Discover what’s new in Japan for 2024 as you plan your visit to this amazing country.
As one of the world’s most popular and in-demand holiday destinations, Japan has no shortage of attractions and it’s set to unveil even more in 2024. Surely there has been no better year to visit Japan! From spectacular outdoor experiences to unique theme parks, mind-bending art installations (like those by TeamLab pictured above) to new travel routes, the next 12 months in Japan has it all. Let’s take a look at the latest attractions and things to do across this spectacular and unforgettable country, with tips on where to go and how to get there with your JR Pass for unlimited travel on the country’s world-leading domestic rail network. Ready for 2024? Your new year begins here.
Top 10 New Attractions for Japan in 2024
1. Ghibli Park is Fully Open
The final area of Ghibli Park - the theme park that’s not a theme park by Oscar-winning Japanese animators Studio Ghibli - will officially open by spring 2024. This means the entire park, which is the only one of its kind in the world, will be fully open this year. What is Ghibli Park? Unique to Japan and arguably unique to the world, Ghibli Park is an immersive and interactive experience that allows visitors to step inside the magical worlds created by the films of Studio Ghibli. At Ghibli Park, there are no roller-coasters or traditional funfair rides. Located in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, Ghibli Park is designed much more as a magical experience - a unique, interactive adventure - like finding a portal into your favourite animated films. From visiting the life-size home of Satsuki and Mei from My Neighbour Totoro to sitting in a real-life and very soft-looking Catbus, to eating food inspired by scenes from the films, such as dining in the yatai from Spirited Away, or sitting on the train next to the iconic No Face from the same film, the list of incredible experiences goes on and on. Ghibli Park brings these magical animated films to life, as only Studio Ghibli could, for you to explore and enjoy.
Ghibli Park officially opened in November 2022, but two of its five planned areas were always scheduled to open at a later date. In November, Mononoke Village opened and in March 2024, the Valley of Witches will also be unveiled to visitors for the first time. Mononoke’s Village is a full recreation of the Muromachi period irontown of Tatara-ba from the film, Princess Mononoke, surrounded by dense, magical woodland, with characters and creatures from the story. The Valley of Witches draws inspiration from the films Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service. This area features a townscape and landscaped green area. Arguably the highlight will be a 16-metre tall recreation of Howl’s Moving Castle itself complete with moving cannons. Set to open in March 2024, this will undoubtedly be one of the park’s biggest and best highlights. For much more on Ghibli Park, read our Ultimate Guide.
2. New Shinkansen Route Opens Up Hokuriku Region
Japan’s latest bullet train route, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, is currently set to open in 2024. The new extension will start at Tokyo and finish at Tsuruga Station in Fukui prefecture, taking just three hours and eight minutes, saving almost an hour in journey time while increasing the distance of the journey by 125 kilometres (78 miles). Most importantly, the route will create a huge number of new travel opportunities for international visitors - and even better, the entire route is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
3. Kurobe-Unazuki Canyon Route
A new route is set to open this year through one of Japan’s most spectacular canyons. The Kurobe canyon is well-known for its incredible natural beauty and 2024 will see a special route - a former construction route from Keyakidaira to Kurobe Dam - open up for climbers and hikers. The route will be unique in that it will use various modes of transport from elevator to funicular, to enable people to traverse the valley.
The Kurobe-Unazuki Canyon Route is due to open in either May or November 2024. For an in-depth guide to this area, read our dedicated blog on The Kurobe Alpine Route for much more.
4. Two New Attractions at Tokyo DisneyResort
If you’re a fan of Disney’s Frozen, Tangled, Peter Pan, theme parks in general, and Japan of course, then 2024 is going to be a very good year. In 2024, Fantasy Springs will open its doors at Tokyo DisneyLand and Sea Resort. Fantasy Springs is the brand new kingdom set to open at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in 2024. It has been built thanks to a huge 320 billion yen budget, which has been used to create a host of spectacular new attractions and rides based around three of Disney’s most popular films - Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan. The three new areas within Fantasy Springs will be Frozen Kingdom, featuring the kingdom of Arendelle from the smash hit film Frozen, complete with Anna and Elsa’s castle; Rapunzel’s Forest, which will include Rapunzel’s iconic tower, a lush, magical forest, and an extended boat ride; and finally, Peter Pan’s Neverland, with Captain Hook’s iconic pirate ship, Tinkerbell, and the lost boys. Alongside the three new areas, there will also be a new Disney hotel complex with more than 400 rooms. Fantasy Springs will add an incredible new kingdom to one of the world’s greatest theme parks. If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo DisneyLand then 2024 is the perfect year. For an in-depth guide to the new Fantasy Springs attractions read our guide to New Attractions for Disney Japan in 2024.
5. A New Home for teamLab Borderless
Japan’s unique and premier artistic collective, teamLab, will relocate to a new home in spring 2024. TeamLab will open their latest digital art museum at Tokyo’s new Azabudai Hills - a huge new, multi-storey complex designed as a unique, contemporary ‘village’, including residential space, offices, an international school, and more. The new teamLab Borderless will feature new artworks and exhibitions such as ‘Bubble Universe’ room, ‘Black Waves’, and ‘Megalith Crystal Formation’.
6. Kumano Kodo 20th Anniversary
One of only two former pilgrimage sites recognised by UNESCO World Heritage, the 1,000-year-old Kumano Kodo will celebrate 20 years since being acknowledged by UNESCO. Located in the mountains of Wakayama Prefecture and the Kii Peninsula, the pilgrimage passes through the sacred lands of Mt.Koya and features a number of stunning sights along the way such as Nachi Falls waterfall. The Unazuki Onsen is also closely located. This will be a must for both outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those looking to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage. You can read more about Mt. Koya in our Spiritual Guide to Japan.
7. The World’s First Immersive Theme Park
As evidenced by the news about Ghibli Park and Tokyo Disney above, Japan really does love a theme park! And it’s set to open a new one in Tokyo this year that’s set to be another world’s first. At 30,000 square metres, Immersive Fort Tokyo will be one of Japan’s largest indoor theme parks and, according to its creators, the world’s first immersive theme park, with 12 different types of rides, restaurants, shops, live theatre, and more. Immersive Fort Tokyo will be located in Odaiba and opens in March 2024.
8. Sapporo International Art Festival
Art lovers will be well-catered for 2024. Japan has a wealth of art and culture to enjoy right across the country, from the contemporary to the classical, and early in 2024, will see a very special festival come to Sapporo. The Sapporo International Art Festival only takes place once every four years so 2024 is your chance to enjoy it. This year the themes are ‘Last Snow’ and ‘Where The Future Begins’ and the festival has been curated by director Ogawa Hideaki. Held across a number of different venues in Sapporo, including the famous Odori Park, this brilliant festival will run from 20 January to 25 February.
9. Trending Cities For 2024
Speaking of Sapporo, the city was one of three Japanese cities - Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo - named among the world’s top ten trending cities in a recent poll by Skyscanner. This speaks volumes about how amazing Japan is as a country, and how spectacular and exciting its cities are, that three of the world’s top ten trending cities to visit in 2024 are all there. Tokyo and Osaka are well-renowned for being among the world’s best cities, but Sapporo may have been a surprise for some. However, it’s quickly becoming a must see destination. Sapporo is the capital of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, and in some ways, may come as a more offbeat recommendation. It’s certainly less touristy than Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka. Sapporo and Hokkaido generally are becoming more and more popular with visitors who want to see a different side of Japan, as well as those who love colder, snowier climates. For a further overview of Japan’s trending cities, read our guide to the Best Japanese Cities To Visit in 2024.
10. Hokkaido East Trail
Outdoor enthusiasts have a lot to be happy about in 2024 in Japan, including a new trail in beautiful Hokkaido, which is famous for its snow in the winter and stunning greenery in the summer. This 370 kilometre route will take walkers through several of Hokkaido’s spectacular national parks, such as Akan Mashu, Kushiro Marshlands, and Shiretoko, and will be open in late spring or summer. The Hokkaido East Trail is likely to become one of Japan’s must-experience outdoor attractions in 2024. For more on hiking, read our Quick Guide to Hiking in Japan.
- Planning your first visit to Japan in 2024? Our dedicated blog has more than one hundred in-depth articles covering everything from transport tips to city guides, sightseeing recommendations to restaurant etiquette, top ten lists, and much, much more. It’s the perfect place to start your research.
- First time in Japan? Read our Perfect 7-Day Itinerary for First Time Visitors.
- Why is Japan so unique and special? Read our guide, Only in Japan - the little things that will make you fall in love with the country to find out the many reasons why.
- You want to travel to Japan, but which month and season is best? Lucky for you, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you - When to Visit Japan: A Month By Month Guide.
- As we mentioned, the best way to travel around Japan is undoubtedly the country’s excellent domestic rail network. We’ve a number of articles about Japan’s railways, from Ten Amazing Train Facts to practical guides such as How much luggage can I bring on the Shinkansen and Japanese trains, and many more to help you plan.
- From language tips to travel guidance, it pays to stay connected when you’re travelling around Japan and investing in a PocketWifi device is an excellent way to ensure unlimited internet access whenever you need it.
- If it’s your first time visiting Japan in 2024, you might benefit from an expert helping hand on arrival. Our dedicated Meet & Greet Service is like having a personal assistant for your holiday. It’s ideal for first-time visitors, families, and business travellers.