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Tokyo Tour: The Best Hands-On Experiences!

Karina IkedoKarina Ikedo
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April 26, 2023
A Tokyo tour during the spring time at Asakusa.

Hands-on experiences can enrich a trip by creating good memories while learning about the local culture. Take a Tokyo tour and indulge in fun activities, from cooking classes to traditional art workshops and sports activities! Here are the most recommended hands-on experiences you can do in Tokyo!

Cooking Classes

Get ready to embark on a mouth-watering adventure! Tokyo, the world’s ultimate food destination, offers the perfect opportunity to learn the secrets of Japanese cuisine in a cooking class. Discover the art of preparing traditional dishes, immerse yourself in Japanese culinary culture, and spice up your taste buds in a city renowned for its gastronomic delights!

Sushi Making Class 

Many food-making experiences are available in Tokyo, but making sushi is one of the most iconic choices! Sushi is the most famous Japanese food among overseas travelers, and authentic sushi tastes best in Japan!

A [pair of hands making sushi, presumably during a Tokyo tour.
Sushi-making classes are very popular. Image via Shutterstock

Instead of going to a sushi restaurant, learn how to make sushi from a specialized chef. The best thing is that you taste your sushi masterpiece after the workshop, go home, and impress your friends and family with your newfound skill.

This makes this even more remarkable because it includes a Tsukiji Fish Market tour. A friendly guide will introduce you to recommended restaurants, cookware stores, and other food vendors. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culinary culture and create delicious sushi.

Gyoza and Ramen Making Class

Someone making gyoza (meat dumplings.)
Gyoza is very easy to make! Image via Shutterstock

Learn how to make ramen and gyoza (pan-fried dumplings) most authentically! You can have a unique experience by making ramen from scratch, including noodles, broth, and delicious toppings. You’ll also learn how to make gyoza dumplings, then cook them pan-fried to be juicy and crispy! 

Food Sample Making

If you’ve been to Japan, I’m sure you’ve seen Japanese plastic food display windows at local restaurants. They are especially perfect for showing off what the dishes look like. You can make your own fake food on this family-friendly Tokyo tour. It’s held at Tokyo’s most prominent kitchenware street, Kappabashi!

A plastic food sample of traditional Japanese food.
Food samples are very colorful! Image via Shutterstock

Here, you can choose your favorite treat, from great fruit tarts to bowls of ramen, and join a trained tutor as you shape, decorate, and create! Moreover, these fake delicious foods make great souvenirs and are convincing enough to trick friends and family. No artistic abilities are needed, and children are also welcome to join!

Arts & Crafts

Explore the fascinating world of traditional Japanese arts and crafts with hands-on experiences in Tokyo! Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Japan and discover the techniques and skills behind their intricate craftsmanship. Unleash your creativity and indulge in an unforgettable journey of artistry and culture in the heart of Tokyo!

Glass Blowing

You are in the right place if you want a souvenir that is entirely out of the box! During your next Tokyo tour, appreciate the beauty of glass art and participate in this special workshop. Create a unique souvenir in this glass-blowing experience at the Tokyo Glass Art Institute.  

A woman doing glass blowing with fire.
Glass blowing is a daring and fun craft! Image via Shutterstock

You’ll be taught and guided by some of their in-house glass experts. After understanding the history and significance of glass art, you’ll create your piece. You can especially pick your favorite colors, shapes, and patterns for your glass art masterpiece!

Manga Lesson

Whether you’re just starting or a practicing manga artist who wants to improve your skills, this class is for you! Learn how to draw manga from a pro. During this class, you will use screen tone, pens and ink, and manga paper to create your piece of art. 

Someone drawing manga during a Tokyo tour.
Manga drawings are very simple, especially with an instructor! Image via Shutterstock

From sketching details to creating engaging storylines, learn the tricks of manga from your art instructor. At the same time, you can elevate your artistic style and exchange skills and ideas. Share your favorite comics and anime while learning about new manga series worth checking out.

Calligraphy

Learn the art of Japanese calligraphy in Tokyo. The art of Japanese calligraphy is known as shodo (the way of writing). It’s a significant art form treasured by nobles and the samurais. All in all, Japanese calligraphy is all about the iconic expression of Kanji characters. 

Someone painting the kanji character for "star" during a calligraphy class, presumably during a Tokyo tour.
Japanese calligraphy is a peaceful and delicate art. Image via Shutterstock

Generally, you’ll practice using traditional Japanese brushes, ink, and paper, all under the skilled guidance of a master calligrapher. Settle into a quiet studio and try writing fun Japanese characters.

Can’t make it out here but want to try some exclusive Japanese snacks and drinks? Check out TokyoTreat! TokyoTreat delivers the latest Japanese snacks, sweets, drinks, candy, and noodles straight from Japan to your door, so you can taste Tokyo without leaving your home!

Bar Hopping

It’s no secret that the Japanese like relaxing with a drink after a long day of work. Basically, you can drink as the locals do on a bar-hopping tour of Tokyo led by an entertaining and experienced bar-hop guide! 

People bar hoping during a Tokyo tour.
There are plenty of small bars to enjoy, especially in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. Image via Shutterstock

Finding the well-hidden back-alley bars in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood tends to take much work for foreigners. Dive in and out of watering holes popular with the locals, kick back with a Japanese brew, and munch on your favorite izakaya (Japanese-style pub) food.

With a small group limited to eight people, you can easily access tiny bars with just a few seats. Overall, between drinks and snacks, your guide shares insights into local culture in this atmospheric part of the city. Local establishments will give you first-hand insight into Tokyo nightlife and Japanese drinking culture. Kanpai (cheers)!

Sports Activities

Calling all sports enthusiasts! Tokyo is a haven for anyone looking to have a blast with a wide range of exciting and diverse athletic activities. Get ready to explore our top picks and experience the pulse-pounding rush of sports in the heart of the city!

Archery 

If you’re in the city, you can earn the Japanese art of kyudo (archery) with this fantastic experience in Tokyo. Kyudo (archery) dated back to prehistoric Japan and was mainly known for military use in ancient times. It is a respected sport today, and kyudo school clubs can be found around Tokyo.

A woman (wearing a breastplate) doing Japanese archery.
Japanese archery is mainly done for self-improvement. Image via Shutterstock

Change into a hakama (traditional martial arts uniform) and learn about the basics and history of kyudo. Then try your hand at target practice with the traditional Japanese bow and arrow. The cherry on top of the cake is a photo session of this unforgettable hands-on experience! 

Ninjutsu

A ninja in full all-black gear and a sword.
Yes, you too can be a cool ninja! Image via Shutterstock

Ninjutsu is the martial art strategy and tactics of unconventional warfare and espionage practiced by the ninja. Specifically, the Ninja Information Center Tokyo and dojo (training hall) is a hands-on place to learn about the culture of Japan’s shadow warriors. It offers introductory to advanced lessons in a variety of exciting ninja skills.  

Kendo

During this unique, hands-on kendo course, you will learn the time-honored arts of samurai swordsmanship. Work one-on-one with an expert kendo instructor, who will provide all equipment and armor.

Two people doing kendo (Japanese fencing).
Japanese fencing uses bamboo swords! Image via Shutterstock

Learn practical skills and put your new moves to the test during a tournament-style combat game. All experience levels are welcome, and participants receive complimentary drinks and a souvenir kendo towel.

Bushido

Bushido is the way of the samurai warrior and the code that the samurai have to live by. Generally, you can find more about the philosophies that underpin the samurai lifestyle.

A person pulling out a sword.
Bushido classes teach your swordplay! Image via Shutterstock

Prepare your mind and body for war during this four-hour small-group bushido training course on samurai tools and techniques. Work with a bushido master at a Tokyo dojo as you learn to use a Japanese katana (sword). 

What intrigues you about Japanese culture? In that case, satisfy your craving for culture with a Tokyo tour, a hands-on workshop, or a class on a traditional art form.

From cooking classes, manga lessons, and calligraphy, these workshops in Tokyo open up a window into Japanese tradition. All in all, you can browse these experiences to find what interests you and book in advance to guarantee your spot.

What is your favorite activity on this list? Do you have any significant Tokyo tour additions to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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