Japanese hobbies are not only a fun and engaging way to pass the time, but they also offer unique insights into Japanese culture and values.
From traditional arts and crafts to modern forms of entertainment, there is a wide range of Japanese hobbies to explore and enjoy.
Whether you are interested in personal development, artistic expression, or just having fun, there is a Japanese hobby out there for everyone.
In this article, we have explored a variety of Japanese hobbies, from the meditative practice of Shinshin toitsu do to the fun and creative world of Kyara-Bento.
Japanese hobbies – Arts and Crafts
From the intricate paper-folding of origami to the meditative brushstrokes of shodo, Japanese arts and crafts offer a rich and diverse range of activities to suit any interest.
These traditional arts have been passed down for centuries, and continue to be celebrated today for their beauty and cultural significance.
Whether you’re interested in flower arranging, pottery repair, or textile dyeing, there’s a Japanese hobby that’s sure to capture your imagination.
So why not dive in and discover the world of Japanese arts and crafts for yourself?
Origami is a traditional Japanese art of paper folding that has a history dating back to the 17th century.
It was originally used for religious purposes, but over time it became a popular pastime enjoyed by people of all ages.
Today, origami is widely recognized as a stress-relieving activity that enhances creativity and improves manual dexterity. In fact, research has shown that regular origami practice can improve hand-eye coordination and concentration.
There are countless origami designs to choose from, ranging from simple shapes to complex animals and objects.
Resources for origami enthusiasts include books, online tutorials, and dedicated origami communities that share designs and techniques. If you’re interested in learning more about origami, we recommend starting with tutorials on youtube. There are good tutorials available there.
In Japan, folding 1,000 origami cranes, also known as “senbazuru,” is a significant tradition.
According to Japanese folklore, folding 1,000 cranes will grant the folder a wish or bring good luck and happiness.
This tradition gained global recognition after the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and attempted to fold 1,000 cranes in the hopes of recovering from her illness.
Today, folding 1,000 cranes is often done to celebrate special occasions, such as weddings or births, or as a gesture of healing and peace. Many people still believe in the power of the senbazuru and its ability to bring good fortune.
Ikebana (flower arranging)
Ikebana is the art of flower arrangement, and it has a rich history in Japanese culture.
The goal of ikebana is to create a beautiful arrangement that captures the beauty of nature and highlights the unique characteristics of each flower.
It involves the use of specific tools, such as a kenzan (a metal frog used to hold the flowers in place) and a special vase.
There are many different schools of ikebana, each with its own style and philosophy.
Taking an ikebana class can be a great way to learn about this art form and create your own stunning arrangements.
Getting started on Ikebana
If you liked the idea of Ikebana, you can see on Youtube many videos about Ikebana.
If you live in NY and need to take Ikebana more serious, Ohara School of Ikebana has a presential course ministered by Ms. Asae Takahashi.
The price of the course (at the time this article is written) is US$ 230 for 4 sessions. Check their website here to get more information.
Shodo (Japanese calligraphy)
Shodo is the art of Japanese calligraphy, which involves using a brush and ink to write beautiful characters.
In Shodo, the emphasis is not only on the characters themselves but also on the way they are written.
The brushstrokes should be fluid and expressive, and the composition should have a harmonious balance.
Shodo is not only a beautiful art form but also a way to practice mindfulness and focus.
Learning shodo, the Japanese art of calligraphy, can be a great way to explore Japanese culture and express yourself through art.
While it may seem challenging to learn outside of Japan, there are many resources available online to help you get started
Getting started on Shodo
To begin, you’ll need some basic materials, including a brush, ink, paper, and a felt pad. These materials can be purchased online through retailers such as Amazon or art supply stores. Prices can vary depending on the quality of the materials, but a beginner’s set should cost around $20-$30.
In addition to purchasing materials, there are many online resources for learning shodo. Websites such as Udemy and Skillshare offer courses taught by experienced calligraphers that cover everything from basic strokes to advanced techniques. YouTube is also a great resource for finding tutorials and demonstrations.
If you prefer to learn in a more structured setting, you may be able to find shodo classes or workshops in your local area. Check with local art schools, community centers, or cultural organizations to see if they offer classes or know of any instructors in your area.
Learning shodo can be a rewarding and meditative experience, and with the right materials and resources, you can begin practicing this beautiful art form from anywhere in the world.
Kintsugi (repairing broken pottery with gold)
Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold.
Instead of throwing away broken pottery, Kintsugi artists use gold to repair the cracks and create a beautiful design.
The philosophy behind Kintsugi is that the broken pieces become part of the pottery’s history and should be celebrated rather than hidden.
This art form not only creates unique and beautiful pieces but also teaches us to appreciate imperfections and the beauty of impermanence.
Getting started on Kintsugi
If you’re interested in getting started with Kintsugi, there are many online tutorials and classes available.
To try it at home, you’ll need some broken pottery, gold powder or gold paint, and a Kintsugi repair kit.
These kits typically include a special glue, a brush, and gold powder.
They can be purchased online from various retailers or on websites specializing in Japanese arts and crafts.
Mizuhiki is a traditional Japanese craft that involves creating decorative cords using twisted paper.
Mizuhiki cords are often used for gift wrapping or as decorative accents for cards and other crafts.
The history of mizuhiki dates back to the Edo period, when it was used as a decorative item for samurai attire.
Today, mizuhiki cords come in many different colors and patterns, and there are endless possibilities for how they can be used.
Making mizuhiki cords can be a fun and relaxing activity that allows you to create something beautiful and unique.
Getting started on Mizuhiki decorations
To start creating Mizuhiki decorations, you’ll need some Mizuhiki cords, which can also be purchased online or at specialty stores.
There are many instructional videos and books available that can teach you the basics of creating different shapes and patterns with the cords.
It may take some practice to master the art of Mizuhiki, but the results are beautiful and worth the effort.
Shibori is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique that involves folding, twisting, and binding fabric to create unique patterns.
This art has been practiced in Japan for centuries, and today it has gained popularity all over the world.
It’s a fun and creative way to customize clothing, linens, and other textiles.
There are many different techniques for shibori, each with its own unique pattern.
Some popular techniques include arashi (pole-wrapping), itajime (clamp-resist), and nui (stitch-resist).
The process can be messy, but it’s worth it to see the beautiful results.
Getting started on Shibori fabrics
If you want to try DIY Shibori fabrics, you’ll need some fabric, dye, and some tools like rubber bands, clamps, or thread to bind and create patterns.
You can purchase Shibori dye kits online or create your own natural dye with items like indigo, turmeric, or beetroot.
There are many online tutorials and books available that can guide you through the process of creating different Shibori patterns and techniques.
Japanese hobbies – Entertainment
Patchinko is a type of arcade game that is popular in Japan.
It involves using small metal balls to try and win prizes or more balls, which can then be exchanged for prizes.
The game is similar to pinball, but with some key differences.
The machines are often brightly colored and flashy, with flashing lights and loud sounds to attract players.
Patchinko is a fun and exciting way to pass the time and try your luck at winning prizes.
Karaoke is another popular form of entertainment in Japan that involves singing along to instrumental versions of popular songs.
The place people usually go are Karaoke bars, a common throughout Japan, and many people enjoy going with friends or colleagues after work.
In Japan, karaoke is often done in small, private rooms rather than in a public space.
This allows for a more intimate and relaxed experience, and also helps people feel more comfortable singing in front of others.
Manga (Japanese comic books)
Manga is a form of comic book that originated in Japan.
It is known for its distinct artistic style and often features complex storylines that span multiple volumes.
Manga covers a wide range of genres, from action and adventure to romance and comedy.
Manga is popular with people of all ages in Japan, and it is common to see people reading manga on trains or in public spaces.
Anime is a style of animated television show or movie that originated in Japan.
Like manga, anime covers a wide range of genres and is popular with people of all ages.
Anime has a distinct visual style that is often colorful and exaggerated, with large eyes and bold lines.
Some popular anime series include “Dragon Ball Z,” “Sailor Moon,” and “One Piece.”
Anime is not only popular in Japan but also has a dedicated fan base around the world.
Japanese hobbies – Personal Development
Shinshin Toitsu Do
Shinshin Toitsu Do is a form of Japanese meditation that focuses on unifying the mind and body.
It was developed by Nakamura Tempu in the early 20th century and is often used for stress reduction and self-improvement.
The practice involves a combination of sitting and standing meditation, as well as breathing exercises.
The goal is to create a sense of mental and physical balance, which can lead to greater clarity and focus in daily life.
Tea Ceremony (Sado or Chanoyu):
The Japanese tea ceremony, or Sado/Chanoyu, is a traditional art form that involves the preparation and serving of matcha, a type of powdered green tea.
The ceremony is often performed in a tea room, which is designed to create a sense of calm and tranquility.
The ceremony involves a series of carefully choreographed movements and rituals, including the preparation of the tea, the serving of the tea, and the cleaning of the utensils.
The tea ceremony is not just about drinking tea, but also about experiencing the beauty of nature and creating a sense of harmony with others.
Japanese Hobbies – general
Marie Kondo’s “Konmari” method is a popular home organizing technique that has gained worldwide recognition.
The method involves decluttering your home by keeping only the items that “spark joy.”
The process involves sorting items by category, rather than by location, and thanking each item for its service before letting it go.
The Konmari method is not just about organizing your home, but also about creating a sense of mindfulness and gratitude in your daily life.
Dorodango is the art of polishing mud balls into beautiful objects.
The process involves shaping mud into a ball, letting it dry, and then polishing it with a fine powder until it shines.
Dorodango is not only a creative outlet but also a way to connect with nature and find beauty in everyday objects.
Karesansui, or Japanese rock gardens, are minimalist gardens that use rocks, gravel, and sand to create a tranquil and meditative space.
The gardens are designed to represent a miniature landscape, and often include elements like small islands, mountains, and waterfalls.
Karesansui is not just about creating a beautiful garden, but also about finding a sense of peace and harmony in nature.
Sudoku is a logic-based number puzzle that originated in Japan.
The objective of the puzzle is to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that each row, column, and 3×3 sub-grid contains all the digits from 1 to 9.
Sudoku has gained worldwide popularity due to its simple rules and challenging gameplay, and is often used as a way to exercise the brain and improve mental agility.
Baking and Cake Decorating
Baking and cake decorating are popular hobbies in Japan, and many people enjoy creating and sharing their unique and delicious baked goods.
The art of cake decorating involves using a variety of techniques and tools to create intricate designs and patterns on cakes and other baked treats.
Baking and cake decorating not only provide a creative outlet but also a way to share joy and happiness with others.
Kyara-bento or character bento is a popular Japanese style of packing bento (lunchbox) with cute and colorful food in the shape of popular characters, animals, or objects.
This art form started in the 1970s as a way to encourage children to eat more food by making it fun and attractive.
Kyara-bento has become a widespread phenomenon in Japan and has even been recognized as an intangible cultural asset.
To create a Kyara-bento, you’ll need some basic ingredients like rice, seaweed, and various vegetables.
The key to making a successful Kyara-bento is to pay attention to the colors and details of the character you’re trying to create.
The process can be time-consuming, but the results are worth it, as the cute and colorful bento boxes are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Exploring Japanese hobbies is a wonderful way to connect with Japanese culture and add some fun and creativity to your daily routine.
From traditional arts and crafts to modern entertainment, the possibilities are endless.
Whether you’re interested in trying out new foods, learning a new skill, or simply enjoying a relaxing activity, Japanese hobbies offer something for everyone.
So why not take some time to explore and discover the unique and fascinating world of Japanese culture?
You never know what new passions and interests you might uncover along the way!