Explore Japan Cultural Heritage
Discover one of the great civilisations and uncover Japan's epic cultural heritage
Travel Moments Celebrating Cultural Heritage in Japan
Japan is one of the world’s great civilisations and there are so many stories to uncover. Samurai, geisha, sake, Himeji, bonsai, Zen, Taiko, Noh, Sumei, sushi and so many more. Discover Japan’s cultural heritage with this sublime series of things to do, with more than 20 ideas to add to your travel bucketlist.
Art & Poetry Experience in Kyoto
Nestled in the heart of Kyoto’s most enchanting Arashiyama district, tour a museum that opens its doors just for you. In the company of the museum director, walk on the tatami mat and listen to the spellbinding tales surrounding one hundred poems collected over six centuries. Play a card game inspired by these ancient verses to gain a better understanding of Waka poetry. Gaze out at the Katsuragawa River, serene as a painting, and contemplate the beauty of the poems penned by one hundred different poets, including emperors and priests. The museum can also be rented for private events and performances, perfect for any aspiring cultural host!
Dining Performance at a Historic Kyoto Estate
In the Fushimi district of Kyoto, famous for sake wine and the vermillion Inari Shrine, a magnificent venue welcomes you with great hospitality. An ancestral house is converted into a fine-dining spot where you can immerse in a world of time-honored traditions and gastronomical delights. Enjoy spectacular performances that include ninjas, samurais, and geishas. Seek a moment of peace in the zen garden. Savor jade-green sencha in the old teahouse. Many of the finer things in life await you here.
Explore Kyoto in a Kimono
Dress up in traditional kimono, and take your time to meander through the ancient quarters of Kyoto with a local guide. Pass by centuries-old teahouses and beautifully preserved buildings. Pause along scenic rivers, with a paper umbrella in your hand. Offer sincere prayers at shrines, explore alleys forgotten by time, and feel like a local for a day. Relish in the tales of Kyoto’s glorious past, on this charmingly nostalgic excursion.
Himeji Festival Culture Tour
In a small village tucked away in Himeji City, celebrate the autumn festival of kenka fighting with the locals.This is the time of the year when resplendently-designed yatai floats are propped up by large groups of volunteers, as they are paraded across town like portable shrines. Loud, fervent chants summoning the deities accompany the collision of the floats, mimicking battles of the titans. The best way to immerse in this emotionally charged festival is to be a spectator with a front-row view, just to see the festivities up-close.You can also visit artisans who build the intricate floats, or gain in-depth knowledge about kenka fighting from experts.
Kanazawa Culture and History Tour
Kanazawa is the fabled seat of a powerful clan reaching back to the Edo era. Sojourn to this historical city, rich in heritage, and renowned for its landscape gardens. Take time to stroll through the well-preserved samurai district where the warriors resided with their families. Mingle with the locals at a fresh seafood market, and have a taste of the sweetest sashimi. To get close to nature, enjoy some time in a picturesque garden that used to belong to a feudal lord. Depending on your preference, you can also visit shrines and temples, or pop by the stately museums for a dose of modern art. There is indeed something for every intrepid traveler in Kanazawa.
Kanazawa Gold Lead Workshop
Take an in-depth look at Kanazawa gold leaf craftsmanship and walk away with glistening memories.Kanazawa is reputably the City of Gold. Be schooled in the precision and skills required for artists to embellish ornaments with sheets of gold. Learn about the temples and shrines that have been gilded and glorified. Seal this riveting session with an experience of your own, by decorating a pair of chopsticks. These will be finalised here then sent home, the finished chopsticks delivered right to your doorstep.
Kyoto Craftsmen Insider’s Tour
The exquisite cultural vibe of Kyoto has galvanized artists to create and preserve traditional art. Take your time to wander through the city. Drop in on artisans who are dedicated to perfecting crafts that will cause your heart to flutter with amazement. Discover the essence of washi art. Learn the secrets to fan making. Befriend an artist whose unique skill is to inlay gold into fabrics. Delight in the company of all the creative souls, and be inspired by their devotion to achieving mastery. You will spend an entire day immersed in art that was born from Kyoto’s winding history.
Kyoto Sake Brewery Tour With Tasting and Food Pairings
Discover the allure of “the salarymen’s drink” and learn how rice is transformed into sake wine at a generations-old brewery. Go deep into the intricacies of traditional Japanese sake making during this private tour. From drawing fresh water from natural springs to harnessing wind that creates the best fermentation climate, every element is given the utmost attention. After the brewery visit, sip your way into the exquisite world of Japanese cuisine. Relax and indulge in the pairing of different types of sake with a selection of dishes prepared exclusively for you.
Maiko Dress Up Experience in Kyoto
Create your very own maiko experience, indulging in a makeover that will turn heads and snare hearts. Make any dream of dressing up as a geisha’s apprentice come true on this sartorial adventure. Choose a traditional gown that catches your eyes, then have your hair and professional make-up done in a style that matches your outfit. Transform into a mesmerizing maiko and stroll down the streets of Japan’s old capital city, Kyoto. Allow your personal photography crew to capture your best angles, and go home with amazing photos to remember this maiko day.
Manga Drawing Class in Tokyo
Japan is the cradle of manga art. Pick up the specialized skill of drawing manga comics through a private class with a manga maven. From sketching details to creating engaging storylines, learn the tricks of the trade from your personal art instructor. Exchange techniques and ideas, while elevating your artistic style. Share your favorite comics and anime, while getting to know new manga series that are worth exploring.
Master the Art of Bonsai in Tokyo
On a path less traveled, sidestep to Fukushima in the north of Tokyo to visit a family who has perfected the art of sculpting bonsai. Discover the specialized knowledge that has been passed down through generations in your host family. Observe how artistry is imbued in the cultivation of the bonsai plants. tUnder the guidance of your experienced host, find your green thumb by trying your hand at shaping your very own bonsai. This is the perfect opportunity to learn all about this remarkable Japanese art form.
Meet Craftsmen and Artisans in Rural Japan
Meet artists and craftsmen who have devoted their lives to preserving Japanese culture. Make your way to the legendary countryside, tucked away in the west of Japan. Together with your personal guide, you will journey deep into an artisanal world of pottery, washi paper, knife, and sword crafting. Depending on your interest, you can interact with skilled makers, participate in workshops, or visit galleries and studios. From the local creators, hear stories of how they found their callings. Experience the history that has swept through the region, and discover the dreams these artisans have for the future of their crafts.
Meeting a Zen Monk in Kyoto
Be in the presence of a Zen monk and delve into Zen Buddhism at one of the most distinguished Zen monasteries in Japan. Under the guidance of this revered monk, open your heart and mind to the wisdom of Zen as you gain insights into its practice and way of thinking. Experience the way of life of the monk. Get a sense of his devotion to his religion, as well as his dedication in leading others onto the path of enlightenment.
Ninja Training Workshop
Step into the shoes of a ninja fighter, and experience the power of Japan’s most lethal assassins.Go back in time to the feudal age, and hear all about ninja adventures from knowledgeable storytellers. Muster the combatant in you. Under the guidance of a personal martial arts specialist, put on the signature ninja outfit, and go through a series of trainings. Sharpen your skills, from throwing shuriken to blowing darts, and perfect the stealth moves that define the best spies.
Noh and Buton Contrasting Dances Performance in Kyoto
See two worlds collide in the form of dance. Watch as two luminary performers bring forth the ancient noh and the hyper-expressive butoh, one after another.From pensive to provocative, measured to deliberate, your senses will be heightened as you behold a sublime performance carried by the celebrated dancers. After that, hear the stories of the artists’ individual pursuit of perfection in the world of dance. Compare the different theatrical art forms, and learn about their respective histories. You will not only experience the dance on this private tour, but discover culture and people behind the performance.
Samurai Dress Up Experience in Tokyo or Kyoto
Pride, prestige, and power. Be fitted in real Samurai armor which will take you back in time to Japan’s feudal era.Feel a warrior’s steel-like loyalty and a hero’s courage through this dressing-up. Morph into an honorable nobleman who is ready to defend his lord and land.Pose with stoic and dignity during a photography session, then leave with compelling photos that will serve as precious mementos for life.
Samurai Experience at a Dojo in Tokyo
Experience a chapter of Japan’s history by dressing up like a Samurai. Samurai warriors are a display of military might by clans and aristocrats in feudal Japan. As you don the iconic armor suit of the country’s most upright combatants, take the chance to understand the origin of the Samurai culture. Trace the warriors’ rise to power, followed by tales of their downfall. To take this experience to another level, fight for your honor under the guidance of a Samurai expert, and show off your skills on a dojo.
Sumie Japanese Ink Painting Class in Tokyo
Find beauty in a world that is black and white through the art of Sumie painting. During a private class with a maestro, the sublimity of minimalist ink painting will be unveiled. Learn to appreciate this intricate art form, which demands discipline, dedication and years of rigorous training to master. Take the chance to have a conversation with your personal artistic guide. Be schooled in the various aesthetics of Japanese paintings. Through an honest conversation, go deep into the roots of Japanese culture and understand how art is entwined with the country’s history.
Taiko Drumming Workshop in Kyoto or Nagano
Feel your heart beat to the thunderous boom of Japanese taiko drums. Time and tradition flow through this revered instrument, long connected to warriors and gods. Taiko was a weapon of intimidation on ancient battlefields, as well as a religious representation in sacred shrines. Meet performing artists who will captivate you with dynamic drumming and riveting stories. Watch as they unleash the power of taiko. Then let your hair down, find your rhythm, and master drumming techniques that will electrify any atmosphere.
Tokyo Theatre Tour With Noh Grand Masters
A family of noh grandmasters with more than 650 years of experience invites you into their private theatre for a performance you will never forget. Be introduced to the impressive history of this centuries-old theatrical art, and be inspired by the family’s devotion to perfecting it. Let your imagination run wild as a noh master puts on a hand-crafted mask. This metamorphosis creates a character who will lead you into a sphere where music meets fantasy, and dance meets drama.
Ukiyoe Wood Printing Experience in Kyoto
The art of Japanese woodblock printing has fascinated the world since its birth in the 17th century. Ukiyo-e exalts the beauty of females, as well as extols the majesty of nature. This art form used to celebrate a hedonistic floating world, while serving as a reminder for the transience of lifeSavor the intricacies of how woodblock printing disregards dimension and depth when creating graphics. Witness the boldness in accentuating shapes and colors when ink is transferred onto paper.The time has come for you to hold the legacy of Ukiyo-e in your hands. Immerse in the elegant experience of creating your personal woodblock print, and go home with an authentic masterpiece.
Visit Home of Master Noh Performer in Kyoto
Open your eyes to one of the world’s oldest dramatic arts. Noh is steeped in theatre traditions originating from the 14th century. Pay a visit to a revered Noh master in his home in Kyoto to experience how the realm between gods and men is blurred. Get lost in the story plots that used to entertain shoguns; View costumes preserved through decades; Try on precious hand-carved wooden masks crafted from old Hinoki trees, and watch a captivating performance of noh.
Visit Japan's Most Traditional Pottery Villages
Set off on a day trip that will open your eyes to how clay is transformed into ceramic art. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Drive through valleys and verdant flatlands to arrive at pottery villages that are cocooned within the lush countryside. Meet potters who are reinterpreting the traditional art of ceramic-making, giving their work a modern spin. Explore the long history of pottery in Japan. Find out what inspired the artists to create masterpieces that will stand up to the test of time.