Although in some countries it seems like the age of Corona will soon be behind us, Japan is still closed to visitors. Sooner or later it will open its gates, but at the moment we don’t know when it will be possible to come here. Whilst waiting for this time to come, what should all Japan lovers do in the meantime?
So whether you can’t visit because borders are closed, or if it’s because you have another limitation (like time, money, or health conditions), there is a solution: Bring Japan to you! I know it’s not “the real thing” but it’s the closest it gets.
Here are a few suggestions on how to travel Japan from your home:
1. Take a virtual tour of Japan’s museums
Here are two museums you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Both offer a virtual tour of their facilities.
The best thing about it: You can eat and drink while wandering around 😉
2. Mount Fuji’s live camera
One of the biggest highlights for anyone on a trip to Japan is seeing Mount Fuji. Apparently, you don’t need to travel all the way here to see it – you can do it in your home 24/7.
Here’s the live camera on Fuji.
3. Watch a documentary about Maiko
Before becoming a Geisha, there is a five year apprenticeship. In this period the girls are called Maiko. But even becoming a Maiko takes a lot of effort – as you can see in this documentary. It tells the story of a country-side girl who comes to Kyoto to become a Geisha. Here you can find some answers to the questions you always wanted to ask about Geisha. It’s absolutely fascinating.
4. Learn to cook Japanese food – by a local
As in many other countries – small Japanese businesses are struggling financially. But one of them came up with a great idea that helps both the business and the local community.
Air-Kitchen now offers online food classes, taught by locals. Since some Japanese people found themselves unemployed in the light of the pandemic, this pocket-money is a great help for them.
By the way – this could also be an awesome activity to do with your kids👌.
Here are vegan classes I put my eyes on:
Vegan Ramen, tofu Salad, and easy black sesame ice-cream
5. Watch Japanese animation – ANIME
In some countries and cultures animation movies may be seem as being more suited for children. This is certainly not the case in Japan. Many ANIME movies, a genre started in Japan in the ‘60s, appeals to adults. Watch the Grave of the Fireflies movie and you’ll see exactly why (it’s about a brother and sister during World War 2 – prepare your tissues).
Don’t hesitate to explore the amazing world of Japanese animation. Besides hearing the Japanese language, it will also give you a nice glimpse of many aspects of Japan.
Some of the most popular movies would be: Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and the more recent You’re Name.
6. Learn how to draw Manga
If you’re looking for something more artistic, the following two suggestions are just for you.
Manga (Japanese comics and novels) is very popular worldwide and very distinctive from other comics. If you’d like to learn how to draw it properly I highly recommend this fantastic course in Udemy. It teaches you how to draw Manga like a pro. Actually, you can take a look at some sample lessons and decide if you’re interested.
7. Draw ink wash painting – Sumi-e
For those of you that are more interested in traditional Japanese arts – learning Sumi-e will be a delight. Actually, I took a few lessons of Sumi-e and can’t tell you how meditative it is. You don’t need much to start, only ink, a brush, and washi paper.
Although you can find various tutorials on YouTube, I recommend learning it in a more constructive way. There are several books you can try to get a good grasp of the basics. I personally like this one in English. It’s very comprehensive and explains everything you need to know before starting, including background information, and a detailed explanation of how to actually draw, with pictures of the artist through the painting process.
You’ll appreciate the Japanese culture a lot more after trying to practice Sumi-e.
8. Hang a nice Japanese painting in your house
This is the “lazy choice” which will create an instant Japanese atmosphere in your home. You can either paint one or purchase an inexpensive one from Amazon. I love to gaze at these kinds of paintings. They remind me of what it’s like to be in a certain place. Gazing at it recalls all the sweet memories from past trips – which is something we all need at this time.
These are the best ways to travel Japan from your home. So if you can’t make it here – there are ways to make Japan travel to you 😉. Let me know in the comments what method you like best, and save this post to your Pinterest account for inspiration!