The must-try activities in Japan

Hello everyone,

Moving to Japan is an exciting opportunity to discover a new culture and try things you might not even have heard of before. To make sure other expats and expats-to-be do not miss a thing, would you be able to answer the following questions on activities not-to-be-missed in Japan?

What are the activities everyone must try at least once in Japan?

What are the activities that one should partake in if they want to discover the local culture?

Are there any activities that are characteristic of Japan?

Do you have an anecdote to share about any of the activities listed above?

Please share your experience,


One of the more artistic things to try in Japan is Japanese brush painting and calligraphy. When I was younger I wanted to learn the Japanese language but was often advised to learn Chinese first and the Japanese second, So part of my studies included an introduction into brush painting techniques and calligraphy. I bought several different brushes with sable hair and ink stones as well as watercolors, and with the help of books learned to paint with a Japanese brush pens. The easiest is to paint bamboo and afterwards I moved on to flowers and then landscapes. Courses can be found everywhere in Japan for brush painting.

Other forms of painting include stone painting which is also quite popular and the Japanese version of tie and dye.

There are quite a lot of crafts centres scattered here and there and they offer many interesting course for both adults and children in all kinds of traditional arts and crafts.

Another interesting activity is to experience eat Kobe beef in a small restaurant in Kobe city. Usually the chef is specialized in cooking Kobe beef and extremely knowledgeable about the different grades of beef and will explain the difference between the leaner less expensive types and the fattier more expensive types. It is actually a really interesting experience as he cooks everything in front of you on a teppanyaki grill and follows a lengthy procedure and explains how to eat this or that and with which condiment first followed by which other condiment etc.

It can be costly if you opt for the higher grades, but feeling the fat and meat literally dissolve in your mouth is like heaven. Scattered all around the small area of Ikuta Street in Kobe can be found lots of tiny restaurants offering you this experience.