Japan is known for its unique culture and heritage, which has been preserved by the Japanese people since ancient times. The age-old Japanese traditions and customs which give a unique character to the lifestyle of the Japanese people have to be experienced to be truly appreciated. Some of the unique aspects of Japanese life are mentioned here as an introduction to the traditions of Japan.
Japanese Architecture: Traditional Japanese Architecture has a distinct style deeply influenced by Buddhism and Shintoism. Houses and temples made of wood, placed on stilts to raise them above the ground, and with sloping roofs made of thatch or tiles create a distinctive silhouette in traditional Japanese architecture. The use of lightweight wood and bamboo to create Fusuma (sliding doors) and straw or woven grass to create Tatami (mats) are other unique features of Japanese architectural design. People usually sat on the floor and furniture only came into widespread use after the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Japanese Cuisine: Japan is an island nation and seafood plays an important role in Japanese cuisine. Rice and fish along with vegetables are eaten by most Japanese. Tofu or soy bean curd is another popular and healthy dish often consumed by the Japanese people. Japanese food such as Sushi (rice flavored with vinegar and combined with seafood or seaweed and sometimes vegetables) and Sashimi (cut and sliced raw meat, usually seafood) are forms of Japanese cuisine that have become famous worldwide. Teppanyaki or food cooked on an iron griddle is another popular form of Japanese cuisine. Sake or Japanese rice wine is also drunk at traditional meals as a toast to the health and long life of one's dining companions.
Cherry Blossom Festivals: Every year in spring the Japanese people take time out to appreciate the beauty of nature as the Cherry trees burst into full bloom and their lovely pink flowers offer a wonderfully appealing sight. People picnic in the Cherry groves, drink tea and Sake and enjoy music in the delightful ambience of the blooming Cherry flowers. The Cherry Blossom festivals at Okinawa and at Matsuyama Castle in Ehime prefecture are the best-known among many flower festivals across Japan. The natural beauty of the Cherry blossom season is celebrated by the Japanese in their art and music, and even in the designs of their traditional clothing, the Kimono.
Japanese Kimono: The traditional Japanese costume, the Kimono, is a graceful full-length robe that falls from the wearer's shoulders to the ankles. The robe is tied around the middle with a sash called the Obi. Kimonos for special occasions were made of rich fabric such as silk, satin and brocade and feature designs inspired by nature such as Cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, butterflies and pine trees. Kimonos are now worn mostly for ceremonial occasions and events such as festivals and marriages.
Japanese Calligraphy: The Japanese script consists of characters which were traditionally painted using smooth brushstrokes on handmade paper. The fine art of calligraphy requires many years of practice and was considered essential learning for an accomplished person in Japanese society.
Ikebana: The Japanese cultural practice of flower arrangement is a fine art that encompasses the ideas of aesthetics, spirituality, discipline and harmony with nature. It is believed to have evolved from the Buddhist practice of offering flowers in memory of those who have passed away. The emphasis on minimalism, attention to the line and form of the plants or flowers used in an arrangement and the harmony of the overall arrangement exemplify this Japanese tradition.
There are many more fascinating aspects of traditional Japanese culture, such as viewing Mount Fuji, the Samurai Code, Sumo Wrestling and the role of the Geisha. You can find out more about these uniquely Japanese traditions when you visit this fascinating country.
Japanese Customs and Traditions
|Japanese Gardens:||The gardens found in Japanese temples and shrines are inspired by the Shinto religion and the belief in an ideal state of harmony.|
|Japanese Architecture:||Traditional Japanese Architecture is deeply influenced by Buddhism and Shintoism. |
Earlier, people usually sat on the floor. Furniture only came into widespread use after the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century.
|Japanese Tea Ceremony:||The Japanese ceremony of preparing and offering tea to revered guests is a formal and stylized ritual. The Japanese tea ceremony is deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism.|
|Japanese Cuisine:||Seafood plays an important role in Japanese cuisine. Rice and fish along with vegetables are eaten by most Japanese. |
Tofu or soy bean curd is a popular and healthy dish.
Sushi (rice flavored with vinegar and combined with seafood or seaweed and sometimes vegetables) and Sashimi (cut and sliced raw meat, usually seafood) are famous Japanese cuisines.
Sake or Japanese rice wine is also drunk at traditional meals as a toast to the health and long life of one's dining companions.
|Japanese Festivals:||Famous Japanese festivals are Aomori Nebuta Festival, the Hadaka Matsuri Festival and the Cherry Blossom Festivals.|
|Japanese Kimono:||Kimono is a traditional Japanese costume. It is a graceful full-length robe that falls from the wearer's shoulders to the ankles.|
|Japanese Painting:||Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) is famous for the Ukiyo-e or woodblock printing style of art. |
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) is famous for a series of woodblock prints depicting Mount Fuji. The best known among these is The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
|Ikebana:||Ikebana is the Japanese cultural practice of flower arrangement and is believed to have evolved from the Buddhist practice of offering flowers in memory of those who have passed away.|
It is a fine art that encompasses the ideas of aesthetics, spirituality, discipline and harmony with nature.