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

“ Akira was a wonderful guide ”

Excellent
1 hour ago Traveler: Andrew -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

We had a fabulous day with Akira who showed us some of the highlights of Tokyo. Akira produced a personalised tour for us, took us around the city and was wonderful all day, and the kids loved him too. We thoroughly recommend Akira's services. Thank you for a great day Akira.
read more

“ Wonderful! ”

Excellent
1 hour ago Traveler: Ashish -   Tour Guide: Keiko

My clients, Mohan and his family had a wonderful afternoon with Keiko as she showed them the Peace Memorial Park & Museum, and the Atomic Bomb Memorial. They really enjoyed their tour.
read more

“ Efficient Service ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Don -   Tour Guide: Tokyo Chartered Cars

We booked Tokyo Chartered Cars for 3 days; 2 days in Tokyo and 1 day in Hakone. All drivers/guides were super efficient and polite, letting us have the best schedule to see almost all of Tokyo and Mount Fuji. They even suggested alternative spots to go to and have a better view of Mount Fuji and the Cherry Blossoms. Would definitely recommend to friends who have limited time in Tokyo.
read more

“ Private tour of Tokyo ”

Excellent
2 hours ago Traveler: Joan -   Tour Guide: Atsuko

Atsuko is a fabulous guide who knows Tokyo well and the history and culture of her county. Before our arrival, she wanted to know what we wanted to see and created a comprehensive itinerary that went beyond our expectations. Her command of English is superb. We would highly recommend that other tourists use her services! Sincerely, Joan Brinkhuis and Stephen Bergman
read more

“ A perfect way to tour Tokyo - with Yuki! ”

Excellent
4 hours ago Traveler: Alex -   Tour Guide: Yuki

Yuki is a fine gentleman and very knowledgeable tour guide (his English is excellent) who was able to adjust and tailor our day just as we wanted (even with last minute changes!). He was very helpful and for us the highlight was touring the Imperial Palace and also his amazing suggestion of a great sushi spot in Tsukiji. We avoided some of the busy areas for more traditional under-the-radar areas ...
read more

“ Exceptional Trip!!! ”

Excellent
7 hours ago Traveler: Charlene -   Tour Guide: TETSUJI

Very happy to tour with Tetsuji-san! We arranged a visit to Mino for traditional Washi (paper) crafts, as well as Seki for the Sword museum and a knife making factory tour. In addition to planning a great day in Mino & Seki, he helped keep us on schedule with trains, arranged a delicious lunch, and did a great job of answering our questions. After the trip, Tetsuji was kind enough to send us pictu...
read more

“ Yuko was a remarkable host!! ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Beth -   Tour Guide: Yuko

Yuko was an amazing hostess and showed us the best of Hiroshima. She met us personally at the port and had provided a detailed itinerary prior to the day. She allowed us to make small changes in the itinerary as we decided last minute to add some items and she was so very gracious about everything. We had both Japanese and English speakers on the tour and she quickly and easily explained things in...
read more

“ 1 Day Customized Tour to Tokyo ”

Excellent
10 hours ago Traveler: Trisha -   Tour Guide: Dai

Dai was wonderful during on our customized tour to Tokyo. During the tour we went to Toyota Mega Web, Imperial Palace, Tsukiji fish market, Ueno Garden, and Sensoji Temple. Dai was early to pick us up at the hotel, even though he was sick he provided so much information about Japan and their culture. I wish Dai was available for more dates to provide tours during our stay. Great tour guide!
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

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