TRG Info and Advice
Been there, seen that? Then, immerse yourself in Japanese culture!
Planning a trip to Tokyo? Your bucket list must be full of places to visit, food and drink to try, and things to buy. Once you have done all of that and if you want to do something a little bit special, how about some hands-on experiences of Japanese culture? Tokyo offers many opportunities, from wearing kimono to Bonsai making. Sounds too touristy? Do not worry! We have made a list of things that Japanese people and expats enjoy doing, too! We hope the programs will leave you with great, hard-to-forget memories.
*All information is correct at the time of publishing.
*Images are for illustrative purposes only.
Traditional Culture Experience Program
Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture) presents a variety of opportunities aimed at people who are not familiar with traditional Japanese culture, such as foreign visitors and children. You can enjoy authentic culture and performing arts in this program entitled “Approaching Tokyo Tradition.”
The program includes:
– Traditional Japanese crafts (Edo woodblock printing and stamp dyeing)
– Wazuma (traditional Japanese magic)
– Nihon buyo (traditional Japanese dance) instructed by a professional, includes free yukata rental and dressing services
– Kyokugei acrobatics (kasamawashi: umbrella rotating, kamitate: a performance using paper props)
– Koto (stringed zither-like instrument) workshop
– Shamisen (three-stringed instrument) workshop
– Flower arrangement
For the latest and detailed information, follow TYO_tradition on Facebook/twitter or visit the Arts Council Tokyo website at
Taiko (Japanese drums)
Miyakejima Geino Doshikai maintains Miyake Island’s traditional “Kamitsuki Mikoshi Daiko” drumming and song. The group members taught this style of drumming to Kodo (a world-renowned Japanese taiko drumming ensemble), who arranged it into their famous stage piece, “Miyake.”
Miyakejima Geino Doshikai offers classes to learn Miyake-jima Kamitsuki Mikoshi Daiko, known as Miyake Taiko, for students of all generations.
You can join a trial lesson for free at Shinjuku Yotsuya Studio. Beginners welcome!
Watch now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFqT4yku9Qg
For details, contact Miyake Taiko School at info[@]miyaketaiko.com
Bonsai is great nature encapsulated in a small pot. It is the art of appreciating the back-story of the bonsai in its natural landscape, as well as the plant itself. If the bonsai tree is carefully taken care of every day, it will live for a very long time, maybe even outlive its master.
At Shunkaen, you can learn Bonsai 101 and make your own.
Shunkaen Bonsai Museum
Address: 1-29-16 Shinbori, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 132-0001
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Open every day except Monday
Fee: 3,800 JPY including admission fee to the museum. If you want to take the bonsai home with you, an additional fee is required.
Operated by a traditional paper manufacturer, Origami Kaikan (International Origami Center) is a Japanese paper-centric entertainment facility, where you can learn about Japanese paper, its history, and the art of paper-folding. Join a class and show off your origami skills at home!
The shop on the third floor boasts a large collection of origami papers, so do not leave without a visit!
The director occasionally makes a guest appearance to demonstrate origami and these visits have been gaining popularity.
For more information, contact Origami Kaikan at info[@]origamikaikan.co.jp
Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan
Address: 1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Getting here: 7-minute walk from JR Ochanomizu Station / Tokyo Metro Marunouchi and Chiyoda Lines, or from Suehirocho Station on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Hours: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Closed on Sundays and national holidays
Origami class fee: starting at 2,000 JPY
Shakyo and Shabutsu
Fukagawa Fudo-do is a branch temple of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Narita, Chiba, enshrining Acalathe (God of Fire).
Shakyo (sutra writing) is an important part of training for Buddhist monks, and you can try it here. Choose either the Heart Sutra or Bussetsu Shofudo-kyo Sutra. The process takes about two hours and you will need Chinese character writing skills. If you find Shakyo too difficult, please try Shabutsu, where you can draw a picture of Fudomyoo or Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana Tathagata: Buddha of the Cosmos).
Combine your training with the goma fire rituals performed at 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm every day, when wooden sticks are burned to symbolize Buddha alleviating human suffering.
Address: 1-17-13 Tomioka, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0047
Training sessions from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm every day
Register at the lucky charm booth to the right of the old main hall
Nearest station: Tokyo Metro Monzen-Nakacho Station on Tozai and Toei Oedo Lines (2-minute walk from Exit #1)
Shakyo/Shabutsu fee: 2,000 JPY each
Are you fascinated by kimonos? Why not try on a kimono and take a stroll?
This photo studio offers a wide selection of over 500 different kimonos including simple cotton yukata, formal stylish kimonos, gorgeous and flamboyant furisode, or the hakama typically seen at university graduation ceremonies in Japan, as well as samurai armor! Choose your favorite one, get dressed and strike a pose either in the studio or outdoors. Make pleasant memories and take special digital data home with you!
Sakura Photo Studio
Address: Suzuki Bld 4F, 1-12-12 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0034
Getting here: 2-minute walk from Exit #1 of Asakusa Station on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Open 7 days a week
If you are a big fan of anime, what about this cosplay photo shoot in Akihabara?
You can bring your own costume, or borrow one, and use your own camera.
See the list of costumes here.
Address: 2-4-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
Anime cosplay price: From 9,000 JPY
Reservations should be made using the online reservation form at least 7 days in advance.
Samurai experience & photo shooting
At Samurai Museum, visitors can see Japanese swords, armor and helmets at very close range. These embody the spirit of the samurai, a spiritual pillar of Japan for about 700 years, early 12th century to end of 19th century.
You can try on a kabuto helmet and battle coat for free!
You can also see a sword performance by professional actors.
An entrance fee is required for the samurai experience and to see a performance.
Getting here: 8-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station / 4-minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku Station
Address: 2-25-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10:30 am – 9:00 pm (Last admission 8:30 pm)
Admission fee: Adults 1,900 JPY / Children under 12 years of age 800 JPY
For more details please visit the official website:
Lolita fashion experience
Lolita is a Japanese street style that emerged during the 1990s out of the Japanese taste for cuteness. In Harajuku, you may witness women of all ages wearing dresses with frills, lace, ribbons and doll-like make-up.
At Maison de Julietta, you can receive Lolita dress-up, make-up, and hair styling services!
*Photo by Jack Wu's Photos (gatag.net)
Maison de Julietta
Address: Laforet Harajuku B1.5F, 1-11-6, Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
We encourage advance booking whenever possible to avoid disappointment.
Hours: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm (last appointment: 7:00 pm)
Price: From 9,980 JPY (plan includes basic make-up, dress-up, a studio photo-shoot, three free images and about 5 shots with your own camera)
Ninja Experience, Shows and Seminars
If you want to experience something truly unique to Japan, what about training to become a ninja? How about planning a surprise Ninja party for your travel group or business cohorts?
Ninja, or shinobi, were people who used a uniquely-developed art of war called “ninjutsu” (note: not a martial art!). Ninja worked closely with samurai and were involved mainly in the gathering of intelligence and strategic covert activities.
Through this program, you will be navigated into the world of ninja!
Musashi Ninja Clan Shinobi-Samurai Honjin Dojo
Address: The Kikai Shinko Kaikan building #B4, 3-5-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Sake Brewery Tour
A sake brewery with over 100 years of history offers a 90-minute guided tour and sake tasting. Learn how sake is produced and enjoy sampling various kinds afterwards.
Tour booking line: +81-42-553-0100 (Monday to Friday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm)
Book at least 24 hours in advance.
Address: 1 Kumagawa, Fussa City, Tokyo 197-8623
Getting here: Take JR Chuo Line and transfer at Tachikawa Station to Oume Line.
Get off at JR Haijima Station, then take an 8-minute taxi ride to Ishikawa Brewery. *There are direct services (two or three times per hour) that do not require a transfer at Tachikawa Station, too.
Are you interested in being entertained by geisha, but think it may be out of your league? With Nihonbashi's SHINNICHIYA, you can get a glimpse of the mysterious world of the geisha when highly trained professional geigi (geisha) present songs, dances, and interactive traditional games.
Combine this activity with a kimono wearing experience (separate and additional charge) for an even more memorable time! Advance booking required.
For details, please visit http://www.nihonbashi-info.jp/omotenashi/geisha.html