Things to Do for an Authentic Japan Experience

Japan as dense in culture, history and heritage as its cities are dense with modern high rise buildings, shops and hotels. Visiting Japan is a must! Here are things to do for an authentic Japan experience.

Hanami/Sakura Festival Japan. Authentic Japan Experience
Hanami/Sakura Festival Japan ©MDHarding

Must See And Do Experiences Of Japan

There is a magnitude of history, heritage and culture to emerge yourself in, not to mention some unique experiences you don’t want to miss! Tokyo is a must, of course, but there’s so much to see beyond the city.

You may have heard of the Hanami Festival (Cherry Blossom Festival), Jidai Matsuri Festival, bullet train, Mount Fuji and the floating Torii Gate, but have you ever experienced any of these?

“Listen with your heart, learn from your experiences, and always be open to new ones” – Cherokee Proverb.

Mt Fuji. Authentic Japan Experience
Mt Fuji ©MDHarding

Traditional Tea Ceremonies

Girls can start training from as young as 15 years old, for many years in the art of traditional tea before being allowed to perform the tea ceremony.  Did you know that there are a number of set choreographed movements and that these must be completed in a set order? Tea was first introduced to Japan in the 9th century. It was seen as being a mastered skill, while tea was rare and an expensive commodity. Then in the 13th century tea began to increase in popularity with the Samurai Class and seen as a health benefit.  Today enjoy a traditional tea ceremony in a ion-an (tea hut) or chashitsu (tea room).

Traditional Japanese House, Tea Ceremony, Tea and Sweet. Authentic Japan Experience
Traditional Japanese House, Tea Ceremony, Tea & Sweet ©MDHarding

A Real Authentic Japan Experience: Dress up like a Geisha

Dressing up as a Geisha was one of my favorite highlights of authentic Japan experience. Where else in the world can you experience a small portion of being a Geisha?  There is a lot of art, tradition and skill to being a Maiko or Geisha.  Did you know that it can take several hours for a real Geisha to have her hair done? Then afterwards she sleeps on a wooden block? I can only imagine how uncomfortable this must be. You can select what experience you would like from the basic, including a few portraits to the more complete package, including a walk around the traditional Gion quarter.

A totally unique experience not to be missed!

One of the photographs of me, from the Geisha experience. Authentic Japan Experience
One of the photographs of me, from the Geisha experience.

Walking Around A Zen Garden

The Shukkeien Landscape Garden located in Hiroshima, was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. Today you can see the garden which has been recreated with great accuracy.  Enjoy the beautiful circular tour around Takuei Pond, with over 10 decorative islands of small recreated scenes including mountains, valleys, bridges and forests.

A heavenly retreat, not to be missed!

Authentic Japan Experience
Shukkeien Garden, Hiroshima, Japan ©MDHarding

Kabuki Theatre

The traditional art of Kabuki Theatre started in 1603, when a new style of dance drama was performed in the dry river beds of Kyoto.

Today you can visit the Kabuki – za in Ginza, Tokyo to experience the traditional art of Kabuki.  Tickets can be purchased at a small booth, by the entrance to the theatre.  The whole performance can take many hours, so we opted to see a portion or a named act, which was performed over two hours. The production was very dramatic,  with elaborate costumes and make up. You should take plenty of refreshments including water as the theatre can get very hot.

An experience you will never forget.

Kabuki. Authentic Japan Experience
Kabuki ©MDHarding

I hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s blog, on what not to miss in Japan.  Don’t forget to share!  As always I would love to hear from you.  If you have any comments/questions please leave them below.  Happy Travels:) x

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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    […] The Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is widely celebrated throughout Japan. It was when the pink flowers put on an incredible display, during the spring months between March and April.  While visiting don’t miss the detailed landscaped zen gardens such as The Shukkeien Landscape Garden, with its precise racked stones/sand and thoughtfully placed larger sculptures, stones or planting. The bright red arched bridges, stone lanterns, koi fish ponds and colourful Acer trees are a delight to see! There are some incredible places and things to do for an authentic Japan experience. […]

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    […] Todaiji Temple Complex was built in the 8th century as the head Buddhist temple in all of Japan. Todaiji is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site and is also home to the largest wooden building on […]

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    […] year on October 22nd in Kyoto, Japan the Jidai Matsuri festival is held, celebrating the country’s long and complex history. This […]


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