How to Explore Japan—Without Leaving Home
Azabu Gardens has curated a collection of virtual experiences for you to enjoy
With travel having been limited for almost a year now, many people’s plans to get out and explore Japan have had to be put on the back burner. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonderful things this country has to offer! With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of exciting and interesting online travel and cultural experiences that you can take in from the safety of your own home.
If you’re longing to walk around the many museums in Japan, then Google Arts & Culture provides the opportunity to do just that. They have partnered with museums all over the world to provide virtual tours of exhibitions and buildings, so you can enjoy a variety of artworks* from the comfort of your couch.
- Kyoto National Museum
- National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo
Opened in 1952, this is the first national museum of art that was established in Japan. Its collection includes a wide range of modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, and drawings, including those of the celebrated Japanese surrealist Kitawaki Noboru.
- Tokyo National Museum
This museum houses everything from ancient figurines from the Jomon period (1000–400 BC) and textiles, such as traditional garments of the Ainu people, to a famous blade made by Kagemitsu, the renowned sword maker of the Kamakura period (1185–1333).
- Kyoto Costume Institute
- Sekido Museum of Art
Lovers of ceramics will find a wealth of material to explore here, which includes pieces from around Asia, dating back as far as the first century AD. The museum’s collection is based on the pieces collected by Senju Satoh, an entrepreneur and the chairman of the Senju Metal Industry Company.
Additionally, the National Museum of Nature and Science has created their own virtual tour for those of you who are looking for an educational experience for yourself or your family members:
*Note that this compilation was created March 2021, and the art on display may change.
You don’t have to hop on a plane (or a Shinkansen) to visit famous places in Japan. There are many virtual tours, catalogs of panoramic images, and livestreams that will make you feel like you’re really there. Fancy a stroll around Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture? How about a walk through Osaka Castle? The links below will transport you to these famous places in one click:
You can also follow along with some of Japan’s most photogenic inhabitants! This live stream will show you exactly what the snow monkeys of Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park are up to:
While virtually touring museums and other destinations is a great way to see Japan, there are also a lot of online courses and workshops that will help you to understand Japanese culture and immerse yourself in traditional crafts, such as origami and furoshiki (a traditional method of wrapping cloth to carry items). And lovers of fine spirits can even take a tour of the Kyoto Distillery.
- Online Origami & Furoshiki Workshop
- The Kyoto Distillery
- Green tea has a special place in Japanese culture, and this online experience is a perfect way to learn all about it! The host will talk all about the health benefits of green tea, and teach you how to brew the perfect cup. She will also be able to answer any questions you have about Japan and reveal her personal favorite tea spots, so you can visit them when it’s safe to do so! To take part, you’ll need to bring some green tea, a tea cup and pot, hot water, and a desire to learn more about this storied beverage.