Top 10 hot spots for Japanese culture lovers in London

Explore the depths of Japanese culture doesn’t require a plane ticket to Japan. London is renowned for its cultural diversity, offers an array of enriching experiences that allow you to experience the captivating culture of Japan. From serene gardens to bustling festivals, Japanese traditions, arts, and flavors awaits. Here are the top 10 places we recommend where you can savor the essence of Japanese culture right in the heart of London.

Japan House, Kensington

Japan House London is the cultural home of Japan in the UK. Presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation and technology, Japan House London provides an authentic encounter with Japan.

A diverse programme of events, workshops, and seminars – celebrating Japan’s most innovative and creative craftspeople, artists, designers, performers and other experts – can be enjoyed in The Hall.

The Library hosts a permanent collection of hard-to-find Japanese books as well as dynamic displays covering a wide range of themes. You will also find a takeaway café stand offering Japanese drinks and snacks.  

Kyoto Garden, Holland Park

Take a walk over the stone bridge and say konnichiwa to the free-roaming peacocks in Holland Park’s peaceful Kyoto Garden – an oasis of zen that opened in 1991 as a gift from the city of Kyoto, to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain. Today, the Kyoto Garden is a popular part of Holland Park– but it’s not the only Japanese garden in this green space. In July 2012, the Fukushima Memorial Garden was officially opened. It commemorates the gratitude of the Japanese people to the British people for their support following the natural disasters that struck in March 2011.

As authentic as it gets without actually taking a trip to Japan, this park is a breathtaking space with a wonderful history to discover and is home to plenty of wildlife for you to spot when you visit. Taking a few hours to explore this peaceful garden is a must-do for anyone looking to escape the busy London life, or just experience something a bit more unique in the capital. It’s no wonder that this garden has gathered plenty of attention over recent years.

Ichiba London, Westfield

Inside Europe’s largest Japanese food hall you’ll find from over 3,000 Japanese products including essential kitchen ingredients to inspire your cooking, hard to find confectionery and sake, fresh handmade sushi, noodles and curries, Japanese street food, unique gifts & homewares and a dedicated Japanese bakery and cafe.

Japan Centre, Soho

One of London’s biggest Japanese food hall. Founded in 1976, Japan Centre started as a bookshop situated in the heart of London on Warwick Street to cater for the Japanese community.

You can enjoy freshly made Japanese sushi and hot souzai food, browse the latest manga and magazines, and purchase authentic Japanese cupboard essentials, cookware and handpicked sake under one roof.

It is a supermarket bursting with authentic Japanese food & drink, a bookstore offering latest manga, magazines and gifts, our fresh deli which serves quality Japanese sushi and hot food made fresh every day, a fishmonger and butcher counter presided over by trained experts slicing fresh cuts the traditional Japanese way, a bakery which produces handmade and hard to find Japanese baked breads & desserts and a homeware department stocked full of authentic Japanese supplies.

Marugame Udon, various locations

Udon is a type of thick wheat noodle that is often served in a savory broth and can be accompanied by various toppings such as tempura, green onions, tofu, and more. It’s commonly enjoyed as a comfort food and can be found throughout Japan in various forms and regional variations.

Udon holds cultural significance in Japan due to its historical roots and its association with traditional Japanese dining. In some regions, udon festivals are held to celebrate this beloved noodle dish. These festivals often include various udon dishes, performances, and other cultural activities.

Marugame Udon is restaurant chain from Japan. You don’t have to fly all the way to Japan to taste this authentic Japanese noodles. 

British Museum

The Japanese Galleries explore how continuity and change have shaped Japan’s past and present, and the country’s relationships with the rest of the world.

Through constant international exchange, Japan is a thriving, modern, high-technology society that also celebrates many elements of traditional culture.

From ancient flame pots, through samurai armour, to contemporary manga, the objects on display date from prehistory to the present. They reference the lives of emperors and also of ordinary townspeople. Explore these stunning galleries, which showcase one of the most comprehensive collections of Japanese art and artefacts outside of Japan.

  • The Japanese islandshave been inhabited for more than 30,000 years. 
  • The world’s first ceramics were made in Japan some 17,000 years ago by the Jōmon people, who lived in what is now northern Japan. 
  • Before the invention of ceramics, people stored their food in holes in the ground or in baskets, which were vulnerable to insects, animals and the weather.  
  • In 1639, Japan closed off almost all contact with the rest of the world. The Shoguns, who ruled Japan at the time, did this in the belief it would strengthen their control of the country. 
  • Japan remained relatively isolated from the world until 1853, when US Commodore Matthew Perry arrived with a fleet in Tokyo bay and demanded that Japan begin to trade with the US. 

V&A Japanese Collection

The V&A has been collecting Japanese art and design since it was founded in 1852 and now holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections, including ceramics, lacquer, arms and armour, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and dress, prints, paintings, sculpture and modern & contemporary studio crafts.

With the exception of some early metalwork, ceramics and Buddhist sculpture, most objects date from the Edo (1615-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods. Of particular interest is our collection of over 30,000 Edo-period ukiyo-e prints, paintings, drawings and albums. We also hold one of the finest and most complete collections of Japanese enamels in the world, as well as the earliest documented examples of this art form in any museum.

Dear Asia London

Dear Asia is a language school and a cultural event organiser for Londoners to find their love for Asian languages and cultures. We offer language lessons and private tuition for Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

The Japanese language lessons focus on small group setting, interactive conversation practice to help you achieve your fluency goals.

Apart from language learning, we also organise regular cultural events in London around Asian cultural experience like Japanese Tea Tasting, Japanese Kitsune Painting, Fun Day Out at Hyper Japan etc.  We aim to promote positive representation of ESEA cultures and build a community to celebrate our heritage – languages, history, food, crafts and so many more.

Hyper Japan London

Hyper Japan is an annual event that celebrates various aspects of Japanese culture, including traditional arts, contemporary trends, entertainment, food, fashion, and more. The event is designed to provide attendees with an immersive experience into the diverse facets of Japan’s cultural landscape. It typically features a wide range of activities, performances, workshops, exhibitions, and vendors, offering a comprehensive glimpse into both traditional and modern elements of Japanese culture. We organise to go as a group with our Japanese class students to explore the Japanese world. You can join us next time if you want to have fun with some like-minded people.

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms, Tate Modern

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama came to international attention in 1960s New York for a wide-ranging creative practice that has encompassed installation, painting, sculpture, fashion design and writing. Since the 1970s she has lived in Tokyo, where she continues to work prolifically and to international acclaim.

Yayoi Kusama is one of today’s most iconic contemporary Japanese artists. The Tate recently announced that its immersive exhibition of Kusama’s iconic Infinity Rooms would be extended until April 2024, and we are ecstatic!

These immersive installations will transport you into Kusama’s unique vision of endless reflections. After creating her first Infinity Room in 1965, she has created over 20 distinct installations, which use mirrors to create a sense of “infinity.”

We hope you can find a bit of colourful Japanese culture in London. These ten places offer doorways into Japan’s elegance, history, and contemporary vitality—all nestled within the heart of London. You might also be interested in our Japanese cultural events.

Similar Posts