The first thing that a visitor to Japan should not miss is seeing the bamboo forest. Even if you aren’t very interested in bamboo, the atmosphere created by the environment is incredible. The sound of the bamboo swaying in the wind and being surrounded by such enormous vegetation is truly something to behold. There is also a shrine there, which you can buy souvenirs at or get a stamp from.
Although I have not yet gone myself, Nara park is somewhere I think everyone should visit while in Japan. It is the place am most excited to visit. We will be going in December. The special thing about Nara park is that there are deer everywhere, which you can interact with and feed. I plan on taking many pictures and videos! I love animals in general, but since the deer is my spirit animal, I have a special place for it in my heart.
As far as food goes, the two places I would suggest you visit first are a ramen restaurant and a place that sells crepes. Ramen is a famous Japanese dish, and is said to be quite delicious, but some people like myself have only been able to eat the packaged version which you microwave. Since I have never had prepared ramen in America, I cannot compare them unfortunately, but restaurant ramen here is very satisfying and wonderfully tasty. Although the broth is a little salty, it not as overwhelming as in the packaged version, which is one thing that makes it a lot better for me. It turns out that ramen is among my favorite foods here in Japan, despite greatly disliking its convenient counterpart.Another awesome thing about eating ramen here is the variety of broths and toppings to choose from. I personally enjoy eggs and onions in mine.
Crepes are very different here compared to back home. First of all, they are a dessert here while I have seen them served for breakfast in America. They are very cute, coming rolled up in a cone-shape with the filling inside. I ate my filling first, which consisted of ice cream and custard, and then ate the crepe itself which was covered in the yummy filling. This crepe was a cold one, but they also sell hot varieties, which I hope to try while I am here in Japan. Since I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of eating it with some friends, I think it is something I would definitely recommend.
The last place I wanted to include was a tough decision, as there are quite a few places I would want to recommend, but I think I will go with Umekoji park. This park is not unlike other parks, but its location is ideal as it is not far from Kyoto Station and it is also near a train museum and Kyoto Aquarium. A park is a great place to go with some friends to have a picnic or play games together, or even just talk. There are sometimes vendors nearby selling food, so you can also perhaps try something new. Plus, given its location, you can decide to head to the aquarium or museum afterwards and easily walk to the station to get home.