Essential Japanese Arts & Entertainment for the First-Time Visitor

Mayumi Folio
Mayumi Folio

What we recommend for planning inbound events for foreigners visiting Japan is Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment.

Japanese traditional culture is filled with many of Japan’s charms, so you can propose a plan that is perfect for foreign visitors to Japan who want to enjoy Japan to the fullest.

In this article, we will introduce the appeal of Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment, which we recommend for inbound projects to Japan, along with Motenas Japan’s 5 highly successful cases.

This article will help you to

・What is the most effective plan for inbound business in Japan?

・What are the events that foreign tourists are interested in?

・How can traditional Japanese performing arts and entertainment be crossed?

・What should I pay attention to when planning an inbound event?

These questions and more will be answered.

Please read to the end and learn more about the appeal of Japanese traditional performing arts entertainment to foreigners.

What traditional Japanese performing arts do you recommend for inbound visitors to Japan?

Japanese Traditional Performing Arts

Japanese traditional performing arts are cultural arts that have been handed down in Japan since ancient times.

Performing arts are skills that are expressed through physical movement, and are acquired through practice and training.

There are more than 50 traditional Japanese performing arts, including not only theater and music, but also tea ceremony, crafts, martial arts, and many others.

Most of them matured before the Meiji period (1868-1912), and many of them are steeped in Japanese history and culture.

The traditional Japanese performing arts include not only the performing arts of Kabuki and Noh, but also fireworks, paper cutouts, tea ceremony, judo, etc., all of which have “道” (way) in their names.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Japanese traditional performing arts from overseas and a trend toward reaffirmation of these arts through inbound projects.

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: What are traditional performing arts?

Recommended related article: What are the traditional performing arts of Japan? An easy-to-understand overview of Japanese traditional cultural arts that you may not know about!

Trends of Foreign Visitors to Japan Attracted by Japanese Traditional Performing Arts

Recent trends in the consumption of foreign visitors to Japan show a shift from “goods consumption” to “koto (experience) consumption.

Koto consumption refers to investment in “experiences.

Many foreigners visiting Japan tend to invest in these as koto (experience) consumption when they visit Japan.

The reason why they are attracted to traditional Japanese performing arts is that traditional Japanese culture is filled with Japanese history, culture, aesthetics, philosophy, and values that are unique to Japan.

In other words, they are looking for a more wonderful experience that they cannot have in their daily lives in the extraordinary setting of “travel.

Thus, it is necessary to plan Japanese cultural experiences that meet the needs of foreign visitors to Japan.

Recommended related article: What is Japanese Culture from Overseas Perspective?

Japan Tourism Agency: Consumption Trends of Foreign Visitors to Japan

Points that foreigners visiting Japan find difficult about Japanese traditional performing arts

When foreign tourists want to experience Japanese culture in Japan, there are still many points that they find difficult.

This is because it is a different culture, and because it is a traditional culture. It is true that there is a need to learn and understand Japanese traditional performing arts.

Certainly, even Japanese people need special knowledge and training to learn and understand traditional Japanese performing arts, and it is not something that can be enjoyed casually.

Moreover, not many foreigners have mastered the Japanese language completely, so the language barrier also stands in the way.

Especially for tourists and business travelers, time in Japan is very limited, and they tend to want to experience Japanese culture efficiently and effectively.

There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account when incorporating traditional Japanese performing arts into inbound projects to Japan.

・Language barrier

・Planning effectively within the time frame of the experience

・How much historical background can be conveyed in an easy-to-understand manner?

・How to communicate expertise in a flexible manner


Thus, it is very important to be able to plan from the other person’s perspective.

What is Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment for inbound?

Japanese Traditional Performing Arts x Entertainment

There are a wide range of possibilities for introducing Japanese cultural experiences into inbound Japan business, including workshops, experiences, tours, team building/training, entertainment, and other koto (experience) consumption possibilities.

Among them, Japanese cultural experience x entertainment is a plan that is very much appreciated by both large groups of inbound foreign tourists and VIP visitors to Japan who want to prepare special hospitality.

The reasons for this are the glamour, the special atmosphere, and the high event quality that can be enjoyed by the entire audience.

Traditional Japanese performing arts have a uniquely Japanese sense of beauty, and by combining this with entertainment, it is possible to create an event that is more easily communicated and more friendly.

Entertainment is not about exaggeration or planning something with a Japanese flair, but rather about the authenticity of traditional Japanese performing arts.

The key is to add effects that maximize the essence of the traditional Japanese performing arts, and this is where traditional Japanese performing arts x entertainment hospitality excels.

The combination of traditional Japanese performing arts and entertainment is a particularly good match for celebrations, banquets, and private parties, when it is necessary to provide a uniquely Japanese hospitality.

If you have a scene where you want to create a uniquely Japanese atmosphere, or if you are planning an inbound effect for foreigners visiting Japan at your lodging facility, you can differentiate yourself from other services.

Attraction of Japanese Traditional Performing Arts x Entertainment

Many of the traditional Japanese performing arts have a uniquely Japanese aesthetic.

Take, for example, costumes.

All Japanese traditional performing arts are performed in kimono.

Not only kabuki, nihon buyo (dance), and other performing arts, but also karate and sumo, which are martial arts, wear uniquely Japanese costumes, don’t they?

The kimono is a traditional Japanese folk costume. It is especially suitable for celebrations because of its glamour.

And sound is essential for entertainment.

To express entertainment more effectively, traditional Japanese musical instruments can be added to further enhance the Japanese mood that pervades the entire space.

Entertainment can be added not only to Kabuki, Noh theater, Japanese dance, and traditional Japanese instrumental music, but also to calligraphy, flower arrangement, and martial arts performances.

In this way, the combination of traditional Japanese performing arts and entertainment can provide a more effective and impactful Japanese cultural experience.

Things to keep in mind when planning inbound Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment

When planning traditional Japanese performing arts x entertainment for foreign visitors to Japan, there is one thing to keep in mind.

That is to place more emphasis on communicability.

Many traditional Japanese performing arts require deep historical and cultural knowledge.

However, while many foreigners are interested in Japanese culture, not all of them have in-depth knowledge.

In which period Kabuki was born, the philosophy of the tea ceremony, and the spirit of karate etiquette are all interesting topics. These are interesting topics, but only a limited number of people can answer all of them.

If it is to be an entertainment project, it will be an appreciation-type event.

Of course, the visual beauty of traditional Japanese performing arts alone is enough to make people happy, but if we can add a little twist here and there, we can make the event even more exciting.

For example, actors will explain about Kabuki before the performance, and a highly specialized interpreter will interpret accurately.

Entertainment that combines iconic Japanese figures such as ninjas and samurai with Japanese music can also add a special atmosphere to a party venue.

An experience that is uniquely Japanese and only possible in Japan. In this way, we need to devise ways to create a special time.

5 Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment recommendations for inbound visitors

So what kind of projects have been organized by Motenas Japan, which has organized many inbound events for foreign visitors to Japan?

Here are five of the most popular traditional Japanese performing arts x entertainment programs.

Kabuki x Entertainment

Kabuki x Entertainment is recommended for the wealthy and VIP/VVIP foreigners.

This is because, in addition to the visual impact of Kabuki actors, the fact that it is not a traditional Japanese performing art that can be easily appreciated adds a special feeling.

Kabuki performances are usually held at theaters such as the Gionza Theater.

However, many foreign visitors to Japan who have a short stay in Japan find it very difficult to take the time to appreciate performing arts, and without a very strong motivation, it is difficult to see them.

Motenas Japan offers tailor-made plans so that we can make Kabuki viewing a reality for our customers in this situation.

Of course, the possibilities are endless, as the performance will be performed by real Kabuki actors, incorporating elements of a genuine Kabuki performance, as well as entertainment.

We recommend that you can tailor the performance to suit your needs, whether you are looking for an intimate, classical performance or a more spectacular performance to enliven your event.

In this way, we are able to create highly special events by combining Kabuki and entertainment, which are rarely seen together.

Japanese Musical Instruments x Entertainment

Japanese instrumental music is indispensable for parties, receptions, and other events for large groups of foreign visitors to Japan.

The sounds of shamisen and other Japanese instruments are uniquely Japanese and can create a very exotic atmosphere at a party or reception.

Especially at dance parties, which are often held for foreigners, playing well-known danceable songs on Japanese instruments will be highly appreciated as a highly original event.

For celebrations and other festive occasions, a Japanese drum performance is also recommended. The large, powerful taiko drums that rhythmically resonate through the body are quite a spectacular form of entertainment.

In this way, Japanese instrumental performances are an indispensable part of a party for foreign visitors to Japan.

Recommended related article: What is a Gala Party? How to hold one in Japan? Questions, dress code, planning ideas, and behavior thoroughly explained!

Karate x Entertainment

Karate is a Japanese Budo that is popular even abroad.

Many foreigners enjoy it as a form of learning, and Budo-themed tourism is also reading popularity.

Karate x Entertainment is a performance by a professional karate practitioner.

Enbu is a type of karate competition in which participants perform a series of predetermined kata.

The refined movements are so beautiful that it is hard to take your eyes off of them, and they will refresh the atmosphere of the venue.

If requested, we can also combine performances such as kawara-splitting and board-splitting, which will give the venue a different excitement than a performance.

Recommended related article: 4 examples of Japanese-style performances by Karate and Budo

Calligraphy x Entertainment

Calligraphy x Entertainment is highly recommended for celebrations and get-togethers because you can prepare in advance what you would like to express in calligraphy, whether it is a congratulatory message or a vision for the future.

In calligraphy entertainment, a calligrapher dressed in kimono writes vigorously on a large piece of Japanese paper or a gold folding screen.

Japanese calligraphy has attracted considerable attention from abroad.

Many Westerners are endlessly interested in the Japanese language and the beauty of the brush strokes, and people from kanji-speaking countries will be very pleased to be able to read the meaning of the words if they are words of congratulations, as they are very close to the language.

And if the performance is set to music and combined with live Japanese instrumental music, the audience will be very excited.

In this way, the power of words and the beauty of the Japanese language can be fully appreciated in the Calligraphy x Entertainment program.

Recommended related article: Experience Japanese Culture through Calligraphy! What is the most popular Kanji performance among foreigners?

Nihon buyo(Japanese Dance) x Entertainment

Among the traditional Japanese performing arts, Nihon buyo is one of the most popular, especially among women today.

Nihon buyo is also called the art form that has mastered the beauty of the gesture of wearing a kimono.

With its roots in Kabuki and Noh, Nihon buyo expresses the movements of Kabuki onnagata as Noh dance, so it is no exaggeration to say that you can fully appreciate the traditional Japanese performing arts.

The most appropriate way to enjoy Nihon buyo as entertainment is through a traditional form of stage performance.

However, if you are planning an event for foreign visitors to Japan, you should have geishas perform Nihon buyo.

Geishas are masters of hospitality. And the mere presence of a geisha in a gorgeous setting will instantly brighten the atmosphere of the venue as if there were a large, beautiful flower.

Thus, we highly recommend that you use Geisha to guide your Nihon buyo x entertainment.

Ninja x Entertainment

Is the ninja a traditional Japanese performing art? Although there is a question as to whether or not ninja is a traditional Japanese performing art, I am here to tell you that entertainment centered on ninja is very popular.

Entertainment centering on the iconic Japanese ninja is popular as a performing art on a grand scale.

The reason for this is that there are still many foreigners who answer, “When I think of Japan, I think of ninjas,” so the experience of “I saw a ninja in Japan! The first thing that impresses them is the experience of seeing ninja in Japan.

The key to making this entertainment a successful project is to have real ninjas on hand.

In addition to state-of-the-art sound and VR technology, the ninja entertainment will be an acrobatic ninja show performed by descendants of real ninja. The show will be quite powerful and the atmosphere of the venue will be even more impressive.

In this way, Ninja x Japanese traditional performing arts is a suitable plan for the opening event of a celebration or reception.

Recommended related article: How to plan a [Special Birthday for a loved one] party? Surprise them with Geisha! -For wealthy foreign VIPs


We have introduced Japanese traditional performing arts x entertainment, which is effective for inbound travel to Japan.

Entertainment based on Japanese traditional performing arts is very popular among foreigners visiting Japan who want to enjoy and experience Japanese culture.

It is especially suitable for training sessions and social events for groups of foreign visitors to Japan and companies.

If you have ideas and concerns to help foreigners visiting Japan enjoy Japanese culture more, they will be able to enjoy traditional performing arts to the fullest, which tends to be difficult for them.

Motenas Japan is always available to discuss your custom-made traditional performing arts x entertainment project. Please feel free to contact us.

Please refer to this article to plan your entertainment for inbound visitors to Japan!