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

“ Enjoyable photoshoot ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Zhi -   Tour Guide: Kimono Photo Studio

We went there early and the studio team welcomed us with great warmth! Easy communication with the ladies and super friendly service. Service much much more than expected. Would want to go back again in the future. Great experience, they will make the photoshoot an enjoyable session. Thank you team! Arigato ♡
read more

“ Excellent day with Yuko in Nagasaki ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Amphorn -   Tour Guide: Yuko

Professional, speaks perfect English and has great knowledge of the city and country. We had a wonderful day (mingled with the local, as well as did some tourist stuff). We highly recommend her as your tour guide.
read more

“ Excellent half day tour of Hiroshima ”

Excellent
3 hours ago Traveler: Steve -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Excellent communication and half day tour with Mayumi. We were able to go through Peace Park museum, Atomic Dome, Hiroshima Castle and glean tons of interesting information from Mayumi's expertise in the city. Especially neat was a trip to the elementary school museum where there were post bombing messages recovered from underneath the walls.
read more

“ Old and new japan ”

Excellent
3 hours ago Traveler: Miriam -   Tour Guide: Mitsuru

We had a fabulous day .family of five with funds age 19-16 who though getting a guide might be a bit naff ...but mitsuru was so easy to be around. Shared some interesting info but mostly helped us find a more authentic Japanese tokyo experience than we ever could have in our own Money well spent Highly recommend mitsuru
read more

“ Lost without Nobu ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Bas -   Tour Guide: Nobuko

Nobu is an excellent guide. Knowledgeable, punctual, organised, and flexible to accommodate your needs. On our first day in Tokyo, we would have been lost without Nobu. Thank you for a great day!
read more

“ Kiyoto tour ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Alisa -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazuhiko was a wonderful guide. His English was easy to understand and he was very knowledgeable. He is a fast walker so be forewarned. We would highly recommend his services.
read more

“ Day trip to Noboribetsu ”

Excellent
18 hours ago Traveler: Shirley -   Tour Guide: Tatsuya

Was a wonderful day spent with Tatsuya. We had a chance to dine at local food places, and he was extremely accommodating on our requests and changes, and very patient with our little boy. Thank you!
read more

“ Tea ceremony and walk ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Kevin -   Tour Guide: Hiromi

Hiromi was a wonderful guide, patient with our kids and very well informed.
read more

“ Kyoto Tour ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: James -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori is an amazing tour guide! She contacted us a few times before the tour started to plan our itinerary and make sure it was what we wanted. I left our day in her very capable hands, and let her plan the entire journey. She arrived at our hotel in plenty of time to start. As we began, we walked through the streets of Kyoto, and she pointed out and described various historical points. She...
read more

“ Excellent day tour ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Cynthia -   Tour Guide: Hugh

We had a great day with Hugh visiting Miyajima and sites within Hiroshima. Hugh was incredibly personable and informative and managed our group of 7 brilliantly. He also knows where to find the best okonomiyaki in Hiroshima.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

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