Best Places To Visit In Japan For First Timers & Where To Stay

Best Places To Visit In Japan For First Timers & Where To Stay
| 6 min read

Japan is a dream destination for many travelers across the globe, and it’s easy to understand why! The country is known to have a low crime rate, making it one of the safest places in the world—an enticing factor that attracts many people to come. That aside, the “Land of the Rising Sun” boasts eclectic offerings and attractions, including the cultural temples and shrines in Kyoto, the world’s busiest intersection Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, and the natural hot springs in Hakone, among many others.

In this article, we’ll introduce some of the major tourist attractions in Japan and nearby accommodations to stay in to save you from doing the legwork. Read on for a carefully curated article about the best places to visit in Japan for first timers & where to stay.

Check out other recommended Rakuten Stay rentals in Japan

Where To Stay Near Mount Fuji For The Best View

Where To See Cherry Blossoms In Japan & Where To Stay

10 Vacation Rentals In Japan For All Kinds Of Travelers

Top 11 Vacation Rentals In Japan With Tatami Room

Top 14 Beautiful Rauken STAY Vacation Rentals In Japan

Top 10 Family-Friendly Rakuten STAY Vacation Rentals In Japan

8 Beautiful Rakuten STAY Beach Vacation Rentals In Japan

Best Amusement Parks In Japan To Visit & Where To Stay

6 Best Vacation Homes With Private Hot Spring In Japan

Stayed at this property?


Source: Photo by Flickr user Reginald Pentinio used under CC BY 2.0

Osaka is the second-smallest prefecture in Japan. The prefecture is the perfect spot to sample Japan’s delicious native street food, takoyaki and okonomiyaki. It’s also the gateway to the family-friendly Universal Studios Japan, the historical stone-built landmark Osaka Castle, the Instagrammable Glico running man billboard in Dotonbori, and the 103-meter (337.93 foot) steel Tsūtenkaku with an observation deck where you can view the stunning city skyline.

Here’s a conveniently located apartment that offers easy access to the popular points of interest.

Stayed at this property?

1. Stylish apartment overlooking Umeda Sky Building (from USD 97)

In this stylish apartment, you can marvel at the amazing night views of Umeda Sky Building, one of the tallest buildings in Osaka. This rental comes equipped with an adequate kitchenette with a dining area, an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub, and a ceiling light with a projector.

The area of Umeda and the red HEP Five Ferris wheel are within walking distance from here, while the Central Exit-North Gate of Osaka Station is only about 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) away on foot. Osaka’s points of interest, such as Universal Studios Japan and Osaka Castle, are less than an hour away via train.

Stayed at this property?
1-8-16 Oyodonaka Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
482.94 km (300.1 mi) from Tochoji Temple
4 Beds 6 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom


Source: Photo by Flickr user OIST used under CC BY 2.0

The beach is calling! Okinawa is made up of 160 islands and islets and is steeped with rich historical heritage. This subtropical paradise is one of the favorite beach destinations in the country. Go snorkeling to catch sight of the beautiful coral reefs in Furuzamami Beach, witness the golden sunsets at Sunset Beach, or discover the underwater ruins on the seabed of Yonaguni.

Consider these lovely Rakuten properties if you’re planning a trip to Okinawa for the first time.

Stayed at this property?

2. Light-filled apartment in the city center (from USD 63)

Set in the city center of Naha, this light-filled apartment will put you close to many attractions and transportation lines as well as restaurants and convenience stores. Naha Bus Terminal is 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) away, while a train station is less than 1 kilometer (0.62 mile) away.

Additionally, NAHA CULTURAL ARTS THEATER NAHArt is just a 14-minute stroll from this property, making it an excellent starting base if you plan to watch a concert. Alternatively, the rental has streaming services and a projector if you prefer bingeing movies at home.

Stayed at this property?
1-1-24 Tsuboya, Naha, Japan
861.85 km (535.6 mi) from Tochoji Temple
6 Beds 6 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom

3. Chic rental near Tomari Port (from USD 56)

Outdoor adventurers keen on exploring remote islands will be delighted to stay in this chic rental near Tomari Port. The pier is just a three-minute stroll from here. Hence, you can easily ride a boat and navigate Okinawa’s isolated islands, such as Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aguni Island, Kume Island, and Daitō Islands.

Besides that, this property is idyllically positioned near the city’s heart, close to Miebashi Station and Naminoue Beach. Relieve your travel fatigue with a relaxing dip in the soaking tub after an exhausting day out.

Stayed at this property?
2-22-12 Maejima, Naha, Japan
860.77 km (534.9 mi) from Tochoji Temple
2 Beds 4 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom


Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zairon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The cultural epicenter of Japan is Kyoto, home to many temples designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Shinto shrines, and many other cultural treasures. Once the capital of Japan and the emperor’s residence, this prefecture is undoubtedly a place of significance! Nijo Castle, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Fushimi Inari Taisha, and Toji are some of the most notable sites that prove its cultural legacy.

Here are a couple of accommodation choices for you in beautiful Kyoto.

Stayed at this property?

4. Lovely accommodation with warm lights and sleek kitchen (from USD 18000)

One of the highlights of this property is the sleek kitchen, fully supplied with kitchenware and modern appliances. This accommodation is stark and dim-lit, creating a bold yet trendy and minimalist impression. Prepare a heavy breakfast in the kitchen to fuel your energy for an action-packed day.

Once recharged, take off to the famous attractions less than a 20-minute walk from the property, such as Toji, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. You can also immediately get to Kyoto Station, which is about 1.1 kilometers (0.68 miles) away.

Stayed at this property?
13-31 Nishisuyacho Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
513.79 km (319.3 mi) from Tochoji Temple
4 Beds 6 Guests 2 Bedrooms 1 Bathroom

5. Smart lodging space with high-speed Wi-Fi (from USD 48)

Remote working is possible in this smart lodging thanks to the complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and a dedicated work desk. After a full day of work, rest your back and get a good night’s sleep on the comfy French mattresses.

For a splendid time outdoors, Kyoto Station Hachijo Exit is just 550 meters (1,804.46 feet) away, allowing a convenient commute experience to and from your pre-arranged itinerary destinations. Kyoto Tower is only a 12-minute walk from this property if you want to appreciate the cityscape at night.

Stayed at this property?
15 Higashiiwamotocho Higashikujo Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan
515.13 km (320.1 mi) from Tochoji Temple
1 Bed 1 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom


Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Muneaki used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Itadakimasu! Fukuoka is a cosmopolitan city boasting a wide variety of local dishes. While here, be sure to taste the flavorful tonkotsu ramen, a specialty of Fukuoka. Besides its incredible culinary scene, the prefecture also has a thriving nightlife and shopping culture, embracing some of the largest malls in Japan, such as Tenjin Underground Mall and Canal City Hakata. You can also tour the remarkable shrines and temples in the prefecture, including Munakata Taisha, Dazaifu Tenmangu, and Nanzoin.

All of these vacation homes link you conveniently with temples, shrines, malls and nightlife. Choose the one that best suits your needs!

Stayed at this property?

6. Bright and breezy home for a family (from USD 70)

This bright and breezy home is suitable for families visiting Fukuoka. Guests can instantly access Hakata Station in about a 10-minute stroll, so you can reach areas to dine and shop without a bother. It also makes a fantastic base for your pursuits in Kyushu because it’s conveniently near a train stop.

When you book this rental, you can revel in the nightlife in Nakasu, have a shopping spree in Tenjin, and enjoy tonkotsu ramen in downtown Fukuoka, which all are just moments away from here!

Stayed at this property?
3-15-4 Katakasu Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
857 meters (0.6 mi) from Tochoji Temple
3 Beds 5 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom

7. Adorable home with convenient location (from USD 66)

Book this adorable home and get a cute welcoming pouch filled with useful essentials.

Nestled in the Yakuin Shirokane area, this lodging facility offers immediate access to city services, such as cafés, stores, bakeries, and bus stops. This property is just a 10-minute walk to Nishitetsu Hirao Station and a 10-minute drive to Tenjin. Other attractions you’ll find nearby are Sumiyoshi Jinja, Canal City Hakata, and Kushida-jinja Shrine.

Stayed at this property?
2-6-3 Shirogane Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
2.11 km (1.4 mi) from Tochoji Temple
4 Beds 8 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom

8. Ideally located property for festivals (from USD 88)

If you’re coming to Fukuoka to celebrate festivals, this accommodation is the right choice! You can watch the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival nearby. The rental is also close to the parade route of Hakata Dontaku.

Other than that, you can saunter around the Hakata Old Town Area about a 10-minute walk from this property. Tenjin Underground Mall and Canal City Hakata are only a quick drive away, so you can easily go shopping. Shrines and temples, such as Kushida-jinja Shrine and Tochoji Temple are also nearby.

Stayed at this property?
12-31 Kamigofukumachi Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
470 meters (0.3 mi) from Tochoji Temple
4 Beds 8 Guests 1 Bedroom 2 Bathrooms


Source: Photo by Flickr user Derrick Brutel used under CC BY-SA 2.0

From sakura-lined streets in the spring to the mesmerizing light displays and fireworks in the winter, everything is in Tokyo! It is a vibrant metropolitan prefecture and the iconic capital of Japan. It’s also a proud cradle to some of the most famous attractions in Japan.

Climb the peak of the 634-meter (2,080.05-foot) Tokyo Skytree, the tallest structure in the country, to gaze at the spectacular panorama of the entire capital. Other prominent attractions you’ll find in Tokyo are Ueno Park, Imperial Palace, Shibuya Crossing, and Odaiba.

Book this rental if you’re looking to stay close to train stations and airports.

Stayed at this property?

9. Cozy crib for a romantic getaway (from USD 102)

Admire vistas of Tokyo Skytree with your significant other from this crib in Tokyo. Feel free to use the bicycle rental to explore the city at a leisurely pace. The traditional Ueno is a 15-minute train ride away, while some of Tokyo’s must-visit attractions, such as Sensō-ji, Tokyo Skytree, and Tokyo Mizumachi, are about 10 minutes away on foot.

Subway and train stations, such as Toei Asakusa Line, Asakusa Stat, and Tokyo Skytree Station, are within walking distance. Guests flying in can also immediately access Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport here.

Stayed at this property?
2-16-6 Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, Japan
890.03 km (553.1 mi) from Tochoji Temple
2 Beds 2 Guests 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom

Japan - Love at first sight!

With Japan’s natural beauty and fascinating culture, you’ll surely fall in love at first sight. Planning a trip to an unfamiliar destination for the first time is exciting but can also be challenging. But worry not because we got you! We compiled the above list of the top attractions in Japan that you can include in your itinerary along with the best places to stay in Japan for tourists.

Stayed at this property?
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Hallyu phenomenon (K-pop and K-drama) and writing are the two things that are keeping her sane and grounded. Her other interests include drinking coffee, designing her journal, reading novels,...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Japan
Good things are meant to be shared!