Experiences are part of the enrichment process of travelling in order to understand the country we visit. The cultural and historical wealth of Japan makes the country an ideal place to try new experiences and better understand the country.
There is a diverse range of activities to suit all tastes, like tea ceremonies in unique events, ikebana taught by true masters or Japanese calligraphy and its art form but we recommend to go deeper and try other exciting and thrilling experiences.
Many first visitors to Japan are unaware that the main religion is Shintoism. Even though buddhism is very spread and deeply rooted in society and most Japanese embrace customs from both religions, shintoism is a unique religion only found here.
Shinto shrines are easily recognized by its gates, torii, of red, orange or wooden colour.
Even though shintoism is not based in a strict doctrine, festivals and ceremonies are based in the religion’s devotion for nature spirits and purification.
There are more than 80,000 shrines in Japan. They tend to be crowded by New Year, for a birth celebration or during the shichigosan (celebrating anniversaries of 3, 5 and 7 year-old children).
Sumo is the national sport in Japan. It is more than just a fight between two wrestlers on a ring. Originally, sum was used to measure the strength between two rivals or as a duel, but nowadays is a highly professional sport.
The Japanese Sumo Association organizes 6 tournaments yearly: in Tokyo (January, May and September; in Osaka (March); in Nagoya (July) and in Fukuoka (November).
The competition follows a set of rituals, like the ceremony of entry to the ring or the rite of salt-throwing.
There is a wide variety of wrestling techniques and the tournaments are fascinating.
Japan is a true paradise for foodies and gourmet lovers. Some part of its cuisine has already reached our countries but there’s a lot more to taste.
The landscape and climate is very broad, from subtropical beaches of Okinawa to the snowy plains of Hokkaido. This translates into a rich variety of food products and ingredients.
It’s specially famous the seafood of Hokkaido, being the King Crab the main player. Families all over Japan order every year this meaty delicacy for New Year.
Tokyo also offers some authentic regional cuisine, mostly ignored by tourists. Monja consists of pan-fried batter mixed with many ingredients, like fish or seafood, cooked in a hot plate. It might look unappealing at first but it sure tastes divine.
In the Osaka region, it’s unforgivable not to try takoyaki, octopus balls, gracefully prepared in local stalls on rounded hot plates.
Oysters are the specialty of the Hiroshima area. You can see oyster farms on the ferry between Hiroshima and Miyajima. Kaki furai or fried oysters are specially tasty and it’s a different way to try savour them.
In the streets of Fukuoka, in Kyushu, there are local stalls by the river where one can enjoy tasty delicacies, even fried fugu or pufferfish. To become a fugu chef, a special license is required after 3 years of learning how to cut it and prepare the fish.
One must not forget Japanese seasonal cuisine either. Unagi or eel is a must-eat dish in summer to fill you up with stamina, while nabe or hot pot is the perfect companion for the cold winter nights.