Culture

  Japanese Culture  
  Architecture  
  Castles  
  Homes  
  Shrines  
  Temples  
  Art  
  Painting & Caligraphy  
  Ceramics  
  Fashion & Textiles  
  Music  
  Taiko Drums  
  Religions  
  Shintoism  
  Buddhism  
  Theater/Drama  
  Bunraku  
  Kabuki  
  Noh  
  Sports  
  Aikido  
  Archery  
  Baseball  
  Judo  
  Kendo  
  Sumo  

  Japanese Culture: Over the centuries Japan has been able to capitalize on the security of being an island nation while at the same time being accessible to major cultural waves from the mainland of Asia via China and Korea. This unique blend of exposure to new ideas with the time to adapt and absorb them into Japanese culture has given Japan many variations on an old theme plus some new ones as well.  Top  
 
  Architecture: Architecture in Japan has a long history that includes many beautiful and unique castles, palaces, shrines, temples and even humble homes. This tradition is carried forward into the present time in the form of some of the most advanced buildings and bridges in the world created by some of the most creative architects working today.  
 
  Castles: Japanese castles reached some of the highest levels of functionality and beauty in the 17th and 18th centuries.  
   
  Homes: Homes in Japan have ranged from the grand castles and palaces of the rulers to simple but elegant homes for the common people.  
   
  Shrines: Shrines in Japan reflect the deep feelings of the Japanese for nature and the non-physical world.  
   
  Temples: Temples have been a means for the Japanese people to communicate with higher beings through the centuries as well as an expression of natural beauty and serenity.  Top  
   
  Art: Art has been reflected over the centuries through several traditional forms, mainly painting, including caligraphy and scroll and screen painting, and pottery, but also through things less obvious to Westerners such as sword hilts and blades. (See the "Fashion" section for a discussion of the beautiful textiles and clothing styles of Japan.)  
 
  Painting and Caligraphy were introduced to Japan from China through the Korean Peninsula over the centuries.  
   
  Ceramics: Ceramics have been created and used in Japan since the early Jomon period, thousands of years ago.  Top  
   
  Fashion & Textiles: Textiles have developed into an art form in Japan, particularly in the form of incredibly beautiful kimonos costing over $100,000.  
 
  Music: Japanese music has evolved through the ages into several distinct styles.  
 
  Taiko: Taiko is an ancient dramatic art form using almost life-size puppets as the actors. The puppet masters can be seen manipulating the beautiful and realistic puppets while a narrator provides the voices and a several musicians provide appropriate music.  Top  
   
  Religions: The two main religions in Japan are Shintoism and Buddhism.  
 
  Shintoism: Shintoism is the "native" religion of Japan and reflects the early origins of Japanese society.  
   
  Buddhism: Buddhism found its way to Japan from China via Korea in the () century.  Top  
   
  Theater/Drama: Japan has several unique theatrical traditions.  
 
  Bunraku: Bunraku is an ancient dramatic art form using almost life-size puppets as the actors. The puppet masters can be seen manipulating the beautiful and realistic puppets while a narrator provides the voices and a several musicians provide appropriate music.  
   
  Kabuki: Kabuki is an ancient dramatic art form using almost life-size puppets as the actors. The puppet masters can be seen manipulating the beautiful and realistic puppets while a narrator provides the voices and a several musicians provide appropriate music.  
   
  Noh: Noh is an ancient dramatic art form using almost life-size puppets as the actors. The puppet masters can be seen manipulating the beautiful and realistic puppets while a narrator provides the voices and a several musicians provide appropriate music.  Top  
   
  Sports: From its early Samurai days Japan has developed a variety of unique sports, many derived from martial arts. In modern times they have adopted baseball from the West, but have made it their own with unique fan participation.  
 
  Aikido: Japan may love baseball even more than the Americans. But here again what is a pretty standard sport has been adapted to Japanese culture. The game is not so different, but the fans and their disciplined behavior in the stadia is something to see. As games are usually in the evenings you may be able to see one when you are in one of the major cities such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka or Yokohama.  
   
  Archery: Japan may love baseball even more than the Americans. But here again what is a pretty standard sport has been adapted to Japanese culture. The game is not so different, but the fans and their disciplined behavior in the stadia is something to see. As games are usually in the evenings you may be able to see one when you are in one of the major cities such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka or Yokohama.  
   
  Baseball: Japan may love baseball even more than the Americans. But here again what is a pretty standard sport has been adapted to Japanese culture. The game is not so different, but the fans and their disciplined behavior in the stadia is something to see. As games are usually in the evenings you may be able to see one when you are in one of the major cities such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka or Yokohama.  Top  
   
  Judo: Japan may love baseball even more than the Americans. But here again what is a pretty standard sport has been adapted to Japanese culture. The game is not so different, but the fans and their disciplined behavior in the stadia is something to see. As games are usually in the evenings you may be able to see one when you are in one of the major cities such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka or Yokohama.  Top  
   
  Kendo: Japan may love baseball even more than the Americans. But here again what is a pretty standard sport has been adapted to Japanese culture. The game is not so different, but the fans and their disciplined behavior in the stadia is something to see. As games are usually in the evenings you may be able to see one when you are in one of the major cities such as Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka or Yokohama.  Top  
   
  Sumo: Sumo is an ancient Japanese sport, derived from ancient Samurai warrior training. It has evolved into the highly ritualized form we see today with distinctly dressed (or undressed) wrestlers meeting in a small dirt circle to test their skills in truly “mano a mano” fashion. Tournaments are held every two months with three being in Tokyo and the others in Fukuoka, Nagoya and Osaka. If a tournament is on during your visit, definitely take the opportunity to see this special sport. For those who get the bug or just want to learn more, you can even visit a sumo “stable” in Tokyo in the early morning hours (say by 8 am).  Top