Sado, a tea ceremony celebrating the Way of Tea, has been much favoured by Japanese high society as an artistic ceremony. Today, it is popular as a means of training concentration of spirit and of learning manners. There are a number of schools in Japan, each presenting their own style of tea ceremony. Many hotels have a tea ceremony room on the grounds for the customers to enjoy a real tea ceremony.
Find out where to experience a tea ceremony in Tokyo or Kyoto...
IKEBANA FLOWER ARRANGEMENT
Ikebana originated as a means to display wild flowers in the tea ceremony room. There are more than 20 schools of ikebana, all differing in their stylistic rules and methods of presentation, and most have their own instruction center. You can enjoy the beauty of ikebana in a variety of places such as hotels, department stores and the lobbies of public buildings.
Read on for a list of where to experience Ikebana....
TRADITIONAL PERFORMING ARTS
Japan is a treasure-trove of traditional performing arts.
You can purchase tickets or obtain details of the theatre schedule at theatre box offices. Reservations must be made in advance for popular performances. Tickets can be purchased at the "Play guide" ticket sales desks located in large department stores or shopping malls in the main cities.
We recommend that you also check at your hotel, for they may have a ticket sales desk. For more advice on the purchase of tickets or more detailed information, please access the English site of individual theatres or consult with a TIC (Tourist Information Centre).
Read on for information about Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku - Japan's most famous traditional performing arts
Shintoism, which is indigenous to Japan, and Buddhism, which was introduced to Japan in the sixth century, are the two main religions in Japan. Many Japanese practice both religions, celebrating birth and marriage in accordance with Shinto rites while following Buddhist ceremonies for funerals and memorial services. Shintoism, which originated as a way of dealing with ancient people's fears of demons and the supernatural, has no written doctrines. A Shinto place of worship is referred to as a shrine. The Buddhist place of worship is a temple. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all by the constitution.
Interested in staying in a temple, trying a Buddhist vegetarian meal or trying meditation? Read on...
Japan's martial arts have become popular throughout the world. Whilst visting you can watch karate, kendo, aikido and judo performances, or even have a go yourself. Others traditional sports such as sumo and kyudo are still rarely seen outside Japan. So do take the opportunity to see them while you are in Japan!
More information about Japan's traditional sports...
RYOKAN - TRADITIONAL INNS
Ryokan are Japanese-style inns, offering the experience to eat, sleep and relax like the locals. In most cases, a sumptuous kaiseki dinner and a traditional Japanese breakfast is included in the room price. Rooms are usually Japanese-style, with straw tatami mats used for flooring. Guests sleep on futons (thin mattresses that are spread on the tatami mats at night and stored folded in a closet during the day). Ryokan are characterized by the high quality service that they offer and their diligence in maintaining a purely Japanese atmosphere and Japanese-style service.
More on traditional accommodation...