Exploring a new place in 3 days may not seem like enough, but by maximizing your time with interesting and meaningful activities, you are sure to make your trip memorable. Below is a detailed guide to fully enjoy your 3 days in Japan!
Hakone Open-Air Museum
This is definitely a must-see if you’re into beautiful scenery and art! Think of a modern art museum, but all the art displays are outdoors and surrounded by winding paths and greenery. Not surprisingly, most art pieces are sculptures, but many are interactive as well. The Symphonic Sculpture, for instance, is a stained glass tower visitors can climb.
There is also the Woods of Net, a hanging structure for children to play on. If you’re tired, you can also enjoy a free outdoor foot bath or pop into an extremely aesthetic cafe with a gallery right above it to enjoy refreshments and admire more art pieces. It’s a long subway ride from the city, but definitely worth it! There’s something new to see with every turn, and the park is not exhaustingly big, so you can easily spend at most a day there and have time for travel.
High up in the mountains, overlooking the pristine Lake Ashinoko, this hotel is definitely one of a kind. Regretfully, My family and I could only stay for one night, so we strove to make the most of its facilities. Besides large outdoor hot baths, called “onsen,” the hotel boasted a variety of traditional Japanese dishes in its buffet. Although the staff there were not fluent in English, they were extremely cordial, bowing to any visitors and always happy to assist us.
Guests are encouraged to wear traditional robes provided by the hotel and have unlimited access to the hot baths. Unfortunately, there was a thick layer of fog when I visited, but the lake offered a breathtaking view the next morning. If you’re visiting Hakone, definitely try staying at one of the hotels in the mountains; although they are pricey, the experience is well worth it.
In the states, it’s hard to find a sprawling, natural area in the middle of the city, but Ueno Park gives you a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of urban Tokyo. The park is well maintained, with greenery and ponds throughout its grounds. It is also home to several museums and the Ueno Zoo, Japan’s first zoological garden. The zoo is a popular attraction, home to two giant pandas who recently had a baby in 2017.
As a result, the line was very long on the day I visited, stretching for more than 2 hours from the panda exhibit. It seemed like people couldn’t get enough of the adorable young giant panda. The rest of the park also offers much to explore; my family and I spent quite a while just strolling through the wide cobblestone paths and enjoying the sun. Ponds full of lily pads, mini shrines and plenty of space for biking and walking. 2 out of your 3 days in Japan: check!
What better way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture than to eat your way through the city? Maximize your 3 days in Japan with a full and happy stomach. Finding a place to eat will never be a struggle in Tokyo, as the streets are lined with restaurants and shops with tempting displays. Worst case, you’ll always find a convenience store around the next corner, and these aren’t like the tiny shops you see at gas stations in the US.
Japanese convenience stores boast a variety of instant foods, from various chips and crackers to ice cream and yogurt and even small meals the cashier will heat up for you after you buy them. One of my biggest regrets is not eating enough street food, though. Japanese sweets are always carefully prepared, some looking like a work of art themselves. Takoyaki, little balls filled with seafood, taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake and mochi, soft rice cakes were just a few of the snacks I didn’t have time to try in Japan. If you’re traveling to Tokyo, authentic street food is a must. I did have quite a bit of ramen, sushi and convenience store onigiri, or rice balls, though.
The Tokyo Tower is a must-see tourist attraction; it is the second-tallest structure in Tokyo and a popular landmark. If you are a fan of the Japanese cartoon, or anime, One Piece is for you. The lower levels of the tower currently holds a One Piece theme park, established in recent years.
Although the anime is geared towards children, children and adults alike can enjoy fun attractions and many photo opportunities inside the theme park. Take an elevator up to the observation deck, and you’ll be able to see for miles around. There is a top deck, which costs more to enter, but I was quite happy with the amazing view from the main deck. Combined with the city lights and the tower’s glittery decorations, the experience was absolutely amazing.