Essential Cultural Experiences of Japan on Awaji Island

Cultural experience is an encounter with the traditions, customs, arts, and history of a particular society or community. Many people travel to Japan specifically for cultural experiences, with Kyoto often being the first place that comes to mind.

However, nestled close to Kyoto is another destination renowned for offering some of the best cultural experiences in Japan, Awaji Island. In this article, we will introduce you to essential cultural experiences on Awaji Island for those visiting Japan.

Visiting One of the Most Important Shrines in Japan


One of the quintessential cultural experiences in Japan is visiting shrines, which are imbued with traditional values and rich history. Awaji Island has one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Japan, deeply intertwined with the island’s role as the first in Japanese history, as recorded in the Kojiki. This shrine is none other than Izanagi-jingu Shrine.

Izanagi-jingu Shrine offers a perfect opportunity for a cultural experience, being among the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. It holds significance as the place where Izanagi no Mikoto, the deity credited with creating Japan, resided after completing his divine responsibilities.

Visiting Izanagi-jingu Shrine offers a rich cultural experience, including the opportunity to receive a traditional Shinto blessing, witness ceremonial rituals, and observe Miko (priestesses) dances. Inside the shrine grounds, you will also discover the awe-inspiring Meoto-no-ookusu (the husband-and-wife giant camphor tree), a sacred tree over 900 years old that symbolizes a happy marriage based on the unity of two trees into one.

Exploring Izanagi-jingu Shrine provides invaluable insights into Japan’s history and cherished traditions, enriching your cultural journey in the country. Read this article to learn about our experience visiting the shrine.

Learning One of the Most Essential Puppet Arts in Japan

Immersing yourself in the captivating world of puppet theater is another essential cultural experience in Japan, and Awaji Island offers a unique twist with its Awaji Ningyo Jōruri tradition. Dating back to at least 1643, this distinctive style of puppetry showcases ancient tales brought to life with intricate performances.
Its puppetry style is very distinctive, accompanied by a collection of stories and plays unique to Awaji Island to make this art form exceptionally rare and precious.

At the Awaji Ningyo Jōruri Theater, you can watch mesmerizing shows that blend artistry and storytelling. Witnessing these performances is an awe-inspiring experience, as puppeteers skillfully manipulate the intricately crafted puppets with synchronized expertise. With each puppet requiring the coordination of three puppeteers, the artistry and precision on display are truly remarkable.

It is even possible to have a backstage visit experience which makes the perfect cultural experience for you. Read this article to learn more.

Try Japanese Cuisine Passed through Generations

Since history plays a vital role in Japan’s cultural experience, Aman no Shokutaku has become an essential restaurant to visit. Located on Awaji Island,  Aman no Shokutaku offers an authentic Japanese culinary experience passed through generations. You will have the opportunity to try the essence of Japan’s culinary heritage, meticulously crafted from the finest ingredients sourced from Awaji Island’s lands and surrounding seas.

The first-floor restaurant Utage specializes in pirate cuisine, a traditional culinary style rooted in Awaji Island’s rich heritage. Given Awaji Island’s status as Japan’s birthplace, pirate cuisine embodies an authentic Japanese culinary experience. On the second floor, Sajiki highlights teppanyaki featuring Awaji Beef, renowned as one of Japan’s most prized ingredients.

Read this article to learn more about Aman no Shokutaku.

Click here for reservations Utage Click here for reservations Sajiki

Name Aman no Shokutaku
1F Utage
2F Sajiki
Address 1042 Nojima-Tokiwa, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-1726
Tel "Utage” 0799-70-9089
“Sajiki” 0799-70-9090
Operation Hours “Utage”: Weekdays 11:00~21:00 (L.O. 20:00) / Sat., Sun. & Holidays 10:30~21:00 (L.O. 20:00)
“Sajiki” 11:00~15:00 / 17:00~21:00 (L.O.19:30) Closed: Tuesdays
Website https://amannoshokutaku.jp/
Reservations: Utage https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/aman-utage/reserve
Reservations: Sajiki https://www.tablecheck.com/en/shops/aman-sajiki/reserve

Click here for details of Aman no Shokutaku

Participate in Hands-on Experiences Unique to Awaji Island

Participating in hands-on experiences adds a layer of depth and authenticity to your cultural experience trip in Japan. Awaji Island’s exceptional history ensures many unique opportunities for extraordinary activities. From the intricate process of crafting your own Awaji Tiles to delving into the art of making incense, Awaji Island provides experiences that allow you to gain profound insights into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. These interactive encounters offer a deeper understanding of tradition and create lasting memories that resonate long after your visit.

Read this article to learn about the many hands-on experiences on Awaji Island.

Come to the Most Unique Anime Park in Japan


While many associate Japanese cultural experiences with history and tradition, it is important to recognize that anime and manga culture are also significant elements. Pop culture has become integral to Japan’s identity. As anime continues to rise in popularity, anime theme park Nijigen no Mori provides enthusiasts with immersive attractions inspired by beloved series such as Naruto, Godzilla, Dragon Quest, and more.


Click here for reservations

Address 2425-2 Kusumoto, Awaji City, Hyogo Pref. 656-2301
TEL 0799-64-7061
Website https://nijigennomori.com/
Reservations https://ticket.nijigennomori.com/en/
Operation Hours Everyday10:00-22:00
*Each attraction has a different last reception time and closing time.

Click here for details of NIJIGEN NO MORI

Awaji Island offers a diverse array of cultural experiences, ranging from traditional heritage to contemporary pop culture attractions. It serves as a convenient destination to enjoy various facets of Japanese culture in one place. The experiences mentioned above are just a glimpse of the many wonders Awaji Island has to offer. If you’re intrigued, why not plan a visit to Awaji Island and explore all it has in store for you?