Where to See Authentic Traditional Japan Around Tokyo

Discovering authentic traditional Japan around Tokyo is an incredible experience that allows you to take a step back in time and witness the captivating beauty of Japan’s rich cultural history.

One must-visit location is the Hokokuji Temple, nestled in Kamakura, just outside Tokyo.

Here, you can wander through an awe-inspiring bamboo forest reminiscent of the famous Arashiyama forest in Kyoto.

The temple can be tricky to access without a car, but the journey is worth it.

In addition to the Hokokuji Temple, Tokyo boasts many exceptional restaurants where you can savor traditional Japanese cuisine, known as Washoku, which UNESCO has recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Discover Japanese History Around Tokyo

Nezu Shrine

Looking for a taste of traditional Japan? Head to Nezu Shrine, located in Tokyo.

Famous for its tunnel of vermilion torii gates, you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto without leaving Tokyo.

This shrine is perfect for those interested in Japanese culture and history, as well as lovers of cherry blossoms.

Hokokuji Temple and the Bamboo Forest

Step into tranquility at Hokokuji Temple in Kamakura, famous for its serene bamboo forest.

Wander through the towering green stalks, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as you explore this historic temple.

Don’t forget to try the traditional matcha tea in the tea house!

Sawara Townscape

Just a short trip from Tokyo, Sawara in Chiba prefecture offers a glimpse into the Edo period.

Stroll along the picturesque Onogawa River, taking in the charming, traditional Japanese streets, many of which have been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Historical Kawagoe

Known as “Little Edo,” Kawagoe in Saitama prefecture offers a unique opportunity to time-travel back to Japan’s historical days.


Wander among the old Kurazukuri (clay-walled warehouse-styled) houses and visit magnificent temples that reflect Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

Great Buddha in Kotoku-in Temple

You’ll find the iconic Great Buddha statue at Kotoku-in Temple in Kanagawa prefecture.

This impressive, tranquil, and spiritual site is a must-visit for those interested in Japanese history.

Meguro River

For a touch of nature within the bustling cityscape, make your way to the Meguro River.

In the spring, the banks of the river are adorned with cherry blossoms, creating a magical atmosphere perfect for a stroll or a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnic.

Discovering Japan’s history and culture around Tokyo is a delightful experience.

Whether you’re visiting centuries-old shrines, exploring old towns, or taking in the beauty of nature, you’ll find a wealth of authentic Japanese experiences just a stone’s throw away from the metropolis.

Experience Tradition in Tokyo

Tea Ceremonies

While in Tokyo, you can deepen your understanding of Japanese culture by participating in a traditional tea ceremony. This ancient practice represents the core principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

Many places in Tokyo, such as Asakusa, offer tea ceremony experiences where you can learn about the art of making and drinking green tea while wearing a kimono.

Savor the complex flavors of matcha and observe the meticulous, graceful movements of the tea master.

Try Ikebana

Another way to experience authentic Japanese culture is by trying your hand at Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

This artistic discipline is a form of self-expression and meditative practice emphasizing balance and harmony with nature.

In Tokyo, you can find Ikebana workshops where you can learn the basic rules and techniques while appreciating the beauty and serenity of this art form.

See Sumo

Sumo wrestling is Japan’s national sport and an integral part of its cultural heritage.

In Tokyo, the Ryogoku area is known as the heart of sumo, with the Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium, sumo stables, and sumo-themed restaurants dotting the neighborhood.

Attend a sumo tournament if your visit coincides with one of the three annual events held in Tokyo, or catch a morning practice at a sumo stable to get an intimate look at the wrestlers’ discipline, strength, and dedication.

Don’t forget to try Chanko Nabe, the hearty staple dish of sumo wrestlers, at a nearby restaurant.