13 Top Japanese Hobbies You Should Know (Meaning, FAQs)

Hobbies are things people do regularly in their free time for fun and relaxation because they like them.

Whether exploring the great outdoors, reading a good book, playing an instrument, or making art, having a hobby is a beautiful way to spend free time and de-stress from the stresses of everyday life.

Japanese hobbies offer the same benefits as regular hobbies. Many of them have their origins in Japan’s rich history and culture.

So, taking up a hobby is a great way to see and experience more of Japan. Many Japanese individuals place as much value on making time for their interests and hobbies as they do for their professions.

The concept of total devotion is deeply ingrained in Japanese society. Many Japanese individuals credit their hobbies with giving them a deeper understanding of who they are and why they should continue living.

Because of this, they can retire with a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

What are the popular hobbies in Japan? What are the best ways to develop a hobby? All of these questions and more will be answered in this article.

What does “Hobby” Mean in Japanese?

In Japanese, the word for “hobby” is “趣味,” which is pronounced “shumi.”

趣 (shu) can be translated as “taste” or “interest,” and 味 (mi) means “flavor” or “preference.”

So, together, “趣味” can be understood as one’s personal interest or preference, very much in line with the English meaning of “hobby.”

1. Origami

Origami, whose name is derived from the Japanese words “Ori” meaning “folding,” and “Kami,” meaning “paper,” is the technique of creating beautiful artwork by folding paper or fabric.

It is an excellent activity for stimulating the mind due to the need for focus, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination, all of which are used in creating paper models.

Origami is a well-liked hobby because it allows you to use your mind and hands. In addition, several geometric forms have significant cultural significance in Japan.

For instance, the crane has long been seen as a sign of prosperity and long life.

Aside from the crane, origami has become a popular hobby worldwide, with people making all sorts of other creatures, such as stars, boxes, and other forms.

Learning the art of origami may be a relaxing and enjoyable introduction to Japanese culture and a pleasant outlet for your imagination. Origami is one of the top Japanese hobbies.

2. Ikebana

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower and plant arrangement. It emphasizes using color, mass, and line to produce a visually appealing composition.

Like sculpture or painting, it allows amateurs to express their imagination.

Before beginning, they give considerable thought to the location, shape, color, and significance of every detail.

That’s why it might be a great opportunity to appreciate nature while learning about Japanese culture.

Ikebana, one of the three ancient Japanese arts of refinement, was historically practiced to make beautiful offerings for altars.

Contemporary ikebana artists stress the need for a meditative atmosphere and a spare aesthetic to appreciate the exquisiteness of the flowers they employ fully.

There are various places to learn ikebana, including classrooms, specialized facilities, and workshops.

As a traditional Japanese art form, Ikebana has also become more well-known beyond Japan.

Creating stunning Ikebana displays is a great hobby for anyone who appreciates art, design, and the natural world.

3. Kyudo

The Japanese term for archery is kyudo, which means “the way of the bow.”

Kyudo is not only a martial art but also a hunting technique, a type of meditation, and a competitive sport. It is one of the top Japanese hobbies.

Originally developed for military purposes, it is now an art form celebrating Japanese culture’s grace, discipline, and beauty.

Originating in feudal Japan, Kyudo is distinguished from the more stationary Western archery techniques or styles by using lighter equipment and more precise arrows.

NB: Remember that when training in kyudo, you must always wear the proper uniform. This entails donning the traditional Japanese attire of a kimono, hakama, tabi, and a pair of deerskin gloves.

Kyudo, like other ancient Japanese hobbies, emphasizes harmony with oneself.

It’s not about coming out on top but developing your skills and methods.

4. Shodo

In Japan, calligraphy is called shodo, one of the country’s most well-known artistic exports.

Simply put, it is the skill of producing elegant writing.

If you’re interested in learning calligraphy, you need an ink pen and some paper to start. It has a long history in Japan, having been introduced there in the 5th century.

An inked brush is used in shodo, an art form that originated in Japan. Spirituality and a sense of calm are also strongly linked to this practice among this group.

It’s a great activity in Japan, even if it might take years of dedication to become proficient.

5. Bonsai

Bonsai are little trees that are kept in pots with little soil. They express the gardener’s creativity through their careful shaping and pruning.

Japanese dwarf trees are arguably among the most well-known traditional Japanese hobbies you can think of.

In most nations, it is regarded as a luxury hobby.

A bonsai tree will always be an attractive addition to any home or workplace interior.

Bonsai first arrived in Japan in the sixth century, carried there by Japanese students and travelers returning from China.

Used by monks in Zen, these small trees were both visually attractive and a source of enlightenment.

It’s not just about how pretty they are; bonsai requires a lot of care and attention to be healthy and flourish.

The art of bonsai is dynamic and ever-evolving, much like its practitioner.

Bonsai might be your hobby if you’re seeking serenity, are interested in making art that comes to life, and value aesthetics. It is one of the top Japanese hobbies.

Start your journey with these extraordinary plants now by getting a bonsai tree. Over time, you will come to value your efforts greatly.

6. Chado (also commonly known as Chanoyu and Sado)

The Japanese tea ceremony, known as Chado (the way of tea), is a time-honored, ritualized practice.

The aesthetics, proper etiquette, and demonstration of excellent hospitality are more important than the tea in this tradition.

Chado is a thousand-year-old ritual with its origins in Zen Buddhism.

It was formerly reserved for priests and other religious dignitaries but has now grown into a method for the Japanese to express their hospitality to visitors.

Practicing Chado as a hobby is a great way to learn about the culture and history of the nation at your own pace.

7. Kyūdō:

Rooted in samurai traditions, kyūdō is more than just archery; it’s a discipline. Practitioners are taught to shoot “with the heart” and view the process as meditation.

The focus is on accuracy and the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of drawing the bow and releasing the arrow.

8. Sumi-e:

This ink-wash painting style prioritizes simplicity, capturing the essence of a subject with minimal brushstrokes.

It’s deeply influenced by Zen philosophy, emphasizing the harmony between nature and human beings, often featuring landscapes, animals, and flowers.

9. Tsujiura Senbei:

Different from the popular Chinese-American versions, these fortune cookies are flavored crackers or cookies containing fortunes.

They are a popular feature at temples and shrines, bringing visitors a mix of tastes and future insights.

10. Kendama:

Resembling the classic ball-and-cup game, kendama requires hand-eye coordination and balance. The game has evolved with many tricks and inspired international kendama competitions.

11. Noh and Kabuki:

Noh is the oldest surviving Japanese theatrical form, blending music, dance, and acting into slow, metaphoric performances.

On the other hand, Kabuki is more dynamic and dramatic, characterized by its elaborate costumes and exaggerated actor movements.

12. Fishing (Tsuribori):

Fishing is a beloved pastime in Japan, given its vast coastline and numerous freshwater sources. Tsuribori typically refers to pond fishing, often in stocked ponds, offering relaxation and the joy of the catch.

13. Train Spotting (Tetsudōfan):

It is a unique hobby where enthusiasts, known as “railfans,” passionately track and document various train models and routes.

How To Develop A Japanese Hobby

1. Break it down into detailed steps

It might help to break it down into smaller steps when facing anything new. Create a plan of action and work through it methodically.

Feel certain that the abilities you develop will serve you well for the rest of your life.

2. Frequently practice your hobby

Whether a Japanese hobby or a regular hobby, it’s common knowledge that practice leads to proficiency.

If you want to excel at your hobby, you must devote much time to practicing it.

Setting aside time every day or creating some trigger might be good so that it becomes usual in your mind.

Try practicing just after you get up in the morning or right after dinner. Using this strategy will facilitate the establishment of a new practice.

When developing a hobby, consistency is essential since it increases the probability that you will keep at it.

3. Take pleasure in your hobby

Make sure you’re enjoying yourself while engaging in your hobby. Unless you’re looking forward to it, you won’t be able to provide your best effort.

Think about if you’re doing it because you enjoy it or just doing it because you feel like you should. You should always remember that the point is to follow your heart.

Instead of listening to the advice of others, focus on what makes you happy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On Japanese Hobby

What do the Japanese do for fun?

Most Japanese love playing golf on the pinnacle of a building, swimming and skiing as their favorite fun activities.

What are the three most unique things about Japan?

The three most unique things about Japan are that it is a country full of several mountains, a rabbit island in the country, and every citizen of the nation has an exclusive seal.

What is Japan popularly known for?

Besides technology, Japan is known for its traditional arts, including sculpture, poetry, and the presence of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

How many hours do Japanese workers put in?

Japanese workers work as long as 40 hours a week, which, when broken down, results in 8 hours daily.


Numerous engaging hobbies in Japanese culture provide profound learning opportunities.

If you’re looking for a hobby to help you look and feel good, look no further than Japan.

In Japan, there are hobbies for everyone that will provide a glimpse into the one-of-a-kind character of this stunning country, proving once again that there are numerous ways to learn about a new culture.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Abasiofon Fidelis
Abasiofon Fidelis

Abasiofon Fidelis is a professional writer who loves to write about college life and college applications. He has been writing articles for over 3 years. He is the Content Manager at School and Travel.

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