Traditional and modern culture collide on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. From sumo and sakura to anime and theater, this vibrant capital city is a playground for culture lovers. Here are our top recommendations for diving headfirst into the culture of Tokyo.
Attend a sumo wrestling tournament.
Sumo has become one of Japan’s most internationally famous cultural expressions, one you can experience for yourself in Tokyo. Visit the Sumo Museum to learn about the history and tradition of the sport, then take a seat in the sumo amphitheater to catch the action in person.
Tour the Studio Ghibli Museum.
Studio Ghibli has produced some truly magical works of animation, including the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. This museum honoring animator Miyazaki Hayao features original sketches, a 20-minute animated short, and the same magical atmosphere that continues to enchant movie audiences.
Explore Tokyo’s otaku culture.
The term otaku typically refers to Japan’s manga-obsessed subculture. Dive into all things otaku on a tour of Akihabara Electric Town. Grab a cup of coffee in a maid-themed cafe, browse for comic books, belt some karaoke tunes, and learn all about otaku culture from a local guide.
Learn to wield a sword like a samurai.
Harness your inner warrior with an immersive swordsmanship workshop led by a trained professional in a traditional dojo. Practice samurai stances such as hasso, jodan, and gedan, with a real wooden sword before sparring with a partner to show off your new moves.
Tap into your inner zen with a monk.
If you’ve ever wondered what the day-to-day life of a Zen monk is like, you can find out on a small-group temple visit. Practice calligraphy, learn to make matcha green tea, and interact with real Buddhist monks with the help of a professional translator.
Practice the art of Japanese bookbinding.
Watoji is the 1,000-year-old Japanese art of bookbinding. During a watoji class, you’ll learn about the artistry and attention to detail while creating your own notebook to take home as a souvenir of your time in Tokyo.