Do you want to have a hands-on, up and close experience with real Japanese culture? Then we recommend one of Japan’s many “Wa no Taiken” (“Experience Japan”) programs established for people just like you! In this article we will introduce you to several of these programs all over the country.
Handmake your own Yatsuhashi sweets (Kyoto)
One of Kyoto’s biggest tourist spots is Kyoto Tower. On the 3rd floor of Kyoto Tower you can take part in one of many classes on a variety of different things including learning how to make makuzushi and how to make the plastic food samples you see outside most restaurants in Japan! The one we recommend the most is the yatsuhashi sweet class. You’ll learn how to prepare steamed flour dough before stuffing it with anko red bean paste. You can learn how to make various flavours including plain, matcha and purple sweet potato. At the end, you can take a photo and have it printed on your yatsuhashi sweets package. It’s nice to receive a souvenir.
Full Article: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/68757
Trace Aizen Myoo in “Puchi Shabutsu” Program (Osaka)
This program is located at “Waqoo Shitaderamachi,” a ‘shukubo’ temple lodging located in Shitaderamachi where around 80 temples are situated. ‘Shukubo’ refers to temple lodging for worshippers who are visiting shrines and temples. In “Shabutsu.” you trace rough copies of Buddhist pictures. It is said that this practice was created to spread the teachings of Buddha instead of learning difficult scriptures. In this program, all you have to do is trace a postcard sized picture, so anybody can take on the training in a short period of time! By focusing on the tracing, one can relax and let their mind be free to wander.
Full Article: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/39570
Learn the heart of Japan by experiencing the tea ceremony (Kyoto)
The first ever Concierge Salon opened its doors in Kyoto earlier this year, renovated from a 300-year-old traditional townhouse. Under instruction from your expert teacher, not only will you learn the manners and etiquette of the tea ceremony, such as how to properly eat the sweets and drink the tea, but you’ll also have the opportunity to make the tea yourself. And don’t worry – all of the Japanese tea teachers at the Concierge Salon are fluent in English and other foreign languages. English will be the basis for the explanation of the tea ceremony rules. (You can also listen to them in Japanese). You must book in advance, but it is possible to participate if there’s a spot open on the day. Joining in with the tea ceremony is a chance to achieve peace of mind.
Full Article: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/59896
Dress up as a samurai and sword fight and more (Asakusa, Tokyo)
Foreign fans of the famous Japanese samurai have been on the increase recently. In response to this, YUMENOYA have set up “Japan Culture Experience Tours” where you can engage in real sword fights, learn sword dancing, and much more. When you take on their “Samurai Experience” the first step is to kit up in your samurai outfit, wield your sword and have your photo taken. You will then learn how to hold a Japanese sword, the proper way to stand, and how to draw your and return sword. You will learn how to prepare your mind an how to maneuvre to feel like a true samurai.
Learn how to make your own senbei rice crackers at Edo Wonderland (Tochigi)
Edo Wonderland Nikkei Edomura is truly a one-of-a-kind experience: a theme park that captures the life and culture of the people and towns of the Edo Period. By going there, you will have an outfit change to completely turn into a person of the Edo Period. There’s many sights to see and activities to join in at Edo Wonderland – even opportunities for children to experience work that Edo children would be occupied in. It’s a chance to learn all about Edo culture. We recommend learning how to make your own senbei (rice crackers). You’ll get to cook your rice crackers one by one on a shichirin – a small charcoal grill. And by adding soy sauce, you can cook them quickly while also ensuring you don’t burn them. The flavour of your own cooked senbei is exceptional. It’s just ￥150 for one rice cracker.
Be taught by a real modern day female ninja (Shibuya, Tokyo)
The Kunoichi Ninja Cafe is a cafe located in Shibuya, Tokyo where you can meet a modern day ninja. They have a real dojo where you can experience and practice being a ninja. Your teacher will be Sayaka Ooguri, a modern day kunoichi (female ninja) who has practiced ninjutsu since she was 2-years-old. Adults and children alike can look forward to learning about ninja culture together with her. (*Japanese, English and Chinese possible). The dojo has a modern Japan decor and many Instagram worthy photo spots. It’s an original dojo based on the style of kimono, so you’ll no doubt have to take a few photos! We also recommend taking the rice ball class where you can learn the history of and how to make rice balls.
Did any of these programs tickle your fancy? Make the most of your time in Japan by getting involved with everything you can – that goes for both traditional culture, not just pop culture!