Explore Japan's essential sites and hidden gems
Shinto & Shrines
A guide for travellers to Japan on Shintoism and visiting shrines with information sourced from a 17th generation Shinto Priestess.
See the article
Christmas in japan
Year after year, the Christmas spirit has managed to find its place in a Japan that worships gifts.
The bakeneko, the legend of the "monster cat"
At the origin of a centuries-old superstition, the bakeneko or "monster-cat" is both feared and celebrated...Its long tail allows it to stand up, and it is even said to have the gift of ra
Hanami etiquette guide
Hanami is very popular with Japanese and tourists alike, but did you know that there's etiquette to follow during these festivities?
The origins of Hanami
Hanami is a custom that dates back to ancient times. Here's a look back at the history of an emblematic cultural phenomenon of Japan!
The original religion of Japan is Shinto, worshiping the forces of nature.
The cherry blossoms through art
With the arrival of spring, the streets, gardens and mountains of Japan welcome the cherry blossoms and the whole archipelago is covered in pink for a few days, a few weeks.
From fashionable clothing accessories in Japan during the Edo period, they have become popular collector's items around the world. But what are netsuke and where can you get them?
A permanent fixture on the streets of Japan, Koban or police boxes, are there to help bring order to their designated neighborhood as well as help lost tourists.
Commonly mistranslated as 'vertical pinball,' pachinko is a noisy, smoky, time-consuming, and hypnotic form of gambling that plays a huge part in the Japanese economy.
A trip to Japan is simply not complete without a visit to one of the many karaoke bars or boxes available. You have not sampled karaoke properly until you have experienced it in Japan.
The differences between temples and shrines
Shinto altars in Buddhist temples, Buddhist statues in Shinto shrines, the places of worship of the two great religions in Japan are sometimes mixed.
The Maneki Neko, Japanese lucky cat
With a stoic or laughing air, a malicious cat invites you, with a sign of the paw, to enter such a shop or a restaurant.
Ukiyo-e, Japanese prints
Ukiyo-e is an artistic movement that reached its peak during the Edo period (1603 - 1868).
The art of Japanese calligraphy
In Japanese, "shodo" literally means "the way of writing". More than an aesthetic, it is above all a true art of living.
Japanese art of Butoh
Born in Japan at the end of the 1950s, the Butoh dance expresses the suffering and problems in the society of the time.
Everything there is to know about the concept of "God / Kami" in Japanese
"GOD" AS REPRESENTED IN THE WORLD OF ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS, A SINGLE BEING, CREATOR OF THE WORLD, TRANSCENDENT, DOES NOT EXIST IN THE SHINTOIST RELIGION.
Takigyô: "the asceticism of the waterfall"
Spiritual research, challenge or simple curiosity, takigyô or "asceticism under the waterfall", a practice of religious origin which consists of remaining for a few minutes under the jets
Five not-so-unusual objects to discover
Overseas, Japan is renowned for its unusual objects.
Wabi-sabi, a spiritual and aesthetic concept
Live a simple life, accept and appreciate the imperfection of oneself and especially of the world around us: this is how the outlines of wabi-sabi could be drawn, a Japanese aesthetic and
Karaoke, a mass leisure for Japanese music lovers
In Japan, karaoke is more than just entertainment: it is a real institution, a mass hobby, and an extremely popular activity.
The rakan, the greatest disciples of Buddha
The rakan, the enlightened disciples of Buddha, have been the subject of very popular devotion since the time of Edo.
The practice of bonsai in Japan is an ancient art
Originating in China, this 1,500-year-old practice is now considered inseparable from Japanese aesthetics. Her horticulture requires knowledge and dedication.
Shinrin-yoku: forest bathing
Silvotherapy ("forest bathing") is now known and practiced in many countries around the globe.
Let's Zazen, by Jake Adelstein
Who said Zen was only for Buddhist monks? Jake Adelstein, the author of Tokyo Vice who has lived in Tokyo for more than thirty years, shares his practice of mindful meditation, zazen.
Recharge your batteries with Zen
Zen Buddhism is known around the world for its relaxation practices. The proper name has even become an adjective in everyday language, synonymous with "calm".
In the footsteps of Japanese volcanoes
Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan has 110 active volcanos, such as the renowned Mount Fuji.
Sometimes crazy but alway trendy and avant-garde, Japanese fashion is a source of inspiration for designers around the world.
Senjafuda: maps of the 1000 temples
Japanese Buddhist temples are known for their sobriety.
Geishas, guardians of Japanese arts
The word geisha literally means "artisan".
7 anecdotes about Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is THE most famous mountain in Japan, its particular appearance of an isolated mountain with symmetrical coasts and a snow-capped crater has made it an emblematic place of the archipelag
The festival of Tanabata matsuri in Japan
Around July 7 or August 7, depending on the region, the Japanese celebrate the Star Festival, during the Tanabata matsuri, born from the fusion of Japanese and Chinese legends.
5 Famous Japanese Legends
Legends have served as a means of rationalizing the world and providing clarity for the habits and customs of a given culture.
The sea in Japan
The sea (海 umi), an element of openness to the world, but also of isolation, has played a fundamental role in the history and development of Japan.
Sumo, Japanese Wrestling
Sumo is a paradox of brute force and the height of civilization. A handful of seconds combines well-mastered rituals and extreme violence.
Hanami, Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
In Japan, the beginning of spring means hanami - hana 花, "flower", and mi 見, "look".
Children's Festivals in Japan
Children hold a very special place in Japanese society. It is therefore natural that several festivals were dedicated to them throughout the year.
Summer festivals in Japan
Japan is a country that has many festivals and festivals throughout the year, but it is during the summer months that most take place and these are also the most spectacular.
Matsuri, festivals of Japan
The matsuri are at the origin of the ceremonies in honor of the Shinto deities. They take place throughout the year across the Archipelago and are of great importance.
Ikebana, the traditional art of flowers
Ikebana “the voice of flowers”, is an art dedicated to a flower arrangement.
Golden Week in Japan
The "Golden Week" refers to a week made up of several consecutive holidays, between April 29 and May 5 each year on the archipelago.
The tengu, the long-nosed demon
With its crimson face pierced by a huge nose and its wings glued to the body, the tengu is one of the most famous and important characters of Japanese folklore in Japanese popular culture.
Zen, a school of Japanese Buddhism
Originally from India, Zen or the school of meditation ( dhyana in Sanskrit, chan in Chinese, Son in Korean) is one of the many branches of Japanese Buddhism.
The Deity Inari in Shintoism
Deity of rice, harvest, and fertility, Inari is one of Japan's most famous and beloved Shinto deities.
A furoshiki is a large piece of fabric, often decorated with traditional patterns, that's been used for centuries to wrap everyday objects in Japan.
Urushi, japanese lacquerware
"The Japanese excel in this art to the highest degree, because they are extremely skilled at giving a lacquer object the appearance of being made of shiny ivory" - Joao Rodrigues, Portuguese Jesuit
Ama: Japanese artisan divers
Kansai's traditional crafts
Japan Experience showcases Kansai craftsmanship through a selection of 6 protected traditional craft industries.
Jûnishi: the 12 signs of the zodiac
Jûnishi, the twelve signs of the Japanese zodiac are borrowed from the Chinese lunar calendar and although the latter is no longer used, the twelve signs of the zodiac rel
Japanese martial arts
Martial arts are present in many Asian countries: Taekwondo in Korea, Tai-Chi-Chuan in China, Muay Thai in Thailand ...
Rules to follow on Japanese trains
On Japanese trains, do as the Japanese do! Here are some rules to respect while on the trains and subways in Japan so as not to offend or be thought of as an ignorant tourist.
The symbolism of cherry blossoms in Japan
Traditionally associated with the hanami festivities, the cherry blossom is a very important symbol for the Japanese.
Taking the bus in Japan
Day bus, night bus, in town or in the countryside: this network, like a maze of a public transportation network, is particularly well developed in Japan.
Japanese masks can be found in performances of Noh theater, Kagura, dancing, religious ritual and in a variety of festival settings.
Fugu, the poison fish
It is rare, expensive, and in principle unfit for consumption. It is not that it is specially tasty, but the moonfish attracts the curious and fans of strong sensations.
Originating from Japan, manga is an umbrella term for comics and graphic novels, and there many different types to discover from romance to fantasy.
Noren curtains hang outside shops and restaurants in Japan to indicate whether they are open for business or not. They are also found in homes and onsen.
Byobu Folding Screens
Byobu folding screens divide rooms and protect privacy in traditional Japanese spaces. They serve as a backdrop for other Japanese arts.
Happi coats are loose-fitting, colorful, cotton jackets tied with an obi belt. They are usually worn at Japanese festivals and other events..
Tohoku is the most rural region of Japan. Located north of the main island of the Japanese archipelago, Honshu has its own cultural identity and traditions passed down from generations for years.
Izakaya, the Japanese tapas bar
In Japan, it's "Metro-work-bistro": we meet in the izakaya after work, we drink, we eat, we laugh and we discuss aloud, we even sometimes sing. .
Torii, the sacred portal of Japan
Japanese shrines often have a door before their door: the torii.
Traditional Japanese musical instruments
Asian, and especially Japanese music has its own unique stories and sounds.
Fukubukuro, Japanese surprise bags
For many, winter is a long-awaited period and for good reason, it's the ganjitsu sales season, the January 1st sales!
Hatsuhinode, a New Year Day tradition
Hatsuhinode means "first sunrise" and it is awaited by many Japanese who, in the early morning of January 1, in the frost of winter, awaits the first sunrise of the New Ye
Top 8 of the most famous animals of Japan
Whether it's the deer of Nara or the rabbits of Okunoshima Island, animals have always been part of the Japanese tourist landscape.
The star of architecture Tadao Andô
From the boxing ring to the most prestigious international architecture prize, this is the extraordinary journey of the Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, who accounts for more than 300 architectural
Symbols of summer in Japan
One the beach with parasols, the sun, the sea…For us Westerners, this is the (stereo) typical image of summer. It's very different in Japan.
The Man-Yoshu, first collection of Japanese poems
The first Japanese writings are historically the two collections of Kojiki (712) and Nihon-Shoki (720), where we find the founding myths of the birth of Japan and the mythological origins of the im
Understanding Otaku Culture
When we start talking about Japan and those who are passionate about this country, a word comes up very quickly in the conversation, "Otaku".
Japanese Paper Chochin Lanterns
The Japanese paper chochin lanterns were an essential part of everyday Japanese life throughout Japan until the beginning of the 20th century.
The Gokaido: the 5 historical roads of Japan
During the Edo period (1603-1868), there were five major roads in the archipelago called the Gokaido.
The story of Kitamaebune and its boats
Japan of the Tokugawa era was a Japan almost closed to the outside world by the shogunal policy of Sakoku.
The traditional Japanese house
Wooden structures, tatami rooms, paper walls: in Japan, the houses are enough to disorient Westerners, who are more used to concrete walls and tiled floors.
Kyo-Butsudan Buddhist Altars
Kyo-Butsudan Buddhist Altars function as the most important part of a Japanese family's religious and spiritual life, housing the spirits of the ancestors.
5 tips for surviving the Japanese summer
With its temperatures reaching 40°C in the sun and its humidity... the Japanese summer can be unbearable when you are confronted with it for the first time.
Youkai of the Seto Inland Sea
Demons, Ghosts and Spirits; Dantesque historical battles; pirates and brave warriors, Japanese myths and folklore...
Pirates of the Seto Inland Sea
Demons, Ghosts, and Spirits; Dantesque historical battles; pirates and brave warriors, Japanese myths and folklore...
Battles and legends in the Seto Inland Sea
Demons, Ghosts, and Spirits; historical battles; pirates and brave warriors, myths and Japanese folklore... The Seto Inland Sea is at the heart of many legends, famous throughout the land.
Rents in Japan
Finding a place to live in Japan is not that difficult, but the rents are high.
Around Japanese Shinto shrines, it is not uncommon to discover the silhouette of a young girl busy with maintenance tasks.
The myths of the islands of the Seto Inland Sea
Demons, ghosts and spirits; historic Dantesque battles; pirates and brave warriors, Japanese myths and folklore ...
Gengo, Japanese imperial era names
Along with the Gregorian calendar mostly used around the world, there is another system used in Japan to count the years based on the reign of the emperor.
Hokusai, master of the print
Katsushika Hokusai, born in 1760 and died in 1849, is a major artist in the history of Japanese art.
The Manyoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) is a collection of 4,516 poems from the Nara Period in 20 volumes covering a wide range of topics.
Incredible Japanese houses
Minimalist, transparent, dreamlike, avant-garde… There is no shortage of adjectives when it comes to detailing some of the most extraordinary houses in Japan.
Timeless, but fragile, sakura
Discussion about the love affair between Japan and the Sakura, with the Secretary-general of the Japanese Cherry Association.
The instructions for the encapsulated toy vending machines called gachapon are simple: insert the indicated amount and then turn the crank.
The different types of Japanese castles
The Japanese castle, with its multi-story guard towers, its wooden architecture, and its huge open gardens has established itself as one of the iconic places in the country.
Akira Kurosawa is a master of Japanese cinema who is celebrated globally. Here's a look back at his works and his life with an enthusiast, Peter Tasker in an interview with Arnaud Régis.
Shitenno Four Heavenly Kings
Shitenno, the Four Heavenly Kings, are deva (tenbu) and protectors of Buddha deities. They are Jikokuten, Tamonten, Zochoten and Komokuten.
"Maestro Hisaishi, Join Me in Creating My Life's Final Work "; is the request made by Hayao Miyazaki when inviting the musician to create the musical theme for the last anime.
Kikuchi Yosai is a Japanese artist from the last period of the Edo era (1603 - 1868), a contemporary of the great masters of ukiyo-e, Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.
Japan has had an emperor since 660 BC, according to tradition, has belonged to the same family for more than 2500 years.
Buy electronics in Japan
It's no secret that Japan is the land of unique and excellent electronic appliances. So where can I find the best deals and what else should know?
5 amazing facts about onsen
Think you already know everything about the havens of relaxation also known as onsen? We're willing to bet that these five amazing facts and anecdotes will surprise you!
The Hagakure is a collection of thoughts written at the beginning of the 18th century by a reclusive samurai of the Nabeshima clan, Tsunetomo Yamamoto.
Yukio Mishima, whose works can be found on the shelves of bookstores around the world, is known in the West as one of the great Japanese novelists of the post-war period.
Sohei, the monk-soldiers
Japan has experienced, through its history and the various wars, a particular phenomenon: the large companies of monk-soldiers, or Sohei.
The Hatsumode is the very first visit to the temple in the New Year.
Japan is known as the land of lifetime employment. Even if this reality is changing due to the influence of liberalism and changing economy, it remains a significant fact in the country.
Wafuku is traditional Japanese clothing. Not only it is visually stunning but it has a fascinating history. Here's a quick rundown of the essentials of the traditional Japanese wardrobe!
Japanese prints have enjoyed incredible influence across the planet since the end of the 19th century.
Japanese samurai have been equipped with armor for many centuries, crossing the ages and the changes made in the art of war.
Komainu, the guardians of the temples
Who has heard of the Komainu? Located at the entrance to places of worship, these lion-dog statues are emblematic of the Japanese landscape.
Kimi ga yo
During the Meiji Revolution, Japan began a process of modernization on the model of Western nations.
Ashiyu, Japanese foot baths
Usually found close to onsen, ashiyu are public foot baths that are very popular in Japan. Found near both hot springs and tourist spots, they let you relax while admiring your surroundings...
The Japanese salaryman
Shinjuku station, 8 pm: among the young Japanese youths in the latest fashions, a tide of men in identical dark suits with briefcases and umbrellas in hand.
It's not uncommon to see groups of salarymen - employees of Japanese companies recognizable by their suits - at night in the city streets, cheerful and rosy-cheeked, emerging from a bar or izakaya.
Secrets of longevity in Japan
According to W.H.O figures as of 2015, Japan is the country where humans live the longest.
Organised crime in Japan
The Japanese mafia, the yakuza, is one of the oldest crime syndicates in the world, whose beginnings can be dated to the Tokugawa period (1603-1868).
NHK has been the only public broadcaster in the country since its creation in 1925 on the model of the BBC and controls several television channels and radio stations.
Blood type in Japan
The question "What's your blood type?" inevitably comes up in conversation with the Japanese. Be careful, this question is important!
The Japanese art of Kintsugi
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of crack with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, and sometimes in silver or platinum giving a beautiful
Mujin Hanbaisho, shops without a clerk
In Japan, Mujin Hanbaisho is an institution. Free of employees, these street stands are entirely based on an honor system, and honesty is the key to this business... Only in Japan!
Very common at Shinto shrines, ginkgo trees are an integral part of the Japanese fall landscape. You can admire them all over the country, and the oldest in Japan are over 1,000 years old!
Mount Fuji: a geological marvel
At 3,776 meters, Mount Fuji is the highest point in Japan Dormant for more than 300 years, the volcano is still active as a result of its exceptional geographic location.
The red light districts of Japan
The Wa is undoubtedly the term that best characterizes the Japanese art of living. Advocating social harmony and humility, the Wa irrigates Japanese society as a whole.
Characteristics and vocabulary of the traditional Japanese garden
The unpredictability of nature in Japan: testimony by Patricia Loison
Natural disasters strike Japan every year, and Patricia Loison provides an insight into the unpredictability of Japan's destructive nature.
Finding your soulmate isn't easy. Especially so in Japan, where men and women don't generally go out in mixed groups.
At the entrance to Shinto shrines, devotees must wash their hands and rinse their mouths with "chozuya" for purification before worship.
Goshuincho is an essential piece of Japanese culture for religious or entertainment purposes.
Godzilla is the most famous creature of all kaiju eiga, literally "monster movies". This Japanese movie genre features men in latex monster suits rampaging through scaled-down city sets.
Japanese wedding gifts
Have you been invited to a wedding in Japan, but you have no idea what gift to choose for the occasion? Here are some great ideas!
In the middle of their Sophomore year in college, Japanese students begin their job search.
The Japanese media are symbolized abroad by the national broadcaster, NHK. The country also has several major newspapers, among the most widely read in the world!
The otaku movement is known in Japan as the West, people who devote their free time to manga, anime, idols, or video games.
The Japanese are used to buying many decorations for their homes at the end of the year celebrations.
Taihojutsu, Japanese police martial arts
Scarecrows in Japan: Valley of the Dolls
Scarecrows in Japan highlight two social tendencies that are somewhat more extreme in Japan - a rapidly aging population coupled with rural depopulation.
The kamishibai, traveling paper theater
Popularized in the 1950s in Japan, discover the kamishibai, this small traveling theater where storytellers tell stories using multiple boards inserted into a wooden frame.
Tansu Wooden Chests
Tansu Wooden Chests and cabinets have always been one of the most popular items for Japanese antique aficionados. They fit equally well into Japanese and Western style interiors, and make for excel
The pop group Perfume
J-pop is a staple of contemporary Japanese culture, and the group Perfume perfectly embodies this Japanese musical trend.
Ikigai, or the secret of Japanese happiness
What is your purpose? A deep question... but according to the Japanese, the answer could hold the key to happiness and fulfillment
hadaka no tsukiai
Myths and legends of Japanese beaches
Japan is an archipelago made up of a thousand islets and almost as many legends, demonic creatures, and adjoining ghosts!
Gambling in Japan
According to a study in 2014 by the Kurihama Medical Center, 5.3 million Japanese are addicted to gambling.
Patricia Loison's onsen experience
Journalist Patricia Loison confronted one of the Japanese traditions that can quickly become a real challenge for Westerners: the onsen.
The most popular sports in Japan
Japanese Metal Lanterns seido-toro
Japanese metal lanterns, known as seido-toro, and originally used in Buddhist temples, entered Japan from China; however their roots are of Indian Buddhism.
Japanese cuisine isn't known for being particularly spicy, and yet the Japanese make great use of shichimi, a seven-spice blend that has existed since the 17th century.
Manzai, Japanese humor
The international rugby championships in which Japan participates
The Brave Blossoms have continued to surprise in recent years, allowing rugby to gain popularity on the archipelago.
The Japanese Top League
The Top League is the national rugby championship of Japan, where the sport enjoys an ever-increasing popularity, espacilally with the organization of the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
10 amazing facts about sake
For all Sake lovers, to quench your thirst for knowledge about Sake, here are 10 amazing facts, about the sacred and emblematic alcohol of Japan.
Tameshigiri Sword Testing
Tameshigiri: Literally meaning test cut, tameshigiri was the practice, popular in the Edo Period of Japanese history, of testing the quality of new Japanese swords.
Kamaishi, steel city
Japanese performing arts
The Japanese school system
Reputed to be very demanding, the Japanese school system is similar to the western curriculum in many ways, and yet very different.
Aka-chan fude: The baby's brush
Check out this unique custom of using your child's first hair to create a lucky brush to keep as a keepsake.
The horse in Japan
Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival
Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival (Yanai Kingyo Chochin Matsuri) is a colorful lantern festival featuring unique goldfish lanterns in Yanai, an old merchant town in Yanai, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Hadaka matsuri has existed for several centuries and are held in many places in Japan, sometimes in summer but mainly in winter.
In Japan, gifting Chocolate on Valentine's Day is a two-way street as "White Day", a month later on March 14, people give reciprocal gifts in return for Valentine's Day!
"We only need to see the texture of a paper from China, or Japan, to feel a kind of warmth that puts our hearts at ease. "Praise of Shadow", Junichiro Tanizaki.
Nagoshi no Harae
The job of sushi chef in Japan
Popularized abroad and now the iconic dish of Japan, sushi comes in various forms. But what do you know about the chefs who have mastered making it?
Kyō yuzen , a technique for dyeing fabrics, developed in the early 18th century in Kyoto, has been recognized and protected as a traditional craft by the government since 1976.
Mobile convenience stores in Japan
Grocery trucks travel through the less populated areas of Japan, to provide the few inhabitants with food.
The traditional Okinawan art of Eisa
While Okinawa is known for its beaches and beautiful landscapes, the archipelago also has a rich cultural heritage that continues to evolve.
In Japan, envelopes are not only used for mailing purposes but other special occasions...
Traditional Okinawan houses
Okinawan houses are unique in Japan: red roofs and black stone walls stand out against the blue sky, while natural wood and gardens blend harmoniously.
Omotenashi, Japanese hospitality
There are words in some foreign languages that are impossible to translate. This is the case of the word omotenashi in Japanese.
The Tanuki: between legend and reality
Facetious and benevolent, tanuki is a youkai "strange apparition" particularly appreciated and adored in Japanese folklore.
Sales in Japan
If you want to buy items at a lower cost during your trip to Japan, don't miss what the Japanese call バーゲンセール Bargain Sales!
The spirit of do
In Japanese, the do 道 means the way, the path. This character appears in many words and may already be familiar to you. Dojo, judo, shodo... So what do they have in common?
In Japanese, there are two main levels of language: informal language, characterized by basic verbal forms, and more polite language, teineigo, which includes more elaborate verb forms.
Honne and Tatemae: human relationships in Japan
The dual concepts of honne and tatemae are very important in Japanese culture. It governs life in society, and is basically the idea of what you are, and what you appear to be.
Uchi and Soto
The concept of uchi and soto is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. It defines human relationships. It's the difference between what is 'ours', and what is 'other'.
The concept of 'ma'
Harmony, balance, simplicity, zen... Just a few words that can come to mind when we talk about Japanese art. The minimalism can sometimes be surprising.
Universities in Japan
University in Japan: the four years of Japanese college have long been derided (or lauded) as a meaningless (or well-deserved) respite between the hell of high school and the soul-crushing conformi
Unkei Master Sculptor
Unkei (circa 1150-1223) is considered one of the greatest Japanese wood sculptors, famous for his lifelike carvings.
Youkai, ghosts and Japanese monsters
Yokai, or Japanese ghosts, are supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore. The word youkai can also refer to strange or inexplicable phenomena.
Buddhism: a religion in Japan
Religion in Japan is often the subject of curiosity about other cultures, due to the peaceful coexistence of Shintoism and Buddhism within Japanese society.
Introduction to Japanese Poetry
When we think of "Japanese poetry", we mainly think of haiku, this very short form known for capturing the present moment in three lines, sometimes so concise that they become enigmatic, e
Keiro no Hi: Respect for the Aged Day
In Japan, respect for ancestors and the elderly is anchored in the culture, influenced by Buddhist and Shinto religions as well as Confucianism.
Dogo Onsen (道後温泉) in Matsuyama, Shikoku, is the oldest hot spring onsen resort in Japan, claiming a history of over 1,300 years, as the area is mentioned in the Nihon shoki chronicle.
The No theater
An illustrious form of classical Japanese theatre, the nôrepresents, in an elliptical and allusive aesthetic, a poetic time, a subtle drama associating song and dance with a lyrical text.
The different types of Japanese habitats
After World War II, Japan experienced strong economic and population growth, causing an unprecedented housing shortage.
Rainy Season (Tsuyu) in Japan
Japan's rainy season (tsuyu) happens most years in May, June, July, making for wet or, at best, very changeable weather.
National Holidays in Japan
National Holidays in Japan: see a calendar of national public holidays and long weekends in Japan for 2019 and 2020.
Yamabushi Mountain Priests
Yamabushi, literally - those who lie in the mountains - are Japanese mountain priests that draw from indigenous kami worship and esoteric Buddhism and are also influenced by Daoism, Yin-Yang Theory
There are a number of traditional sports in Japan to which the Japanese are very attached, but the inhabitants of the archipelago have also adopted many imported sports!
10 cultural differences between Japanese and Westerners
Rugby in Japan
A very popular sport in Japan, rugby has been played there for a century. The country has one of the largest numbers of licensees!
Midori no Hi
In Japanese, midori means "green" and refers to nature. Midori no hi is a national holiday that is part of the holiday week that takes place in May, commonly known as Golden Week.
Lighting in traditional Japanese homes
Japanese architecture has always been intimately linked to nature : choice of materials and interior layout are part of this perspective. Thus, light is a key element of houses in Japan.
Waste sorting in Japan
In Japan, trash is sorted before discarding... the Japanese system is much more complicated than in other countries! Here's a short guide to help the visitors!
10 unusual Japanese houses
In Japan becoming a homeowner is very expensive, because land space is scarce. This explains the popularity of micro-houses, kyosho jutaku in Japanese.
10 Typical objects in a Japanese house
Both modern and practical, Japanese houses can be very different from ours. Do you know these typical Japanese objects?
Fusuma, the sliding panels
The fusuma is an opaque sliding panel, used to redefine the space in traditional Japanese houses.
The tatami is a traditional floor covering of Japanese homes, and more specifically of the Japanese-style room, washitsu .
Inseparable from the tea ceremony, the chashitsu is distinguished from the tea house, chaya.
In Japan, insects have an important place in popular culture: cicadas are considered a symbol of summer.
Ôsôji: the big Japanese cleaning
Kodomo no hi
On May 5, multicolored carp float through the Japanese gardens. The older boys' party, which has become that of all children, is still loaded with ancestral symbols.
Japanese Umbrellas bangasa & janomegasa
Holidays in Japan
Japan is a nation of strong and long work culture and the konbini remains open around the clock to support the masses to go about their hectic daily routines.
Pleasant ringing echos the hot Japanese summer air: it is the sound of the furin, a unique traditional chime.
The tanka is one of the oldest forms of Japanese poetry developed during the Heian era (794-1185) when art, literature, and poetry are in full expansion.
Pro Basketball in Japan B.League
Pro basketball in japan is now the B.League after the merger of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the bj league. The new B.League began in 2016.
"Hanami is the Japanese pastime of admiring nature while drinking sake"
Our guide, Alain, has lived in Japan for 15 years and has a passion for the culture, history and other fascinating aspects of the country.
16 amazing facts about cherry trees in Japan
The love story between the Japanese and the cherry blossom dates back centuries. Here are some surprising facts and figures about Japanese cherry blossoms.
Japan, the land of whisky. For connoisseurs, it goes without saying. For others, it may come as a surprise. But it's true: Japan has a great whisky culture.
Four American Sumo Wrestlers in Japan
Takamiyama, Konishiki, Akebono and Musashimaru were all Hawaiian American sumo wrestlers who achieved success in the sport in Japan.
Miko Shrine Maidens
Nowadays Miko are basically assistants to priests, but in former times they were among the most powerful religious, and hence political, figures in Japan.
Nanakusa no sekku: the festival of seven herbs
In Japan there's an old custom of eating rice porridge made with seven fresh herbs on January 7th, to have a healthy start to the year.
Japanese greeting cards
Labor Day in Japan
November 23 is a national holiday in Japan when people commemorate labor and give thanks to Japan's workers.
Wat Misaka was the first Japanese and first non-white to both be drafted by and play in the NBA. He played for the New York Knicks in 1947.
Originally the birthday of Emperor Meiji, today Culture Day in Japan is a national holiday, and an excuse for multiple festivities.
Mizuhiki-zaiku decorative paper cords
Mizuhiki-zaiku decorative paper cords are used as a kind of gift wrapping, featuring red cords on the right and white cords on the left.
Traditional Japanese Footwear A New Way of Walking
Traditional Japanese Footwear: Karan koron, karan koron, this is the Japanese sound of someone walking down the street in geta, or traditional wooden clogs.
Masanori Murakami, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was the first Japanese baseball player to play in the U.S. major leagues in 1964.
Punk Rock in Japan
Punk rock has been a big element of Japanese popular culture since the 1970s. This article looks at the history of homegrown punk rock in Japan.
Kenzo Tange was a pioneering post-war Japanese architect and urban planner whose beautiful vision of modernity won acclaim worldwide.
Kawaii Japan Cute Glossary
See a glossary of cute (kawaii) terms culture used in Japan associated with anime, manga, music and street fashion.
Top 6 Similarities Between Japan & Europe
There are a number of similarities between Japan and Europe including in the fields of music, fashion, literature, food, films and gaming.
In summer in Japan, fireworks light up the sky from north to south of the islands.
Top 5 Japanese Trends
If you can't quite make it to Japan, you can visit certain places in Europe that have adopted trends from Japanese culture, so you can experience a small proportion of the country closer to home.
Kannon Goddess of Mercy
Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokiteshvara), is an extremely popular deity in Japan and is represented in many forms such as Senju Kannon and Juichimen Kannon.
Music in Japanese train stations
Do you know about "eki-melody", the music played in Japanese train stations? These easily recognizable melodies are a quirk of stations in Japan.
Hi-tech toilets? No, you're not on board the International Space Station, you're in Japan.Off you go!
Marriage in Japan
Marriage has become a real industry in Japan - choose between a traditional Japanese marriage or a western-style marriage!
Going to the cinema in Japan
From huge, comfortable complexes to small arthouse theaters, Tokyo and other major Japanese cities do not lack cinemas.
Issey Miyake is an innovative Japanese clothing fashion designer whose unique use of materials and geometric approach have made him a giant of the fashion world.
Onigawara Roof Tiles
Onigawara (demon tiles) are decorative elements found on Japanese temple roofs and sometimes on shrines and private residences.
Samurai Sword Making
Samurai Sword: making a traditional samurai sword in Seki, Gifu Prefecture.
Typical Japanese Gestures
We all know the Japanese bow to say hello, thank you, goodbye and many other things. However, Japanese culture is full of other unique gestures, too.
Kappa and Japanese Folklore
Do you know the yokai (妖怪), supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore?
Ofuro: Japanese baths
Bathing in Japan is a real ritual. But how is it different from bathing in the west?
Fusuma Sliding Doors
Fusuma: read about making fusuma, decorated, paper sliding doors, using traditional techniques in Osaka at Shitoya Nakano Hyogo-ten.
Japanese Lucky Charms in Temples and Shrines
Buddhist or Shinto, temples and shrines abound in Japanese lucky charms, charms or horoscopes sold directly by the priests in sacred places.
Traditional Japanese Toys
Japanese children are lucky. They still have popular traditional toys that also serve as beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. Ideal as souvenirs.
Kagura: Kagura, the music of the gods, is a form of traditional Japanese dance theater that recounts the myths of ancient Japan.
Just as rowdy as the famous Love Hotels, pachinko gambling halls are a major social phenomenon of contemporary Japan.
Fake Japanese Food
In Japan, the fake dishes made of resin displayed in restaurant windows are a favorite sight among foreign tourists.
Taking Ikebana Classes in Japan
Ikebana is one of the finest arts of Japan. Find out where to take classes and where to meet the masters of this sophisticated floral art during your stay in Japan.
Watching Japanese TV
Many visitors want to watch Japanese TV during their trip to Japan. However, it can be pretty incomprehensible to Western eyes!
Here are some Japanese superstitions you should know to avoid any blunders, and enjoy your trip to Japan even more.
Tattoos in Japan
Tattooing in Japan has existed for a long time in the traditional form of irezumi, but a negative image surrounds this art...
The Musical Tokyo Subway
Eki-melo, a real feature of Japanese subways and trains, are easily recognizable melodies, which some visitors will not hesitate to revisit the same stops to record them.
Shimenawa Sacred Ropes
Shimenawa are the stylized ropes strung across torii gateways at Shinto shrines and are used to demarcate the boundary between the sacred and the profane.
Tsukimi, Japan's Harvest Moon Festival
Ancient Chinese tradition, tsukimi is both an agrarian celebration and a contemplative moment dedicated to the moon.
Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is the best-known and the most admired novelistin Japan.
Zen monochrome painting
A monk sits, meditating in front of a painting. One of his fellow monks wrote the calligraphy, and another painted the image.
Nio guardian statues are found at Buddhist temples throughout Japan and they guard and protect the temple from evil spirits and demons as well as human robbers.
Heroes of mythology, members of the imperial court, or stars of theater, Japanese dolls are precious objects with ancient symbols.
Japanese illustrated scrolls
Words and images cover meters of paper, turned brown by time. Brush strokes flow, skilfully depicting text and images.
After hours of work, a craftsman displays his work at the temple: an effigy from the Buddhist pantheon, carved in wood by his hand.
Forget the little puppets, and forget inhibitions about not understanding a word of performance art in Japanese. The Bunraku play can help you conquer your fears.
Laguna Ten Bosch Gamagori Aichi
Laguna Ten Bosch is Gamagori's most popular modern attraction - a marine resort called Lagunasia.
Kyokusui no Utage: Elegantly Plastered in Ancient Japan
Kyokusui-no-utage is an ancient drinking and poetry writing ceremony enjoyed by imperial courtiers that has been revived in modern Japan.
Kurume Kasuri is a type of double-ikat weaving where beautiful indigo fabrics are produced in family-run businesses in Kurume, Kyushu.
Komainu Lion Dogs
Komainu, sometimes referred to as lion dogs, are the guardian statues that can be found guarding the entrances to shrines and temples in Japan.
Yabusame, archery of the gods
This ritualized martial art, which involves an archer on horseback, was once part of the strenuous training of the samurai.
Cormorant fishing, ukai, old fishing technique, ply the rivers of Japan from May 11 to October 15 for over 1300 years ...
Zainichi, Koreans in Japan
Today, there are no less than 613,000 on the Archipelago: but who are Zainichi? The term, which literally means "to be in Japan," can refer to Korean immigrants who arrived or were deported to Japa
Praying in Japan
Shinto and Buddhism are Japan's two largest religions as their footprints are everywhere you visit. Learn the customs and ritualized gestures observed by the locals!
Oshogatsu: The New Year
Oshogatsu is a major date on the Japanese calendar. Both religion and family centered, it mixes good food and prayer.
Loud noises and bright lights: here you are at the entrance of a Pachinko, a hobby midway between pinball and slot machines!
Obon period in Japan
In Japan, Obon is the quintessential summer holiday.
Far from the standard western hotel, discover four types of housing for total immersion in the heart of Japanese culture...
The Japanese are crazy about mascots. Cities, companies, brands, sports teams, all proudly display their emblem. So much that we sometimes forget what's what and who's who...
Kote-e the Art of Plaster Relief
Kote-e: kote-e is the Japanese art of plaster relief on the outside of buildings that started in the Edo period of Japanese history.
Long despised in favor of the classical Noh, Kabuki remained a drama alive since its inception, more than four hundred years ago.
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Japan
Discover our selection of the finest cultural sites in Japan among registered on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
Baseball in Japan
Far from the traditional sports of this country like sumo, judo or kendo, baseball here has been known for a century, and the Japanese are crazy for it ...
Throughout the year, Japan honors its reputation as a country of paradox between religious celebrations, ceremonial and commercial.
To avoid breaking your nose on the door of a museum, a restaurant or a temple, discover the Japanese national holidays!
Kodo Sawaki - Japan's "homeless" Zen Buddhist priest
Kodo Sawaki: One of the twentieth century's most prominent practitioners of Soto Zen in Japan was the priest Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965).
Fukushima Prefecture: read a guide to Fukushima Prefecture including Fukushima city, Koriyama and Aizu-Wakamatsu in the Tohoku region of Japan.
Distilled from sweet potato, rice, barley, or buckwheat, shochu is a popular drink with a unique taste.
History of Japanese Gardens
Read a history of the development of Japanese gardens from the Chinese influences of the Nara Period to later Zen dry stone gardens.
Sesshu Toyo (1420-1506): read a biography of Sesshu Toyo one of Japan's greatest artists and garden designers, known for his Chinese style ink paintings.
Yamagata Aritomo: read a biography of Yamagata Aritomo 山形有朋 (1838-1922), an important politician, the architect of the Imperial Japanese Army and a father figure for Japanese militarism.
Kyoto Arts & Crafts
Kyoto arts & crafts: read an introduction to Kyoto's arts and crafts including kimono weaving, ceramics, folding fans and paper lanterns.
Japanese Arts & Crafts
Japanese Arts & Crafts: read an introduction to traditional Japanese arts and crafts including dolls, ceramics, kimono and lacquer ware.
Izumi Cranes Kagoshima
Each winter, between 10,000 and 12,000 cranes of four species gather on the coastal reclaimed land of Arasaki village, near Izumi in Kagoshima.
Senbazuru One Thousand Cranes
Senbazuru: Senbazuru are one thousand origami folded paper cranes made to make a wish or for hope for a sick person to get well.
Japanese Slipper Culture
Japanese slipper culture: learn about Japanese slipper use and etiquette in the house and in public places in Japan.
Tengu Japan's Large Nosed Mountain Goblin
Tengu 天狗 is a phallic-nosed goblin or demon associated with yamabushi mountain ascetics, who in time past were the majority of priests in rural Japan.
Understanding Onsen Culture
Understanding hot spring onsen culture: how to find and best enjoy onsen hot springs in Japan including onsen rules, onsen cuisine and hot spring healing.
Shichifukujin Seven Lucky Gods
Shichifukujin are Japan's Seven Lucky Gods: Hotei, Fukurokuji, Jurojin, Ebisu, Daikoku, Benzaiten and Bishamonten.
Bamboo: bamboo is important to the culture and tradition of Japan. bamboo can be eaten when young and is used to make thousands of useful items.
Shinto Mountain Ascetics
Shinto mountain ascetics: read about the rituals and practices of Japan's Shinto mountain ascetics.
Genkan: the cultural significance of the genkan, taking off your shoes and entering a Japanese home.
Kotatsu Heated Tables
Kotatsu are Japanese low tables with a heater underneath and covered with a thick quilt.
Stone Lanterns in Japan
Stone lanterns: read a guide to Japanese stone lanterns (ishidoro) found in Japanese gardens, as well as Japan temples & shrines.
Stepping Stones in Japan
Read a guide to the use of stepping stones and their contemplative nature in Japanese gardens and temples.
Ema Votive Plaques
Ema: ema are rectangular wooden tablets offered to the gods in Shinto shrines with wishes for good fortune.
Borrowed Scenery in Japanese Gardens
Japanese garden design offers a sense of mystery through the use of borrowed scenery (shakkei).
Kusari-doi Rain Chains
Kusari-doi or Japanese rain chains channel heavy rain down to the ground on traditional Japanese houses and temples.
Tatami: read about the production and use of Japanese tatami mats made from igusa reeds.
Tokonoma: the focal point of a traditional Japanese room is the tokonoma: a raised alcove.
Please select your country on the list below: