Now that it’s coming into spring in Japan, the days are getting longer, the sun is somehow shining a little brighter, and the cherry blossoms are about to bloom; in short, it’s the best time of year to be in Japan.
Unfortunately, because of ‘you know what’ popping over to Japan for a cheeky visit and a few convenience store beers is still off the cards for the moment, but to help curb those cravings a little, we’ve put together some fun and accessible ways to enjoy Japan from home.
Japanese Theatre at the Emperor’s Palace
If you’ve never experienced Japanese performing arts before, but are interested, then this online experience is a great way to ‘dip your toe’ into the world of traditional Japanese theatre without having to commit to a marathon four-hour production. The Japan Cultural Expo’s event ‘Representation of Prayer’ is a showcase of music, storytelling, Noh theatre and Kabuki style performances all wrapped into one. A highlighted feature of the event is that many of the performances draw from the disaster-hit Tohoku area, the event also working as a prayer for recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and performances of Ryukyu performing arts as a prayer for the reconstruction of Shuri Castle. The event was held on a beautiful sunny day on the ground of the Imperial Palace, with the iconic Nijubashi Bridge in the background. The event has already happened, but the stream is online and accessible until the end of March.
Sakura Live Tours
One of Japan’s leading names in walking tours, Tokyo Localized (part of the Japan Localized group) has taken the arrival of COVID in their stride, running virtual tours throughout the year. The company is known for its excellent tours – just check out the reviews on Trip Advisor – and they’re bringing all the charisma, information and energy to their latest edition of virtual tours, which is the “Cherry Blossom Live Stream Tokyo 2021.” Set to be hosted in late March, the tour will run through Ueno Park, one of Tokyo’s most well-known parks for cherry blossoms. Completely free to join; guests just have to stay tuned to the Facebook event page
Online Sake Workshops
Sake, it’s an icon of the Japanese culinary experience, and like wine, there’s an incredible amount of variety within the sake world. From sweet sake to dry sake to sake that’s best served hot or cold, diving deep into this world is an adventure that, while exciting, does at times require a little guidance. The team at Food Ninja are it’s fair to say culinary experts and their food tours have been delighting and educating visitors to Japan for a while now. In recent times they’ve also shifted their focus online, running virtual food tours for folks all over the world. Their sake workshop hosted all the way from Shinjuku is a great excuse for a little day drinking and an even greater way to learn about Japanese food, drink and culture. They also offer discounts for larger groups (sake party, why not?!)
Sky High Views From Tokyo Tower
Want to view Japan from the top of the world (or at least close to it)? Then check out the interactive virtual tour through Tokyo Tower. Created by Google Arts and Culture, this tour features the same Google-maps-style “street view” navigation, so exploration is intuitive. Admire the city skyline in sunny day or moody night options. Make yourself a cocktail, hit play of they Spotify jazz mix and turn this tour into your very own VIP Tokyo luxury experience; all you’ll need is a strong dose of imagination.
Headline photo supplied by Japan Arts Council.