Question

Fun things to do in Japan? What are the secret things only locals do?

What are some fun things to do in Japan which tourists rarely experience?

Location

Country: Japan

Answers

How about the special Red Light District tour? See my profile for more info.
Going to the onsens in minakami. Or maybe canoeing and Kayaking on the lake with For more thrills canyoning and Rafting with
Party under Sakura tree, which is unique in Japan.
Naked mix outdoor hot-spring, that's what I like most.
Watching some SUMO, going to mixed onsen, it depends even going to SKIJI fish market, or kawasaki phallus festival , ha ha ha!!!
Like everyone else, I agree with the onsen suggestion. It could be quite weird for foreigners, but once you're in it, you'll always crave for more :D

If you're a backpacker and wanna get around cheap (and stop and get around from each station in Japan) buy a juuhachi kippu ticket, find your way with You'll be happy to find some little surprises in each town ^_^
along the rivers there are bike or walking trails where you can still see wild life like red fox, crane and fish in the waters. If you take a car back to the hills and mountains you can find waterfalls and swimming holes and camping/fishing /picnicing. Now is time for the trees and flowers to bloom and have a drinking party next to the locals who may try to meet you.
It depends on the area of Japan, each one is known for something... not that I know each one but on the top of my head you go North for the Onsen/ Natural Hot springs or skiing, you head south for pools and beach.

Depending on their hobby the Japanese go great distances to satisfy their hunger for activity.

I live in Tokyo and I know the geeks/otaku go to Akihabara for the anime feed and get flirted by Maids in maid cafes.
I know surfers drive (or even take train after train then bus) toward Yokohama or Chiba for the waves.
Devoted Disney lovers without question have annual passes to either or even or both Disney Land and Dinsey Sea no matter how far they live from the resort.
Same I guess for Hello Kitty lovers for Sanrio Land (and there is only one Sanrio land in the wrold after all)

There are of course those avids that fly out to specific places at specific seasons. Ice climbers go North in winter to climb up water falls. I suppose fishing addicts go to well-known or secretive mountain parts all over Japan.
OR on the not-so-extreme side in autumn people head to Kyoto to see the maple leaves turned all red and pretty. Same goes for the cherry blossom season (NOW),as people have said before in this thread. Best to head to parks and temples for that stereotypical Japan that locals love too.

Honestly the locals have fun doing what the foreign travelers come for, from shopping at fashion brands to eating at good restaurants. Same goes for sightseeing and museum visits.

Though local drinking take places in Izakaya's (kind of a drink and have little-bites-to-eat restaurant), some exist elsewhere outside the country but the special thing about the local one is that some are themed. One I know is themed like a scary Japanese ghost house, another like a dungeon and customers are taken to their table in handcuffs.

Speaking of ghost houses, apparently the Fujikyu Highland theme-park near mount Fuji, has THE scariest haunted house in the world (apparentl a former hospital so real ghosts are said to wander there). That may be worth the while.

Also if you have the money and know Japanese, try a hostess club (for men) or host club (for women)... you're paying to be comforted, flirted on and to be pleased. Rich buisness men and women go there for their leisure and sanctuary.

Other things can be... sake brewery hopping/visits, beer factory visits. I mean I don't know any other country that has so many variations to ONE brand of beer.
You can also get your photograph taken in a studio where you rent a kimono (-^_^-)d
Fun, but can take it's toll.
Drink, drink, and drink some more. That's after work almost everyday from Monday to Friday. It's called, 'okusan ga sabishii', well that's how I see it.
Fun!
A good bit of advice another localyte mentioned is, Japanese locals like to travel and do all the things that tourists are 'only' believed to do. I think it's great seeing locals seeing their counrty and ejoying the most of what it has to offer.
Sorry this is not fun!
Another local secret, wait for hours for Crispy Cream doughnuts, and anything else that has just opened. Except in the case of Disneyland. After all these years, it still has very long queues.
Interesting.
Take photos of anything using a cell/mobile phone. Especially food.
I would recommend a few things. First of all, mountain climbing. The Japanese love the climb mountains and get into it by dressing the part as well. This is a sure way to interact with the locals as people will usually greet you in passing up and down the mountain.
In the summer time there are many festivals in the smaller cities and villages that are mainly for the locals. The best time in late July through mid-June. O-bon, which is usually around the middle of August is interesting and if you can somehow wrangle an invitation to someone's home you will have a very interesting experience.
Onsens, which have already been mentioned are also good.
I would also recommend finding some small seaside villages and if there is a ocean front market, check it out.
Also, Shikoku, the least visited of the four main islands (by tourists anyway) has many interesting things to see and do. Hope this was helpful.
Hi all I agree with Dante Fazzina Pennetta who mentioned the 'Phallus' Festival in Kawasaki April 5th. I'm having a Hanami Party to enjoy the sakura flowers under the trees at Kawasaki Daishi Temple Park next Sunday and my friends in my party will likely walk the short distance to see the 'Kanamara Matsuru' or 'Phallus Festival as Dante Fazzina Pennetta put it.
Anyone who wants to join my party then please do. Its a way to see cultural Japan (Kawasaki Daishi Temple is one of the big 3 in Japan) with all Daishi's lovely surrounding buildings hand made lollies (candies) etc etc, and you have bizarre Japan with the Kanamara Festival, and of course you have the relaxing beauty of the cherry blossoms (sakura).
This is an annual event for me and my friends and students.
I love going to the "fudo", public bath house! Join me?
There's still powder skiing even on the main island of honshu. Hakuba and Myoko are the two places.
To most of these things you usually need to speak Japanese or have Japanese friends. Either that or just get drunk enough often enough and strange things happen here.
Visit a kaitenzushi restaurant.
Stay in an excessively tiny capsule hotel.
Stay in an excessively tacky love hotel.
Stay in an excessively swanky ryokan.
Play the latest Dance Dance Revolution incarnation at a video arcade.
Sticker machines.
Eat Kobe beef.
Get squid pizza.
Eat basashi (raw horse meat).
Driving in Japan on the expressways can be fun if you know what you are doing nad have GPS!
Visit the beautiful Izu-Islands in Tokyo prefecture and go snorkeling, diving or swimming with wild dolphins!
Just check out my homepage for more information! (^-^)v

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