Traditional Japanese Culture
Omiyage: a Japanese Souvenir Tradition
Omiyage are tasty locals souvenirs from Japan that were first used to thank trip financers for their contributions in the Edo period and then helped straying spouses stay on the straight and narrow. Find out how this worked!
Bonsai in Japan
The history of bonsai in Japan goes back to the 13th century, which was a time when Japan was very open to culture imported from China and bonsai was one of the imported art forms. Bonsai is a dwarf tree grown in a porcelain pot, and its purpose is to represent nature through the arrangement of the shape of the tree and to appreciate the tree.
Landscape Japanese Gardens
How did Japanese gardens develop? And how can we appreciate Japanese gardens? Find out more about Japanese gardens.
Ikebana : Japanese Flower Arrangement
It was in the 14th century that Ikebana arose in Japan when people started arranging the flowers that they offer to Buddha statues. Its concept developed from the desire to express religious feelings in connection with Buddhism.
The Japanese tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado, or simply Ocha. It is a choreographed ritual of preparation and the serving of a type of Japanese green tea called matcha, along with traditional sweets to balance the bitter taste of the tea.
Originally from China, it was the Japanese who created koi fish' beautiful coloring that made them so popular. Where can you see these carps in Japan? And is it possible to visit a koi farm?
The Imperial Family of Japan
Learn more about the history of the Imperial Family of Japan and the lives of the current royals!
Japanese Ceramic and Lacquerware
Japanese ceramics and lacquerware are very popular household goods throughout the world. Find out more about these wonderful crafts from Japan.
Ukiyo-e : Woodblock Prints
Ukiyo-e is a famous form of visual art from Japan. Ukiyo-e works are woodblock prints that depict scenes from Edo-period Japan. Learn more about these intriguing works of art!
The Kimono: Japanese Traditional Clothing
Kimono are traditional Japanese clothes that used to be worn on a daily basis until western-style fashion came to Japan. Today, the Japanese still wear kimono to official functions sometimes.
Geisha: The Entertainers of Japan
Geisha are not prostitutes. This is a misconception based on inaccurate depictions in films and from the stories of American soldiers who went to Japan after WW2 when there was great poverty in Japan and prostitutes either masqueraded as or were mistaken for being geisha.
Origami | Japan Culture Guide
Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper without using scissors or glue to create shapes that can be seen as paper sculptures. Learn more about this beautiful art!
Hakama : Traditional Japanese Clothing
While most foreigners know about kimono, another traditional Japanese garment called hakama is not that known amongst most foreign visitors in Japan. A hakama are the skirt-like pants that are worn over a kimono.
National Holidays in Japan | Culture Guide
Here is an overview of Japanese national holidays and some of the other most important annual nationwide events. The banks and government offices close on a public holiday in Japan, but most shops and restaurants are opened.
Hatsumode | New Years Day in Japan
Each year, January 1st dawns in Japan with crowds of people visiting Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples to pray for safety and prosperity throughout the year ahead. This occasion is known as hatsumode (literally, 'first prayer').
How to Pray at Shinto Shrine
Shinto is the indigenous faith of Japan. It means worshiping ancestors as guardians of the family, and it also symbolizes showing respect for the kami, a word that corresponds to 'deity' in English, who reside in the natural world.
Funeral in Japan
Funeral in Japan is held in Buddhist style. There are wake, farewell service, cremation, ensepulcher, etc. You are supposed to bring condolence to attend the ceremony. You may come across the ceremony during your Japan tour.
Removing Shoes in Japan | Culture Guide
Removing your shoes before entering a house or building is not only hygienic, in Japan, it is much more than a simple custom. Learn more about the history behind this rule, and the right way to go about it.
Culture Day | Japanese Cultural Guide
The day that is now Culture Day used to be commemorated for another reason: it was a holiday in honor of Emperor Meiji’s birthday.
The National Bird of Japan | Pheasant
The national bird of Japan is the green pheasant, named 'Kiji' in Japanese. It was declared the National Bird in 1947. The Kiji has been featured in many legends, mythology, poetry, and paintings, and it is very famous throughout the world.
National Flag of Japan | Culture Guide
The national flag of Japan is officially called 'Nisshoki', which means 'Flag of the Sun symbol', although colloquially it is known as 'Hinomaru' which means 'Circle of the Sun', and it is the most important symbol of Japan.
The National Flower of Japan | Culture Guide
Chrysanthemums first came to Japan from China in the fifth century. Chrysanthemum cultivation began in Japan during the Nara and Heian periods (710-1185) when the flower was planted throughout Japan.
Relaxing Hot Spring in Japan | Culture Guide
Tectonic activity doesn't just bring earthquakes and volcanic eruptions with it, it also brings great natural hot spring areas where we can relax and get rid of all kinds of physical ailments.
The Japanese Writing System | Culture Guide
Japanese writing consists of three systems, kanji, hiragana, and katakana. The word 'kanji' literally means 'Chinese characters', and this writing system was directly taken from the Chinese over 1000 years ago.
Japanese Tanka Poetry | Cultural Guide
The Tanka is a uniquely Japanese poetic form perfected at the beginning of the seventh century.