Have you ever dreamed of travelling to Japan? While Japan is a long way from London, and ticket prices tend to be on the expensive side, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience its picturesque culture this summer. From its flavourful cuisine to its kawaii characters and zen gardens, London has many Japanese-inspired places to make you feel like you are in The Land of the Rising Sun. Here are our picks for 12 ways to travel to Japan without leaving the city.
If there’s one thing that comes to mind whenever we talk about Japan, it’s its rich cuisine! TBH, there’s nothing quite like you’re looking to indulge in the best of the is the place to check out. Known as Europe’s largest Japanese food court, they offer everything from classics such as sushi and takoyaki to cheeky melon pan.
2. Candlelight: The Best of Zelda
Every year many people travel to Japan to experience video game culture at its peak. However, since Candlelight’s arrival in London, enjoying the magic of iconic franchises such as The Legend of Zelda has never been closer. Transport yourself to Hyrule and embark on an adventure surrounded by thousands of candles on a magical evening like never before – Grab tickets here!
3. JP Books
Whether you’re a One Piece fan or learning Japanese, JP Book probably has everything you’re looking for. This kawaii Japanese bookstore offers a wide array of mangas, cute stationary, art illustrations, language textbooks, and J-Pop CDs. Its homey decor will make you feel right in Shibuya.
4. HYPER JAPAN Festival
Fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture this summer at HYPER JAPAN. For its thirteenth year, the acclaimed festival brings the of the Rising Sun Country to London, this time at Olympia London. From July 21 – July 23, the UK’s largest Japanese festival is jam-packed with over 300 exhibitors showcasing the essence of Japan — So sure to Ja-plan ahead to enjoy the festival to its fullest!
5. Kyoto Gardens
An oasis in the middle of the city hustle and bustle, Kyoto Gardens piece of Japan in Holland Park. With its tranquil koi ponds, wandering peacocks, and waterfalls, you’ll energy entering your body.
6. The V&A Japanese Collection
Travel back to Japan’s Edo period as you stroll through The V&A Museum. Since its foundation in 1852, The V&A has collected Japanese art and design and now holds one of the world’s most comprehensive Japanese collections. In the collection, you’ll find ceramics, lacquer, arms and armour, woodwork, metalwork, textiles and dresses, prints, paintings, sculpture and modern & contemporary studio crafts from the Edo and Meiji periods.
7. Japan House
Experience the essence of Japan in Kensington High Street at Japan House London. As the cultural hub of Japan in the UK, it offers a genuine encounter with the country’s finest art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology. Spanning three floors, everything at the London branch, including the floor tiles imported from Awaji Island and the delectable cuisine prepared by renowned chef Shimizu Akira, embodies the authentic spirit of Japan. The best part? You can enjoy it all without dealing with jet lag or emptying your wallet.
8. Kanpai Sake
Craving a bit of sake? UK’s first sake brewery Kanpai offers sake brewery tours and tastings every Saturday, as well as a brew-your-own sake experience. Grab a bite, relax and drink some of their renowned fresh sake on tap. But if you’re more into beer and other liquors, they offer an array of Japanese alcohol for everyone to enjoy!
9. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms
Step into a kaleidoscopic world in Yayoi Kusama’s The Infinity Mirror Room at Tate Modern. With its combination of mirrors, lights, and vibrant colours to create a sense of infinite space, you’ll feel in another realm. You can experience the immersive and innovative installation by the renowned Japanese artist until April 2024.
10. Las Vegas Arcade Soho
Transport yourself to Japan without leaving London at the captivating Las Vegas Arcade in Soho. Step into a world where you can immerse yourself in taiko drumming and discover rare Japanese games. Experience the nostalgia of Konami’s Bishi Bashi and the essence of Japan in a culturally immersive arcade night.
11. Karaoke Epoc
How could we make a list on Japanese-inspired places in London without including an OG like karaoke! At Epoc you can sing your lungs out at some of your favourite songs. Enjoy a private room, where you can use the same karaoke system as you would in Japan, with drinks and snacks for an all night long party.
12. mu Restaurant & Bar
Live jazz and Japanese food? While it might look like a weird combination at first, you’ll be surprised at how well these two pair together! At “mu,” you can enjoy delicious Japanese food, cooked using traditional Japanese techniques with the best British produce, and listen to live music as you sip on mouthwatering cocktails. A night at “mu” is simply perfection. — it’s def one of our favourite Japanese places in London!