Become a Karaoke Superstar
Sync up with some Japanese locals for a night out and chances are high that you will end up at a karaoke establishment before the night is through. Your time in the spotlight is more than just a great opportunity for fun videos. Research indicates that karaoke is good for your health. The Osaka University study pointed to deep breathing, applause, and feelings of happiness spurred by light alcohol consumption as health benefits of karaoke that fortify cardiovascular and nervous system health. So carry on my wayward son!
Visit Traditional Noh Theater
Noh is a traditional Japanese theatrical art form which blends music, dance movement, and drama in a startling package that is somewhere between opera and ballet. Noh is rich in tradition, with origins dating back to the Nara Period in the 8th century. The methods and famous wooden masks used by actors are passed down through generations.There are plenty of health benefits to watching a noh performance. The tranquil music and artistic expression distresses our minds and helps us achieve an inner harmony.
Hike the Fushimi Inari Shrine
At HFR we are strong advocates of both fitness and spiritual health. That is why we are endorsing a visit to the ancient Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is nourishing to both body and soul. Located in Kyoto, the shrine is nestled in the forested mountains. Visitors hike through thousands of vermilion torii gates under the watchful eye of fox statues and other Shinto relics. The hike takes delivers 3 hours of cardio, with the added benefit of being out in nature surrounded by sacred shrines. Expect a sublime and calming experience.
Take A Dip in An Onsen
Onsen are the colorful mineral hot springs popular throughout Japan. Bathers have relaxed in the open-air springs for millennia. It is a calming experience that can lead to either quiet contemplation or rewarding social interaction. Either way, the onsen baths are an excellent way to unwind. They are often in beautiful scenic spots and, depending on the mineral composition of the onsen, can be helpful for everything from eye disease to assuaging lower back pain.
Relax at a Tea Garden
Take a minute to relax from the hustle and bustle of touring Japan to have tea in one of the country’s many tea gardens. Japanese are among the best gardeners in the world, and they have a long tradition of tea, complete with a whole set of rituals. Share some thoughtful conversation with your traveling partner and soak in some natural splendor. Plus, green tea has health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease and higher levels of cognitive function.
Cycle the Shimanami Kaito
Island hopping is usually done by plane, boat, or car (over a bridge), but Japan has a HFR-approved way of getting from one island to another: by bicycle! The Shimanami Kaito is a 70km toll road bridging to the main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku, passing small islands along the way. The toll road is easily traversable by foot or bicycle, and treats travelers to beautiful scenery. Rent a bike and see wonderful views of the water, forest, mountains, and small towns.
Enjoy a Kaiseki Meal
Kaiseki is a form of high cuisine in Japan, similar to a multi-course meal at a gourmet French restaurant. It is a tour of Japanese cuisine, prepared in 14 courses of small dishes that capture the simplicity and dedication to quality ingredients famous in Japanese cuisine. While not every kaiseki course is healthy, most are very nutritious and low calorie. Kaiskei features seafood, fresh vegetables, and fermented foods, all of which contain health benefits. It is also a strong bonding moment with your dining companion, as kaiseki meal will take the whole evening and offer opportunity for heartfelt conversation and a shared experience.
Learn The Art of Kyudo Archery
Kyudo is a Japanese martial art using large bows and bamboo arrows. It is an ancient practice originating from the Samurai days, when archery was critical in warfare. Kyudo combines the immense strength needed to operate the bow with zen principles such as meditation to increase focus. The principles of it help practitioners to avoid conflict and refrain from aggression. While it takes months to achieve any type of proficiency, visitors can go to an archery range and try their hand at the bow under the careful watch of an instructor.
Sample Sushi & Sashimi
Seafood takes center stage in Japan’s culinary tradition, which is not surprising considering it is an archipelago nation. With world famous fish markets all along the coast, quality fresh seafood is readily available throughout the country. Sushi and sashimi feature fish that is high in omega-3, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces risk of heart attack, and increases the body’s metabolism. Just remember that there are some health risks involved in eating raw fish!
Explore the Coral Reefs of Okinawa
The island of Okinawa is one of the healthiest places on earth and in Japan, thanks to its healthy diet and active lifestyle. It also is adjacent to underwater splendors in the form of coral reefs. Scuba diving is very popular on the island, and there are many diving shops that can transport visitors to a watery paradise. See some fish in their natural habitat then eat some fish at one of Okinawa’s celebrated restaurants.