Fun Activities for Older People in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Sep 28, 2022

Fun Activities for Older People in Kansai

Japan has a rapidly aging society with a larger percentage of over-65s than anywhere else in the world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that there are plenty of activities across the country that cater to senior citizens. There are various things that older people can enjoy in Kansai, from active pursuits such as sports and dancing to more leisurely arts and crafts hobbies. Here are a few suggestions.

Traditional Japanese Activities – Tea Ceremony

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, what better way than to head to Gion, one of the country’s main geisha regions in Kyoto, to attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony? This ritual has been practiced in Japan for over 400 years when guests come to someone’s home. The best venue for this is the Maikoya Tea House, a historic townhouse with picturesque gardens in Kyoto’s downtown district. You can attend a 45-minute ceremony with the option of wearing a traditional kimono. Ceremonies run every hour, and there is a special geisha ceremony held by traditional geishas once a day. Guests are invited to sit on the floor, however, chairs are provided for those who need them. Costs, including the kimono, are just over 3,000 yen or around 6,800 yen.

Website: Maikoya Tea House

Keeping Fit and Having Fun – Exercise and eSports

Getting older is no reason to stop keeping in shape. Nowadays, you can find sessions for seniors in most gyms and leisure centers, with some offering the likes of chair-based exercises and walking football. Check out your local facility to see what’s on offer. In Kyoto, there’s even a gym specializing in fitness for older people. Opened in 2011, Turtle Gym aims to keep seniors physically and mentally in shape with an older adult fitness program and medical rehabilitation sessions.

Another fun option is the new over-60s eSports facility that opened in Kobe in 2020. This is a modern concept – competitive gaming, typically the reserve of younger people but now being promoted to older citizens as a way of keeping mentally and physically agile. ISR eSports (in Japanese) offers a range of games people can learn and play, from sports to fighting and battle games to adventure quests. Sessions cost 1,000 yen.

Boat Trips

For something more relaxing and scenic, a nice cruise in a boat along one of Kansai’s waterways is a great way to see the region’s beautiful natural sights while meeting new people. Fortunately, there is no shortage of boat tour opportunities across Kansai. Some of the best excursions include the Kumano River Boat Ride in Wakayama, which takes you through a sacred shrine area past waterfalls, cliffs, and gorges; the Hachiman-bori Canal Tour in Shiga, which is a historical tour in a traditional canal boat; the Arashiyama Houseboat Ride in Kyoto where you can take the same route that nobles once did and see the gorgeous cherry blossom trees that line the river; and the Luminous Kobe 2 trip aboard one of the most giant cruise ships in Japan while enjoying a meal as you sail around Osaka Bay. If you fancy something a bit more extended, Princess Cruises offer breaks of up to 14 nights around the Japanese islands and Taiwan.

Ballroom Dancing

There has been a ballroom dancing boom in the past few years due to the popularity of TV show franchises such as “Strictly Come Dancing.” Seniors wanting to try out some moves on the dance floor can head to the Arthur Murray Dance Studios, an American franchise now operating in Osaka and Kobe. There are several dance styles, including tango, salsa, and waltz, with lessons available from beginner to advanced.

Website: Arthur Murray Dance Studios

Seniors Social Clubs

One way to discover a wide selection of opportunities is to join a seniors club. These are becoming more popular in Japan to meet the social and cultural needs of elderly residents. One of the biggest in the Kansai region is U3A Osaka, a project set up by Age Concern Japan with over 500 members aged 65 and over. Activities include calligraphy, computer classes, painting, gardening, singing, and origami. The project also works with other agencies to help provide care and accommodation for elderly residents in need.

Address: 9th Floor, ATC Building, 2-1-10 Nankokita, Suminoe Ward, Osaka 559-0034

Ermell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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