Ever dreamed of wanting to go to Japan someday? Because we certainly do! And we can't wait for the time to finally arrive where we can enjoy the breeze of Japan one day. Oh? You're telling us that you want to enjoy the cutest things about Japan? Say, you want to experience and indulge in the kawaii culture further? Then we got your back as we have here our list of the top 15 kawaii things that you should do when you get to Japan!
Attend the Pikachu Festival (Pikachu Outbreak Yokohama)
Something you shouldn’t miss out when you go to Japan is the Pikachu Outbreak that happens in Yokohama every August of every year. The Pikachu Outbreak, or best known by the internet as the Pikachu Festival, happens for a week-long celebration. And just like what the name suggests, Pikachu Outbreak demonstrates a lot of shows and events that centers their main character of the event - Pikachu itself! And what’s more, we’re not only talking about a single Pikachu figure here. We are talking about hundreds of life-sized Pikachu mascots parading the streets of the Minatomirai neighborhood of Yokohama.
The events are the Pikachu Outbreak is divided into three: The On-Stage Night Shows, the shows beside the sea, and the street parades - all these happening for a full week. And what’s nice about this festival is that it’s not only the event highlights that makes this festival interesting. Yokohama itself transforms into a Pikachu paradise by decorating the whole place with everything Pikachu related. It’s basically a Pikachu Christmas.
If you’ve been following Japanese TikTok videos lately and seen those minuscule toys that come in those little sphere things, then it looks like you’ve seen what a gachapon is like. Basically, gachapon machines are like vending machines for toys, except you only get random toys instead of specifically choosing for a specific toy you want. These gachapon machines come in different themes and you can actually find a lot of these machines all around Japan. These machines don't only sell toys though! They come with anything like small keychains and small souvenirs and the contents varies from different places or regions. First, you roll the turner of the gachapon machine until something pops out of the machine, and then you get your prize!
Visting Anime-themed cafes
There are a lot of anime-themed cafes in Japan that you can visit. Now you might think, “What’s the difference between these anime-themed cafes between a normal-themed one?”, well, the answer is a lot! Simply put, the anime-themed ones have a lot of things that you should anticipate. First is on the theme of the place itself. Ordinary cafes normally would have a chill atmosphere to cater to all their customers regardless of their differences. Anime cafes in particular are very flexible when it comes to their cafe environment. Like for example, for Hello Kitty cafes, the environment of the cafe would most likely be filled with some pink-colored walls and maybe some Hello Kitty figurines inside it. Another thing to look forward to are their menus, after all it’s still a cafe despite how it looks, so that’s to be expected! You can have character-themed menus and that’s what’s fun about it! An example of such are the Totoro Cream Puffs of the Shiro-hige Cream Puff Factory.
The sad thing about anime-themed cafes is that they’re only in for a limited time, say around three (3) months, since most anime cafe’s are for promotional purposes for anime shows before they get released.
But don’t feel depressed yet! There are cafes that are permanently running in business just like the Pokemon Cafe in Tokyo. And just like what the name suggests, it’s definitely a heaven for Pokemon lovers. It has Pokemon-inspired menus and Pokemon merchandise for sale for everyone.
Take pictures in Purikuras
Purikura is what you call those small booths that scatter in different arcade centers in Japan. On why you should try it, well, it’s because of the features that come with it. As mentioned on our previous blog article, Purikura is the shorter term for “purinto kurabo” which literally means “print club” in English.
Tokyo Creative created a blog on some tips and tricks on how to use purikuras like a pro.
The fun thing about purikura is that the photos that you took are highly customizable depending on the features that you want it to have. One of which is its feature that enables you to make your eyes bigger. Another feature is the different overlays that you can add on your photos that are exceptionally cute, too! Since purikuras are photos that you take that compile itself into a collage, you can perfectly design your collages according to how you want it to be.
Rent a Kimono for a Day
In case you don’t know, you can rent a kimono for a day while you stroll around the Asakusa neighborhood in Tokyo. Asakusa is most known as the district in Tokyo that pays respects to its traditional culture with the existence of different temples and shrines. There are a lot of shops around Japan (not just in Tokyo) that enable you to rent a kimono for a whole day. TokyoCheapo listed on this blog their list of these shops that you can go to when you want to find these stores!
Also, you don’t really need to necessarily be in Asakusa specifically just so you can rent a kimono. In Kyoto for example, because of the traditional atmosphere of the place, it’s perfectly fine for you to stroll around the tourist spots of the place whilst wearing those beautiful and cute kimonos.
Visiting the cute spots in Shibuya
Shibuya is known for its famous Shibuya Crossing, famous as the busiest pedestrian crossing; and the famous Hachiko statue memorial for Hachiko, not far from the Shibuya crossing itself. But aside from these famous spots, Shibuya also has a lot of cute spots that must be visited by people who're constantly looking for fun and colorful experiences while in Japan. One of these spots is the Kawaii Monster Cafe.
There’s also the Shibuya 109 Shopping mall famous as the fashion shopping center in Shibuya. There are a lot of shops in the mall that can’t be found in other places. The mall is also a staple for when you are looking for cute shopping items. Lolita related items? You can find it here. Looking for street wear items? That's all up to you. You will find a lot of different fashion items here in different varieties.
Probably one of the best things about Japan is the existence of their convenience stores, and they are an absolute must try for everyone. Convenience stores, or konbini as they call it in Japan, are not like your regular convenience stores that you will find in your neighborhood. In fact, their convenience stores are packed with a lot of interesting stuff that you won’t be able to find in your regular convenience store. In Japan, they emphasize “convenience” in convenience stores very well. Aside from selling convenient items like packed food and other packed items that are often accessible in regular convenience stores, they also sell a lot of other things just like fight tickets.
But aside from its other convenient features, it’s the food that they’re selling that's fascinating about these stores. At a low price, you can survive a day by eating convenient store food because of its wide variety. Onigiris, Gyudon, Soba, there are a lot of things you can buy that will certainly fill your stomach. Here’s a video that will show you how amazing konbini food is:
Akihabara is known to be an otaku mecca, the center of all things anime and otaku. With a lot of buildings and businesses that center around the otaku culture, it is easy to get lost in Akihabara especially when you are not familiar with the place.
So then, what are the cute things that you can do to enjoy Akihabara? One is to go to a cosplay studio where you are free to cosplay some characters for a price, plus, you can even have your photos taken professionally! Studio Crown, which is a cosplay studio found in Akihabara is an example of this business. Heck, you can even go and take a stroll around Akihabara using the costume that you rented from them. Just make sure that you bring it back to them right after.
Another is the Akiba Culture Zone is the best place to go when you want to go around and shop for some anime and game goods. It’s basically an all-in-one stop shop for otaku shop. If you’re looking for cosplay goods, then this is the place to go!
Playing in Arcade Centers
A take back in time. There are a lot of arcade centers in Japan and they are an absolute try. You might find going inside arcade centers because you might find them lame but think about it, in our modern age, it’s actually hard to find arcade centers that are as big as the ones in Japan. Also, the prizes that you get from Japan? That would be priceless! We also heard that the claw machines in these arcade centers are easy to win so, why not try them?
Go to a Maid Cafe
If you have been watching anime, there’s a huge chance that you have already heard of maid cafes. Just like the earlier mentioned anime-themed cafes, maid cafes are no different, except for one thing and that is the existence of maids! Maids in maid cafes are basically the waitresses of the house. They serve you food and other services.The main attraction of maid cafes is their way of entertaining their customers. They do different themed events for different occasions and never fail to deliver well to their beloved customers. Sure, the food may not be top tier, but at least you get to experience maid cafes that you won’t be able to experience the same from other places outside of Japan. Maidreamin is one of the most famous maid cafes in Tokyo and one of the most recommended ones.
Visit Tokyo Disney Sea
In case you haven’t heard of Disney Sea, then you should probably check them out as soon as you land on Japan. Disney Sea is another amusement park by Disney but nonetheless the less popular. In fact, there are a lot of people who say that Disney Sea is the best Disney amusement park in the whole world! So what’s there to miss if you visit it right?
Receive your Omikuji
Omikuji basically means fortune telling. You can get your fortune told and receive your very own omikuji when going to temples and shrines all over Japan. One in Tokyo is found in the Asakusa neighborhood at the Senso-ji Temple. The omikuji actually comes in paper strips that are supposed to define your fortune for the future. If you get a good fortune, you are supposed to keep the paper with you. However, if you received a bad fortune, then you are supposed to tie it to a pole, leaving it at the temple.
Character Street Shopping in Tokyo Station
You might be thinking why we placed here a random part of a train station, well we didn’t place this by random. In fact, Tokyo Station is not just your regular train station. The place is also filled with different businesses that sell different types of goods that you can buy as souvenirs or even just to enjoy food for when you are hungry. Tokyo Station is undeniably huge and this is why we placed their Character Street here.
So what is the character street? Just like what the name suggests, it is a part of Tokyo Station where businesses are centered on anime or just simply some known cute characters such as Studio Ghibli characters, Pokemon, Rilakkuma, or even Shonen Jump characters. If you are going out of Tokyo and you don’t get to buy something, going to Character Street is the way to go and you will certainly find a lot of cute things there to buy. Your kawaii shopping will be endless I bet.
Try out Starbucks Japan
If you are a fan of Starbucks then you have to try the Starbucks in Japan. Mostly because Starbucks experience in Japan won’t be them from the country that you are in.
Starbucks' menu in Japan is very unique because they have a lot of diverse drinks that you can pick all year around. And yes you are correct if you are thinking that they change their menu every season, in fact they do have a lot of seasonal drinks and are different every year! While you can still find the Starbucks classic usual coffee drinks on their menus, you definitely don’t want to miss out on their seasonal drinks.
The Starbucks cafes in Japan also boast their different architectural style that speaks volumes of their culture. You can still feel the traditional Japanese architecture even when you are living in the modern era while sipping your cup of Starbucks drinks.
And last but not the list, you should definitely never miss out on cherry blossom viewing. The cherry blossoms, or sakura as they call it, first blooms somewhere in the month of March. The best time to visit sakura spots is in the month of April where the sakuras are at their full bloom in Spring. One of the hottest spots to enjoy sakura viewing is in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo where you can enjoy these flowers blossom while you’re on a picnic with your friends.
So, that was our top 15 kawaii things to do in Japan! Well, what do you think? Was fifteen enough? If not, then tell us if you want more through the comments section below!