- Workshops in Japan to Try Out
- 1. Traditional Kintsugi Experience
- 2. Shinjuku Shamisen Workshop
- 3. Herbarium and Aromatic Botanical Sachet Making Workshop
- 4. Hand-kneading Ceramics Workshop
- 5. Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop
- 6. Lighting Craft Workshop
- 7. Kotobuki Making Experience
- 8. Coral Dyeing Experience at Shuri Ryusen
- 9. Sushi Making Workshop
- 10. Ikameshi Cooking Class
- 11. Calligraphy and Kendo Experience
- Make your Japan trip worthwhile!
With the rich heritage of Japan, there’s no doubt visiting travelers will find endless things to do when heading to the Land of the Rising Sun. If you’re a traveler looking for an extra challenge during your vacation, kickstart your adventure by gaining a new skill! Japan has so many available workshops and classes to check out if you want to fully immerse yourself in Japanese traditions and culture.
From cooking to cultural to art, we’ve curated a list of 11 workshops in Japan you wouldn’t want to miss out on when exploring each city!
Workshops in Japan to Try Out
1. Traditional Kintsugi Experience
The traditional Japanese art of Kintsugi has always been admired for how it turns something broken into a whole new art piece. Kintsugi uses broken pottery and mends them together with mixed or dusted powdered gold lacquer to help breathe life into the ceramic once more. You’ll be able to surely try this traditional Japanese restoration technique if you plan to head to Tokyo! The Kintsugi workshop will teach you the basic lessons of the restoration technique while suited up in a Samue or traditional craftsman’s uniform. We loved how we were able to choose our own plate for the experience, which was beautifully designed with patterns from the Edo era.
Klook Tip: You must remember that the restored ceramic should be used as an ornament for display at home. You won’t be able to use it for serving food!
2. Shinjuku Shamisen Workshop
Traditional music comes to life with a Shamisen workshop while in Tokyo. The Shamisen is a three-stringed traditional musical instrument inspired by the Chinese instrument sanxian. It’s usually used as an accompaniment to folk songs and kabuki performances, or puppet plays. While you learn more about the history and importance of the Shamisen during the workshop, you’ll also get a chance to create your own. Aside from creating your own traditional instrument, one of the best parts of the workshop is that you’ll also be treated to a live performance! Your professional instructors will be playing the Shamisen for you, but also teach you how to play what you’ve just created. We particularly enjoyed the addition of using rented traditional clothes and the complimentary Japanese sweets and matcha drink to fully complete the immersive day out!
3. Herbarium and Aromatic Botanical Sachet Making Workshop
Sweet floral scents and sights are definitely what you’ll be signing up for with a herbarium and aromatic botanical sachet-making workshop in Osaka! Alongside an instructor, the hands-on workshop will have you pairing off your favorite dried fruits, flowers, or herbs and combine them all together to make a herbarium or botanical sachet. The experience is perfect for friends out in the city looking for something new to try – plus you get to keep your herbarium and botanical sachet as a souvenir at the end of it!
Klook Tip: If you’re more into having your space at home enjoy a more lasting smell than a display, consider choosing the perfumed botanical sachet experience over the herbarium!
4. Hand-kneading Ceramics Workshop
With all the art workshops in Japan to try, this hand-kneading ceramics workshop takes the cake for a fascinating but cute twist to creating the usual traditional Japanese sculptures. The traditional Japanese sculpture, or Haniwa, are Japanese terracotta clay figures that were made for ritual funeral use during the Kofun period and were often shaped to look like warriors. In this workshop, you’ll be able to make your own haniwa using hand-kneading techniques. Along with a professional instructor, you’ll design and create your own with a facial expression that best represents you!
If you think that’s a bit challenging and want to roll out your clay instead of hand-kneading, you can opt to pick the ceramic plate experience wherein you can mold and paint your own cat ceramic plate. No matter which you pick, we’re sure the ceramic workshop is going to be a great memory to take home of your day in Osaka!
5. Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop
Tea ceremonies are a great way to experience the intricacies and beauty of Japanese traditional culture. You may not know it but it’s not only just about drinking the tea! The history of tea ceremonies dates all the way back to the times of noble warlords and monks, with the main purpose of creating bonds between the host and the guest, and bringing inner peace. During the tea ceremony workshop, you’ll be taught by a licensed instructor the manners and the importance of the traditional practice. They’ll demonstrate and afterward, you’ll be able to try it yourself. We sure hope you’ll be able to find inner peace and make good bonds with your fellow workshop classmates at the end!
6. Lighting Craft Workshop
The youth of Japan is well-known for their love of all things cute or kawaii! Why not try your hand out at making something cute but also traditional at a lighting craft workshop in Osaka. Chochin are traditional Japanese lamps made of paper and are often hung up on a hook or a pole. This lighting craft workshop adds a twist to the creation of the traditional paper lamp by using a cute egg shape as the lamp’s body and strings and colored paper to decorate it. The experienced staff at the side will be there to guide you as you plan out and design your own lamp before putting it on the base to light up. The workshop is a good day out for any kind of traveler – families, couples, friends, and even solo adventurers!
7. Kotobuki Making Experience
Those heading to Kyoto looking to try out a cultural activity instead of the usual temple visits may want to consider joining in on a Kotobuki-making workshop while in the city. A Kotobuki is a special type of braid that forms a Chinese character that means “wish come true”, and is usually used to tie amulets and/or other special charms.
What we loved about the class (aside from the small group setting and the tea and sweets included!) was that we were able to learn more about the Kotobuki’s importance in Japanese culture plus gain a new skill of braiding called Kano Musubi. You’ll be able to pick out the color of string and stones to use, making your final product as personal as possible!
8. Coral Dyeing Experience at Shuri Ryusen
Travelers often come to Okinawa to enjoy the seaside attractions and experiences the “Hawaii of Japan” has to offer. One experience that you’ll be able to take back home to remember Okinawa’s seaside wonders is the fun dyeing experience at Shuri Ryusen. The historic dye studio has been running for over 43 years and has played a significant role in the history of Okinawa’s dyeing culture. With Shuri Ryusen’s coral dyeing workshop you’ll be taught by local artisans and craftsmen how to make use of the corals’ natural shapes to create a dye pattern onto a t-shirt, scarf, and bag. Corals are used because it is believed that they bring happiness, prosperity, and longevity. We’re sure this relaxing art workshop in Japan will be a memorable activity, especially during a trip with kids!
9. Sushi Making Workshop
sushIf you’re heading to Japan, it would be a loss to not have sushi on your must-eat list. Often prepared with vinegared rice and combined with seafood and/or vegetables, sushi is one of the most popular dishes – both in the hearts of locals and foreigners. What better place to experience and learn how to make it than in Japan itself! Those heading to Hokkaido can opt to check out this sushi-making workshop with a professional local chef. Alongside the instructor, you’ll be able to make your favorite sushi using fresh ingredients from the seaside town of Hakodate.
What we super loved about the cooking class (aside from the sushi chef’s cap we were able to keep after!) was that we were also able to learn how to make a Japanese soup dish and Chawanmushi, a savory egg custard during the class. Foodies should make sure to add this class as a stop when in Hokkaido!
10. Ikameshi Cooking Class
Another delicious adventure is in store for foodies heading to Hokkaido! While in the seaside prefecture, learn how to cook Hakodate’s famous and popular Ikameshi dish. Ikameshi is a regional Japanese dish that has squid stuffed with rice and is often cooked in dashi.
What makes this Ikameshi 2-hour cooking class different is that you’ll be taught by a professional ryokan landlady who’s been serving up this mouthwatering dish for years with her own secret recipe. The homey feel of her inn paired off with the intimate cooking class made us really feel immersed in this fun cultural cooking experience! Klook tip: Don’t forget to bring a pen and paper or take notes on your device to make sure you have a copy of the recipe!
11. Calligraphy and Kendo Experience
A good balance of calmness and excitement is what you’ll get with a one-of-kind calligraphy and Kendo workshop while in Hiroshima! The immersive cultural day out will have you experiencing the tranquil peace that comes with the art of Japanese calligraphy and the adrenaline rush of Kendo, Japan’s traditional martial arts sport. We highly recommend this for those looking for a mix of slow and fast-paced activities to check out. You’ll be able to tap into the wonders of zen meditation while writing your name using the Japanese calligraphy style. After, pick up a bamboo sword for training on the history, basics, and proper techniques of the traditional Japanese sport. No doubt you’ll be able to gain two new skills by the end of the day! Klook Tip: Bring a jug of water so you can hydrate after your Kendo lesson! However, no worries about refueling your stomach because the workshop comes with a delicious lunch after all the activities.
Make your Japan trip worthwhile!
Aside from the many workshops you can do while in Japan, there are so much more things to experience during your trip! Travelers still trying to plan out their itinerary can consider checking out our 2-week Japan Itinerary for some inspiration on what to do in Tokyo and Osaka. Those looking for a creative twist to vacation and are a big fan of anime may want to consider making a checklist of the real-life anime locations to visit around Japan.