- Experience the art of chado, tea making and wearing a kimono in Ginza
- Prepare sushi, an undeniably Japanese meal
- Learn glass blowing techniques at a traditional glass factory
- Explore and dine in Nihonbashi, Tokyo’s commercial center since the 17th century
- Watch a Noh performance, a traditional form of theatre
Experience the art of chado (“the way of tea”), a traditional method of making and serving green tea to guests. There is more to chado than merely adding tea to water and drinking it. Chado is a expression of life; it is an all-encompassing art form in which the tea equipment and decorated tea rooms represent purpose, thought and religion. Ginza is Japan’s premier downtown area with a hint of midtown Manhattan. The area rose to prominence as a commercial district in the early 17th after Tokyo (then, Edo) became Japan’s capital. “Ginza” is a reference to the silver coin mint of the ruling Shogunate that was established in Ginza. Though it was raised after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and demolished after the air raids of World War II, Ginza became synonymous with luxury brands, upscale department stores and fine dining.
The next experience is a sushi making workshop and, naturally, a delicious lunch following the sushi-making. What could be more Japanese?
After lunch, you will learn about glassmaking techniques at Kinsicho, home of Sumida Edo Kirikokan, a manufacturer of Edo Kiriko glass with more than 100 years of history. Edo kiriko (“cut glass”) is glassmaking technique in which patterns are cut into glass. It is easily distinguished by its colours and delicate designs, with roots in glassware imported to Japan in the early 19th century. It has been suggested that the original manufacturers of Edo Kiriko glassware were wholesale distributors of “vidro,” a Portuguese style of of glass from southern Nagasaki Prefecture. Edo Kiriko glass was used for dishware, household items, and even fish bowls. You can challenge yourself and design your own glassware!
From Kinsicho, the tour continues to Nihonbashi. Nihonbashi was the commercial center of 17th century Tokyo. Merchants and craftsmen from throughout Japan journey to Nihonbashi with dreams of making it big, and their economic activity lead to the development of the area’s infrastructure. In fact, the twin arch stone bridge and symbol of Nihonbashi was said to be constructed on the command of the ruling Shogunate who wanted to create a national network of roads. The original wooden bridge was built in 1603, and the following year it was declared the starting point of the Gokaido, the five major roads connecting Japan’s cities. Nihonbashi became the symbol of the prosperous city of Edo. Nihonbashi also makes frequent appearances in a form of Japanese woodblock painting known as ukiyo-e. In Nihonbashi area, we will enjoy dinner before our last experience, the Noh theatre.
Designated as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity ” by UNESCO, Noh is a unique Japanese stage art that is said to be the oldest in the world. It was originally called sarugaku until the Meiji reformations of the late 19th century. Noh is historically a theatrical feature based on dance and music. The actors tell a story using a unique vocal style called seigaku and musical accompaniment performed by hayashi, all while in a dance-like motion. Masks are a trademark of Noh theatre, and like kabuki, is a globally recognised art form.
The Japanese Cultural Experience tour beings at a tea ceremony hall in Ginza. For this chado experience, participants who wish to wear a kimono may do so. The tea ceremony will be followed by a sushi making workshop and lunch. After lunch, the Japanese Cultural Experience moves to Kinshicho, home of Sumida Edo Kirikokan, a manufacturer of edo kiriko glass with over 100 years of history. Here, participants will undertake the challenge of designing their own edo kiriko glassware. This experience will be followed by dinner in Nihonbashi and time to explore Tokyo’s historical commercial centre. The Japanese Cultural Experience tour ends with a Noh theatre performance.
The total duration of the tour is approximately 10,5 hours.
Japan’s premier downtown area with a hint of midtown Manhattan. Synonymous with luxury brands, upscale department stores and fine dining.
Tokyo’s easternmost commercial center, a mixed bag of high and low culture.
Nihonbashi was the commercial centre of 17th century Tokyo and became the symbol of the prosperous city of Edo. Today, it is a business district with several skyscrapers around the grand old bridge, which is the point zero when measuring distances from Tokyo.