One of the best ways to experience the true magic of Koyasan is to stay overnight at a temple. Known as a shukubo, a temple stay at Koyasan gives visitors the opportunity to relax, reflect and immerse themselves in the traditional practices of Shingon Buddhism.
Discover the day-to-day lives of Koyasan’s monks in one of 50 temples that offer the shukubo experience. With breakfast, dinner and comfortable overnight lodgings available, you can truly immerse yourself in this enriching cultural experience. Taste the traditional vegetarian dishes prepared by the monks and join them for morning prayers and meditation.
Clean and simple furnishings, including traditional tatami floors and sliding doors (fusuma) typify the temple lodgings at Koyasan and reflect the abundant peace and tranquility that define these sacred spaces. It’s important to remember, though, that rooms and meals vary depending on the temple. For further information, you can refer to our guide on temple stays.
The Aomori Nebuta Festival is one of the most popular in Japan. Every year, nearly 2.5 million people descend on Aomori City in Japan's northeastern Tohoku region to experience a spectacle found nowhere else.
The biggest draw and the festival's namesake are the Nebuta. These vast floats are adorned with paper mâché characters from myth and legend: colorful, snarling warriors, bizarre monsters and lifelike animals. Alongside the floats, traditional Haneto dancers whip up a frenzy driven by the music of Nebuta bayashi bands. Visitors can even join in the dancing provided they wear the traditional Haneto costume, which is available for rent.
The intricate floats that take over the streets of Aomori City are a work of exquisite craftsmanship. Each Nebuta takes a full year to construct, all in aid of this unique six-day event. At the end of the festival, visitors are awarded a two-hour firework display, illuminating the city's skies and providing a fitting climax to this special event. Away from the main festival, visitors can learn more about the historical roots of Aomori Nebuta at the Nebuta Museum WA-RASSE.
In Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, the annual Inuyama Festival will satisfy your desire for an authentic cultural experience woven into Japan’s unique cultural tapestry. Set in the historic city of Inuyama, this vibrant celebration was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity, and offers visitors a unique and authentic experience.
Traditionally held on the first weekend of April, this year on April 6 and 7 from 9 AM to 9:30 PM, the historic Inuyama Old Castle Town area hosts parades of three-tiered floats and doll performances using traditional Japanese puppets (known as “karakuri”) alongside flute and taiko drum performances. During the day, the thirteen floats parade through the cherry blossom-lined streets, but at night, all 365 lanterns decorating the 13 floats are lit, creating a truly unforgettable atmosphere. Visitors can take in the dynamic energy of traditional floats adorned with stunning ornaments, witness captivating performances and partake in the local festivities that embody the heart and soul of Aichi’s heritage.
Imagine a completely different world at night at the National Ainu Museum where we will deliver to you a totally new museum experience that will thrill and excite you while you experience the Ainu language and culture.
The Ainu people are an indigenous people from the northern region of the Japanese archipelago, particularly Hokkaido. The Ainu culture is distinctive. It has a language that is unrelated to Japanese, a spiritual culture that holds that ramat (a spirit) dwell in every part of this world, traditional dances that are performed at rituals and other functions, and crafts such as wood carving and embroidery that incorporate unique patterns.
UPOPOY (The Symbolic Space for Ethnic Harmony), which is home to the National Ainu Museum, is a place of calm where Ainu culture is alive and well, surrounded by a rich natural environment where you can learn about Ainu culture through performances of traditional Ainu dance, and directly experience traditional performing arts, food culture, and traditional crafts using all five senses.
Based on the concept of "opening a thousand-year time capsule," we designed a high-quality experience that leverages the connections of the Konoe family, the first of the Five Regent Houses (go-sekke).
New video guides in English featuring interviews with foreign experts will be shown, and realistic guided exhibitions of cultural properties and other items in the collection will be presented. The tea ceremony and namagashi confectionery experience will be held in conjunction with a special exhibition of related cultural properties in the alcove of the Japanese tatami room in Kozanso. Participants can also enjoy luxury contents that could never be experienced at conventional art galleries or museums, such as watching a dance performance by Yasaka Shrine's Yasaka Gagaku Society in the courtyard or Nihon-Buyo (a traditional Japanese dance performance) while tasting sake associated with the Konoe family. Visitors can learn about and enjoy the finest aspects of Japanese culture through real experiences related to the collection and history of Yomei Bunko.
These tours are designed to convey tangible and intangible cultural values through interpreters who have learned about essential values of Shinto shrines, which have fostered the transmission of culture and technology and have maintained a harmonious relationship with nature over hundreds of years. Inbound tourists will gain an appreciation for the beauty of "eternal youth" as seen in the ceremonial rebuilding of Ise Jingu and the recycling of timber and other materials after various events, along with the culture and history of this system of recycling. The area is also the location of the Ise-Shima G7 Summit and is abundant in sake-brewing, farm produce, and more for inbound visitors, making it a great spot to experience the unique local food culture. Tour interpreters will also share with participants lots of stories that have been handed down over many years, such as the reason for visiting the outer and inner shrines at Ise in a certain order.
- Made possible thanks to Manazuru - A premium stay in Manazuru where the entire town welcomes one couple a day to showcase the appeal of the "everyday life in a fishing village"
This stay will provide the rare opportunity to "experience everyday life in a Japanese fishing village" by staying at a minshuku (Japanese-style bed and breakfast) that is as close as you can get to a traditional lifestyle, and by interacting with the people of Manazuru.
Enjoy interacting with the locals, made possible thanks to Manazuru's small rural town setting with a close-knit community feel. Experience authentic Japanese life and culture.
You will surely leave with treasured memories of this special experience. Learn to appreciate the simplicity and warmth of the locals - something that cannot be experienced through conventional sightseeing alone. The entire town will welcome you with the hope that Manazuru will hold an important place in your heart as your "Japanese hometown" by the time you return home.
・Homely hospitality that makes you feel as if you've returned to your hometown.
・Experience the Japanese lifestyle, everyday life, and culture "only now," "only here," and "only for you."
・Natural interactions with locals, no script and no prior arrangements.
・The atmosphere of a town that feels strangely nostalgic despite visiting for the first time.
Experience an outdoor tea ceremony where teas such as the primitive ‘kocha’ tea and matcha is served. Fully experience Kuni-kyo at the "Turimise" unmanned stalls, which are culturally unique to the region and feature local vegetables for sale.
Join a participatory infiorata (flower carpet) event that is based on the concept of providing a glimpse of the feelings and lifestyle of people in the Nara period.
In this premium experience, visitors will join an on-site excavation under the guidance of specialists who are experienced in guiding inbound visitors. They will experience Japanese culture and history through interacting directly with tiles and earthenware from the Nara period. Activities such as making clay figurines are also available.
World-first! Experience history during a night show at a Zen temple (designated cultural asset) (Discovery Temples in KOMYOIN)
Welcome to a special event held at Komyo-in Temple, a sub-temple of Daihonzan Tofuku-ji Temple, after the gates are closed for the night. The event begins with seated zazen mediation, led by the abbot, to purify the mind and prepare it for the special night. After the meditation, the temple will come back to life right before your eyes, just as it was 500 years ago. Next, experience the workplaces of Japanese painters, sculptors of Buddhist images, sword sharpeners, candle makers, and tea masters, and come into contact with the many techniques that have been passed down to the present day. Finally, enjoy the beautiful dances of maiko and geiko with cuisine prepared by a vegetarian chef and a sushi chef. This special evening will be treasured for a lifetime and is bound to leave a deep impression.
HITOHATA, a Nagoya-based digital creative company, will produce the "Aichi Designated Tangible Cultural Property Ito Residence x Flower and Digital Art Festival 2023-2024" from December 22, 2023 (Fri.) to January 14, 2024 (Sun.) at the Ito Residence (Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture), an Aichi Prefecture-designated Tangible Cultural Property.
During this event, the Ito Residence, a symbol of the historic Shikemichi townscape that is normally closed to the public, will be specially opened for an exhibition of digital art combined with ikebana flower arrangement and bonsai.
The Ito Residence consists of the main building, which includes the honke main room and the shin-zashiki and minami-zashiki tatami rooms, as well as the shin-dozo, sei-zo, and saiku-zo storehouses, and more. It is a valuable structure showing the residence of a merchant family that utilized water transportation along the Horikawa River to run the family business. The main house, the honke, completed around 1722, is designated as a Tangible Cultural Property by Aichi Prefecture and a Structure of Landscape Importance by Nagoya City.
Visitors can enjoy a fantastic fusion of gorgeous flowers and bonsai with digital art in a valuable building that retains the atmosphere of Nagoya in the Edo period.