Japanese immersion in Kyoto and Osaka: Hands-on tour

Schedule : one-day
Type : Beginner Experienced

For those wanting to immerse themselves in Japanese culture, we recommend hands-on courses. We have hands-on activites from the most basic to the incredibly intensive. Osaka is in the center of Kansai, connecting tourist attractions such as Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. You can experience things like Japanese sweet making, observing budo or Japan's artisans at work around the unique City of Osaka where the historical townscape, latest trends and downtown customs are concentrated. Of course traditional accommodation is another surefire way to rediscover Japanese culture.


Keihan Main Line Kiyomizu-gojo Station START
1. 6 min walk Kanshundo Higashi Shop Japanese sweets making class
2. 6 min walk Take Keihan Main Line from Kiyomizu-gojo Sta., transfer at Kyobashi Sta. to Subway Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line, get off at Nishinagahori Sta., 5 min walk HOSTEL 64 Osaka
3. 15-20 min walk
4. 6 min walk
5. 6 min walk
6. 5 min walk
7. 15 min walk Take SubwayTanimachi Line from Temmabashi Sta., transfer at Tennoji Sta. to JR Kansai Main Line, get off at Hirano Sta., 10 min walk
8. 10 min walk Take JR Kansai Main Line from Hirano Sta., get off at Kami Sta., A short walk

1. Kanshundo Higashi Shop Japanese sweets making class


This hands-on tour starts in Kyoto. Seasonal Japanese sweets making under the direction of a craftsman at a historical Japanese sweets shop established in 1865. Three pieces of elegant cake in pale colors and 1 piece of small and dainty candy. Without fail, you will be impressed at the depth of the craftman's skill as well as the subtle delicacy of the sweets. You can enjoy the handmade sweets with green tea after the class.

Add 511-1 Chayamachi, Shomen Higashi-iru, Kawabata, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
TEL (075)561-1318
Class offered every day * Reservation required.
English text available
Participation fee JPY2,000
Train Fare Adult JPY390/ Child JPY200(Keihan rwy. Kiyomizu-gojo~Kyobashi)、Adult JPY230、Child JPY120(Osaka Subway Kyobashi~Nishi-nagahori)

2. HOSTEL 64 Osaka


Among the few hostels in Osaka, this one is a renovation of an old buildilng (built in 1964) by an architectural office in Osaka. The quiet appearance conceals a reception area with an imposing vintage Japanese chest, modern chairs and a small copper Buddah in the lobby, books tastefully displayed by the window in the gentle sunlight, and a high efficiency massage chair in the corner! The surprise does not end with the lobby. A classical and secretive bar lounge keeping the furnishings of the former guest rooms, bold wallpaper in Japanese rooms and retro tiles in shower rooms, etc. Careful attention for tourists' comfort including futons with thick mattresses in Japanese rooms, a roomy dormitory, friendly staff, and above all, reasonable price. No wonder it has never stopped being busy with overseas tourists and creative people in Japan since its opening in the spring of 2010. The Japan of 46 years ago and Japan today blend together, painstaking designing, selection and details, yet not too smart. Warm with typical Osaka spirit, it is an attractively designed hotel.

TEL (06)6556-6586

3. Kujo neighborhood


Go east from HOSTEL 64 Osaka at night to find Minami, the busiest area in Osaka. Go west! If you want to enjoy an Osaka unlike other parts of the city. A15-minute walk from the hotel takes you to the Kujo neighborhood. In addition to the Nine Mall Kujo shopping arcade, you will find small classic malls here and there in the alley. Row of shops from standard Tako yaki, Okonomi yaki and diners to small bars and Asian eateries, and Japanese favorite Kushi age (cutlets on a skewer), ramen and giblet hot pot near the intersection with Minato Dori. The huge Kyocera Dome floats in the night sky in the gaps between buildlings. Away from the busy town a little to the easygoing shitamachi (downtown), you may find your favorite corner.

4. Kikusui Onsen

A sento (public bath) over 50 years old in shitamachi (downtown). The bath line-up covers most types; the standard deep one, ultrasound, electric, cool water, steam, and magma mineral hot spring. The painted carp on the bath bottom seem to be swimming in the hot water. The super sento is a recent trend in Japan, but traditional ones have their own ambience. Happiness lies in leisurely bathing in a big bath tub with few bathers late at night. Everybody is naked, so do not be embarrassed! After the bath, enjoy a bottle of coffee flavored milk in the breeze from the fan. An Inari shrine can be seen on the wall when you look up from the retro massage chair. We strongly suggest a night at a sento where time passes slowly.

Add 4-2-4, Kawaguchi, Nishi-ku, Osaka
TEL (06-6583-4151 〈Japanese only〉
Business hours 15:00-23:30
Holiday Monday
Charge for using the bath Junior high school students and over: 410 yen, Elementary school students: 130 yen,  Children under elementary school age: 60 yen
Towel, soap, shampoo, etc, sold

5. Osaka Castle Park Kendo morning practice observation


Get up early and go to Osaka Castle Park on the second day of the hands-on tour. Kendo morning practice is held at Shudokan, the budo training hall in the park on weekdays. Kendo, one of the traditional Japanese budo arts, is for mental training to attain Japanese spirit as well as fencing practice. You will catch a glimpse of the origin of Japanese mentality in sincere practice in the clear morning air. Practice is 6:30-8:00, observation 7:00-7:30 only. You can observe from the chairs on the side of the entrance. We suggest taking a look during an early morning walk in Osaka Castle Park.

6. Trying costumes on at Osaka Castle Keep


The main attraction of Osaka Castle is the Keep. There are lots of things to see from the 1st to 8th floor; the theater room, the precious historical materials display, the life-size replica of the golden tea room, the miniature models depicting the castle and battle scenes, the museum shop, etc. You can enjoy the wide view of Osaka Castle Park and the city of Osaka from the observatory on the 8th floor, 50m above ground. On the second floor, you can try on the restored helmet and battle surcoat for photo shooting, and the cute kosode kimono for ladies. This is the only place where you can try on the cool and great helmets of renowned warriors such as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Yukimura Sanada and Kiyomasa Kato! Trying on fee - JPY300 per person each time.

7. Morino Sample Making food sample models


Among the factories, open the door to find an exciting work place right in front of your eyes. Numerous imitation food samples here and there; sunny side up, sushi rolls, fancy cake, and colorful fruit... curiosity makes your eyes wander. The imitation food samples often seen in restaurant display cases in Japan had their origin in this country, surprisingly started over 80 years ago. You can select fruit and sauce of your choice to make an original parfait, frosting with cream, and decoration. During the class, the president's talk is very interesting to satisfy your curiosity. Food samples appear tastier than the real thing. They are the result of trial and error as well as endless inquiring minds, definitely the work of master craftsmen. Japan is proud to show it off to the world!

Add 6-1-19 Kami-kita, Hirano-ku, Osaka
TEL (06)6792-7543 〈Japanese only〉 Booking required.

8. Ganko Hiranogo Yashiki


Hiranogo prospered through growing Kawachi cotton. A mansion built by a wealthy merchant Tsujimoto in the early Edo era was renovated to become a Japanese restaurant. A beautiful Japanese building surrounded by an elegant garden. High ceiling and thick beams for Japanese character. An ample lunch menu variety at reasonable prices starting at ¥680 for sushi set is contrary to expectations from the high class appearance. Plentiful dinner variety including sushi, kaiseki and hot pot. Casual Japanese dining in a quiet space.

Add 1-3-19 Kami-Kurasaku, Hirano-ku, Osaka
TEL (06)6796-0728 〈Japanese only〉


Sights to see

A Zazen meeting is held from 6:30 on every Tuesday at Shitennoji. 70-80 participants such as neighbors and regulars at every session sincerely tackle the mental training in the quiet early morning air. Admission free. First time participants report 10 minutes early for manner guidance, etc. Check on the website for no session days. http://www.shitennoji.or.jp/