7 Cities I Want to Visit When I Am in Japan

7 Cities I Want to Visit When I Am in Japan

I've been wanting to visit Japan for quite some time—I actually would like to move there, but it's a whole different story—and it's true there's so much to see and do that I would find a bit hard to decide where to begin from. However, although I haven't been there yet, there are a few places which hold a special place in my heart for different reasons, so I've made a list of 7 cities I want to visit when I am in Japan.


Let's take a stroll around Kabukicho
Photo by Wikimedia Common Images

Tokyo is definitely one of my top choices, but not because it's the capital of Japan. It's no mystery that I've become passionate about this country and its culture thanks to video games. Ryu Ga Gotoku (known here in the West as Yakuza) certainly caught my interest and made me curious about this vibrant city. The entrance to the Kabukicho district is iconic, so walking through the streets will almost feel like I'm in the video game. 

However, it is not the only thing I want to experience in Tokyo. Before I decided to acquire as much knowledge about Japan as possible, I genuinely didn't know food tours were a thing. I had the wonderful opportunity to work as an intern for an amazing company called Arigato Travel—which specialises in Culinary Tourism—and I can't wait to experience their tours! So, if you're a foreigner in Tokyo (or any of the other cities they have tours for), please check them out, I guarantee you'll have lots of fun!


Nagoya Castle was Japan’s first castle to be designated a National Treasure
Photo by Aryan Athalye on Unsplash

I have a soft spot for Nagoya for personal reasons, however, thanks to Arigato Japan, I was introduced to a very interesting business called Nagoya is Not Boring. As an Italian, I value my morning coffee very much, and I've learned that Nagoya has the highest concentration of coffee shops in Japan. Plus, I look forward to trying their famous Ogura Toast!! They organise all sorts of online and offline experiences, so I know I'll definitely be in good hands.

There's also lots of parks and shrines there that I would like to visit, but also Ghibli Park!!! It will open on November 1st, so I'm really looking forward to getting lost in the enchanting worlds created by Studio Ghibli. 


Travel back to the Edo period while walking around the Gion district
Photo by Sorasak on Unsplash

Kyoto is a big contender for the top spot in my list of cities I want to visit when I am in Japan. Why? Because of Gion, the historical district. I love everything that has to do with historical times, especially the Edo period, and taking a stroll through Gion will make me feel like I'm transported back in ancient Japan. Will I be lucky enough to see a Geisha? I hope so! 

There's one more thing I'd love to do when I visit Kyoto, and that's visiting Fushimi Inari Shrine. Even though I have bad knees, I've always promised myself that I would do my best to walk through the thousands gates in its hiking trail, so I hope I get to accomplish that.


Lots to see and do in Dotonbori!
Photo by Redd on Unsplash

Osaka is another city on my list thanks to the Ryu Ga Gotoku video games. I, too want to cross Ebisu Bridge—known as Iwao Bridge in the games—and feel like I'm in Sotenbori. Who knows, maybe I'll cross paths with Majima... A woman can only dream, right?

I also would like to take a boat ride on the Dotonbori River, visit Universal Studios Japan, and the Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum. However, there's one thing specifically that I would like to do, and it's trying Takoyaki, since they're mentioned a lot in the Ryu Ga Gotoku games. I am a bit picky when it comes to food, but since I became passionate about Japanese culture, I've strived to be a bit more open-minded and try new foods that I would've normally avoided. Maybe I will like it, or maybe I won't. Nevertheless, Takoyaki is definitely something I want to try. 


Entrance to the Chinatown district in Yokohama
Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash

I've honestly never had much interest in Yokohama until me and my best friend played Lost Judgment... I guess Ryu Ga Gotoku has been a big influcence for my interest in Japan, huh? As I was saying, I suppose I have to thank dear 'ole detective Yagami for putting this beautiful city under my nose. 

Not only I would like to check out its Chinatown district, but also Yamashita Park, Sankei-en Garden—botanical park containing preserved Japanese residences from different eras—and the seaside Minato Mirai district. Also, I'm sure the ferry wheel at night would be a great chance for a magical scenery, don't you think?


One of the various shopping places in Sapporo
Photo by Sen Lee on Unsplash

Because there hasn't been enough mention of the RGG video games in this post, I can't not include my "beloved" Sapporo. Yakuza 5 is one of my favourite games story-wise, and it's how I got very fond of the capital city of Hokkaido—which is way up north in Japan. The Sapporo Snow Festival is the main reason for me wanting to visit this picturesque location. All those snow sculptures that seem to come to life at night with enchanting lights, the festival activities, the food stalls... One day I will get my picture with Snow Miku, mark my words!

Besides the Snow Festival, I really would love to visit the famous Ramen Alley. I recently tried ramen for the very first time and I enjoyed it a lot, so I'm sure I'd have fun ramen bar-hopping. 


A gorgeous view of a tea field with Mt. Fuji in the background
Photo by Canva

I'm a tea-drinker, so how could I not include Shizuoka in the list of cities I want to visit when I am in Japan? Besides the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji, Shizuoka is known for its green tea production. Lots and lots of tea fields, like in the image above. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be in the middle of all that? There are many tea farms that arrange tea-picking experiences, and I would actually like to try that at least once.

The official Tourism board of Shizuoka lists plenty of sightseeing opportunities, as well as other various activities and experiences dedicated to foreigners in Japan. After enough preparation—because my physical skills are not very good—I would like to join a group and try to climb Mt. Fuji. Wishful thinking, right? Well, I'd like to think that it's one thing I can cross off my Japanese bucket list! 

There is no news on when Japan will reopen its borders for regular tourism yet, unfortunately, but I'll continue to stay hopeful and update my list of cities I want to visit when I am in Japan. 

Have you visited any of these places? Are there any other cities you'd recommend I add to my list? Let me know in the comments!