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There are many places where you can experience making Japanese food or crafts, learning the arts like traditional dance or playing instruments, and more. 

[Note] The stores and experiences mentioned within this article are restricted to the big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. For stores that are located in other regions, there are plans to mention them in other such articles.

1.Wearing kimono

kimono-back

 item.rakuten.co.jp

 wac-kimono

 wakjapan.com

The most famous piece of traditional Japanese clothing is the kimono. It differs from Western clothing in that it uses himo belts and obi to keep it in place. Unfortunately, most Japanese people nowadays don’t know how to dress in kimono without help. However, there are many kimono specialty shops that offer kimono wearing to their customers, and there are also places where you can simply rent a kimono and have them put it on you. Wouldn’t you like to try wearing one of these beautiful kimono?

[Example of tour and store]

True Japan Tours

Address: 2-5-7 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo-to 112-0002 Sasaki Building 4, 405

Phone number: 03-3830-0451    

English site

Wak Japan

Address: 761 Tenshucho, Takakura-dori, Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0812

Phone number: 075-212-9993  

English site

2. Tea ceremony

 sadou-1

 withplace.info

sadou-2

 ja.wikipedia.org

Currently, matcha flavor is popular all around the world, but originally that matcha flavor is actually the flavor of tea. “Sadou” is the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. To put it simply, it’s hot water that is mixed with the green tea powder inside a tea bowl, then drunk. However, in sadou, it isn’t just the act of drinking the tea, but the ceremony consists of the time making the tea and enjoying the relaxing, calm atmosphere. In the experiences linked below, you’re guided through each step  by a teacher, so you can easily perform the tea ceremony without worrying. 

[Example of tour and store]

Asakusa Jidai-ya

Address: 2 Chome-3-5 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 03-3843-0890

English site

The Koomon 

Address: 3 Chome-8-16 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan  

Phone number: 03-5202-5737  

English site

Wak Japan

Address: 761 Tenshucho, Takakura-dori, Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0812  

Phone number: 075-212-9993  

English site

3. Making food samples

sample-2

 blogs.yahoo.co.jp

 sample-1

 read-jam.com

In front of Japanese restaurants, there are often show windows where food samples are placed to show off their menus. They are made to look exactly like the food served, so it seems like tourists who aren’t expecting it are surprised by the high-quality. While you can buy pre-made food samples as souvenirs, you can also make your own for a unique, original memory.

[Example of tour and store]

Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya

Address: 3 Chome-7-6 Nishiasakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Phone number:  0120-17-1839    

English site

Morino Sample

Address: 6 Chome-1-19 Kamikita, Hirano-ku, Osaka  

Phone number: 06-6792-7543  

4. Calligraphy

 udoyoshi

 gooschool.jp

Shodo is Japanese calligraphy where you write hiragana or kanji using ink and brushes. In Japanese elementary schools, all students take calligraphy classes. It’s also a way to enjoy writing as art, since you practice writing beautifully following a previously-made example. 

[Example of tour and store]

Asakusa Jidai-ya

Address: 2 Chome-3-5 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Phone number:  03-3843-0890

English site

Wayou Udoyoshi 

Address: Stock Mansion Yushima, 3 Chome-31-1 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 03-5817-8968 or 0800-600-4174 

English site 

Wak Japan

Address: 761 Tenshucho, Takakura-dori, Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0812  

Phone number: 075-212-9993  

English site

5. Making sushi

 sushi

 blogs.yahoo.co.jp

sushitaiken

 hokkaido-sightseeing.com

Sushi restaurants have popped up around the world, so it’s become a cuisine that people all around the world have grown to love. People who come to Japan simply to eat sushi have increased in recent years. If you come to Japan, what do you think about learning how to make your own sushi? There are places to experience making your own sushi in both Hokkaido and Tokyo.  

[Example of tour and store]

Goukai Izakaya Funamoriya Bettei – Aburi Chaya

Address: Liberty Tower Building B1, 2 Chome Minami 3 Jounishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 

Phone number: 011-252-2114    

English site

Sushi-Making Classroom 

Address: Yu Building 3F, 4 Chome-4-10 Senju, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 080-1027-8893    

English site

6. Bonsai

?????

 bonsaidou.net

bonsai-1

gotokyo.org

Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art where a plant or tree is grown inside a pot and shaped to create a living artwork. Right now bonsai has grown in popularity and people around the world are learning the art. At Shunkaen in Tokyo, you can take a class with Mr. Kobayashi, one of the greatest influences in the worldwide spread of bonsai. 

[Example of tour and store]

Shunkaen Bonsai Bijutsukan

Address: 1 Chome-29-16 Niihori, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo  

Phone number: 03-3670-8622    

English site

7. Flower arranging

ikebana-sakuhin

 k-bunko.at.webry.info

 ikebanajoshi

 slism.net

Kadou (also known as ikebana) is the traditional art of flower arranging. While there is flower arranging all round the world, the Japanese art has different schools and representative styles. It’s not just about the beauty of the flowers, but also the balance of the different flowers and the vessel, as well as the representation of the seasons, is very important. You can make your own arrangements at the following classrooms.

[Example of tour and store]

Meguro International Friendship Association

Address: 2 Chome-19-15 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 

Phone number: 03-3715-4671  

English site     

Wak Japan

Address: 761 Tenshucho, Takakura-dori, Nijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 604-0812  

Phone number: 075-212-9993    

English site

8. Dress like a maiko

 maiko-1

 hori334.exblog.jp

maiko-2

 meemeemee.at.webry.info

You can see maiko (apprentice geisha) walk the streets in Kyoto if you’re lucky. Many foreign tourists take photos of them when they see them. However, you can experience being dressed up like a beautiful maiko or geisha yourself. 

[Example of tour and store]

Kokomo

Address: 2F, 1 Chome-29-8 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 03-3847-0763  

English site

Maica  

Address: 4-319 Miyagawa-suji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto   

Phone number: 075-551-1661  

English site

9. Buddhist meditation

zazen-1

veltra.com

Zazen is one of the Buddhist training practices. In daily life, no matter what you do, there is always an emphasis upon oneself. It’s said that that’s where jealousy and worry come from. If you want to get rid of those feelings even just a little bit, zazen is something you can do to help clear your heart. You can learn the proper way of zazen at these temples.

[Example of tour and store]

Risenji 

Address: 4 Chome-7-2 Kohinata, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 

Phone number: 03-3943-0605  

English site

Bishamon-do – Shourinji 

Address: 795 Honmachi 15-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto  

VELTRA(Japanese only)

10. Sutra writing(Buddhist)

syakyo

co-trip.jp

It’s said that copying sutras was a way to propagate Buddhism throughout the country in the time before printing press. Now, however, sutra copying has become a Buddhist training method that even laypeople can participate in. It’s said that concentrating on writing the characters will help calm your heart down. You can experience this while learning about Buddhist teachings.

[Example of tour and store]

Hasedera (Kamakura)

Address: 3 Chome-11-2 Hase, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 

Phone number: 0467-22-6300

Bishamon-do – Shourinji  

Address: 795 Honmachi 15-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto  

VELTRA(Japanese only) 

11. Sword-fighting

 samurai-cast

 nihontatedokyokai.com

samurai-tate

 sankei.com

Samurai have become known throughout the world thanks to anime and movies, and in Japan, you can practice their style of sword-fighting called “tate”. Release the samurai warrior you have inside of you!

[Example of tour and store]

Nihon Tatedo Kyoukai

Address: Imai Building 3F, 1 Chome-1-27 Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka

Phone number: 06-6536-8048  

English site 

12. Sword drawing

 sinken-akagi

 blog.livedoor.jp

Battoujutsu is a traditional Japanese martial art. When you draw the sword, your body movements and the way you’re moving the sword is already decided. Usually you need a lot of practice and training, but here people who would like to try can experience the art first-hand. Learn the depth behind this difficult martial art yourself.

[Example of tour and store]

HISUI TOKYO  

Address: Koizumi Building 5F, 4 Chome-3-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 0120-666-107  

English site

13. Ninja experience

ninja

blog.shinobi.jp

You can transform into a ninja, just like those pictured in the famous manga/anime Naruto. You can experience using shuriken and other ninja tools and techniques. You can also hear stories and tales about historical ninjas from the experts.

[Example of tour and store]

Musashi Ichizoku Jidai Academy Dojo

Address: 6-3-5 Tabata, Kita-ku, Tokyo

Phone number: 090-3691-8165    

English site

14. Smithing

kajiya-1

 proscorporation.com

kajiya-flypan

 kura-kyoto.at.webry.info

The art of smithing, where one uses a hammer to shape extremely hot metal into useful items, has been practiced in Japan since time immemorial. Recently, it seems like people coming to buy Nanbu Tekki ironware has increased. Japanese iron products are well-known to be good quality, and there are many great smiths. You can observe these smiths at work as well as experience making your own frying pan.

[Example of tour and store]

Metal NEKO    

500-5 Kamiakasaka, Sayama-shi, Saitama-ken        

Reservation site (Japanese only): 

VELTRA

15. Making takoyaki

takoyaki

blog.livedoor.jp

takoyaki-2

blog118.fc2.com

Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s most famous products and is known worldwide thanks to manga and anime. Using a specific grill plate called a takoyaki plate, you make little round balls of dough with a piece of octopus inside. It’s something that people from Osaka often eat and make at home. You can also learn how to make them at this restaurant – Takomasa, in Dotonbori.

[Example of tour and store]

Takomasa

1 Chome-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Phone number: 06-6212-3363

Next: No.16-30 Further exciting experiments in Japan

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