Favorite Places in Japan

Here are some of my favorite places in Japan! Japan is a country rich with unique experiences and unforgettable locations. From its bustling cities to serene natural landscapes, every corner offers something special. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many incredible places, each leaving a lasting impression on me. Whether it’s savoring mouth-watering dishes, exploring beautiful parks, or challenging my taste buds with adventurous food, Japan never ceases to amaze me. In this post, I’ll share some of the places that hold a special place in my heart and why they mean so much to me. Let’s dive into the journey!

Eating at Gomaryu

Eating at Gomaryu, also known as “Devil Ramen,” was an unforgettable culinary adventure that tested my limits and thrilled my taste buds. Gomaryu is famous for its five levels of spiciness, each one more intense than the last. Starting at Level 1, the heat is mild and inviting, a perfect introduction to their rich, flavorful broth and tender noodles. As you progress to Level 2 and Level 3, the spiciness builds, each spoonful bringing a delightful burn that warms you from the inside out. By the time you reach Level 4, you’re in serious spicy territory—your eyes might water, and you’ll feel a rush of endorphins as the fiery heat takes hold. But it’s Level 5 that truly earns the “Devil Ramen” name. This level is not for the faint of heart; it’s an intense, almost overwhelming heat that challenges even the most seasoned spice lovers. Despite the fiery assault, the ramen remains delicious, with the deep umami of the broth and the perfect texture of the noodles shining through. Eating at Gomaryu was not just about the heat; it was about the experience of pushing my boundaries and savoring the incredible flavors of one of Japan’s most adventurous ramen shops.

HEROES E-Sports Center

The Esports Cafe “HEROES” near Shin-Okubo station is a paradise for any gaming enthusiast like me. Walking into HEROES, you’re immediately greeted by a vibrant atmosphere filled with the excitement and energy of competitive gaming. Rows of high-end gaming PCs, each equipped with the latest hardware and comfortable seating, make it the perfect spot to dive into your favorite games. What makes HEROES truly special, though, is the sense of community it fosters. Gamers of all levels come together to share tips, strategies, and, most importantly, a love for gaming. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, always ready to help you get the most out of your experience. Whether you’re there for a casual game with friends or to hone your skills in a more competitive setting, HEROES offers the perfect environment. The cafe also hosts regular tournaments, adding an extra layer of excitement and the chance to meet fellow gamers from all over. For me, spending time at HEROES is not just about the games; it’s about being part of a community that shares my passion and excitement for esports.

The pay system is an hourly pay system, with you purchasing credits in advance at the desk. Current prices are:

TimePrice With TaxHourly Breakdown
3.3 hours1100 yen333 yen per hour
9 hours2200 yen244 yen per hour
26 hours5500 yen211 yen per hour
60 hours11000 yen183 yen per hour
150 hours22000 yen146 yen per hour
The pricing at the esports cafe in Shibuya.

This means that it works out to about $1-$2 per hour if you buy at least 9 hours of gameplay at a time.

Eating Yakiniku Anywhere That Has It

Eating Yakiniku anywhere in Japan holds a special place in my heart for its combination of delicious food and social experience. There’s something uniquely exhilarating about gathering around a table with friends, the sizzling sounds of meat grilling on a hot plate in front of you, and the mouth-watering aroma wafting through the air. Each piece of meat, perfectly marinated and cooked to your liking, is a bite of pure joy, but it’s the company and the atmosphere that truly make it memorable. Whether it’s a bustling city restaurant or a cozy countryside eatery, Yakiniku brings people together, creating shared moments of laughter, conversation, and connection. It’s not just about the incredible flavors—though they are undeniably fantastic—it’s about the warmth of the experience and the bonds it strengthens. For me, enjoying Yakiniku anywhere in Japan is a celebration of friendship, culture, and the simple yet profound joy of sharing a meal.

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park

This incredible park in Fukuoka is over 6 hours West of Tokyo by shinkansen, but it’s incredible. Fukuoka’s Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (海の中道海浜公園) is one of those magical places that feel like a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. I vividly remember the excitement of seeing penguins waddling close enough to touch, their quirky personalities shining through with every step. The wallabies were equally enchanting, hopping around and interacting with visitors in a way that felt intimate and special. And then there was the dolphin show—an incredible display of intelligence and agility that left me in awe. The dolphins leaped and twirled, their trainers guiding them through breathtaking routines that showcased their incredible bond. What made this experience truly remarkable was the park’s unique approach to allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. It wasn’t just about observing from a distance; it was about feeling like you were part of their world. Walking through Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, with its lush landscapes and vibrant wildlife, was like stepping into a different realm where nature and humanity coexist in harmony. It was an incredible experience that left me with a deep appreciation for the beauty and wonder of the natural world.


Agemono, or Japanese fried food, is an indulgence that I absolutely adore. There’s something incredibly satisfying about that first bite of perfectly crispy, golden-brown goodness. The crunch of the exterior, followed by the tender, flavorful inside, creates a mouthwatering experience that washes over your tongue in the most delightful way. Whether it’s tempura shrimp, karaage chicken, or tonkatsu pork, each piece is a testament to the art of frying done right. Agemono isn’t just about the food, though it’s undoubtedly delicious; it’s about the joy it brings with every bite. I love exploring different agemono dishes across Japan, each region offering its own unique twist on these fried delights. It’s a comfort food that never fails to lift my spirits and satisfy my cravings. The balance of textures and flavors in agemono is something truly special, making every meal an unforgettable experience. For a food lover like me, diving into a plate of agemono is pure bliss.

One of my favorite types of agemono is kushikatsu, a delightful variation that takes the concept of fried food to a whole new level. Kushikatsu consists of skewered pieces of meat, vegetables, and even cheese, all dipped in a light batter and fried to perfection. What makes kushikatsu so special is the incredible variety of ingredients you can enjoy on a single skewer. From succulent pork and juicy shrimp to crunchy asparagus and creamy camembert, each bite offers a new and exciting flavor combination. The experience of eating kushikatsu is also uniquely interactive; you often dip your skewers into a communal sauce, adding a social element to the meal.

In Osaka, where kushikatsu is particularly famous, the tradition of “no double dipping” in the sauce adds a fun challenge to savoring each bite without making a mess. The casual, lively atmosphere of kushikatsu restaurants, with their bustling energy and friendly patrons, makes the experience even more enjoyable. It’s not just a meal; it’s an adventure in flavors and textures, shared with friends and fellow food lovers. For me, kushikatsu embodies the joy of discovering new tastes and the warmth of Japanese culinary traditions, making it a must-try whenever I’m in Japan.

Akihabara and it’s Game Centers

Akihabara’s game centers are a paradise for anyone who loves arcade games, and I can’t get enough of them. Walking into one of these vibrant, multi-story arcades, you’re immediately hit with a wave of excitement and flashing lights. One of my favorite types of games to play here are the sit-down arcade machines, where you can immerse yourself in intense battles or racing simulations. Many of these games offer a unique twist—you can earn special cards that unlock characters, vehicles, or abilities, adding an addictive collectible aspect to the fun. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of winning a rare card after a particularly challenging game session.

Of course, no visit to an Akihabara game center would be complete without spending some time at the crane games. These machines, filled with adorable plush toys, figures, and other prizes, are as frustrating as they are irresistible. I have a love-hate relationship with these cranes; despite my best efforts, I often find myself spending way more than I intended. In fact, I’ve probably spent over $500 on crane games alone, chasing that elusive perfect grab. Yet, every time I finally win a prize, the joy and sense of accomplishment make it all worth it. Akihabara’s game centers are more than just places to play—they’re a slice of gaming heaven where every visit is filled with fun, challenge, and a bit of luck.

The Atmosphere of Akihabara

The atmosphere of Akihabara is something truly unique and unforgettable. Known as the mecca for anime, manga, and gaming enthusiasts, walking through its bustling streets feels like stepping into a different world. Neon signs and giant billboards featuring beloved characters tower above you, while shops packed with every imaginable piece of merchandise line the sidewalks. The energy is palpable, with excited fans and curious tourists alike weaving through the crowds, all eager to find their next treasure. One of the quirkiest and most charming sights in Akihabara is the KFC statue where Colonel Sanders is holding a magic staff. It’s a whimsical touch that perfectly captures the playful spirit of the area.

Every corner of Akihabara offers something new to discover, whether it’s a hidden retro gaming store, a cozy maid cafe, or an impromptu cosplay gathering. The sounds of arcade machines and bustling chatter fill the air, creating a lively, almost electric atmosphere that draws you in and keeps you exploring. For a fan like me, Akihabara is more than just a shopping district—it’s a place where my passions come to life, and every visit feels like a grand adventure.

Private Karaoke Rooms

Karaoke in Japan is an experience like no other, and there’s nothing quite like singing your heart out in a cozy little karaoke booth. These private rooms are perfect for letting loose with friends, belting out your favorite songs without a care in the world. The booths are equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems, a vast selection of songs in multiple languages, and often even some fun lighting effects to set the mood. Pricing is usually quite reasonable, too. You can typically expect to pay around 500 yen per hour, but many places offer fantastic deals for “free time,” where you can sing to your heart’s content from late evening until the early hours of the morning for around 2000 yen.

The atmosphere inside these booths is intimate and relaxed, making it easy to get caught up in the moment and lose track of time. Whether you’re singing solo or harmonizing with friends, karaoke in Japan is a perfect way to unwind and have fun. Plus, many karaoke venues offer food and drink service right to your booth, so you can enjoy some snacks and drinks while you sing. It’s an experience that combines music, laughter, and camaraderie, creating memories that you’ll cherish long after the final note has faded.

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park is one of the most enchanting places I’ve visited in Japan. As soon as you enter the park, you’re greeted by the sight of hundreds of friendly deer roaming freely. These deer are considered sacred and are a symbol of the city, making the experience even more special. One of the highlights of my visit was getting deer antler hats to wear for just 300 yen each. These quirky hats not only made for great photo opportunities but also seemed to make the deer even more curious about us.

Walking through the park with these gentle creatures approaching us for a nibble of deer crackers was a delightful experience. The deer are incredibly tame and will bow to you in exchange for a treat, which is both adorable and fascinating. The park itself is beautiful, with lush greenery and serene ponds, providing a peaceful backdrop to this unique encounter. Spending time at Nara Deer Park felt like stepping into a fairy tale, where humans and animals coexist harmoniously. It’s a place where you can truly connect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasure of being surrounded by these charming, friendly deer.

Omoide Yokocho and other Crammed Spots throughout Tokyo

Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai are two of my fun spots in Tokyo, each offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry through their narrow, atmospheric alleyways. Omoide Yokocho, also known as Memory Lane, is a bustling maze of tiny eateries and bars where the scent of grilled yakitori fills the air. It’s a place where you can squeeze into a tiny stall, order a drink, and chat with locals and travelers alike, all while enjoying some of the best street food in the city. The intimate setting and lively atmosphere make every visit feel like a step back in time, capturing a nostalgic essence of old Tokyo.

However, Omoide Yokocho is not a place to visit more than once – the shops are nowhere near the original shops that they were, and they are now mostly overpriced tourist traps. To find a good place to eat here is hard, because the good places are always 100% full, and each place only sits 10 people maximum.

Golden Gai, on the other hand, is a collection of over 200 tiny bars packed into a few narrow alleys. Each bar has its own unique theme and character, ranging from jazz and punk to literary and movie-inspired spots. The charm of Golden Gai lies in its eclectic mix and the personal touch each bar owner brings to their establishment. It’s a place where you can hop from one bar to another, meeting fascinating people and experiencing different vibes with each stop. The alleys themselves are a photographer’s dream, with their neon lights, vintage signs, and intriguing nooks and crannies. For me, wandering through Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai is a journey of discovery, full of delightful surprises and unforgettable encounters.

Each bar is owned by its own owner, and so each bar in Golden Gai is an entirely different experience from the next, which is what makes this place magical. Some places are very foreigner friendly, while a few places exist to cater to their existing customer base.

Shrines, Temples, and Gardens

Japan’s shrines and gardens are some of the most tranquil and beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Stepping into a shrine, you’re immediately enveloped in a sense of peace and spirituality. The serene atmosphere, often accompanied by the gentle sound of a flowing stream or the rustling of leaves, creates a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. I love the meticulous architecture of the shrine buildings, each with its own unique design and history. Walking through the torii gates and along the stone paths, you can feel the weight of centuries of tradition and reverence. Whether it’s the grandiosity of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto or the quiet elegance of a local neighborhood shrine, each visit offers a moment of reflection and connection to something greater.

Equally enchanting are Japan’s gardens, which are masterpieces of landscape design. Places like Kenrokuen in Kanazawa and Kokedera (the Moss Temple) in Kyoto are perfect examples of the harmony between man-made structures and natural beauty. These gardens are carefully curated to showcase the changing seasons, from the vibrant cherry blossoms in spring to the fiery maple leaves in autumn. I find immense joy in simply wandering through these gardens, taking in the meticulously pruned trees, serene ponds, and artfully placed stones. Each garden visit is a sensory experience, where the beauty of nature is enhanced by thoughtful human touch. For me, exploring Japan’s shrines and gardens is not just about admiring their beauty but also about finding a peaceful retreat where I can slow down and appreciate the simple, profound moments of life.

The Bamboo Forest

Visiting the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto, is like stepping into another world. If you’re looking for a favorite place to visit in Japan, this is a great place to check out. As you walk along the path, surrounded by towering bamboo stalks that seem to stretch endlessly toward the sky, you’re enveloped in a sense of serenity and wonder. The gentle rustling of the bamboo leaves in the breeze creates a soothing soundtrack, making you feel as though you’ve entered a peaceful sanctuary far removed from the noise and chaos of everyday life. The light filtering through the dense bamboo canopy casts a beautiful, almost ethereal glow, adding to the otherworldly atmosphere of the forest.

What makes the bamboo forest truly special to me is the way it engages all your senses. The sight of the endless green bamboo, the sound of the leaves, the feel of the cool, smooth bamboo stalks as you touch them—all combine to create a deeply immersive experience. Walking through the bamboo forest, I felt a profound connection to nature and a sense of calm that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the moment. For me, the bamboo forest is not just a beautiful location but a haven of peace and reflection, a place to recharge and find inspiration amidst the natural splendor of Japan.

Be warned however, now the place is more and more crowded with tourists, which takes away a lot of the serenity and magic.

I hope you can join me in exploring some of these incredible places in Japan. Each one offers a unique experience and holds a special place in my heart. From the mouth-watering flavors of Yakiniku and the vibrant atmosphere of Akihabara’s game centers to the serene beauty of shrines and gardens, Japan is a treasure trove of unforgettable moments. Whether you’re singing your favorite songs in a cozy karaoke booth, wandering through the magical bamboo forest, or enjoying the lively streets of Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. I invite you to dive into these adventures and create your own memories in this amazing country. Happy travels!