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CULTURE

Japan has a rich cultural heritage with many ancient arts and traditions. Almost two hundred years of self-imposed isolation helped shape many of the unique practices and strong sense of national identity woven into the fabric of this island nation. HYPER JAPAN has been visited by many diverse artisans and practitioners who have helped us to give visitors a glimpse of long-established traditions kept alive in modern Japan. Experience a wide array of these Japanese traditions at HYPER JAPAN Christmas Market.

One of the most widely practiced Japanese traditions is that of martial arts, ancient physical techniques used for either self-defence or combat. There are many different variants, both unarmed and those that utilize weaponry such as staffs and swords. The most famous of these are judo, aikido, karate, jujitsu, and sumo. Martial arts require many years of rigorous training and strict discipline to master, and are as much a development of the mind and spirit as the body. Japanese martial arts displays are a regular feature of HYPER JAPAN events.

A more gentle tradition is that of kimono, long flowing layered garments tied with a belt which are sometimes elaborately decorated. In the past almost everyone in Japan wore kimonos, but with the introduction of more wearer friendly Western day wear, most people now reserve them for festivals and other celebrations. There are different kinds of kimonos for men, women and children, and the kinds of materials used vary according to season and occasion. Many wearers will also wear their hair in complementary styles with matching accessories, bringing the traditional garment up to date.

Japanese music is another area where tradition meets contemporary taste. Modern performers in Japan often use traditional instruments such as taiko drums to play contemporary musical compositions, helping to keep ancient musical techniques alive. Originally a court instrument, taiko drums can be as large as a van, and take a lot of stamina to play. Other softer forms of music use flutes and string instruments which take as long to master as martial arts, and players are judged not only on the music they play, but the composure with which it is performed. Live performances of Japanese folk music are a regular feature at HYPER JAPAN.

From the Walkman to robots, Japanese technology has become synonymous with innovation and quality, and Japan has a reputation throughout the world for high-tech. The country that pioneered the electric toilet has also been responsible for some of the most popular entertainment systems of all time, and there are countless everyday tools we take for granted which originated in Japan.

As technology develops, robotic capabilities are growing ever more impressive, and some predict that the day when robots may be seen as carers, workers, and even companions is not too far away. Until that day comes however, we can enjoy watching robots capable of taking part in dance contests, kicking balls, and making eerily human facial expressions.

Many visitors to HYPER JAPAN are interested in visiting Japan. But, for a small island, Japan can seem pretty huge and daunting, so it’s always great to talk to some experts to make sure you plan the best trip possible.

At HYPER JAPAN 2014 Japan travel experts will be on hand to help you plan the perfect Japanese vacation, giving you all the guidance you need to make it a real once in a lifetime experience. There are several important factors to consider when planning your trip. As a country with four distinct seasons, it’s a good idea to really think about what time of year you decide to visit in. Do you want to experience the famous cherry blossoms in spring, or Japan’s gorgeous autumn leaves, or perhaps even get in a spot of winter sports? Do you want a relaxed tour, taking in the most traditional sites, for example visiting the ancient temples in Nara and catching a glimpse of geishas in Gion, or are the lively streets (and clubs) of Tokyo more your scene?

HYPER JAPAN have launched an official Japan Tour, “HYPER JAPAN’s J-Pop & Go! Tour”. You can find all the details about this exciting adventure here or alternatively speak to InsideJapan Tours at HYPER JAPAN 2014, who will be in attendance to give personal advice and answer any questions.