Popular Japanese Cultural Experiences for International Visitors: 12 Recommended VIP Tours

Are you desiring more out of your visits to international destinations than just the traditional sightseeing tours, consisting of visiting historical buildings and beautiful scenery?

Nowadays, sightseeing is rapidly changing in Japan as more and more international visitors, especially the affluent, are craving for a more memorable experience.

Presently, what is gaining enormous popularity in inbound tourism in Japan is called “experiential tourism (experience tours)”, which allows the tourists to enjoy the Japanese culture by experiencing it firsthand through a variety of activities.
In this article, we will introduce the reasons why “experiential tourism (experience tours)” is so sought-after and recommend 12 Japanese cultural experiences that are sure to enrich your understanding and appreciation of Japan.

Embassies and international companies who may be wondering how to provide an exciting yet hospitable experience for VIPs and dignitaries visiting from overseas would greatly benefit from the 12 Japanese cultural experiences we will share today, as they have proven to be a surefire success with guests from abroad.

Please read this article and use it as a reference for your hospitality plans for affluent and VIP guests from overseas.

What Are Japanese Cultural Experiential Tourism and Experience Tours?

Japanese cultural experiential tourism and experience tours refer to tourism that goes beyond the traditional “seeing” and “buying” and focuses on a more active engagement with the culture through creating things, moving your body, and taking in experiences personally.

So, let’s look at what sets it apart from traditional tourism.

Differences between Traditional Tourism and Experiential Tourism (Experience Tours)

The Benefits of Providing Experiential Tourism for Overseas Visitors to Japan

Overseas visitors are longing to have a rich, deep, and meaningful experience of Japan in order to fully enjoy their trips.

Experiential tourism not only meets such demands but also provides benefits for the service providers in Japan.

So, let me introduce the advantages of incorporating experiential tourism for inbound visitors to Japan.

① Even without sufficient tourism resources, we can provide the service of “experience.”

In some regions, there may not be many tourism resources and attractions, and we have to rely on what already exists, such as geographical features or historical buildings.

However, by providing overseas guests with the “experience” of culture and tradition, these regions can turn into fascinating tourist attractions.

For example, cooking classes where visitors can learn to make traditional Japanese cuisine have become exceedingly popular as one of the “experiential tourism” options, especially after the recognition of Japanese cuisine as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Building such services also contributes to the revitalization of the local community through the development of human resources and organization.

② It can generate further opportunities for inbound tourism

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2017, about 90% of visitors from abroad who had participated in experiential tourism expressed their desire to experience it again on their next visit.

A single trip is not enough to fully take in all the wonders and beauty of Japan. 

Benefits of Customized Experiential Tours for Wealthy Overseas  Tourists

Recently, there has been an increase in cultural experiential tours, but most of these plans require participants to go to a predetermined location at a set time and experience the tour with strangers that they meet on the spot.

For wealthy clients who value privacy and personalization, this is not an appealing situation.

It is important to meet the demands of wealthy and VIP overseas group tourists by providing fulfilling, engaging content and special, unforgettable experiences.

Because these individuals are naturally curious about and attracted to special and luxurious things, their desire for “exclusivity” becomes even stronger when they travel to Japan, which is already an extraordinary experience.

To fulfill the lofty expectations of these guests, we strongly recommend that you plan customized experiences.

We can help deliver a more authentic Japanese cultural experience and create special moments shared with the guests that can never be replicated.

For the above reasons, we highly recommend customized tours for wealthy and VIP overseas group tourists.

10 Examples of Japanese Cultural Experiences Overseas Visitors Love

12 Recommended Experiential Tours for VIPs

So, what kind of experiential tours are available for VIP guests that are different from regular tours?

Here, we will introduce 12 of our most sought-after and well-received Japanese cultural experiential tours.

If any of our carefully selected plans interest you, please consult with Motenas Japan.

Experience the Luxury of Wearing Kimono in the Ooku and Geisha Style


 Undoubtedly the most beloved attraction among VIPS and wealthy guests from abroad is the kabuki experience.

Kabuki, with its striking appearance and immersive Japanese atmosphere, never fails to delight  the hearts of all who watch its captivating act.

With our customized Kabuki experience, you not only get to watch the performance up close and personal in a private setting but also get the chance to participate in workshops led by the actual actors themselves.

You’ll get the very limited opportunity to witness the behind-the-scenes aspects of kabuki that are not typically shown during regular shows, such as the intricate makeup, kumadori (facial painting), and dress-up. Moreover, you can directly engage with the actors during the Q&A sessions, making it a truly rare, extraordinary experience.

This unique opportunity allows you to delve deeper into the world of kabuki, gaining insights that go beyond what can be learned from simply watching a play. It’s a riveting experience that will surely leave a lasting impression on the minds of every guest who views it.

Sado(Tea ceremony, Kado(flower arrangement)

We highly recommend experiencing the traditional Japanese arts of tea ceremony and flower arrangement, known as “sado” and “ikebana” respectively.

These traditional arts, which are deeply rooted in Japanese philosophy and thought, are a constant favorite among overseas guests who want to immerse themselves in traditional Japanese culture.

One of the enticing points about these experiences is that you also get to wear an authentic kimono during the activities. With the help of a professional kimono dresser, you will actually be wearing a traditional kimono while soaking in the art of tea or arranging flowers, making the cultural experience even more gratifying.

For the flower arrangement lessons, you will receive detailed guidance and careful instructions from a master of ikebana, and for the tea ceremony, a master of the world-renowned Urasenke school will personally prepare and serve the tea just for you.

The serene atmosphere with the scent of tatami mats is an irreplicable experience that can only be felt in the land of Japan.

The tea ceremony activities can even be arranged in banquet halls that can accommodate large groups, making them a sure-fire option as entertainment for VIP guests.

If you’re interested in learning more about tea ceremony and flower arrangement experiences, we recommend checking out this article. It provides detailed information on how to participate and what to expect.

Here is the recommended article on tea ceremony and flower arrangement experiences.

O-oku (the inner palace) and oiran (courtesans) experience in gorgeous kimonos

We highly recommend the luxurious kimono dressing experience for affluent women. This experience has skyrocketed in popularity, especially in China, due to the growing fame of the drama series “Ooku.”

Furthermore, the elegant and glamorous kimono in the geisha style, captured in photos and videos by professional photographers, is truly awe-inspiring. The photo shoot takes place in a beautiful Japanese garden, allowing you to feel like an authentic princess. This experience is truly tailored for the affluent class who understands the value and joy of luxury.

For related articles, please check out “Transform into Ooku! Welcoming Wealthy Overseas Guests with a Kimono Experience”, which introduces the basics of kimono and related cultural experiences recommended for visitors.

Feel free to take a look!

Karate Experience

Karate is a Japanese martial art that is not only popular domestically, but also overseas. Many people learn this fighting style in their home countries, but experiencing it in Japan adds a unique, authentic touch to their cultural experiences.

Karate offers a wide range of potential experiences, from workshops where individuals receive instruction from karate practitioners to cultural experiences tailored for group customers. It is also highly popular for team building and training programs for international employees, as karate is based on philosophies of honor which can only be learned through practicing it.

For related articles, please check out “Japanese Culture: Recommended 6 Options for International Guest-Focused Training and Team Building: Ikebana, Tea Ceremony, Karate, Sumo, Sushi, and Japanese Drums

Sumo Experience

Sumo is an iconic sport in Japan and a popular cultural experience that many overseas guests enjoy when visiting Japan.

Sumo is a prominent cornerstone of Japan’s traditional cultures, and by experiencing sumo firsthand, you can gain a more profound insight into Japanese culture.

Sumo is a powerful sport where giant wrestlers collide with and battle each other using brute strength and swift techniques. For international visitors, their unfamiliarity with the sport makes sumo a curious fascination that draws them deep into the experience.

There is a variety of opportunities to experience sumo, such as sumo workshops led by former wrestlers. In these events, you can actually compete in sumo with the wrestlers themselves. As an added bonus, experiencing sumo with professional wrestlers allows you to become aware of your own physique and physical strength level.

Sumo is a familiar, widespread sport for Japanese people, so there are many services available for international visitors. For example, there are thorough explanations of the sport in English and ticket sales areas specifically for guests from abroad. These convenient services make enjoying sumo very accessible for overseas guests.

In this way, sumo is a recommended cultural experience for international guests and a sport that allows you to deeply understand Japanese culture.”

Nihon buyo experience

We proudly introduce the captivating experience of Japanese traditional dance culture, a highly recommended choice for international guests as a cultural experience in Japan.

Japanese traditional dance, with its unique movements, gracefulness, ornaments, and costumes, exudes a distinct beauty that overseas visitors find intriguing as well as entertaining.

Moreover, Japanese traditional dance incorporates elements deeply rooted in Japan’s vibrant history and culture. For instance, it reflects the influence of popular forms of entertainment during the Edo period, such as Kabuki and Noh theater, allowing guests from abroad to learn about the splendor of Japan’s beautiful past.

Japanese traditional dance is not limited to being a mere classical performing art; it can also be enjoyed as a dance form. Therefore, it is highly recommended as a workshop program as well.

 International guests can choose from a variety of experiences, such as taking lessons in Japanese traditional dance, trying on a kimono, or even performing on stage. This high level of customization ensures a high probability of enjoyment by the guests.

Ninja Experience


Among the various Japanese cultural experiences for overseas guests, one of the most exciting and popular is the ninja experience.

While there are places all over Japan where you can experience being a ninja, the private ninja experience is highly recommended for VIP international guests.

Believe it or not, real ninjas still exist in Japan today. Descendants of ninjas continue to train and practice traditional ninja techniques.

With the plans Motenas Japan offers, you can learn famous ninja techniques such as shuriken throwing and blowgun shooting from trained ninjas.

Ninjas are also very popular among children overseas through anime and manga, making it a captivating tourist attraction for VIPs with children.

In addition, ninja entertainment is exhilarating and enjoyable for adult guests.

With a glamorous production featuring ninjas, samurais, and kunoichis, the entertainment shows are packed with breathtaking excitement.

As you can see, the ninja experience is a popular cultural activity for individuals, groups, and people of all ages.

Below are some recommended articles related to the ninja experience.

【Ninja, Popular Even Overseas!】 How to Explain to Overseas Guests

【Explaining Ninja in English】 5 Recommended NINJA Experiences

If you’re interested, please take a moment to read about how we recommend you entertain guests with the ninja experience.

Calligraphy Experience

The calligraphy experience is a highly regarded Japanese cultural activity among guests overseas.

When hosting important overseas guests or organizing events for building relationships, calligraphy performances are the perfect means for overseas guest groups to fully enjoy Japanese culture.

Japanese Whiskey Experience

Japanese whisky is now a world-renowned whisky. From extremely rare bottles that are almost impossible to find to those that win top prizes in annual whisky contests around the world, Japanese whiskey is becoming the envy of the world. When overseas guests come to Japan, they often want to fully savor and appreciate Japanese whisky. In particular, authentic Japanese bars are not commonly found overseas, so international visitors are quite interested in drinking at quiet exclusive members-only bars..

Sake Experience / Sake Brewery Experience


Sake has become widely popular overseas, and there are many from abroad who have a deep love for Japanese sake.

There are two types of experiences available.

One is to rent out a specialized sake shop and enjoy tasting unique sake that can only be found there.

You can drink delicious sake while listening to detailed explanations from sake professionals, and they will also provide you with sake from a prestigious sake shop in Niigata, along with food pairings.

The other experience is to rent out a sake brewery and learn about the process of making sake while enjoying the sake. With the help of an interpreter, you can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of this age-old industry.

After the tour, you can taste and compare the sake made at the brewery, and adding activities such as tuna cutting shows and live band performances will make the experience even more exciting.

Guests who love sake will definitely be delighted.

As you can see, Japanese cultural experiences centered around sake have great potential, so we highly recommend them.

For more information about Motenas Japan’s plans with a focus on sake experiences, please check out the following articles:

Entertaining Overseas Guests with Sake Experiences! Reasons for Popularity, Recommended Sake Selection, and 6 Event Examples

Enjoying Sake with Overseas Guests| Sake Brewery Experience in Simple English

If you have any inquiries about the plans that interest you, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Geisha Experience

The geisha experience is truly a special treat for wealthy and VIP guests.

With unrivaled hospitality skills, geishas are absolute professionals in hospitality and entertainment.

Above all, many overseas guests fall in love with their impressive, lavish appearance.

They are also the official inheritors of Nihon buyo, a Japanese traditional dance, and have undergone rigorous training. Therefore, geishas are recommended for private birthday parties and large celebrations.

Having a geisha in a traditional private tatami room to entertain dignitaries would also be an excellent plan.

Usually, connections are required to have geishas since they are usually not allowed to entertain first-time customers. However, many overseas guests would like to try a geisha experience, so geisha experience tours are organized. Of course, our tour is a very special, tailor-made geisha experience tour that you cannot experience anywhere else.

Below is an article detailing our custom-made geisha experience.

Japanese musical instrument experience

We always need music at parties.

For a Japanese-themed party, traditional Japanese musical instruments are a must. These instruments have a unique, distinct sound that creates an elegant, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. The performers are dressed in traditional Japanese attire, and the instruments themselves are rare, which piques the interest of international guests.

Additionally, incorporating powerful performances like taiko drumming can provide an original form of entertainment that sets the party apart.

Furthermore, dance parties are quite common at galas and parties organized by guests from abroad. Towards the end of the party, there is often a designated time for guests to dance freely to the music. This presents an opportunity to perform popular dance songs using traditional Japanese instruments.

In this way, the experience of traditional Japanese instruments is indispensable for Japanese-themed parties.


The affluent guests overseas who visit Japan have often already been to various places within the country and have already enjoyed the delicious food that Japan has to offer. With the spread of the internet and logistics, information and desired items can be obtained from anywhere in the world.

In this day and age, what affluent travelers are seeking is “value” that cannot be bought with money. Experiencing Japan’s unique “experiential tourism” where they can go to the source and get up close and personal with exceptional quality becomes a one-of-a-kind memory that can only be obtained at that specific time and place.

When welcoming affluent guests from abroad, we encourage you to propose a memorable “experiential tourism” that will leave the guests with a lasting impression.