West meets East. East meets West. For many of us, the notions we have of the East and the Orient are mere stereotyped snapshots gleaned from childhood history classes, Hollywood movies, and maybe a random postcard from a lone wandering aunt. This, as you might guess, is a far cry from what is truly in store for the first-time visitor to Tokyo.
One of the oldest civilizations in history, Japan is a cultural hodgepodge teeming with variety, intelligence, and soul. From traditional Kabuki theater to communal baths to rampant consumerism, Japan is a thrumming hub of culture.
Traditional culture lives on in modern times in the Japanese shrines. Easily accessible on a morning tour, the shrines offer you a glimpse into the ways of the past; including architecture, atmosphere, and fascinating customs such as ritual smoke bathing.
Also not to be missed is the always exhilarating sumo-wrestling. A mainstay in Japanese culture since the early Edo period, Japan is still the only country in the world to practice professional sumo-wrestling today. Thought to be a remnant of samurai customs, sumo wrestlers are still revered in Japanese culture, and, due to strict regulations on attire and conduct, are easily distinguishable outside of the dojo (if their massive girth doesn’t give them away).
Kabuki Theater is another tenet of traditional Japanese culture, and also has origins in the Edo period. Known as a highly stylized Japanese dance-drama, Kabuki is known for its presentation: the elaborate makeup worn by some of its performers, its distinctive dances, and elaborate play-making involving revolving stages and sometimes flying characters. While traditional Kabuki would be an all day event lasting up to eight hours, today you can see this iconic event in much less time and buy a ticket for just the first act.
- The Viator Travel Team