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How to embrace all things Japanese in Denmark

This summer, Tokyo is hosting the Olympic Games. But in the run-up to the Olympics, you can put yourself in the mood under Nordic skies, by embracing Japanese traditions, from sakura and saké to shinrin-yoku.

The cherry blossoms at Bisbebjerg Cemetery in Copenhagen attracts more than 150,000 visitors each year. Photo: Shutterstock

Sakura i Köpenhamn

Hanami, or flower viewing, is a Japanese tradition around cherry blossom time, preferably with a picnic under the blossoming trees. You can also do this in Copenhagen. Thanks to a Japanese honorary consul, who planted 200 cherry trees (sakura) along Langelinie in Copenhagen in 2005, that create a beautiful flowering sea of pink blossom each April. So pack your picnic basket and enjoy a Japanese lunch under a canopy of blossom at the Sakura Festival on Langelinie hosted by the Japanese Ambassador, or head to Bispebjerg Cemetery whose avenue of cherry trees affords a majestic spectacle.

Sakura Festival


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18 -19 april

Saké. Photo: Shutterstock

Saké Festival

Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage brewed from rice. It can be served hot, cold or at room temperature and is served in small cups, bowls or a wooden box, depending on the occasion. it can taste sweet, sour, fruity or umami and is used at both ceremonies and as a cocktail. In other words, there are many sides to sake, and you can learn more about some of them at the annual Copenhagen Saké Festival. It's held at the Seidokan Japan Center, where, in addition to tastings and an excellent selection of sakes, you can enjoy ramen and other Japanese street food to maintain your balance.

Seidokan Japan Center

Shinrin-yoku, "forest bathing", has a positive impact on your health. Photo: Shutterstock

Try shinrin-yoku or forest bathing

Modern urban lifestyles are associated with being cooped up indoors in front of stressful screens and minimal contact with nature. In Japan, people use shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, to reduce stress and re-establish contact with the soil. Japanese researchers have documented that spending time in a forest can lower blood pressure, boost your immune system and reduce stress. And it's actually pretty easy to go forest bathing. Head out into nature. Leave your phone at home. Allow plenty of time to become attuned to nature and feel all your senses come to life. Take deep breaths, inhale the scents, listen to the wind and the birds and experience how you gradually start to notice light and colors.

Kusamas Gleaming Lights of the Souls at Louisiana

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at Louisiana

Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is famous for her immersive infinity rooms of colored lights, painted pumpkins and polka dots that mirror the observer. The 90-year old artist, who has spent the past 40 years in a psychiatric hospital, has become a worldwide hit and one of the most popular living artists. Instagram namely loves Kusama’s universe and people flock in huge numbers to her exhibitions and to take photographs. Experience Kusama’s fascinating art at Louisiana in Humlebæk, where her installation “Gleaming Lights of the Souls” is a must see.


Characteristic manga eyes. Photo: Shutterstock

Learn to draw Manga

Pokémon, spirited schoolgirls and cool superheroes - the term Manga actually refers to comics and cartooning in Japanese and covers all imaginable genres. Most people are familiar with the cute or kawaii style with its charming, vulnerable, shy, and childlike characters. Now, both children and parents can attend a Manga and Mythology workshop on 25 April, to learn the basic principles of Manga drawing and create their own mythological figures.

Manga & Mytologi workshop

Aros Public, Aros Allé 2

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Öppettider: Lör 25 april 2020 kl. 10:30-12.00. Pris 75 DKK

Example of a Japanese garden. Photo: Paul Laubach / Shutterstock

Visit the Japanese Gardens on Funen

Sculpted trees, pebbles, rippling water and picturesque bridges. Japanese gardens are neatly composed miniature landscapes where colors, textures and elements awaken your senses and create a feeling of harmony. A hidden pearl of meditative beauty, peace and subtle details has now been created in the Japanese Gardens in Broby. There are five different themed gardens here, and even if Broby is off the beaten tourist track, people come from far and wide to see them. There is also a café that serves both Danish and Japanese food here.

De Japanske haver i Broby

Vøjstrupvej 43

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Open: from 1 May to 30 September, every day except Mondays, from 10am to 6pm.

The Japanese Marie Kondo's folding method gives you more space in your suitcase. Photo: Shutterstock

Fold the Japanese way and create more space

Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo has taught the whole world how to tidy your home and fold clothes to save space. Her bestselling book, The Magic of Tidying up, and her Netflix series Tidying with Marie Kondo, have been a boon for travelers struggling to close an overfilled suitcase. For a quick fix, you can watch Kondo pack a suitcase on YouTube.

Anaba Sushi serves high quality sushi. Photo: Mads Krabbe / Anaba Sushi

Eat Japanese

Copenhagen offers a wide variety of Japanese cuisine. The latest arrival is Anaba Sushi, an exclusive mini restaurant whose superb sushi has attracted glowing acclaim from food critics. More budget friendly locations such as Kuma, Yah Izakaya, Midori and Ramen to Biiru, can also satisfy a yen for Japanese food. If you fancy a genuine Tokyo feel with views, head to Sukaiba in Bella Sky or Sticks’n’Sushi at the Tivoli Hotel for Japanese brunch. If you find yourself in Odense, go straight to Goma.

Sushi Anaba

Sandkaj 39, Nordhavn

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