Seiganto-ji Pagoda

Cultural Experiences to Enjoy when in Japan!

Japan is a beautiful country to explore. It embodies the rich culture and history of the Orient that makes a visit a lifetime experience.

Check out some of the amazing things you can experience whenever travelling to Japan!

Man in bathing in an onsen

Bathing in an onsen.

Bathe in an onsen

Bathing in an onsen is a unique Japanese bonding experience that breaks down barriers while getting to know people in a relaxed atmosphere. This is known as hadaka no tsukiai, or naked communion. Onsen were traditionally built outdoors, though as of late, more indoor onsen are being built at newer establishments. The naturally, geothermally heated spring water is said to have healing powers because of its mineral content.

Himeji Castle in spring

Himeji Castle in spring.

Hanami

Cherry blossoms (sakura) are deeply ingrained in the history and culture of Japan, and they have come to identify the country. During hanami season in spring, thousands of people, locals and visitors from all around the world, flock to see the beauty of the flowers in full bloom which last for only a few days. It’s a spectacular sight to behold!

Awa Odori Festival

Awa Odori Festival.

Festivals

There are numerous festivals (matsuri) throughout the year in Japan because almost every temple and shrine celebrates their own matsuri. Most of the festivals are celebrated annually and Japanese culture embraces religious beliefs and historical events. Some festivals last for several days. There are elaborate floats, costumes, dancing, fireworks, street food and revelry that is always a wonderful way to experience Japanese culture.

Visit temples and shrines or maybe even sleep in them

Numerous temples and shrines in Japan give visitors a glimpse of the unique culture and rich history of Japan and its people. Many religious festivals are celebrated in Japan with traditional pomp and it is simply a must to catch at least one whenever going for a visit.

If you want to delve even deeper, try staying overnight at a shrine or temple. Minimalist ryokan style rooms are available at Mount Koya, Wakayama. The holy town has more than 50 temples that offer accommodations for visitors wishing to have a spiritual retreat. You can try shojin ryori, a vegetarian cuisine the monks enjoy, meditate in the mornings led by  the monks and simply enjoy nature and all its glory!

KCP students in kimonos

KCP students in kimonos. | KCP Flickr

Wear a kimono

The kimono (着物) is a traditional costume worn by Japanese women, men, and children. Today, the kimono denotes a full length T-shaped robe with straight lines. It’s worn so that the hem falls at the ankle and has collars and wide, long sleeves.  The customary materials used for kimonos are silk (preferred) and satin,  decorated by hand with woven or dyed patterns. Kimono’s make wonderful souvenirs from Japan!