What custom do 28 million Japanese practice every morning? (with Video)

by TripleLights travel specialist

Every morning, 365 days a year, citizens gather at parks, schools, and sports centres throughout Japan to take part in a truly amazing spectacle.  This is radio callisthenics, or radio exercises as they are known in Japanese (ラジオ体操-rajio taisou).  Its an event that welcomes all people, young and old,  to strengthen community bonds and promote health.  It is also something that is quite unique to Japan, and largely unpracticed outside of East Asia.

 

Radio exercises, as can be read from the name, is a type of warm up calisthenics that is performed with music via a public NHK radio broadcast.  It is an especially popular activity in schools and sports clubs, but is also widely seen in public parks and even companies as a way of promoting a fresh, healthy start to the day.

 What custom do 28 million Japanese practice every morning? (with Video)

History and Current State

Radio exercises were originally introduced in Japan in the year 1928 to commemorate Emperor Hirohito.  Originally, the exercises were used to improve the health and fitness of Japanese soldiers during the 1930s and 40s, but have since been adopted by all of Japanese society as way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Today, it is still common practice to take part in radio exercises in the morning, but the NHK also broadcasts radio exercise music at specific periods all throughout the day.

 

Benefits

The health benefit of any type of exercises is obvious, but in particular radio exercises are aimed to improve flexibility and help with joint problems.  For this reason, it is especially popular amongst the elderly.  Don't get me wrong, however, as even the very young regularly take part in radio exercises.  During the summer holidays, children who take part in radio exercises even have an attendance card and get certain small prizes for continued attendance!

 

Final Thoughts

If you ever have the chance, I highly encourage you to take part in radio exercises at least once.  For one thing, it is a brilliant way to start the day, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how limber and awake you feel after just a short stint of exercise paired with bubbly piano music.  What's more, however, is that you will get a nice glimpse into an everyday part of Japanese life.  With the young and old gathering at such an ungodly hour to take part in such a healthy, beneficial activity - its truly an amazing sight and an integral part of Japanese community living.  

 

If you are visiting Tokyo, probably your best bet for radio excises would be Ueno Park, as participants sometimes number in the hundreds.  Don't be afraid if its your first time.  You will probably look a little dorky, but then again, so will everyone else!

 

Below is a map of Ueno park where you can find the exact location of the radio exercises.  Its best to get there around 6:00am (official start time is 6:30), and preferably on a warm, non-rainy day.

 

Ueno Park Radio Exercises Location:

http://www.rajio-taiso.jp/kaijou/kaijou_map.html?lat=35.71547087427646&lng=139.77419723307446&zoom=17

 

All of Tokyo Radio Exercises Locations (Japanese only)

http://www.rajio-taiso.jp/kaijou/15.html

 

 

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


30 Sep 2014

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Tokyo Private Tour ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Peter -   Tour Guide: Eiko

We had 2 great days in Tokyo and Kamakura with Eiko. To start with she was very quick to respond to any and all queries as we were getting our customized tour ready to go. She constantly followed up so I always felt a high level of engagement. Her input was fantastic and she went out of her way to accommodate my wife's love of gardens. She was very prompt and courteous and her knowledge of the...
read more

“ The best way to experience Tokyo ”

Excellent
3 hours ago Traveler: Joe -   Tour Guide: Maru

On previous visits to Tokyo, I found it very interesting to observe the culture, and watch the local people going about their business. But Japan is very unique, and it is difficult to understand all that’s going on. As a foreigner, you cant shake the distinct feeling of being an outsider watching things from a distance. Maru changed all that for me. Within a few minutes of meeting Maru, I felt...
read more

“ Completed our itinerary in full and got us back to our ship in good time ”

Excellent
5 hours ago Traveler: Allan -   Tour Guide: Yuji

Yuji took the 4 of us up to 5th station Mt Fuji in his car. We had coffee at the top before descending to the Heritage Cente where we also visited the Shinto shrine. The drive back took us through the hills and not on Expressway. An excellent day out with Yuji easy to understand and very flexible with our itinerary.
read more

“ Very Accommodating ”

Excellent
5 hours ago Traveler: Sandra -   Tour Guide: Keiko

We had a great 2 days with Keiko. She was punctual and flexible when we asked her to meet us at our hotel even though it was out of her way. We were able to adjust our itinerary each day based on what we wanted to do. She knew all the places to get free samples at the Tsukiji fish market. We wanted to sample Japanese food so she took us to several places. She pointed out the best places to take pi...
read more

“ Tokyo and hakone ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Julie -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

What a great way to begin our time in japan! Tomoko was a delight to spend our day with! She was always on time, organized, friendly and easy to understand. She made us feel like family! Highly recommend her tour! Thank you again for your time!
read more

“ Osaka and Kyoto private tour ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Clifton -   Tour Guide: Masaki

Masaki is an excellent guide. Being a previous history teacher, his knowledge allowed us to appreciated the sites much more. While English is his second language, he was understandable. We only had 10 hours during our cruise to see Osaka and the surrounding area, but he catered to the destinations and activities that we wanted in the short amount of time allowed. He also had good and prompt commun...
read more

“ Most prepared guide we’ve ever had. ”

Excellent
9 hours ago Traveler: Jane -   Tour Guide: MAKOTO

Right from the start, Mac did everything to make our tour as pleasant and comfortable and interesting as possible. He immediately provided us with some great visuals that clarified complex Japanese history and made the Osaka destinations come alive. They are so good we intend to keep these and share them with our friends. Mac introduced us to a typical Osaka lunch which was delicious. He helped us...
read more

“ Outstanding! ”

Excellent
11 hours ago Traveler: Bob -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Toshihiro met us at our hotel and we were off for a wonderful 2 day visit through Tokyo. He worked within our requests for the different venues and sights we wanted to see. He was totally flexible and met our needs. He was energetic and was cautious not to stretch us too far on walking. He expertly navigated us through the subway system. At the end of the second day he took us to the Tokyo train...
read more

“ Hideo Kashima Review ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: James -   Tour Guide: KASHIMA

Kashima was wonderful throughout a long day of touring. He was very knowledgeable about all sites visited. I highly recommend a tour led by Hideo.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started