The Japanese learn how and when to bow from a young age, and they use bows among themselves to mean anything from thank you to I’m sorry.
Sumo wrestling began in Japan hundreds of years ago, during the Edo Period, but its roots may go back even further to ancient Shinto rituals. Japan is the only country where sumo wrestling really caught on, and it is still the only place where you’ll find the sport practiced on a professional level.
Tatami flooring originated as small, mobile seating for the nobility during the Heian Period. By the early Edo Period, the lower classes even started using tatami mats. They are not only comfortable but also high maintenance and must be replaced from time to time. They’re now used primarily in Japanese-style rooms, such as those in tearooms, traditional restaurants, and ryokan (inns).
The tea ceremony was introduced to Japan by Chinese monks over 1,000 years ago. But over the centuries, the Japanese tea ceremony has become such a unique and distinctive art that the two now have few similarities.
Pachinko is a type of slot machine that was invented in Japan in the 1920s. Instead of trying to get matching pictures, players hope that the metal balls launched into the machine land in the right prize slots. Pachinko parlors are common throughout the country.
No place on earth appreciates cuteness as Japan does. From adorable mascots and warning signs to pop culture icons and advertisements, kawaiiness is one of the most prized attributes a thing can have.