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Last Updated on September 25, 2023 by Jella Erhard

Check out our list with some of the most popular traditional Japanese hobbies you can try at home to feed your curiosity & wanderlust.

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Popular Traditional Japanese Hobbies Everyone Should Try

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Updated April 6, 2023, by Jella Erhard

There are some truly amazing Japanese hobbies that everyone should try. Most of the hobbies on our list are centuries old and have been making people’s lives better in a multitude of ways.

Explore Japanese hobbies that will make you move, help you relax and recharge, or fill your stomach with delicious treats. You’ll surely find a Japanese hobby that will soon become one of your favorite pastime activities.

On our list, you will find some of the most popular pleasure activities Japanese people enjoy like origami, kendo, kintsugi, and more. We also collected the best places and ways to help you start enjoying these traditional Japanese hobbies at home.

RELATED: Best Souvenirs From Japan – Gift Ideas From Japan

Thankfully most Japanese hobbies are also budget-friendly so you can get started even if you’re on a tight budget. In some cases, you can get started for free. These fun hobbies can help you with improving both your physical and mental health and can be practiced by adults and kids alike.

For example, origami is one of the most useful and fun hobbies that the whole family can enjoy together from age 3 to 100. Some of these Japanese hobbies will even help you spend some time outside in nature and will make you think more deeply and act more thoughtfully. These Japanese hobbies are also some of the most fascinating creative hobbies that make money.

So you can even earn some extra cash from home or start your own online business. No matter if you’re looking for a new hobby that will help you achieve more meaningful goals.

Or if you’re simply looking for a fun and interesting hobby that will feed your curiosity, you’ll find here a new exciting hobby you can get started with today from the comfort of your own home.

Remember that some of these hobbies and activities may require more time and effort to master than others, but they can also be a great way to explore Japanese culture and connect with others who share your interests.

19| Try Rakugo With Friends & Family

Rakugo artist - best japanese hobbies to try

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Rakugo: it’s Japan’s comedy secret that’s been cracking folks up for ages. Picture this: one person on stage, armed with nothing but their voice, gestures, and a whole lot of hilarious anecdotes. It’s like stand-up comedy meets Japanese tradition, and it’s not just for the pros.

Rakugo is all about sharing funny stories and cracking jokes, making it the ultimate group hobby.

18| Learn How To Dress In Kimono & Yukata

learn about kimono and yukata - best japanese hobbies

Kimonos are donned for special occasions and ceremonies. Yukatas, on the other hand, are perfect for festivals and summer shindigs.

The artists who create these wearable masterpieces are like painters with fabric, weaving stories and artistry into every thread. Learning about their craft adds a whole new layer of appreciation for these beautiful garments.

Learning more about the fascinating history of Kimono and Yukata, and why they’re much more than just clothes, will help you explore the world of Japanese culture and artistry.

17| Give Karaoke a Try

karaoke - best japanese hobbies

Karaoke is the ultimate Japanese hobby that’s here to turn your mundane days into a rocking fiesta!

Karaoke is like your secret weapon for instant fun, and you don’t need any fancy gadgets to kickstart your vocal adventures – just you and your singing spirit.

Now, why should you give Karaoke a whirl? Well, for starters, it’s the ultimate icebreaker. Want to bond with your friends, family, or even those colleagues you only see during Zoom meetings? Karaoke is your go-to. It’s like the musical glue that brings people together.

And here’s a sneaky bonus: it’s a language-learning hack! Yep, you heard it right. With a library of songs in multiple languages, Karaoke is your ticket to becoming a multilingual superstar. Who knew singing along to Japanese pop hits could make you a language whiz?

But the magic of Karaoke doesn’t stop there. It’s your mood booster, your stress reliever, your one-way ticket to instant joy. Even if it’s just you and your showerhead microphone, Karaoke turns any dull day into a jammin’ session.

16| Japanese Ink Wash Painting AKA Sumi-e

Sumi-e - best japanese hobbies

Ever heard of Sumi-e? It’s like the hidden gem of Japanese hobbies, offering a bunch of cool perks that you’d want to dive into.

First off, this art form is all about Japanese Ink Wash Painting, and it’s a fantastic way to zap away stress, get in touch with your inner zen, and feel like you’ve taken a mini-vacation to Japan. Oh, and the best part?

Anyone, from kiddos to seasoned artists, can jump on this ink-wash bandwagon.

Picture this: you’re chilling with a brush, some black ink, and a piece of rice paper. It’s like a date with your creativity, and you can create serene landscapes, charming animals, or dive headfirst into abstract art. It’s like painting with a twist of ancient Japan.

But Sumi-e is more than just pretty pictures. It’s your ticket to understanding Japanese culture and aesthetics. It’s like immersing yourself in the land of sushi and samurais, minus the plane ticket.

The art form’s got roots that run deep into Japanese traditions, focusing on keeping things simple, harmonious, and balanced. It’s like a masterclass in zen, right on your canvas.

As you practice Sumi-e, you’ll be dialing up your creativity and mindfulness skills. It’s not a race; it’s a journey. The process is slow and meditative, perfect for winding down after a hectic day. Stress, meet your match! Plus, your focus will sharpen up like a katana blade.

RELATED: Fun Ways To Learn About Japanese Culture & Traditions

Thinking about giving Sumi-e a shot? Well, you’re in for a treat. All you need are some basics – black ink, brushes, and rice paper. That’s it!

No need for a fancy studio or expensive gadgets. It’s art that fits right in your backpack. And hey, you can go solo or invite some pals along for the ride. Sumi-e is not just art; it’s a social soirée waiting to happen

15| Forest Bathing AKA Shinrin-yoku

Forest Bathing AKA Shinrin-yoku - best japanese hobbies

Even if you’re not super into exercising you should still give Forest bathing a try. This beloved Japanese hobby will help you become more relaxed and healthier both physically and mentally. Forest bathing is great because it’s a practice that can be customized to your needs and preferences. The most important thing is to relax, enjoy your surroundings, and connect with nature.

During your walk, you’ll learn how to practice and express gratitude for the nature around you. You can even silently say thank you, or express your gratitude in a journal or out loud. However, forest bathing can also help you be more present and observant in positive ways.

14| Kendo – Japanese Martial Art

kendo - traditional japnese hobbies and sports Kendo is one of the most popular Japanese hobbies in modern times. There are over one and a half million active kendo players in Japan. It is a descendant of swordsmanship, but a much less violent version of course.

 If you enjoy learning about martial arts and would love to advance physically and mentally, Kendo is a great activity for you. Opponents face each other in protective equipment and have to hit the counterpart with an accurate and clear strike.

The shinai, a bamboo sword is a beautiful piece. For those who want to learn discipline, Kendo is definitely a good fit. Mastering the arts could take years, so you are in for a magnificent journey. You can start practicing basic kendo principles at home but you’d get the most out of this amazing sport if you sign up for classes and train with other people.

Or you can buy your own kendo armor or try to find a class where you can borrow everything you’ll need. You’ll need a Kendo Uniform and a Kendo Bokken (wooden Japanese sword). You can have fantastic online experiences thanks to Viator.

You can learn through live courses and ask all the questions you might have about Japanese martial arts. You can train online with the Samurais of Japan and can find many experiences under $20.

Wooden daito bokken with tsuba, saya and tsukamaki - Japanese sword

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RELATED: Self Dating: Creative & Feel-Good Solo Date Ideas

13| Kintsugi ( AKA kintsukuroi) – Japanese Artform

kintsugi - traditional japnese hobbies and artform (Small)

Kintsugi will not only be the most beautiful but also one of the most useful hobbies you’ll ever pick up that’s also good for your mental health. We love Kintsugi because it teaches about values people really need in this century.

Kintsugi is one of the most mental-health-friendly hobbies that will help you deal with stress, help you put negative things into a new and positive perspective as well as embrace and appreciate imperfections.

How many times have you thrown away items because they were slightly damaged? Today’s society is so used to just buying new instead of fixing what’s broken. Kintsugi teaches a valuable lesson to everyone; broken pieces can be placed back together and the result might even be more beautiful than it originally was.

Additionally, if you enjoy challenges and saving broken items fills you with satisfaction, you just found your new favorite hobby. It is also one of the most relaxing traditional Japanese hobbies. You can easily get started with this beautiful hobby at home.

To get started with Kintsugi you’ll only need a Kintsugi repair kit for beginners which you can easily buy on and of course, some broken items you wish to fix.

Make sure that you buy luxe kintsugi kits so your newly fixed item will be not only beautiful but also help you relax and work on your anxiety.

All in one Kintusig Kit for beginners:

 

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Read more about Kintsugi:


12| Furoshiki – Traditional Japanese Hobbies

 

Furoshiki - traditional japnese hobbies (Small)

Dating back to the eighth century, Furoshiki has a long and beautiful history. Many think Furoshiki is simply gift wrapping, but actually, it is much more than that. Naturally, if you want to surprise someone, a tastefully wrapped gift definitely goes a long way.

However, the colorful cloths are suitable for everyday transportation and packaging as well. Depending on the size, you can wrap nearly anything you would want to take with you. For example, preparing a nice picnic couldn’t be easier than with Furoshiki cloths.

Mastering the art is not too difficult, but certainly very useful. If you enjoy painting and creating new patterns, you can start making your own Furoshiki cloth. You can also participate in a fun private online Furoshiki Workshop thanks to Viator.

Your expert instructor (who is in Tokyo, Japan) will teach you everything about the art of Furoshiki while you’re in the comfort of your own home. You can buy beautiful unique and hand-made Furoshiki on Etsy.

Furoshiki Gift Wrap Cloth

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Read more about Furoshiki:


11| Bonsai

Bonsai - traditional japnese hobbies (Small)

The Japanese dwarf trees are probably among the most well-known traditional Japanese hobbies you can think of. In most countries, it is considered to be a lavish hobby that will impress everyone.

Beyond that everyone loves the appearance of the tiny trees that look just like the giants on paintings. No matter how you decorate at home or in your office, a Bonsai tree will definitely be a good fit.

It isn’t just how great they look, it takes time, patience, and attention to keep those beauties in good shape. You can order a Bonsai tree today and begin your journey with these remarkable plants. They will definitely thank your hard work.

Get started with the art of Bonsai at home you just need a Bonsai tree starter kit, a live bonsai tree or you can use Bonsai tree seeds and start growing your very own Bonsai.

If you want to learn how to create stunning Bonsai trees you can buy this easy-to-follow Bonsai tree guide that will make your journey much easier and more enjoyable and everything you need is included in the box so you can also start growing your own Bonsai tree at home. What’s included in their box?

You’ll get the seed varieties, pots and trays, wood plant markers, soil peats, Bonsai fertilizer, and of course an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide and a digital guide as well. It’s not only a relaxing and creative hobby to start but also a unique gift idea for Japan lovers, gardeners, and anyone who loves caring for plants.  

HOME GROWN Bonsai Tree Kit

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10| Learn The Japanese Language

Learning a new language is always a superb hobby. By doing so you are doing yourself a huge favor. We aren’t just talking about exploring a new culture, but it also keeps your brain fit. Studies show that learning a language is among the best exercises one can do to improve memory and overall improve neuroplasticity.

You are going to find it on every list of how to improve your neuroplasticity. Furthermore, Japanese is an incredibly beautiful and complex language, therefore if you enjoy the challenge, you are in for a fantastic treat. Japanese culture is very popular around the world, so it is definitely a good conversation starter.

Also, in case you are planning to visit Japan, locals are going to adore you if you can engage in a conversation in Japanese. Get started at home and take online Japanese lessons for beginners.


9| Learn Anime Drawing

Oline Anime Drawing courses - How To Draw Female Hairstyles Anime (Small)

In case you are a huge fan of anime and Japanese culture, you are going to love drawing anime. If you are looking for the most common Japanese hobbies, anime is definitely on top. Even if you are not an anime enthusiast, you are still very likely to enjoy drawing cute, fun, or dark anime characters.

Drawing is another great exercise that can help your brain remain young. You can find dozens of amazing drawing courses that will help you learn how to draw anime.

Would you prefer to start drawing on paper or digitally? You have plenty of options, so grab a pen or pencil and start a new Japanese hobby today.

RELATED: Easy Online Anime Drawing Courses For Beginners


8| Learn To Play Shogi

Shogi - traditional japnese hobbies (Small)  

Shogi is definitely among the most popular Japanese hobbies and if you like chess, you are going to love this abstract board game too. It has been around since the 15th century and it is just as exciting as fun. Especially if you find a worthy opponent.

There is a good chance that walking around in parks you are going to find locals playing and always looking for new challenges. You are definitely going to make friends quickly with your Shogi knowledge in Japan.

In addition to all the social and mental benefits, Shogi boards are also beautiful. We are sure you are going to want one at home on display at all times. If you’d love to try Japanese board games then Shogi is a good place to start.

You can buy Shogi sets on Amazon and beautiful handmade Shogi sets on Etsy. Learn how to play Shogi:


7| Learn The Art of Matcha Making

Matcha making - traditional japnese hobbies (Small)

When in Japan, you ought to try matcha tea and if you have the chance also visit a tea ceremony. Nothing is more soothing and captivating than making matcha. If you have trouble with relaxing, concentrating, and generally switching off, this is your new go-to activity.

You don’t have to love tea, enough if someone else in the family does. This beautiful ritual is one of the most beautiful traditional hobbies in Japan and one that replenishes the soul as well as your body. Just think of it as an active meditation while also making delicious matcha tea.

If you want to learn how to make matcha tea at home in the traditional Japanese way you’ll need a Japanese matcha set you can buy original ones on Amazon and stunning handmade sets on Etsy.

You can also take a live class ‘Green Teatime‘ Where a Japanese green tea expert will teach you everything you need to know about how to brew and enjoy a perfect cup of tea. You can ask your questions since your guide might be in Japan but speaks perfect English.

You can even practice Sado also known as Japanese tea ceremony, which is a traditional art that involves the preparation and presentation of green tea and is still one of the most popular hobbies in Japan. It emphasizes hospitality, respect, and harmony, and is often performed in traditional tea rooms.


6| Tsumami Kanzashi

Tsumami Kanzashi - traditional japanese hobbies (Small) What is Tsumami Kanzashi? If you have seen intricate artworks or traditional Japanese celebrations, you have definitely seen them. Kanzashi collectively refers to traditional Japanese hair ornaments and Tsumami Kanzashi are flower ornaments.

These lovely accessories play an important part at special events, such as weddings. Geisha and even sumo wrestlers wear a form of these beauties. Its traditions go back as far as about ten thousand years at some point in history they were even used as deadly weapons.

While creating it is not an easy task, but certainly is a great hobby. Making your own, personalized Tsunami Kanzashi is a truly amazing experience. You can buy beautiful Kanzashi on Amazon and handmade ones on Etsy.

. Learn how to make Kanzashi:


5| Mizuhiki

Mizuhiki - traditional Japanese hobbies (Small) Japanese arts and crafts lovers are going to be delighted as there is another unique way to create while relaxing. Mizuhiki is a quite interesting form of art that surely is going to blow your mind. Mastering Mizuhiki is not an easy task, but the reward is guaranteed.

Mizuhiki is in fact a rice cord you have to make yourself and then paint to your desired colors or buy them ready-made online. Once the cord is done, you can start creating your own little sculptures or even jewelry.

Traditionally they were created for special occasions, but they also served as gifts to loved ones. You can surprise yourself or someone you love with these beautiful pieces. With one of the most captivating traditional Japanese hobbies, you can create something special while also relaxing and improving your concentration.

You can get started at home, you just need Mizuhiki paper strings which you can buy on Amazon. However, you can always buy beautiful handmade pieces on Etsy.

Learn more about Mizuhiki:


4| Learn How To Cook Japanese Food

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Cooking is undoubtedly among the most common Japanese hobbies. Food has always served as a strong connection between cultures and thanks to the internet we can learn to cook anything we are in the mood for.

You can find great Japanese cookbooks on Amazon, Japanese online cooking courses, and tips from locals to make finger-licking traditional Japanese home-cooked meals and authentic Japanese meals. Japanese cuisine is deservedly among the most beloved ones around the world.

Good news! Now vegans can enjoy the best of Japan as there are a number of great recipes that will taste just like the original but completely vegan. Do you enjoy Japanese sweets? In case you like to learn from the best you can check out Niki Nakayama’s Masterclass.

She’s a Japanese-American chef and owner of the Michelin-starred n/naka restaurant. You can learn from her how to become a pro at making beautiful and delicious modern Japanese dishes. You can go on amazing experiences in the comfort of your own home thanks to Viator.

They have many brilliant online workshops and classes for Japanese food lovers. You can learn about Japanese cooking, or learn how to make sushi cakes or mochi ice cream from Japanese food artists. Thanks to these amazing courses you’ll be able to make your favorite Japanese dishes and of course even the most popular anime food recipes.


3| Ikebana – The Art of Flower Arranging

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One of the many reasons why Japanese culture is so beloved is the fact that just how simple yet beautiful most of their designs are.

Take a peek into the magical art of flower arranging, which would often suggest a lot of colors and overwhelming crowds in the arrangement. But not in Japan. This meditative traditional Japanese hobby is going to teach you that sometimes less is more and that harmony can come from any plant or flower.

We love how simple, yet relaxingly pretty most arrangements are. If you would like to decorate your home, but remain calm, there is no better hobby for you. You can get started for free on SkillShare where you can take beginner-level courses and learn more about the art of Ikebana.

Or you can also order online every tool, and a full Ikebana kit on Amazon to help you get started at home easily. However, if you would like to buy handmade Ikebana arrangements to decorate your home you can do that too thanks to Etsy. Read more about Ikebana:


2| Shodo  –  Japanese Calligraphy

Shodo - traditional Japanese hobbies (Small)

If you had already decided to begin learning Japanese, then Shodo is not going to be too difficult for you. Alright, that’s only true if you already mastered the traditional writing, which might not be due for a couple of years.

Anyway, even if you haven’t even started writing in Japanese, Shodo is a great way to connect with Japanese culture and also relax. Calligraphy is between art and history and a little bit of science. You are certainly going to feel accomplished once you managed to paint a few traditional Japanese characters.

You can also get started for free thanks to their free trial period. Or you can also order every tool you need on Amazon so you’ll have your own Japanese calligraphy set.

If you want to hang a custom handmade Shodo artwork on your wall head to Etsy. Thanks to Viator you can also participate in fascinating live one-on-one Japanese online calligraphy classes and learn from a Japanese Shodo expert.

Read more about Shodo:


1| Origami

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Origami might be one of the most famous traditional Japanese hobbies without a doubt. Everyone heard about the art of paper folding. You don’t have an idea of how magical this art is until you created your first crane or hummingbird.

Once you become confident, your imagination is the only limit. You can make decorations for home, animals for your loved ones, and of course, useful items such as fans or book covers. You can also buy Origami kits for adults and kids, sheets on Amazon, and Etsy.

On Etsy, you can even buy beautiful handmade origami artwork to decorate your home. It’s a really fun hobby for adults and kids as well so even the whole family can enjoy it together.

On Viator, you can also find fascinating Live online Origami Workshops you can take privately to learn more about the art of Origami from a Japanese origami expert. It’s also one of the best gifts for origami lovers of all ages.

Read more about Origami:

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