Whether it’s Kurosawa movies or modern manga, the geisha or its unique cuisine, Japan never fails to tickle the imagination. So inscrutable is the island-nation that travellers say one visit is never enough to grasp the essence of its people and traditions.
Now the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, allows you to gain a few insights into what made—makes—the Japanese tick by offering lessons in Bushido, the martial art of sword-fighting that has remained close to its 300-year-old roots. For upwards of ¥31,175 (for a two-hour introductory course) or ¥55,000 (for a seven-hour one-day induction course), you will visit the Mugai-ryu training facility in Nihonbashi, where, at the end of the training session with an authentic sword, you’ll receive a certificate of attendance, followed by lunch at the famed Kappo Toyoda restaurant, founded in 1863. And yes, you get the services of an English interpreter as well.
Learn Bushido, the martial art of sword-fighting
If you are not into Samurai swords unless they are wielded by Tom Cruise, sign up for a tea ceremony that’s as old and exciting but considerably less perilous to life and limb. Sekishu-ryu Isa-ha is an exclusive tea ceremony based on the spirit of the Bushido art form and now, in association with the 3-star Michelin restaurant Hamadaya, it’s been thrown open to people like you and me. The once-in-a-lifetime experience is available to just one party of upto eight people only on Mondays and Fridays, and is followed by a best-of-the-season dinner at the restaurant.
Rates are from ¥94,000 for a party of two, with ¥47,000 for each additional person, inclusive of the Kaiseki dinner. For reservations and enquiries, contact the concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, on 00813 3270-8240.