Your knowledgeable guide will meet you at your hotel in Tokyo and accompany you on public transport to an aikido dojo for your private lesson. More than just a martial art, aikido blends Japanese philosophy and religious principles. As you learn to use your opponent’s force and momentum against him or her, you’ll find that you don’t necessarily have to be physically strong to be adept in the art.
After a demonstration and some practice with your sensei (teacher), transition to a lesson in the art of Japanese calligraphy, called shuji. You’ll learn the proper way to begin and end each stroke of ink, including the correct order and path to follow. While kanji (Japanese pictographs) may not make sense to the untrained eye, the slightest lapse in concentration will show in one’s work.
When it’s time to put down the pen and take up the sword, your guide will take you to the sword museum in Shibuya. Here, learn about world-famous Japanese katana swords, which no good samurai went without. You’ll discover that the swords were often given names, as they were considered extensions of a samurai’s soul.
After a stop for lunch (own expense), head to a sake brewery to taste a wide range of Japan’s staple drink. Your guide will enlighten you about how the sake is made and, of course, how it should be drunk. Then, continue to Ginza, Tokyo’s premier shopping and dining area, and enjoy a stroll through an old shogunate garden, where you can sip a cup of matcha (green tea) while enjoying the view.
Your final stop is Akihabara, Tokyo’s pop culture mecca where you can visit toyshops and Japanese anime stores. Pore over manga of every genre, from action and science fiction to historical drama and mystery.
After your cultural tour, your guide will point you in the right direction so you can make your way back to your hotel.