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Indoor Fun in Kyoto During Rainy Days: From Aquarium to Tea Ceremonies
Indoor Fun in Kyoto During Rainy Days: From Aquarium to Tea Ceremonies
June 2, 2023

While Kyoto is often associated with its stunning temples, shrines, and outdoor gardens, sometimes the weather does not cooperate, and you may need to find some indoor activities to fill your time. Wondering what indoor activities are there to do in Kyoto? Here are a few suggestions that you could put on your to-do-list during the rainy season:

Explore Japan’s Marine Life at Kyoto Aquarium

Located inside Umekoji Park, the Kyoto Aquarium is one of the city’s top indoor attractions for people of all ages. The aquarium showcases the variety of marine life found in the local waters of Japan as well as exotic creatures from tropical regions. It was opened in 2012 and houses for 250 kinds of underwater creatures and over 15,000 creatures total.

The aquarium has two floors and is divided into various zones, each highlighting a different type of environment. A favourite zone amongst visitors is “The Countryside of Kyoto”, which exhibits a rice paddy in the middle of the bustling place. The area also features seasonal flowers and produce so people can get a hint of Kyoto’s countryside agriculture. 

Moving to “The River of Kyoto” section, you will be pleased to find one of the world’s largest amphibians, the Japanese giant salamander. The salamander is a Special Natural Monument of Japan for its astounding size and rarity. Here at Kyoto Aquarium, you can see the large-scale exhibit area with a realistic display of the giant salamander’s ecology in the rivers of Kyoto.

Visitors can also participate in educational programs and tours to learn about marine life conservation and preservation efforts. The souvenir shop also holds fun gifts for yourself or loved ones, like the salamander soft toy and Japanese sweets. 

Sign Up for a Calligraphy Class Today

If you’re looking for a hands-on activity, consider attending a calligraphy session at Calligraphy Kyoto under the guidance of an experienced Japanese calligrapher called Chifumi. Her studio specialises in traditional Japanese calligraphy, known as shodo (書道), which involves the use of brushes and ink to create beautiful characters and compositions on paper or other surfaces. 

Even if you’re not familiar with the basics of Japanese “Hiragana” and “Katakana”, the studio provides a simple guide to learn them with a stiff brush before moving on to “Kanji”. The various characters may seem daunting to a first-timer, but with the instructor’s help, you can acquire the fundamentals quickly. 

One of the studio’s highlights is its diverse classes and workshops for beginners and experienced calligraphers, including private lessons and group sessions. The popular “2 Hour Small Scroll Course” teaches the basics of calligraphy where participants will create a small calligraphy scroll of a Japanese expression on “Yatsugiri” scroll paper and a letter in their language using “Makigami” letter paper. 

Another interesting course the studio offers is “2 Hours Original Hanko (red seal rubber stamp)”. Aside from experiencing the Zen of calligraphy, participants will have the chance to create a one-of-a-kind original Hanko, with the participants choosing their writing style and practicing carving simple lines before applying the final design onto the rubber stamp-face. 

The workshops can be held in either English, Japanese or Mandarin Chinese depending on your preference and you can reserve your spot by checking the studio’s availability on their website: 

Embrace Serenity and Tradition by Joining a Tea Ceremony

Experience the intricacy of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at Camellia Tea Ceremony. This ceremony is often referred to as Sado or “The Way of Tea” and is a cultural practice in Japan that emphasizes hospitality, respect, and harmony. It is typically performed by a trained tea master or host who prepares and serves the tea to guests in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. 

At Camellia Tea Ceremony, you can opt between a shared tea ceremony which gives you a chance to be one with other experience seeker travellers or a private tea ceremony with your group or on your own. 

The 45-minute tea presentation involves a series of slow and deliberate movements done in unison with guests. At the start of the session, the instructor will welcome the guests with a brief introduction to the history and culture surrounding tea before performing the tea ceremony itself. After being served with Kyoto’s confectionery, guests will prepare their bowl of frothy Matcha. 

Guests are expected to show proper respect and etiquette throughout the ceremony. The tea served in the Camellia Tea Ceremony is usually a high-quality green tea with a delicate and subtle flavour. If you’re looking forward to being a part of the experience, bookings can be made on their website: 

Enjoy Kyoto Even on Rainy Days

Kyoto has plenty of fun activities to do, even on rainy days. Don’t let the rain dampen your spirit when so many things are awaiting you. Embrace the rain and try out the suggestions listed for you!