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.



Life in Japan has changed dramatically after WWII, becoming more westernized. It is blending of Japanese and western elements, in the areas of food, clothing and housing. Taking food for example, people may eat tempura one day and a hamburger or Chinese noodles on the next day.

Most residences in pre-war Japan were wooden structures with tiled roofs, and virtually all the rooms had tatami mats on the floor. Residential structures today commonly have western-style rooms with wooden floors and, in urban areas, many people live in high-rise multiple-family dwellings.

Rice is the staple food in Japan and choppsticks are commonly used. Wellknown Japanese dishes include sushi,tempura and soba noodles. Japanese cuisine today offers a broad variety of dishes besides the more traditional fare, incorporating elements from Asia. Europe and North America into the daily diet.

Every Japanese child receives 9 years of compulsory education 6 years of elementary scholl and 3 years of middle school. 97 % of all Japanese further go to high school (3 years) 49% of the high school graduates advance on o higher education at universities and junior colleges. The school year begins in April.

Seasonal Pleasures
Japan has four clearly distict seasons and a rich abundance of seasonal leisure activities. In spring, people gather for parties under cherry trees in full bloom while summer is a time for festivals and fireworks displays. People in yukata (informal kimono) dance to bonodori songs while tasting a variety of snacks at outdoor food stalls. People go hiking in mountains in auntum to view multicolored auntum leaves. Winter brings bustling activity to ski resorts in the country’s snow belt.



Enraptured with Dynamic Nature

Filled with noteworthy sites, namely MT. Aso, location of the world’s largest caldera, and Amakusa’s clear blue sea spreading before you. Follow your curiosity as you explore the area.

ASO The prominent tourist rsort of Aso, the land of fire and symbol of Kumamoto, is visited annually by more than 18 million people. The world’s largest caldera is found in Kumamoto, where you can relax in the spas, challenge yourself at a variety of sports such as paragliding and hot-air ballooning, or enjoy the many other amusements found at this delightful throve of fun and relaxation.

Aso Nakadake Craters

A dynamic spectacle, the circumference of which is 4 kilometers, at a depth of 150 meters, and overlooking the seven craters. Lava temperatur flowing from the crater reaches up to 1,000 – 1,2000C. Referred to as “The First Crater”, this magnificent site pours forth white fuming smoke, continuing its volcanic activity through the years. Lava poured throughout the area has left it an entirely different world of no vegetation.

Yoh Shomei Picture Book Museum

The Yoh Shomei Pictures Book Museum is located at the top of a small hill in the southern part of Aso. Original pictures are on exhibition permanently. You can also enjoy taking in the scennic views of Aso as you go for a stroll in the adjacent large open field.


Amakusa, home to more than 120 island in every size, is a picturesque place of scenic beauty facing both the East China Sea and the Shiranui Sea. The area is also popular as a drive course where you can enjoy fresh and abundant marine product, spas, marine sports, fishing and much more.

Dolhin Watching Some 300 wild dolphins live in the seas around Tsushi-shima Island of Amakusa. The dolphins are present all year round, a glimpse of which you can be assured of seeing 40 minutes from shore by boat.

Five Bridges of Amakusa and Amakusa Matsushima Island

The Pearl Line, or the Five Bridges of Amakusa, connect main Kyushu with the Amakusa Islands. The picturesque scenery, replicating a miniature landscape garden, of Amakusa Matsusima can be fully enjoyed from the top of these bridges.

The West Coast of Amakusa

The west coast of Amakusa displays a landscape of wild, masculine scenery. The mysterious rock scraped by the raging waves of the East China Sea, Jusan-botoke Point where a number of cave mouths are spread out, Jusan-botoke (13-Buddha) Creek, a national designated natural monument are some o the scenic masterpieces. The setting sun sinking into the ocean here is chosen as one of the 100 famous sunsets of Japan.


Various ancient tombs as well as historical spot are scattered throughout the entire district of Kikuchi River. Spas and numerous leisure facilities are also found here.

Greenland Over 80 attractions to ride and enjoy at one of Japan’s largest amusement parks. Eqiped with drinking, eating and lodging facilities, this facility becomes an excellent place to stay over for a few days!

Ultraman Land Anything about Ultraman can be found at this theme park dedicated to him family.

History Park Kikuchi Castle

An ancient mountain castle constructed by the Imperial Court of Yamato with its prestige. Located on the grounds are an octagonal tower, rice granary, ancient buildings that are still standing and excavated tunnels.


A gorge in the premises of the sources of Kikuchi River, pride of all Kyushu as the most beautiful gorge in the region. It is surrounded by virgin forests where trees such as oak, chinquapin,maple,ect., grow luxuriantly. The deep v-shaped valleys display spectacular sights, refreshing to the senses, following a line of waterfalls displayed in various sizes.


Kumamoto City, boasting a population of 670,000 peoples, has prospered as the seat for the prefectural goverment of Kumamoto. In addition to its modern city appearance, one cannot help but sense the peculiar sentimental atmosphere in the air brought about by the remains found throughout the city of the castle town it once was.

Suizenji Jojuen Park A panoramic Momoyama-type landscape garden, constructed close to 300years ago by Prince Tadotashi Hosokawa, a feudal lord. Carp swim in a pond filled with clean spring water. A grassy hill modeled after the old-time fifty-three stages on the Tokaido highway, a mountain fashioned after MT. Fuji and more artistic works of nature are beautifully arranged here.

Tram Car in Downtown of Kumamoto City

The city tram is convenient and fun for taking a tour of Kumamoto City. The particular tram’s extraordinarily low floor made its first introduction to Japan here, giving the impression of gliding effortlessly around the city.


Enjoy to your heart’s content the feeling and sports of the ocean, mountain and river. Join the throungs who make their way here in the fall to view the spectacular sight of scarlettinged leaves.


A type of trawlnet fishing seen in the Sea of Shiranui. This particular menthod of fishing which completely depends on the winds and waves is familiar amongst the locals for carrying on the area’s poetic charm through the ages to the present. Tourists can also take part in a specially set-up Utase-bune.

KUMA Here in Kuma you can enjoy the refined atmosphere of ravines surrounded by the mountainous districts of Kyushu. Also famous for its role in the legend surrounding the fall of the Taira Family.

Scarlet-tinged Leaves of Gokanosho

Gokanosho is still considered an unexplored region to this day. The sheer mountains displaying their auntumn tints is a site well-worth seeing.


Nara, a city even older than Kyoto, has a distinction of being the first permanet capital of Japan. Previously, the capital had moved to the palace of whichever emperor was reigning.
But from 710-784-with another 10 years at nearby Nagaokakyo –Nara was a large metropolis of palaces,temples,shrines and dwellings. The arts,crafts and industry were encouraged and flourished to and flourished to an exceptional degree, and the awesome results can still be seen to day. The Nara period also realized the firm establishment of Buddhism alongside the indigenous Shinto religion, to the cultural enrichment of Both.
At present, Nara has the unique honor of preserving the world’s oldest wooden structure, at Horyuji Temple, and also the world’s largest, at the great Todaiji Temple. Separated from Kyoto by hills running nort to west, the venerable city basks comfortably in a pleasant stateof mellow relaxion. Graceful tame deer, regarded as divine messengers, roam peacefully about Nara Park and in the precincts of shrines and temples.

Getting There
From Kansai International Airport :
By JR train : 35 min. By Limited Express “Haruka” to Tennoji Station and 35 min. by a rapid train to R Nara Station
By other train : 35 min.by Nankai Limited Express “Rapi:t” to Namba Station and 40 min.by Kintetsu rapid train to Kintetsu-Nara Station.
From Kyoto : 45 min.by JR rapid train to JR Nara Station or 45 min. by Kintetsu express train to Kintetsu-Nara Station.

Nara is that rarity in the world, an ancient city of wooden monuments that, in spite of the vicissitudes of time, has managed to retain an impressive number of historical and artistic treasures. Although several days at least are necessary to see Nara’s Temples, shrines and art works properly, judicious planning can lead to a good overall view in a day or two of the most celebrated sites as they are clustered is specific areas.

NARA PARK is a finely wooded area more popularly called Deer Park for its over 1,000 gentle deer wanderling about. A favorite pastime is to feed them special biscuits obtainable at the park.

Kofukuji Temple was founded in 710 as the tutelary temple of the height of its prosperity, only six remain . However, four of them are designated National Treasures, and the Five-storied Pagoda reflected in nearby Sarusawanoike Pond is one of the most scenic sights of Nara.

Nara National Museum houses a remarkable collection of Buddhist art. Besides items owned by the museum itself are important by various temples and shrines throught the country, and in particular those in the Kansai area.

Todaiji Temple is not only one of the greatest attractions in Nara, but in Japan as well. Founded in the mid 8th century, it has remained one of the most important temples in the land to this day. He colossal statue of Buddha was last repaired in 1692, and its wooden hall-the largest in the world-was rebuilt in 1709 one-third smaller than the original.
The raised, specially-constructed Shosoin Treasure Repository housed Todaiji’s priceless collection of art objects until the mid-20th century when they were placed in modern ferro concrete structures. Selected items from the collection can be seen at the Nara National Museum from late October to early November.

Nara-machi the area located south of Sarusawanoike Pond and west of Gangoji Temple, preserves aesthetic Japanese structure such as Imanishike Shoin Residence dating back to the 16th to 18th centuries. This area is ideal for exploring the aesthetic of traditional Japanese architecture and its historical background, ink and sake merchant’s houses, several small museums portraying daily and traditional crafts, and Nara’s history commercial trade with other Asian countries.

Festival and Events of the Four Seasons 3

WINTER – Season of snowy pleasure

Except for the extreme nort, winter in Japan is not overly severe, and is usually tempered by warm sushine and blue skies.

On the orther hand, in the northern regions, various festivals related to snow and ice are held. Tourists and residents alike enjoy huge snow and ice sculptures and participate in the season’s rural customs and events.

Numerous events and fairs also take place throughout Japan in connection with the New Year season, which is the most important annual day for the Japanese.

Festivals and Events

December 15-18 On-matsuri of Kasuga Shrine in Nara, featuring a masquerade procession.

December 17-19 Hagoita-ichi (Battledore fair) of Asakusa Kannon Temple in Tokyo.

December 31 Okera Mairi of Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto. Sacred fire ceremony.

December 31 Namahage in Oga Peninsula, Akita pref. Men disguised as devils make door-to-door calls to houses with children.

January 1 New Year’s Day. From the first to third, almost all companies, factories and businesses are closed. Families celebrate the New Year enjoying special dishes, wearing their best kimono or dress, and visiting shrines and temples to pray foor good health and happiness for the year.

January 6 Dezomeshiki or the New Year’s Parade of Firemen in Tokyo with acrobatic stunts on top of tall ladders.

Mid-January (for 15 days) first Sumo Tournament, Tokyo.

Day before Coming-of-Age Day Grass Fire Ceremony on Mt. Wakakusayama, Nara.

Early February for 7 days Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The most famous snow festival in Japan with many huge, elaborate snow and ice sculptures.

Early or Mid-February Snow Festivals in Asahikawa, Abashiri and other cities in Hokkaido.

February 3 or 4 Setsubun or Bean-Throwing Festival is observed at leading temples across the country.

February 3 or 4 Latern Festival of Kasuga Shrine, Nara.

February 16-17 Bonden Festival in Yokote, Akita. Dozens of Bonten, symbol of the God of Creativity, are carried by young men.

February 15-16 Kamakura Matsuri in Yokote, Akita. Snow houses enshrining the God of Water are erected

3rd Sat. of February Eyo or Hakada Matsuri (naked festival) at Saidaiji Temple, Okayama.


January 1 New Year’s Day

2nd Monday in January Coming-of-Age Day

February 11 National Foundation Day

March 21 (or 20) Vernal Equinox Day

April 29 Greenery Day

May 3 Constitution Memorial Day

May 5 Children’s Day

3rd Monday in July Maritime Day

3rd Monday in September Respect-for-the-Aged Day

September 23 (or 24) Auntumnal Equinox Day

2nd Monday in October Health-Sports Day

November 3 Culture Day

November 23 Labor Thanksgiving Day

December 23 The Emperor’s Birthday

Note :

(1) When a national holiday falls on Sunday, the following Monday becomes a holiday.

(2) When a day (except for Sundays and the above) is sandwiched between national holidays, it also becomes a holiday. This rule is applicable on the 4th of May.


ONSEN- The abundant volume of subsurface water in Kumamoto causes high quality hot spring to spout out in scattered places within the prefecture. There are many open-air baths, acquiring wide-spread popularity as natural remedy areas that still bear a rustic appearance.

Kikuchi Onsen – The water here is most beautiful in the prefecture, blessed with close proximity to the Kikuchi Gorge. The hot-spring water quality is mellow and gentle to the skin.

Yamaga Onsen –According to history, This onsen is said to have been discovered approximately 800 years ago when deer were found healing their wounds in the mountain at the nearby marshes. The water is abundant and a little alkalescent , containing radium, transparent and mild to the skin. Foot baths are set up as well for those who prefer a short visit.

Tamana Onsen – Enveloped in ancient roman air, this onsen town can be found amongst the numerous decorated ancient tombs scattered around in colorful brightness.

Kurokawa Onsen – The esthetic air of this onsen town leaves you quietly in time and space. You can tour the different onsen by collecting a wooden bill for bathing.

Uchinomaki Onsen - Many literary magnates attracted to the magnificent scenery of Aso have made a visit to this onsen. Several fine pieces of literary work and songs have been based on the setting of this land.

Yunoko Onsen – An ocean onsen facing the Sea of Shiranui . You can enjoy a variety of open-air baths, such as a spelunk bath, a observatory bath and many more.

Hotoyoshi Onsen-There are many headsprings in this district, and at least 20-some public bath houses standing side-by-side in Hitoyoshi City alone

Shirakawa Fountainhead-The fountainhead of Shirakawa, a first-rate river, boasts a water volume of 60 tons per minute. It is one of the 100 celebrated waters of Japan selected by the Environment Ministry.

Ikeyama Fountainhead-Located in mysterious atmosphere surrounded by giant trees older than 200 years. Selected by the Environment Ministry as one of the 100 celebrated waters of Japan.