Top things to do

Top Choice Shinto Shrine in Nikkō

Tōshō-gū

A World Heritage Site, Tōshō-gū is a brilliantly decorative shrine in a beautiful natural setting. Among its notable features is the dazzling 'Sunset Gate' Yōmei-mon.As the shrine gears up for its 400th anniversary,…
Top Choice Soba in Kamakura

Bonzō

Intimate, rustic, Michelin-star restaurant that specialises in handmade ju-wari (100% soba), including kamo seiro (cold soba in hot broth) with wild duck imported from France. The homemade sesame tofu is incredibly …
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kamakura

Kenchō-ji

Established in 1253, Japan's oldest Zen monastery is still active today. The central Butsuden (Buddha Hall) was brought piece by piece from Tokyo in 1647. Its Jizō Bosatsu statue, unusual for a Zen temple, reflects …
Top Choice Monument in Kamakura

Daibutsu

Kamakura's most iconic sight, an 11.4m bronze statue of Amida Buddha (amitābha in Sanskrit), is in Kōtoku-in, a Jōdo sect temple. Completed in 1252, it's said to have been inspired by Yoritomo's visit to Nara (where…
Top Choice Museum in Chōkoku-no-Mori & Gōra

Hakone Open-Air Museum

In a rolling, leafy hillside setting, this safari for art lovers includes an impressive selection of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese and Western sculptures (including works by Henry Moore, Rodin and Miró) as well as…
Top Choice Museum in Miyanoshita & Kowakidani

Okada Museum of Art

Showcasing the dazzling Japanese, Chinese and Korean art treasures of industrialist Okada Kazuo, this mammoth museum should not be missed. You could spend hours marvelling at the beauty of so many pieces, including …
Top Choice Teahouse in Hakone-machi & Moto-Hakone

Amazake-chaya

This wonderful thatched-roofed teahouse has been serving naturally sweet amazake (a thick sweet drink made from the rice used to make sake; ¥400) and seasoned mochi (sticky rice cakes, ¥250 to ¥750) for more than 36…
Top Choice Museum in Kawaguchi-ko

Kubota Itchiku Art Museum

In an attractive Gaudí-influenced building, this excellent museum exhibits the kimono art of Kubota Itchiku (1917–2003). A small number of lavishly dyed kimonos from his life's work of continuous landscapes are disp…
Top Choice Museum in Yokohama

Cup Noodles Museum

Dedicated to Momofuku Ando's instant ramen invention, this slickly designed, interactive museum includes a cutesy animated film on the history of the Cup Noodle. The highlight is the chance to design your own Cup No…
Top Choice Museum in Sōun-zan & Sengokuhara

Pola Museum of Art

Showcasing the top-drawer collection of the late Suzuki Tsuneshi, son of the founder of the Pola Group (a cosmetics company), this quality museum is located in an equally impressive architect-designed building. Artw…