Experience traditional culture

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Course: The Koomon >> Kabuki Za >> Seishoji Temple >> Happo-en

The course rolls into one a number of destinations for gaining firsthand experience of the classical features of Japanese culture. The tea ceremony reflects the Japanese people’s respect for courtesy and etiquette. Kabuki theater, featuring elaborate costumes, is a popular art form since the premodern Edo period. Bonsai trees encapsulate scenes of nature in a miniature pot. Tour these visitor-friendly spots and feel the spirit of Japanese culture.

11:00 Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tozai Line Nihombashi Station Exit B1

Walk 2 minutes
At ground level outside Exit B1, turn left along Takashimaya Nihombashi Store.

11:02 Map: 1The Koomon

The Koomon offers an array of one-day lessons in the tea ceremony, calligraphy, flower arrangement, and kimono dressing. The salon tailors each program to the visitor, ensuring that it suits beginners and advanced learners alike. One recommended course involves dressing in a kimono gown for the tea ceremony experience. Try your hand at the ritual and enjoy every moment of it under the guidance of kind instructors. Remember to take a camera; on a fine day you can take a walk in Nihombashi wearing the kimono. * Reservations required.

Walk 2 minutes

13:00 Map: 2Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Nihombashi Station Exit B1

Train 3 minutes (for Shibuya)

13:03 Map: 3Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Ginza Station Exit A7

Walk 5 minutes

13:08 Map: 4Kabuki Za

The new Kabukiza Theater opened in April 2013 following three years of reconstruction work. There are countless sources of fun besides the actual kabuki performances. First, make for Kobikicho Square on the B2 level. Stalls sell Japanese sweets like mame daifuku, or sweet beans mixed into a bite-size rice cake, and sundries and snacks only available there. A teahouse serves soba and udon noodles. All of this creates the atmosphere of a fair and attracts a crowd even on weekdays. Then, head to Kabukiza Tower behind the theater. Kabukiza Gallery, on the 5th floor, displays kabuki costumes and props, and organizes seasonal exhibitions. Don’t miss the rooftop walk-through Japanese garden.

On your way out, visit Kabuki Inari Daimyojin Shrine to the right of the main entrance.
Short walk
Kobikicho Square on the B2 level links directly to Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Higashi-ginza Station.

14:30 Map: 5Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Higashi-ginza Station Exit 3

Train 8 minutes (for Naka-meguro)

14:38 Map: 6Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Kamiyacho Station Exit 3

Walk 7 minutes
Outside Exit 3, walk away from Sakurada-dori Street toward Hibiya-dori Street, and enjoy the lush greenery along Atago Green Hills.

14:45 Map: 7Seishoji Temple

Zen Buddhism has grown in popularity around the world today. Steve Jobs was known for practicing Zen and propelling Apple to success. Zazen, or seated meditation, is the heart of Zen practice. Students fold hands and legs, and gain insight into the nature of their existence. There’s no better place to do this than Seishoji, a prestigious temple and one of the three majors of the Caodong school in Edo, or premodern Tokyo. Beginners are given meticulous guidance, starting with etiquette. * Reservations required.

Walk 7 minutes
Head for Toei Mita Line Onarimon Station, and enjoy a view of Tokyo Tower from the overpass along the way.

16:00 Map: 8Toei Mita Line Onarimon Station Exit A5

Train 9 minutes (for Hiyoshi)

16:09 Map: 9Toei Mita Line Shirokanedai Station Exit 2

Walk 4 minutes

16:13 Map: 10Happo-en

Happo-en, popular for its distinguished wedding services, has a Japanese garden displaying bonsai—the art of encapsulating grand landscapes in a miniature pot. The path dubbed Bonsai Road is simply magnificent. Of the 15 or so trees, many are 80 and even 100 years of age. The highlight is the Chinese juniper and the Yezo spruce, both of which are an astounding 520 years old. They entertain visitors with beautiful scenery season after season, century after century. After strolling along the path, take a break while enjoying a view of the garden at Thrush Café.


Walk 4 minutes

18:00 Toei Mita Line Shirokanedai Station Exit 2

Model course Traditional culture is displayed on a larger map

The red lines indicate trains and subways, blue lines are buses and cars, green lines are for walking, pink lines are for bicycles, purple lines are ships and water buses.