1. Visit the fish market

Japan consists of thousands of islands, so the seafood trade in the country is booming. In each shipping port, you can find a fish market, which is open not only to wholesalers but also ordinary people.

Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish trading market in the country, and it is pretty popular among tourists. But to see the tuna auction and the morning rush, you have to get up early and visit the market at about 5 o'clock in the morning.

If you do not have a great desire to climb out of bed so early, you can take your time: locals and other people come to market about 8-9 AM. At the same time, restaurants and shops open up, where you can taste freshly grilled fish or sushi.

2. Mummers cafes (Maid Café)

Mummers’ cafes became popular in Japan in 2001. Their primary goal was to create a comfortable environment for anime and Japanese comics (manga) fans who visit after work to relax and have the opportunity to spend their time with the maid or their favorite characters.

Now there are a number of different cafes, some of them have employees dress up as young girls, the other - nuns, anime heroes or damsels. You can even find cafes where men are dressed as women.

Maids welcome guests with slogan "Welcome, master." Then they only hang out or for an extra fee can play together computer or board games, may massage hands, neck, clean your ears, fed with a spoon, etc.

These cafes are very popular in Japan so now in Tokyo alone there are more than 200 of them, and the majority of customers visit them on a regular basis every day after work.

Do not think that these services are used by men only. According to 2007 data, 35 percent of visitors were women. This is probably one of the strangest forms of spending leisure time in Japan, and it can gift you a pretty unique experience.

3. Visit the trendy Harajuku district

Harajuku is a district in Tokyo where teenagers gather and hang around. In this area, you can find a lot of cafes, small shops, bars, and restaurants - everything fashionable teens need to have a good leisure

Yoyogi Park Harajuku is one of Tokyo's green areas and the most popular place among fashionable young people to meet with their friends, to look at others or prove their sense of style.

Here in one place, you can see punks, goths, girls with schooling uniforms, manga and anime heroes. Sunday afternoon is the best time to see the real Harajuku life because in Japan it is the only day off for students.

4. Have a picnic in Japanese gardens

Japanese gardens are a kind of art that has existed in Japan for more than 1,000 years. The gardens are designed for different purposes: ones for praying, others for walking or just sitting. Often people have picnics there, read, play with the kids or just spend their afternoons.

So during your trip, we recommend to slow your pace and spend a few hours eating and observing people in the park. Traditional beer cafes (Summer Beer Gardens) can also be found there so that you can enjoy a nice glass of beer and fantastic surroundings.

5. Take a photo with Purikura

Purikura is a Japanese photo booth, which uses a computer algorithm that can automatically change your appearance. In these pictures you will look more like as anime characters, than to yourself – you might alter the size of the eye, the skin brightness, lip color, etc.

Purikura is targeted to teenagers, more precisely - Japanese girls who want to get photographed when spending time with her friends at computer cafe or supermarket.

After a short (about 3 minutes) photo shoot you can edit the images on the screen, include selected items from a menu - the date, additional accessories, notes, background, and so on. Upon completion of editing pictures, they immediately are printed. So you can get a pretty unique and fun souvenir from Japan.

The article was brought to you by Travel Ticker – a website designed to make traveling cheaper and easier.

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Justin Velgus 7 years ago
Interesting choice of 5 must activities. Of course everyone has their own. My list may include things like ride the shinkansen (bullet train), visit a temple/shrine, and do a nomihoudai all-you-can-drink (and survive!)
Victoria Vlisides 7 years ago
Puri Kura is a must - !
Jihad Mahmoud 7 years ago
I have yet to use different Purikura. I have tried it once and it was hilarious :)

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