Japan: Sustaining traditions in modern times

Japanese traditions that have withstood the test of time


Japan is known to be a country steeped in culture and traditions. Today, there are many options offering “outsiders” a chance to immerse themselves in the Japanese culture, this is where its traditions meet the modern world.

The main religion in Japan is Shinto. Shinto shrines across the country hold many ritual ceremonies throughout the year. One of the most significant ones is Kigensai, which commemorates the foundation of Japan — when Emperor Jinmu ascended the throne in 660BC.

These ceremonies often feature mikoshi, portable shrines believed to contain the God’s spirit. And mikoshi always require people to carry the shrines throughout the neighbourhood in these celebrations.

If you’re really lucky, you might be offered the chance to be a carrier yourself! Definitely a rare chance to participate in a ceremony typically celebrated by only the Japanese.

Tourists to the country who are interested in a deeper cultural experience can also opt to stay in a temple. Previously only for monks who were engaged in disciplined practices, now tourists can stay the night and observe the morning service of the monks in the temple hall. Some temples also offer meditation courses.

Even for those who do not like to travel, Japanese cultural centres offer classes in ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) and the Way of Tea (Japanese tea ceremony), so one can learn the significance of these practices in their own countries.

Japan offers many opportunities for foreigners to learn about and enjoy its unique culture. At Eastspring Investments, we are well aware of the uniqueness of Japan especially when it comes to investments.