All cultures are a mix of the indigenous and the assimilated, but Japan is singularly defined by its ability to preserve the ancient while thriving amidst the modern. Thus it is a land where the national sport, Sumo wrestling (dating back to 200 AD as a Shinto rite to produce an abundant harvest), vies for TV time with the post WWII-era baseball craze. Highly ritualized yet simple, elegant yet bold, traditional yet evolving, static yet dynamic, Japan's contradictions are utterly fascinating.
Japan is a land of incredible beauty, rich customs and warm, welcoming people. With so much to see and do in this island nation, activities in Japan abound for the enthusiastic traveler. Here are a few things to do in Japan that will make your Japan travels special:
Studying Japanese Arts
If you are interested in studying traditional Japanese arts, such as martial arts, music, tea ceremony, ceramics or dance, or would like an introduction to Buddhist religious studies, talk to your Japan Travel Specialist. Sessions lasting from a half day to weeks may be arranged. The principal centers for study in most traditional arts are Kyoto and Nagano.
If you're looking for an active way to see the sights, multi-day treks in the Japanese Alps - one of the many distinctive things to do in Japan - can be arranged. Often these routes follow ancient footpaths of samurai warriors or philosophers, and stop at traditional inns that are centuries old. Contact us for details.
The Gion Matsuri is celebrated in Kyoto in July. Large floats carry musicians and revelers through the streets, and everything looks a couple of centuries out of place.
Takayama hosts two Japanese festivals for which it is justifiably famous. In April the Sanno Matsuri Festival marks the planting season, and in October the Hachiman Matsuri Festival celebrates the harvest.