10 Unique Things To Do In Japan
Japan has a rich history that offers many one-of-a-kind cultural experiences you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Here are a few unique adventures you should definitely add to your Japan bucket list!
(1) Learn the Art of the Samurai
Although the Samurai gave up their swords about 150 years ago, you can still visit ancient Samurai sites or watch sword dancing in a theatrical performance. If watching Ninjas on stage isn’t enough, you can put on a traditional kimono and hakama and participate in a performance for yourself. You can even learn to hold one of these traditional swords in the Samurai experience on our Japan Adventure tour!
(2) Watch Sumo Wrestling
To learn about this ancient ritual and its religious background, visit sumo stables to see wrestlers in practice or attend one of Japan’s six, 15-day tournaments! A trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without experiencing their national sport first hand.
(3) Visit a Virtual Reality World
Put on a futuristic headset that covers your eyes and ears and sit back as you travel to a foreign land, into a sci-fi or anime world, or compete in virtual games with your friends! Visit VR Ninja Dojo to put your ninja skills to the test as you battle against monsters, or to VR Park Tokyo if you like shooting games or want to take a walk through a jungle! Virtual reality attractions offer many crazy adventures, definitely not one to miss out on.
(4) Stay at a Ryokan
Stay at a traditional Japanese inn where you can relax in a hot bath and walk through beautiful gardens. Larger ryokans usually offer a variety of activities for their guests to enjoy including restaurants, bars, game rooms, karaoke, and shopping!
(5) Observe a Lantern Festival
Some Japanese lantern festivals are part of ancient traditions in warding off evil, while others have newer origins. These festivals take place in Japan throughout the entire year, but most occur between February and March. Plus, they are more than just about lanterns! Expect games, entertainment, and of course, delicious food.
(6) Take Part in a Tea Ceremony
Drink traditional Japanese green tea on a tatami floor. A tea ceremony is a multi-hour event and is usually prepared in front of the guests. Make sure you wear modest clothing and bow after receiving and having finished your tea! It's a beautiful tradition.
(7) See Kabuki Theater
This traditional Japanese and UNESCO proclaimed theatre features a combination of live music and dancing, surprise entrances from behind trapped doors, and actors with strange wigs and makeup! These dramas are performed in single acts as well as entire segments that together build up to a final climax. It will surely be a performance you’ll remember!
(8) Stay in a Buddhist Temple
If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing experience, a night in a Buddhist temple is perfect for you. Similar to a traditional ryokan, expect your quarters to be sparse. There is no bed but a futon and here monks will make up your bed for you in the evening. During your stay, you can participate in a meditation service and observe various sacred rituals performed by a priest in the temple. Check out our Japan Adventure Tour which includes a one-night stay in an ancient Buddhist Temple in Koyasan!
(9) See a Geisha Performance
Kyoto is the capital of Geisha performance with four districts all offering their own unique twists to this traditional show. You can expect to see women dance, dressed in traditional kimonos with pale makeup and eccentric hairpieces.
(10) Sleep in a Capsule Hotel
Spend the night in a futuristic pod, a hotel stripped to the bare necessities: a bed, outlets, and some come equipped with a TV. Other amenities are communal such as toilets and showers and some hotels come with baths, a sauna, or a restaurant. These hotels were first designed in Japan in 1979 and are great for guests seeking inexpensive accommodation: a single night stay ranges from $18-36 USD. Cosy? Absolutely.
So, does the thought of seeing exciting performances and participating in unique activities have you itching to explore Japan? Check out our epic 13-day Japan Tour here!