Building Bonds through Japanese Traditions: An In-Depth Look at 6 Must-Try Activities for Global Teams

Mayumi Folio
Mayumi Folio

Team building is designed to help the entire team achieve one thing and step up to become a better team.

More and more foreign companies are incorporating Japanese cultural experiences into their team building programs.

So, what does a Japanese cultural experience training or team building program for foreigners actually entail?

This article is a good starting point.

People who are looking for the perfect team building experience for foreigners

What does Japanese cultural experience and team building actually entail?

What are some of the things that are actually done in a Japanese cultural experience and team building?

I am looking for a training program that can deepen my foreign employees’ understanding of Japanese manners and customs….

The content of this article is perfect for those who are interested in this topic.

By reading this article, you will gain detailed knowledge about Japanese cultural experiential team building.

Please read to the end.

Japanese Cultural Experience Type: What is Training and Team Building?

What is team building?

Team building is done to create teams that achieve better results, with the goal of “stepping up to be a good team” that can raise the awareness of the entire team and share a common sense of purpose.

The content varies depending on the idea, from “building a castle out of paper cups” to “staying on a desert island for a week with everyone,” but the common denominator is “achieving one objective with everyone.

By working together on something that is outside of their expertise, team members can see aspects of their colleagues that they would not normally see, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

In a company, it is important to raise the awareness of all members involved in the team, because without a functioning team, a new business or project will not be successful.

It is then necessary to organize a team where the entire team functions efficiently and where each individual can make the most of his or her abilities.

Reference site HR NOTE: [How to practice team building] Four points to be aware of to improve organizational performance

What is training?

The purpose of training is to improve the abilities of members, and there are two types of training: in-house training and external training.

In-house training is generally conducted within the company, and is characterized by highly specialized training programs such as study sessions and seminars that improve job content and can be applied to the job content.

In addition, trainees observe the work of senior employees up close and receive support as they practice and improve their skills.

In addition, external training is a type of corporate training that is outsourced to outside companies, and is characterized by the variety of content that can be planned.

The company hires lecturers with a wealth of expertise and professionals to improve the skills required for the job, thereby enhancing the expertise of the employees.

Reference website HR Glossary: What is Training? [Full explanation] Meaning, Purpose, Types, Assignments, Attendance

How do you use Japanese cultural experiences for training and team building?

What is Japanese cultural experience and training?

An increasing number of foreign companies want to learn about hospitality and courtesy from experiencing Japanese culture in their external training programs.

Japan is highly regarded overseas as a country that offers the best hospitality in the world, and we receive requests from companies in the service industry to plan employee training on hospitality in Japan.

While some companies specifically go into service industry associations, such as hotels in Japan, as external training programs, others plan them in order to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese hospitality by actually experiencing Japanese culture.

In addition, an increasing number of companies are offering training programs for foreign employees in Japan to help them learn more about Japanese customs and culture.

If you choose a content that is perfect for learning Japanese hospitality, such as Sado (Tea ceremony) or Kado(flower arrangement), it will be a good opportunity for foreign employees to better understand Japanese culture.

This is because a deeper understanding is expected by experiencing Japanese culture and traditions rather than superficially learning about hospitality.

In this way, Japanese Culture x Employee Training is a content that can contribute to the development of foreign employees.

What is Japanese cultural experience and team building?

The method of incorporating Japanese cultural experiences into team building is popular among foreign companies.

This is because they can acquire the ability to analyze themselves objectively through a cultural experience that is completely different from the norm, and also learn the importance of courtesy and respect for others in Japanese culture.

For example, in Karate and Sumo, which are popular Budo team-building activities, we train as if it were an actual Karate class.

First, students learn about the beautiful forms of karate and develop their physical balance. Then, by repeating the same movements over and over again, they refine them into more refined movements.

This requires a high level of concentration and self-discipline, and allows the students to hear their true selves, which they tend to forget to do in their busy daily lives.

Then, team games are played, and it is necessary to analyze each other’s human qualities and abilities away from the usual work, such as the organization of the team for the game and the strengths of the team members.

In this way, the team building part of the Japanese cultural experience is becoming increasingly popular because it is a situation that is completely different from our usual work and life, so we can look at each other’s humanity and team composition skills more objectively.

Reasons for popularity among foreigners

Training and team building based on Japanese cultural experiences.

The reason why they are popular among foreigners is that many of them can learn the philosophy, unique sense of thought, and respect for others in Japanese culture.

And since there are many aspects of Japanese culture that are connected to wellness philosophy, there is much content that can be approached sensitively to companies that are adopting the “SDGs” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).

Take, for example, the Sado (Tea ceremony) concept of “Wabi and Sabi.

Wabi-sabi is a way of thinking that finds spiritual fulfillment in poverty and scarcity, and has the meaning of a new aesthetic sense that expresses the “beauty of scarcity.

The SDGs include items such as addressing environmental and social issues, and the philosophy of chanoyu contains much that is connected to the SDGs, does it not?

In order to actually experience such Japanese culture and philosophy, Japanese cultural experiences are gaining popularity among foreign trainees.

Japanese culture suitable for training and team building

Let me introduce you to some of the Japanese cultural experiences we recommend for training and team building and their benefits.

Kado(flower arrangement) Ikebana

The term “flower biz” is a term that has been attracting a lot of attention recently.

Flower biz is a project to actively incorporate flowers and greenery into the workplace environment.

Plants are medically believed to have a relaxing effect, and it is believed that exposure to flowers in the workplace can soothe the mind and improve work efficiency.

Since there is a movement abroad to increase the number of plants in the workplace, Kado(flower arrangement) training and team building are recommended from this aspect as well.

The Kado(flower arrangement) experience involves actually arranging flowers based on the philosophy of Kado(flower arrangement) using live flowers.

Participants learn how to make the most of flowers based on each school of flower arrangement while considering the overall balance.

Unlike flower arrangements in other countries, where the beauty of the flowers is created by filling in the gaps, ikebana is said to be an aesthetic of subtraction.

The Kado(flower arrangement) philosophy of arranging flowers to bring out their natural beauty is a uniquely Japanese concept.

The content of the training and team building through the ikebana experience begins with the participants being divided into teams to select floral materials and arrange the flowers.

The participants discuss not only the flowers, but also the vase, branches, leaves, and types of flowers with each other to choose the best arrangement, thus fostering creativity.

At the end of the class, the participants present their creations and reconfirm their imagination and compositional skills.

Reference: Flower Biz Leaflet – Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Sado (tea ceremony)

Sado (Tea ceremony) was born by Sen no Rikyu, the founder of hospitality, and it is here that one can experience the source of the current Japanese idea of hospitality.

The idea of wabi and sabi was also born here, and there is a special time to look at the beauty of the lack of it.

In Sado (Tea ceremony), tea is served and guests are entertained according to the prescribed manners.

The guest is then received with courtesy according to the prescribed manners.

Learning this series of manners is the cultural experience of Sado (Tea ceremony).

Learning about each action, the care given to the utensils and space, and the hospitality shown to the guest will bring new insights into the tea ceremony.

What makes the tea ceremony excellent as a team building activity is the simple act of making a cup of tea for the other person by doing each of these actions respectfully.

This is the philosophy behind such a simple act.

By taking the time to experience it, you will discover something new about the individual and the team.

We also see many requests from domestic companies who want their foreign employees involved in the service industry to better understand Japanese hospitality, as there are many companies in Japan that would like to have a better understanding of Japanese hospitality.

This is a deeper experience of Japanese culture that cannot be grasped through etiquette classes or in-house training.

Because you can experience an understanding that transcends language, even foreign employees who are fluent in the language have a greater understanding of what they learn from the actual experience.

The special space and experience will help you better understand Japanese culture.

In addition, we can also provide experiences that bring you closer to Japanese cultural thought, such as Sado (Tea ceremony x Zazen) for tailor-made training and team building, so please contact us anytime if you have any questions about what you are interested in.


The appeal of team building through sports is the game and teamwork structure within sports.

The appeal of training and teambuilding in Budo is the advantage of being able to learn through experience the spirituality of the Japanese tradition in addition to the sporting aspect of the sport.

This is due in part to the fact that one can also learn the high spirituality of Budo. Particularly popular are karate training and team building.

Karate has many foreign fans, and we would love to experience it in Japan, the home of karate! The number of karate enthusiasts who come to Japan to experience karate in its home country is on the increase.

There are two types of karate training and team building: kata and kumite.

The first is team building on the theme of karate performance.

The training involves the careful repetition and mastery of kata in karate.

By combining the philosophy and aesthetics of karate with team building, rather than the fighting aspect of karate, participants learn respect for self-confidence and respect for others.

The group performance of karate is completed by breathing in unison and aligning oneself with the members.

The smooth communication and sense of community that is expected in team building is created and shared.

The second is an experience of the fighting style known as kumite in karate, where the participants are actually divided into teams and compete.

Karate, a Budo art, is based on the idea of “respecting the opponent and being respectful to him or her.

This mindset is also important in business, and students learn to respect their opponents at all times, even in battle.

This has the added benefit of fostering a balance in member composition and mentality within the team, since the teams are split up and compete separately.

Both of these experiences have become popular with our custom-made karate training and team building projects, so please feel free to contact us if you are interested.

Recommended reference article: [A Japanese experience that foreigners will love! Karate for learning Japanese spirit and Sumo for team building and training

sumo wrestling

Sumo experience as a training and team-building activity is the perfect project for companies looking for a team-building activity for their employee training programs.

The appeal of sumo is that it is a popular sport for training and teambuilding, and can be experienced as a Japanese Budo.

Sumo is especially recommended for foreign participants on incentive trips, as they can learn about Japanese culture through the history, teachings, and etiquette of sumo as a team building activity.

Training and team building through the Sumo experience begins with learning the basics of sumo from the rikishi, such as how to step on the stool and how to perform a bout.

The basic training of sumo, the yomata stomp, strengthens the core of the body and improves the balance of the body.

It requires high concentration because victory or defeat is decided at a moment’s notice, and it has a reputation for helping students grasp something that will lead to business because they can experience victory or defeat at a moment’s notice.

The ability to hit your opponent with your whole body is also a part of team building, and can be useful for developing team communication.

And after sweating it out in the training and team building of the custom-made sumo experience, you can plan to enjoy chanko-nabe as well as a get-together, so everything can be managed through this project.

It is a special experience to enjoy a pot of hot pot with the partner with whom you have clashed with all your might.

Recommended reference article: Popular even overseas: Sumo wrestling experience! Points of explanation based on basic knowledge of rules, history, etc. and how to watch a match


Sushi-themed training and team-building activities are still very popular among foreigners.

Many foreigners want to try their hand at making sushi, the soul food of Japan, and many foreigners mention the sushi experience as something they would like to try during their visit to Japan.

In this food-related training and team-building event, business members who do not usually cook for each other dress in white kappo-gowns and make sushi.

The team-building experience proceeds in a congenial manner, and many of our staff members tell us that it is an enjoyable experience that has left a lasting impression on them.

Another advantage is that the sushi experience does not take a long time.

Many companies want to incorporate something that will benefit their employees even in the smallest of gaps in their overseas training programs, which have a very detailed schedule.

Another recent trend is to combine social gatherings with training and team building, and the sushi experience is a perfect fit for training and team building.

A tailor-made sushi experience can be perfectly suited to these problems because it can be combined with lunch time.

The training and team-building experience lasts approximately two hours and is ideal for companies that would like to do something more Japanese since they are in Japan.

taiko (Japanese drum)

This is truly an appropriate project for employee training and team building, as all participants beat a large taiko (Japanese drum) with all their strength to the rhythm, and all participants beat the same rhythm together.

It helps to improve the overall atmosphere of the company as participants share a sense of accomplishment and bond with each other, and it creates a sense of unity and upliftment in the team as communication is created through music.

And because taiko (Japanese drum) is an instrument that can be played by anyone, even those who are not very good at music, by beating it with their whole body to the rhythm, everyone can enjoy improving as they practice more and more.

The sound of taiko (Japanese drum) echoes in the pit of your stomach. And since it is played using the whole body, it is quite a workout.

And since we don’t usually get to beat something as hard as we can, beating the taiko as hard as we can is refreshing both physically and mentally.

One of the attractions of this program is that it can be held at a convention center, or you can learn from the instructor in a small group with a high degree of freedom.

If you prepare Happi coats, Hachimaki (headband), and tabi (split-toed socks), which are popular among foreigners, even a large group of participants can enjoy wearing traditional Japanese clothing.

Taiko (Japanese drum) training and team building are also popular as corporate meeting activities and corporate training programs.


How was it?

In this issue, we introduced training and team building for foreigners with the theme of Japanese cultural experiences.

There are many ideas in Japanese culture that are quite special and interesting to learn about from a foreigner’s perspective, and Japanese cultural experiences are perfect for training and team building because you can learn through actual experience.

And since you can plan various projects depending on your ideas, it is possible to plan an original training and team building program that you can’t find anywhere else.

At Motenas Japan, we can help you plan a training and team building program that you are sure to enjoy.

If you have any questions about training and team building for foreigners, please feel free to contact us anytime.