What is Japanese Culture from Overseas Perspective｜10 Special Japanese Experiences and 5 Popular Plans that Foreigners Prefer
In recent years, the trend of foreign visitors to Japan has been changing year by year.
This is because their interest is shifting to “koto” consumption rather than “mono” consumption.
In other words, the number of foreigners who want to experience traditional Japanese culture through travel to Japan is increasing. The number of foreigners who want to experience traditional Japanese culture through travel to Japan is increasing.
So, what exactly is the appeal of Japanese culture and traditions in the eyes of foreigners?
In this issue, we will discuss the appeal of traditional Japanese culture as seen by foreigners.
・What do foreigners find attractive about Japanese culture and its unique history?
・What kind of Japanese cultural experiences are foreigners interested in?
・What kind of Japanese cultural experiences do foreigners like?
We will provide you with these perspectives.
What is the appeal of Japanese history and culture from a foreigner’s point of view?
We will also provide you with 10 Japanese cultural experiences popular among foreigners and 5 recommended plans!
Japan from a Foreign Perspective
What do you often hear about the positive impressions of Japan from overseas?
The politeness of the people
・A clean and beautiful country
・Deep and unique traditional culture
Cutting-edge technology that is always of high quality and yet can be flexibly incorporated into daily life.
As a Japanese, I am glad to hear that there are so many positive images of Japan.
So, why does Japan seem so attractive when seen from abroad?
To understand this, let us first look at the development of Japanese culture.
Since ancient times, Japan has developed by actively learning and absorbing the cultures of other countries, and by accepting them in a flexible manner.
Japan is unique among countries in the world in its ability to transform its accepted culture into its own unique culture.
The flexibility of the Japanese culture can be easily understood by considering the trends of foreign sweets that appear every year.
Japanese food is changing before you know it, using Japanese ingredients, and eating in ways that are not originally Japanese.
In addition to culture, another characteristic of the Japanese is their sensitivity to new things.
When new technologies are born, they can be applied and flexibly incorporated into daily life, so the latest technologies are more visible and hidden in daily life than in other countries.
Foreigners are not surprised at the high level of technology found in home appliances.
– Ear buds with microscopes that can be purchased for as little as 3,000 yen
– Toilet and bath functions
– Rice cookers that cook rice with surprisingly good taste
– Clothing that is very warm despite its thin fabric
– Functions installed in Japanese cars sold in Japan… The list goes on and on.
These are just a few examples, but they cannot be seen in other countries.
And then there is the incorporation of the ancient history and culture into the modern society.
When you visit Japan, you will never run out of ways to enjoy Japanese history and culture.
The Japanese people have a strong sense of tradition, but they also have the ability to use their ingenuity and effort to bring it back to the modern world.
Since ancient times, Japan has held a sense of nostalgia and longing for other countries, and is able to freely incorporate history and the future into the present.
Such softness of Japanese people can be said to allow them to change and enjoy the good things around them at any time.
Seclusion and Unique Culture
However, Japan has not always been a country that has been furious in importing culture through exchanges with other countries, and at various points in time, it has cut off exchanges with foreign countries.
During the Heian and Edo periods, exchange with foreign countries declined drastically, during which time Japan’s unique culture matured.
Because of this historical background, Japan’s unique culture developed with its own characteristics.
Some of the characteristics of Japanese culture are
・During the period of national isolation, reading, writing, and abacus became widespread due to the spread of terakoya and han schools.
・Traditional Japanese culture, with its unique philosophy and religious views nurtured among samurai and their mastery of various “paths”.
・In addition to Confucian studies recommended by the shogunate, natural sciences such as herbology developed on their own.
・Popular culture flourished among the common people, with a love of plays and ukiyoe soshi.
With this unique historical background and the characteristics of an island nation, Japan developed its own unique culture.
The charm of Japan as seen from overseas may have hints hidden in the history of Japan.
Fukuzawa Yukichi and Japanese Culture
It was Fukuzawa Yukichi who defined what is now defined as Japanese culture.
During the turbulent years before the Meiji Restoration, Fukuzawa Yukichi traveled to Europe and the United States.
Faced with a liberated Japan and the wider world, Fukuzawa Yukichi sensed the danger that Japan would be exploited and buried in the wave of world modernization if it continued as it was.
Until then, Japan’s isolationist policy had allowed it to be completely oblivious to the existence of anyone outside of its own country.
Yukichi Fukuzawa, seeing Western society at first hand, strongly felt the need to define Japanese culture.
He picked and chose, first, what was unique to Japan that could not be found in other countries, and second, Japanese culture and ideas that foreigners might like.
By doing so, he tried to make people recognize Japan as a country different from China and the Korean peninsula.
By making Japan’s identity clear, it is easier for foreign countries to recognize the attractiveness of Japan.
These were the definitions of Japanese culture that would lead to both benefits and development for Japan.
It is said that this movement led the Western countries of the time to view Japan differently from other Asian countries.
During the turbulent 19th century, the eyes of the West were hotly focused on Japan.
At the time, vigorous reforms were taking place in all genres in the West.
Especially in the world of aesthetics, Japanese culture was on the march.
Impressionist painters and musicians of the time were influenced by this unprecedented method of expression, and they developed a new way of expression.
Japonism has been handed down to the present as an indispensable part of Western culture.
In part because of this, Japanese culture was occasionally confirmed by Western culture.
This trend continues to this day, with Japan-inspired culture emerging in a variety of genres.
Related Articles：The Influence of Japonism and Japanese Culture in the West: 15 Important Figures, 22 Influences, Anime 25 and Contemporary Culture
Why are foreigners interested in Japanese culture?
Japanese culture is nurtured by the soft and flexible spirit of the Japanese people.
It has always been a fascinating country to foreign countries.
So what is it about Japan in particular that makes it so appealing?
Japanese traditional performing arts culture
Japan’s traditional performing arts culture is said to number roughly 50.
All of the traditional Japanese performing arts are the ultimate form of Japanese techniques and beauty that have been handed down from our ancestors.
The Japanese culture of “Do” is not limited to the mere act of mastering the art.
It is about refining one’s mind, learning to mature as a human being through each action, and acquiring a sense of propriety.
All of these paths contain philosophical ideas that are uniquely Japanese.
To master the depth, techniques, and teachings requires practice and discipline.
In order to understand these philosophies, one must deepen one’s understanding through physical exercises.
Such an act is deeply fascinating to people from abroad, and there is no end to the number of people who want to learn.
Recommended Related Articles：What is Traditional Japanese Culture? | A List of 105 Types of Performing Arts, Crafts, Events, Food, Clothing, and Housing
Four Seasons and Nature
Japan has a unique natural ecosystem with four distinct seasons.
The respect for nature and the beauty of each season are uniquely Japanese.
As an agrarian people, the Japanese have long had a culture that values the calendar, based on the belief in nature and the Yin-Yang Tao system of the four seasons.
The calendar has been incorporated into annual events and passed down to the present day as festivals and events as an important form of nostalgia for the Japanese people.
There is a deep connection between nature and Japanese culture, and interest in Japanese culture from overseas has deepened.
There is no end to the number of foreigners who want to visit and experience the exotic charm of Japanese culture.
Related article: Japanese Festivals and History Japan’s Seasonal Festivals and History
Religious Views and Philosophy
Shrines and temples have been a part of Japanese life since time immemorial.
It is said, “Many Japanese are not religious. However, belief in the Shinto and Buddhist gods that appear at weddings, funerals, and other important events in our lives is unique to the Japanese.
However, the belief in Shintoism and Buddhism, which appears at all important moments of our lives, including weddings, funerals, and ceremonial occasions, is unique to the Japanese people.
Shinto and Buddhism have had a great influence on Japanese culture and cannot be overlooked when considering Japanese culture.
Shinto, with Amaterasu as the supreme deity, is nature worship.
Everything in the world is believed to be inhabited by spiritual beings, and there are eight million gods.
In contrast, Buddhism was introduced from China around the 6th century.
It is a religion with the idea that people can attain enlightenment and be saved in the afterlife through rigorous ascetic practices, with the guru Buddha as the main deity.
The fact that these two religions, which have completely different origins and philosophies, are fused together in Japan is important when considering the thought and culture of the Japanese people.
It is rare for these two different religions to have coexisted for more than 1,000 years, and this is a worldview that is unique to Japan.
National character to develop into a unique culture
Based on its unique culture and history, Japan has always had the ability to skillfully incorporate other cultures and flexibly develop them into a new Japanese culture.
This is not only a characteristic of the culture, but also of the people’s ability to flexibly incorporate the latest technology and other new things into their daily lives.
This flexibility allows us to see a culture that we do not see in other countries on a daily basis.
It is one of Japan’s strengths that the past and future can be expressed in a form that we can hold in our hands with just the right balance in the present.
Take, for example, the hand and mouth purifiers used to cleanse the hands and mouth when visiting shrines.
When the Corona vortex made it impossible to use this water, a hana-chouzu was created to purify the mind by floating beautiful cut flowers in it.
This unique Japanese way of softening the heart became a beautiful healing in the rough and tumultuous Corona Whirlpool.
10 Favorite Cultural Experiences for Foreigners
So what kind of Japanese cultural experiences are actually popular among foreigners?
Here we would like to consider 10 Japanese cultural experiences.
Killing Samurai Experience
Japanese movies are popular overseas as well.
Among them, period dramas are always popular.
Samurai” is one of the synonyms for Japan.
At the climax of a movie, samurai fight each other with swords.
The sword fight scene is fascinating to watch because of the graceful strength and beautiful behavior of the samurai.
The samurai experience includes workshops and team-building sessions with actual sword fighting actors.
The Samurai Experience includes workshops and team-building sessions with actual sword fighting actors, as well as the opportunity to watch a heated performance by the sword fighting actors.
Both of these experiences are very popular among foreigners as authentic Japanese experiences that can only be experienced in Japan.
Related recommended article: 【What is a Samurai?What is a Samurai? Why Samurai are so popular and what foreigners think of Samurai. 19 Things to do in Japan including Samurai Experiences
Tea ceremony experience
The tea ceremony was established by Sen no Rikyu, the founder of the Omotesenke school of tea ceremony.
It is no exaggeration to say that the tea ceremony is a cornerstone of Japanese culture.
Many foreigners want to actually experience wabi and sabi, and the tea ceremony experience is very popular.
The tea ceremony is a Japanese experience that can only be enjoyed in a tea room in a Japanese garden full of Japanese atmosphere.
The tea ceremony has the essence of entertaining guests.
The tea ceremony is also popular as an actual workshop, where you can wear a kimono and have a tea master interpret for you while making tea.
In the tea ceremony, everything has meaning, reason, and symbolism.
For example, the lovely wagashi (Japanese sweets) that are served during the tea ceremony.
Wagashi is said to be an art of the senses, not only enjoyed for its texture and taste, but also for its sound.
The name of the confectionery is one of the most important aspects.
It is said that just by hearing the name of the confectionery, you can feel the world of the confectionery.
Workshops for making wagashi are also popular, and there is a lot of potential for experiencing Japanese culture related to the tea ceremony.
Even if you cannot understand everything that the tea ceremony has to offer, there are many small things you can notice about it.
It is to encounter such a special experience for oneself and one’s own in one’s travels.
That is the best part of visiting an exotic place, isn’t it?
Martial Arts Experience
Japanese budo is not a martial arts sport, but a Japanese martial art with a “dou” (way).
The spirit of budo from abroad continues to be admired.
Judo, karate, kobudo, and kobudo.
The popularity of sumo, the national sport, cannot be overlooked.
Workshops where you can actually receive direct instruction from a martial artist.
You will be able to experience the real thing only by coming to Japan, and you will be able to use your body to experience it with your whole body.
The heat and excitement of a martial arts performance or a live performance can transform an entire venue.
Many foreign companies are interested in learning the spirit of courtesy toward their enemies and using it effectively in their business activities, making team building in Budo one of the most popular Japanese cultural experiences.
Ikebana (Flower Arrangement) Experience
Established in the Muromachi period (1333-1573), ikebana is a part of Japanese culture that has been handed down to the present day.
Among the expressions of ikebana, there are traditional “rikka” and “shoka,” and “moribana,” “nageire” and “free-style flower arrangement” as modern flower arrangements.
While floral arrangements are considered to fill a space with flowers, ikebana (flower arrangement) finds beauty in a space without flowers and places emphasis on the expression of lines.
Traditional Japanese culture expresses the beauty and preciousness of life by arranging flowers.
The Japanese view of nature that comes into view.
Wearing an actual kimono and using flowers of the season in which you are staying as floral materials, an ikebana workshop to create a world is a wonderful cultural experience.
Recommended related articles:.Tea Ceremony Experience! Why it is popular among foreigners and performance in English
When you are abroad, you often see foreigners with kanji tattoos.
Many foreigners are fascinated by the beauty of the shapes and the depth of meaning of kanji and Japanese characters.
The unique color and aroma of sumi ink can be experienced only when you are there.
Experiencing calligraphy through all five senses while being enveloped in the musky aroma of ink is a Japanese cultural experience that can only be had in Japan.
There are two ways to experience Japanese calligraphy: to enjoy calligraphy and to enjoy a performance by a calligrapher.
There are also other ways to experience Japanese calligraphy, such as enjoying a performance by a calligrapher.
Recommended related articlesExperience Japanese Culture through Calligraphy! Which kanji performance is popular among foreigners?
Japanese Cuisine Experience
Japanese food is now listed as one of the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Japanese food is considered one of the most delicious, healthy, and beautiful foods in the world.
The basic principle of enjoying Japanese food is to savor the “season.
It is said that one of the ways to enjoy Japanese food is to feel the change of the seasons in the dishes.
In kaiseki cuisine, the emphasis is also placed on the space in which the food is served, as in the phrase, “the atmosphere and the presentation, including the room’s decorations, also give a sense of the season.
The Japanese food experience is a Japanese cultural experience that can only be had by actually visiting Japan.
We hope that foreign visitors to Japan will enjoy this experience.
When you hear the word “Japanese culture,” many foreigners probably think of ZEN.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, is also famous for his love of Zen.
Today, mindfulness programs that incorporate Zen philosophy are being implemented among employees of large companies in the Silicon Valley of the United States.
The idea is not to experience Zen as a religious experience, but to experience the inside of oneself as seen through zazen meditation.
With this background, the number of foreigners who want to experience Zen in Japan, the home of Zen, is increasing rapidly.
Recommended past articles: What is Zen that attracts foreigners? The Relationship Between Meditation and Mindfulness through Zen Experience
Geisha Maiko Experience
The Japanese geisha are able to summon up a special moment for an evening’s banquet through their skilled dance, music, and entertainment skills.
With their skilled dance, music, and entertainment skills, Japanese geisha are capable of transforming an evening into a special occasion.
They are professionals in the art of hospitality, and are Japanese artists who have undergone rigorous training.
Their exotic costumes and makeup have been and continue to be a symbol of the eternal elegance that is the hallmark of Japan.
Many foreigners still want to come to Japan and spend time with a real geisha, and it is one of the most popular Japanese cultural experiences today.
Another popular Japanese cultural experience is to actually put on makeup and a kimono and dress up as a geisha or maiko.
There are also workshops where you can learn how to play a Japanese musical instrument or dance, and you will discover a variety of possibilities.
Recommended related article: 【Explaining Geisha in English
How to Enjoy Japanese Hospitality
Onsen (hot springs) are one of the top things to experience when visiting Japan.
Japan’s bath culture is unique in the world, and the passion for bathing is uniquely Japanese.
Soak your body slowly in the bathtub and relax.
Is there any other healing experience quite like it?
The depth of outdoor baths and hot springs is immeasurable.
Of course, there are those who say they do not like to be naked in public.
However, there are still many foreigners who want to take a bath in a hot spring when they visit Japan.
However, there are many foreigners who would like to take a bath in a hot spring when they go to Japan.
Kabuki Noh Experience
Kabuki and Noh are classified as drama in the traditional Japanese performing arts.
These mysterious dramas are uniquely Japanese, and their charms are very appealing to foreign audiences.
There are many Kabuki and Noh theater experiences tailored to foreigners, and they are now considered a part of Japanese culture that they would like to enjoy.
However, many foreigners want to actually see a performance, but the language and the difficulty of interpretation are obstacles that are difficult to overcome.
There are new ways to experience Kabuki and Noh, such as workshops with Kabuki actors and Kabuki performances in private spaces, that are tailored to the needs of foreign visitors.
We highly recommend this luxurious Japanese cultural experience to our VIP VVIP guests.
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A real Kabuki experience! Entertainment for Foreign VIPs and High Net Worth Individuals
5 Japanese cultural experience plans recommended for foreigners visiting Japan
So, what types of Japanese cultural experience plans are actually gaining popularity?
Here we introduce some of our recommended Japanese cultural experience plans.
Lunch x Japanese Culture Experience Plan
Many foreign visitors to Japan want to experience Japanese culture to the fullest in the limited time they have.
If you are on a trip, you may be looking for things to experience in a short schedule.
If they are on vacation, they are eagerly looking for things to experience within a short schedule.
And if you are on a business trip, you may want to experience Japanese culture in a more efficient way.
Therefore, plans that allow you to experience Japanese culture during lunch time are very popular.
This plan is recommended for busy people who want to experience Japanese culture firsthand while enjoying a delicious meal.
The plan is always well received by our customers, as it is a very rich and satisfying experience in a short time.
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Japanese Craft Experience Plan to make your own crafts
Japan is home to numerous traditional crafts, and there is no end to the number of foreigners who are fascinated by their beauty.
In the Craft Experience Plan, you can actually make a traditional Japanese craft with your own hands and take the work home with you.
The plans are characterized by their diversity, ranging from casual to full-fledged experiences.
In the ceramic art plan, you will be guided by a potter to create dishes and cups for daily use, which is very popular.
In addition, the recently popular “Kintsumugi” is a uniquely Japanese method of joining together chipped and valuable tableware using lacquer and gold paint.
Plans to learn the spirit and techniques of traditional Japanese craftsmanship are also popular.
Learn Japanese Cooking! Japanese Cooking Class Plan
One of the most common aspirations of foreigners is to make their own sushi! or “I want to be able to cook Japanese food.
or “I want to be able to cook Japanese food!
In the Japanese Cooking Workshop Plan, you can experience such dreams by learning the basics of Japanese cooking from a Japanese chef.
You will learn how to make basic dashi (soup stock) and how to cook an omelet.
Many of the cooking utensils used in Japanese cooking are unique to Japan, and the experience of actually using them to make Japanese food is exciting from start to finish.
The nigirizushi making plan is also a special experience as you will actually make sushi.
If you wish, you can even wear a white Japanese chef’s kappo-gown and hat, which will really get you in the mood.
Sake Brewery Tour and Sake Tasting Experience Plan
This sake tasting plan is recommended for those who love sake.
You will be able to see how sake is made and enjoy the luxury of having freshly brewed sake right on the spot.
The experience of being enveloped by the Japanese atmosphere of the sake brewery and the aroma of koji (malted rice) is a Japanese cultural experience that can only be had during your stay in Japan.
A party at the sake brewery is also recommended as a plan for groups.
We can offer you a time when you can enjoy the taste of delicious sake with a Japanese musical instrument performance.
Kimono and Japanese Culture Experience Plan
When I go to Japan, I want to try on a kimono!
There is no end to the number of foreigners who want to wear a kimono when they go to Japan, and kimono dressing and rental plans are gaining popularity.
Kimono rental plans for VIP and VVIP guests are also very popular.
Such a special experience is also popular.
For a casual kimono experience, why not go out in a kimono and walk around the streets of Japan?
This is a very enjoyable and casual kimono experience.
Especially in Asakusa and Kyoto, you will feel as if you are in a Japanese movie.
Many foreigners who visit Japan also seem to like taking pictures.
A professional photographer will rent out a studio and take pictures of you in a special, glamorous, Edo period kimono, such as the “O-oku” or “Hanai” (courtesans), which is very popular.
Also, look out for experiences in traditional Japanese performing arts such as sword dance and Nihon buyo, where you dance in a kimono.
Experiencing the movements and gestures of the classical performing arts while actually wearing a kimono is an authentic Japanese cultural experience.
Related recommended articles：An expatriate explains why foreigners like Japanese kimonos and why they are so popular. 14 Basics of Kimono and 6 Experiences
The charm of Japan is seen when looking at Japan from the outside.
Looking at Japan from different perspectives leads to the development and benefit of one’s own country, as Fukuzawa Yukichi believed.
How can we help people to experience a more authentic Japan?
It is not to exaggerate Japan in a strange way, but to deliver the essence of Japan.
Japanese cultural experiences transcend language and culture, and have the potential to be received in a straightforward manner.