Tokyo and Vicinity

Tokyo – the most exciting metropolis in Asia. This is a where traditions from centuries past exist side by side with the ever-moving elements of the latest in urban culture that radiate their own special heat and energy.

The Tokyo Metropolitan area is home to one-quarter of all Japanese, with 12 million souls in Tokyo proper alone.

The Imperial Palace, formerly Edo Castle, is still surrounded by its original innermost moat. Handsome gates and old guard towers are set at intervals around the grounds. The main entrance is approached by the elegant Nijubashi or Double Bridge and is open to the public on special occasions. The East Garden (Higashi Gyoen) is where the original donjon once stood. The garden is graced with flowers and blossoms of each season, open to all as an ideal place for relaxation.

Prominent on Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi side , the historical landmark Marunouchi Building, widely known as “Maru-Biru” originally constructed in 1923, newly reopened as a 36-story complex comprising restaurant, shops and offices in September 20002.

A 10-min. walk takes yu to the Ginza district, famous the world over for elegant shopping and its bright, kaleidoscopic neon lights. The Kabukiza Theater is just a stone’s throw away.

From the neon bustle of the Ginza and Yurakucho districts, turn to the spacious Ueno district where you will find Ueno Park, the largest in the city. In early April, the park turns into a paradise of delicate pale pink cherry blossoms and attracts numerous viewers and merrymakers. The park forms a great center of art and culture with its many and varied museums.

For a glimpse into Tokyo’s past, the Asakusa district is the Place. The many narrow back streets, lined with old buildings and shops, sell traditional items from kimono to hand-made combs. Asakusa Kannon Temple, with its colorful shopping lanes, is a marvelous place to buy souvenirs.

Shinjuku, on the city’s trendy west side, is home to popular and raucous nightspots, to fine and sophisticated shopping, as well as to the sedate Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. In the nearby Hatsudai district is the Tokyo Opera City complex which features a full-scale opera house.

The Shibuya district, near the tranquil Meiji Shrine and the modish Harajuku and Aoyama district, is a popular shopping and entertainment paradise, particularly among the young set. Shibuya is a trend-setting hub from which the culture of youth is in continuous transmission. The forefront of international art and fashion is fully in evidence. People-watching from a sidewalk cafe is engaging and enjoyable.

Odaiba, built on reclaimed land in the Port of Tokyo, is one of the capital’s hottest visitor’s spots, featuring an expansive shopping mall and the Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari, exciting hot spring theme park. Its Ferris wheels, one of the world’s largest, is the symbol of Rainbow Town. The Ferris wheel is especially popular with young couples in the evening hours providing a fantastic night view from its enclosed capsules.

Side Trips from Tokyo

Tokyo Disney Resort, the most popular theme park in Japan, is in the Maihama district only 17 min. by train from Tokyo Sta.

Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, 30 min. by rail from Tokyo, is one of the first Japanese cities that opened up to foreign residents during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1911) and is a bustling port city with numerous historic buildings and the spacious Sankei-en Garden. The “Minato Mirai 21” district on the waterfront is highly popular among younger generation, offering a most enjoyable shopping and fantastic gourmet experience. Yokohama’s China Town offers any number of excellent restaurants.

Kamakura, 1 hr. by rail from Tokyo, is a small quiet coastal town with tranquil temples. Once the seat of the feudal government set up in 1192, the town today still retains much of its ancient and historical heritage. Kamakura’s most famous attraction is the giant bronze Great Buddha. This impressive “Daibutsu” is 11.4 m. high, weighs 122 tons and sits in the open-air.

Near Kamakura Sta. is Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. A number of Buddhist temples, large and small, also dot the area. A leisurely stroll here slips you back to the 12th-century Kamakura period. Whichever temple you visit, you’ll be greeted by the beautiful flowers and blossoms of the reason.

Hakone, 1 hr. 30 min rail from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Sta., is a famous hot spring resort area set in the beautiful mountains which comprise the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. A major attractionshere is the Open-Air Museum, with hundreds of sculptures. Relaxing in one of the many hot springs is simply a worthwhile experience. Take a pleasure cruise around Lake Ashi, offering marvelous views of Mt. Fuji. In Owakudani, steam and sulfurous fumes rise from crevices in the rocks.

Mt. Fuji, at 3,776 m., is not only Japan’s tallest mountain but it’s the best known symbol as well. In addition to being a favored climbing site during the months of July and August, Mt. Fuji is the center of a wide-ranging natural recreation zone. This includes the Fuji Five Lakes district to the north, which offers extensive opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, camping, and picnicking.

The Izu Peninsula, south of Hokane, is an important recreational area known for its hot spring resorts. The Peninsula’s scenic backbone is formed by the hot spring and waterfall-rich Amagi Mountain Range.

The Seven Islands of Izu collectively form a superb resort area combining beautiful seascape attractions and hot springs as well as impressive volcanic topography. Oshima Island, for example, is a popular resort within an easy 1 hrs. 45 min. high-speed boat ride from Tokyo, allowing for eve a day trip.

Kusatsu Onsen is one Japan’s top spa resorts, situated less than four hours from Tokyo by direct bus link. The highly acidic spa water, which is potent enough to dissolve a ¥ 1 coin in a week, is extraordinary effective.

Nikko, 2 hrs. by rail from Tokyo, is both a gem of natural beauty and home to one of the must-sees of Japanese architecture. Toshogu Shrine which houses the mausoleum of the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, is Nikko’s most famous attraction. The complex is unusual among Japanese architectural gems for its display of opulence and decorative complexity.

Kyoto and Nara


The two ancient capitals home to treasures invaluable and traditions unsurpassed have remained unchanged over many centuries. Time-honored temples and traditionally serene streets evoke nothing less than the image of “Japan” you’ve long dreamed of.

Kyoto was Japan’s capital over 1,000 years, and during that time became the repository of much of the best of Japanese art, culture, religion, and thought. Kyoto can be reached in 2 hrs. 40 min by Shinkansen super express from Tokyo and 1 hr. 15 min. from the Kansai International Airport near Osaka.
In the center of Kyoto you find the Kyoto Imperial Palace, renowned as a pinnacle for its simplicity of Japanese architecture. (Note : You must apply for a permit with your passport, 20 min. before the 10 a.m or 2 p.m. tour.) Nearby is the more lavishly appointed Nijo Castle, home of the Tokugawa shogun on his rare visits to the city.

The Gion Corner near Shijo-Kawaramachi is an excellent place to view traditional arts and traditional theater. Rows of tastefully designed old-style restaurants add to the distinctly refined atmosphere. In the Higashiyama area, Sanjusangedo Temple is noted for its 1,0001 gilded wooden statues of Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. Kiyomizu Temple is famous for its wide wooden veranda jutting out over an exquisite valley that extends to a panoramic view of the city. Ginkakuji Temple, or the Silver Pavilion, is renowned both for its exquisite architecture and the beauty of its understated landscape gardens.
The Katsura Imperial Villa, located in western Kyoto, is considered to be one of the finest examples of traditional Japanese architecture and garden landscaping. The Shugakuin Imperial Villa was built in the 17th century by the Tokugawa shogunate as a retreat for Emperor Go-Mizuno. Permission must be obtained from the Imperial Household Agency to visit these sites. Apply for a permit as many days in advance as possible.
The Arashiyama district, only 20 min. by train from central Kyoto, is dotted with many celebrated temples and shops. The area can be easily enjoyed on foot or bicycle, offering a superb walking experience especially on those fine weather days.

Western Kyoto contains musts for the tourist Kinkakuji and Ryoanji Temples. The brilliant Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion, is in excellent contrast to Ryoanji famed for its stone garden which is simplicity itself designed with only rocks and white sand.
Nara, 42 km. (28 mi.) south of Kyoto, is an older capital of Japan, and was also a major cradle of Japan’s arts, crafts, literature, and culture not to mention industry.

The major tourist attractions are clustered around attractions are clustered around Nara Sta. Nara Park is popularly known as Deer Park for its resident tame deer.
To the west lies Kofukuji Temple, founded in 710. Many valuable Buddhist statues are exhibited in the National Treasure House, and nearby is a five-storied pagoda which is mirrored in the Sarusawa Pond.

The Nara National Museum contains a collection of Buddhist art with pieces from every period.
But perhaps the ,most famous of Nara’s many ancient attractions is Todaiji Temple, where the Great Buddha of Nara sits. The Daibutsuden, where the great Buddha is housed, is claimed to be the world’s largest wooden structure.

Another attraction is the colorful Kasuga Grand Shrine erected in 768 – one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan. The vermilion –lacquered buildings create a beautiful contrast to the surrounding greenery. Some 1.800 stone lanterns stand in the shrines precincts and 1.000 metal lanterns are suspended from the eaves of its corridors.

Horyuji Temple, 45 min. by rail from Nara Sta., is not only superbly beautiful but one of the most important temples in Japan, was founded in 607. Around 40 buildings make up the complex, and are said to be the world’s oldest wooden structures.


Hokkaido nature’s paradise. Enjoy the whole of this extensive land to your heart’s content its mountains, highlands, rivers, lakes, the sea, and its azure skies.

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island , was aggressively settled from the 18th century on, and today, as in olden times, still abounds in natural splendor.

Sapporo is the aerial gateway to Hokkaido from Tokyo and Osaka and is the island’s cultural, economic, and political center. The city is marked by its neatly laid out checkerboard-like streets.

The city’s main thoroughfare is the flower-adorned Odori Park, where the internationally popular Sapporo Snow Festival attracts viewers every February. Sapporo’s historical monument, the Clock Tower Building, adjoins a museum exhibiting the city’s history. The Popular hot spring resort Jozankei Spa, is only a short trip from Sapporo. It is a popular haven for many day visitors as well.

Lake Shikotsu, 1 hr. 20 min. by bus from Sapporo, is a beautiful caldera lake tucked among soaring cliffs. The water is deep blue, and never freezes over.

The circular caldera lake Lake Toya is another highlight. Four thickly wooded islets, dubbed the Nakanoshima Islands, grace the lake’s center.

Hakodate, accessible by train from Aomori, is another popular Hokkaido tourist spot. Hakodate is a port town noted for its splendid night view. The star-shaped Goryokaku fortress is a principal attraction in the city along with scenic Mt. Hakodate. Well worth a visit is the morning market with buyers and onlookers alike thronging its 360 small shops and stalls filled with fresh fish and vegetables. Simply watching the market’s lively hustle and bustle is a great attraction in itself.

Asahikawa in central Hokkaido can be reached in 1 hr. 30 min. by limited express from Sapporo. Another 1 hr. trip by local train brings you to Furano celebrated for its lavender fields in early summer. A vast undulating expanse of fields form exquisite flowery belts of narcissi, lavender and cosmos.

Driving through the flowering fields of Furano in this grand natural setting is highly popular among visitors of all generations and a truly unforgettable experience.

Kushiro, the largest city in eastern Hokkaido, is 4 hrs. by limited express from Sapporo. In eastern Hokkaido area you find a world of pristine nature, dotted with crystalline lakes. The greatest highlight here is the Kushiro Marshland which is a wildlife sanctuary. Canoeing down the Kushiro River , which weaves its way through this spectacular marshland, will remain a lifelong memory.

Hokkaido, a land of verdant nature, provides the nature lover with an extensive array of outdoor activities. Attractions include dolphin and whale watching, white-water rafting, horseback riding, woodland trekking, hot-air ballooning, and so much, much more.

Explorer Japan

Let’s Explore Japan ^__^


The Kansai region has prospered as the capital of commerce in Japan since olden times. As such, Kansai is characterized by its distinct vitality and energy even today, creating a very special atmosphere that enlivens the visitor as well.

Osaka, 3 hrs. by Shikansen super express or 1 hr. by air from Tokyo, is Japan’s third-largest city and the commercial and industrial hub for western Japan. Situated at the mouth of the Yodo River emptying into Osaka Bay, Osaka has a network of canals that crisscross under its many busy streets, which have played an important role in the city’s prosperity.

As a classical city, it is very proud of its being the origin of Bunraku puppet theater. The Osaka Bay area is a must for visitors as an emerging center of the trendiest in urban attractions. The March 2001 opening of Universal Studios JapanTM, a Hollywood-based theme park, is an exciting addition to the area’s many attractions.

The absolute highlight is Osaka Castle, once the largest in Japan, built in 1586 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The present five-storied fortress, a copy of the original, contains many historical art objects and documents related to the Toyotomi family and Osaka of the old.

Nakanoshima, on a small delta between divergent streams of the Yodo River, is the civic center . At its end lies Temmangu Shrine, dedicated to Michizane Sugawara, a noted scholar. Nearby is the Tenjinbashi Shoping Street which has long prospered by catering to worshippers and visitors to the local shrine. A walk along its shopping arcade provides a glimpse into the daily lifestyle of the local residents.

For entertainment and shopping, don’t miss the Umeda and Namba districts. Umeda, centered around Umeda Sta., has a number of modern underground arcades which are always teaming with visitors and shoppers. Worthy of its reputation for “kuidaore” (the epicurean joy of over-indulgence in the delights of the table), Osaka truly caters to the gourmet. Try popular Osaka dishes such as “yakiniku” (grilled meat), “fugu-nabe” (globefish hotpot), “kushi-katsu” (skewed deep-fried pork and onions), “sushi” and “tako-yaki” (baked dumpling containing a piece of boiled octopus), among many, many others.

Kobe, 30 min. by rail from Osaka, is a major seapot which has developed at a rapid pace since the Meiji Restoration began in 1868, A city of hills, Kobe has many narrow paths and walkways that wind up and down the Rokko foothills that form the city’s backdrop. One of Japan’s main ports, along with Yokohama. Kobe harbors a fascinating foreign residential enclave that is great for strolling.

Kobe Port Tower, soaring 108m., is beautifully lit up in the evening. Across the way is Kobe Harbor land, a newly emerging waterfront development. It bustles with throngs of visitors who enjoy the famed night view of this great port city well into the evening hours.

Another major attraction in western Japan is located in Himeji City. Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful castles to be found in the nation. With its twisting paths through the castle grounds leading past alabaster---plastered walls and the original buildings---preserved as national treasure---a visit here is not to be missed.

For a different unforgettable experience, stay at the monastery at the summit of Mt. Koya, a 2-hr. rail ride from Osaka. Founded in 816 by Kobo Daishi, the great exponent of the Shingon sect Buddhism, the monastery is comprised of over 120 temples, of which 53 offer lodgings and vegetarian meals at reasonable prices. The monastery is visited by 1 million pilgrims annually.

Japanese Traditions

An introduction to Japanese culture and traditions that have been loved since ancient times and still remain in modern lives and society.

Artistic techniques passed down and polished through the ages


Because the techniques and patterns of Japanese ceramic ware were passed along from the Korean Peninsula, the distribution of famous kilns is centered around western Japan. The characteristics of production regions seen in modern ceramics developed in the 14th century. Pottery manufacturing became active in the regions known as Japan’s six old kilns – Seto, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Echizen, Tanba and Bizen. Upon entering the 15th century, tea ceremony became popular and tools used in tearooms, such as teacups, were made in Seto and other areas. Ceramics finished with Shino and Oribe glazes were particularly famous. New techniques were brought in from the Korean Peninsular in the 16th century and Korean-style ceramics, such as Karatsu Ware and Hagi Ware, became popular. Imari Ware was made for the first time in the 17th century from porcelain stone discovered in Arita. The use of various colors in Imari Ware was a breakthrough compared to the monotint of conventional works. This development was followed by the establishment of the Kakiemon style of underglaze blue and white porcelain ware. It was from this time that many ceramics were exported abroad and it is said that these fine and graceful artworks enthralled the royalty and techniques for Arita ceramics were passed along to other places such as Kyoto and Kutani.

Joinery (Woodwork Products)

“Joinery” is a technique for making cabinets with lids and drawers by fitting wood together without the use of nails or any other metal ware. The history of joinery can be traced back to the court culture of the 6th century, where the craftsmen mainly produced items for the nobility. From about the 17th century, products for samurai and commoners began to be made. Many such pieces can be seen, constructed from beech wood, zelkova, paulownia, and other materials and using the grain of the wood to maximum advantage to create a unique and beautiful result.

Lacquer Ware

Lacquer ware is the generic term for woodwork glazed in sap from lacquer trees found mainly in East Asia. Production regions are spread around Japan, however the Wajima Ware, Aizu Ware, Echizen Ware, Yamanaka Ware and Kishu Ware are known as the five big areas of production. Each region has its own characteristics . For example, most Wajima Ware consists of art work and high-quality pieces, while most Aizu Ware is marketed towards consumers at reasonable prices.


Blanket texture patterns found on a 3rd century earthen vessel are the first trace of woven goods in Japan. Since the 8th century onward, technicians from China and the Korean Peninsula passed on techniques of silk cultivation and woven goods developed as regional industries throughout Japan, from quality products made out of materials such as silk, to products for everyday use, made from hemp, cotton and other materials.


Tokyo Tower has been made famous by its appearance in many movies and cartoons. Tokyo Tower is really one of few icons of Tokyo. Tokyo Tower (東京タワー Tōkyō tawā) is a tower in Minato-ku, Japan, at 35° 39′ 30″ N 139° 44′ 43″ E, whose design is based on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The Tower is 333 meters tall (9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower, or 33 if the latter's TV Antenna is not included) making it the world's highest self-supporting iron tower.

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is located in the middle of a city block. The tower only weighs about 4000 tons, which is extremely light compared to the 10100 ton Eiffel Tower, and it is painted in white and orange according to aviation safety regulations. From dusk to 11 PM, the tower is brilliantly illuminated in orange. The lighting is occasionally changed for special events; for the Japan premiere of The Matrix, for instance, the Tower was lit in neon green.

The first floor houses an aquarium, home to 50,000 fish, the third floor is a wax museum and an attraction called the Mysterious Walking Zone, and the fourth floor a Trick Art Gallery. There are also two observatory floors, the main observatory (at 150 m) and the so-called "special observatory" (at 250 m); both afford a spectacular 360 degree view of Tokyo and, if the weather is clear.

In much the same way the Eiffel Tower has become a cliche in American cinema, the Tokyo Tower is often used in anime and manga, with series such as Digimon, Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo!, X, and Magic Knight Rayearth often featuring climatic events occurring at the Tokyo Tower. It has also been used often in the monster films by Toho, having been destroyed by Mothra, Godzilla and also the location of the final battle of King Kong Escapes in which King Kong takes on his mechanical double.


Kumamoto Ramen
A special character of this ramen is its thick soup made from the boiled bones of pigs and chikens, and fat Chinese noodles. Many specialized ramen can be found in kumamoto town, each of which has developed its own unique taste.

Higo Beef
Higo Beef comes from Japanese brown cows raised in Kumamoto. The brown cows graze on the tender grass of the plains of Aso from early summer to auntum. This particular beef is now recognized as a low-fat, healthy meat.

Kuma Shochu
Japanese spirits distilled from good quality rice using crystalline underground water of Kuma River. The drink boasts a peculiar flavor and taste, excellent body that doesn’t leave behind the bad effects often associated with drinking.

Karashi Renkon
Lightly fried lotus root stuffed with spicy mustard. The characteristic crips and pugent tastes assail one’s nose as you prepare to dine on this delicacy.

Basashi Marbled horse meat eaten by dipping it in soy sauce mixed with ginger or garlic. Often so tender. It melts on your tongue.

A dish that can only be found in Kumamoto. This bean-starch vermicelli dish uses a stock made by boiling chicken bones. It’s slightly seasoned, chock full of different ingredients, healthy and liked by many.

Product of the district

Higo Zogan
A craft peculiar to Kumamoto with a 400 year tradition. Various patterns are achieved by striking gold and silver into an iron plate. Pendants and tie-pins are popular items.

Kutami Uchiwa
Fans made of Japanese paper and covered with persimmon varnish retaining an air of the past. Their gracious color are unique in the Kutami Uchiwa.

Ceramic Art Articles
Numerous kilns in Kumamoto, such as Kodayaki and Shodaiyaki have a long cherished history of producing fine ceramic art pieces. They were financially supported by the Hosokawa clan.


A typical hand-painted box made in the Hitoyoshi district. Depicting a stylized camellia motif.

Yamaga Toro
A traditional object of craft-work produced in YAmaga, a lantern made out of Japanese paper which has been hand-filtered and glue without using wood or metal pieces.

Modern Performing Arts

Modern performing arts, such as opera, “Buto” dance, musicals,plays, and ballet can also be enjoyed in various cities across the country. In Tokyo, especially, top artist from around the world are constantly on stage. Some are so popular that tickets have to be reserved well in advance. Tokyo Opera City is a state-of-the-art full-scale hall ideal for concerts and opera. The Takarazuka Troupe, a unique al-girl musical company, attracts many people who enjoy its brilliant performances where male roles are all played by females. The internationally celebrated “Buto” dance theater impresses the audience with its avant-garde performances unique to Japan.

The Arts
Among its indigenous arts, few are more typically Japanese than Ikebana, or the art of flower arranging. Closely related to the Zen Buddhist art of the tea ceremony, ikebana emphasizes simplicity and precision of from and aims at symbolizing the various aspects of nature. There are numerous schools teaching Ikebana, many of which offer instruction in English.

The art of tea, or Chanoyu, is an aesthetic cult of spiritual refinement that was originally very popular among the ruling samurai. Today, you can see and possibly participate in demonstrations of Chanoyu at some of the major schools and in hotels.

Ceramic and Porcelain
As Chanoyu began to spread in the Muromachi period (1333-1573), it gave rise to ceramic producing centers around the country. Each with its own distinctive style. The 17th century saw the town of Arita succeed in firing porcelains which gave further momentum to the rise of Japan’s pottery industry in subsequent years. Among numerous producing centers, the most famous are Mashiko-yaki (ware) in the Kanto region : Seto-yaki,Tokoname-yaki,Minoyaki and Katani-yaki in the Chubu region : Kiyomizu-yaki and Shigaraki-yaki in the Kansai region :Bizen-yaki and Hagi-yaki in the Chugoku area:Imari-yaki,Arita-yaki and Karatsu-yaki in Kyushu. These production centers have pottery museums, shops and pottery-making classes where even the beginner can experience shaping and designing his/her own fulfillment.

Entertainment in Japan


Sports of all kinds enjoy great popularity in Japan. And, in its various martial arts, Japan has contributed several major sports to the world at large.

Traditional Sports

Among home-grown sports, none represents Japan’s national feeling as much as Sumo, a form of wrestling which originally was practiced during festivals and on holy days at Shinto shrines. Consisting of a single hard-packed dirt ring in which two-often enormous –men meet, a Sumo match is won when one wrestler forces the other from the ring or to the ground. Sumo involves intricate rules and an entire vocabulary of holds, thrusts and strategies that its devotees delight in debating.

Judo is a martial art of self defense which was born in Japan and now enjoys popularity among devotees internationally. Based on principles of leverage and using an opponent’s strength to one’s own advantage, Judo is now an Olympic medal event. The Kodokan training center in Tokyo is a good place to see Judo pupils training, as well as occasional exhibition bouts by experts.

Kendo is a form of fencing in which opponents clad in heavy cotton padding and lacquered armor assail one another with bamboo swords. The Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo is the best place to observe Kendo.

Karate, a form of weaponless combat , was developed by Okinawan peasants whom their mainland rulers forbade from carrying arms. Trained in the concentration of energy into blow of the hand or foot, a Karate expert can break through a thick stack of bricks or wood with a single stroke. Go to the Japan Karate Association in Tokyo to watch trainess and experts alike practice.

Aikido is another martial art based on concentrating one’s energy, as well as taking advantage of an opponent’ s strenght. Aikido is especially valued among its followers as a way of maintaining and increasing physical fitness. The Aikikai is an Aikido center in Tokyo.

Japanese archery, Kyudo, is considered bto be as much for individual spiritual refinement and the development of concentration as it is for competition. Long associated with he principles of Zen Buddhism, archery contests can sometimes be viewed temples.

Contemporary Sports

Baseball is so popular in Japan that many fans are surprised to hear that Americans also consider it their “national sport.”Especially popular are the national level spring and summer tournaments among senior high-school teams. Schools, champions representing their respective prefectures, gather at the Koshien Stadium in Hyogo prefecture and vie for victory. Almost everyone from aroound Japan becomes near fanatical in support of the teams from heir respective birthplaces. Professional baseball is well developed, with twelve teams being sponsored by major corporations. In Tokyo , the most favored place to see a game is the Tokyo Dome Stadium located in the grounds of Korakuen Amusement Park. Cheering for your favorite professional baseball team is a unique and powerful activity, using trumpets, drums and other noise-making instruments.

Soccer is a sport which is now a focus of explosive popularity among children and young people in Japan.

Skiing is a big in Japan, with millions of skiers flocking to the major resorts in the mountains of Honshu and Hokkaido. The nation’s ski resorts are very well developed, and compare favorably with the top regions of Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Recently, the number of ski grounds that also cater to snowboarding is increasing as the sport gains in popularity especially among young people.

Skating is available indoor rinks in the major cities, as well as at excellent outdoor facilities in the wintertime in the north and Hokkaido.


In a country that manufactures a large percentage of the entire world’s consumer goods, and that structures its entire national existence around the marketplace, it is no surprise that shopping takes up a goodly proportion of most visitors time. The Japanese themselves love shopping, and look upon a visit to the big departement stores in the major cities as recreation. The stores encourage this by offering child-care services, giving away free food samples in their grocery markets and delicatessens, holding art shows and demonstrating native and foreign crafts.