Pieces of Japan in Brazil: discover 5 Brazilian places that exude Japanese culture

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The history of Japanese immigration to Brazil begins in 1906, with an agreement between the two countries based on mutual interests. Japan suffered from population problems with its high population density, and Brazil needed manpower to work on the large coffee plantations that grew in the country. Thus, a partnership emerged between the countries, encouraging the arrival of thousands of Japanese in South American lands.

During its consolidation, Brazil received immigrants from the most different countries. The populations coming from the East were concentrated mainly in the South and Southeast regions, and even today they continue to perpetuate their cultures through generations. 

Living in a country as multicultural as Brazil brings many opportunities. One of them is being able to embark on a cultural journey and experience different experiences without having to cross oceans.

To get a taste of Japan in Brazil and immerse yourself in this cultural universe, check out this list of places you need to visit!

Miroku Tower (Ribeirão Pires, Sao Paulo) 

The Miroku Tower is the largest Japanese-style complex in Brazil and is located in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, in Ribeirão Pires. It is a 32-meter high building inspired by Japanese culture and architecture, more specifically the Horyu temple, the oldest temple in the world, located in the city of Nara, Japan, and classified as a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.

The complex is entirely dedicated to the contemplation of peace, nature and beauty. In addition to the sculptures and works inside the tower inspired by Eastern and Western deities, a Zen garden with a mixture of Japanese and Brazilian flora on the banks of the Billings Dam makes the atmosphere even calmer. 

Access to the Tower of Miroku is only possible via the Koryu vessel, a boat that has a golden dragon that protects the waters on its prow. All departure points are in the city of Ribeirão Pires, and tickets can be purchased on the complex's official website.

Ivoti (Rio Grande do Sul)

Ivoti, also called Cidade das Flores, is a municipality in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, originally formed by 26 families of immigrants who formed the Japanese colony of the city, a product of grapes, kiwi, hortalices and, as the name says, flowers. 

Today, the colony has grown and is responsible for holding the Japanese Colony Fair and several other cultural festivals. In addition to the events, those who choose to visit Ivoti can also enjoy the artelefacts guarded by the Memorial da Colonia Japonesa, which celebrates the history and culture of the founding families of the colony.

Japan House (Sao Paulo, SP)

Created by the Japanese government with the aim of celebrating Japanese culture in Brazil, the Japan House project offers an experience of cultural exchange between Japan and the rest of the world, through exhibitions, events and memorials. There are only three in the world, two of them abroad, in the cities of London and Los Angeles, and the third in São Paulo. 

From workshops for children to artistic exhibitions by great Japanese names, the Japan House has become a cultural reference in the middle of São Paulo, a city that has so much heritage brought by oriental immigrants. For those who want to know and understand more about the Japanese experience, this project is the ideal place to visit!

Japanese Pavilion, at Ibirapuera Park (São Paulo, SP)

Still in São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, one of the city's landmarks, houses the Japanese Garden, also known by locals as the Japanese Pavilion. The garden was handed over in 1954 by the Japanese colony on the 100th anniversary of São Paulo and, until today, is maintained by the organization Bunkyo (Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture and Social Assistance). 

The entire pavilion building was built by Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and its construction materials were shipped directly from Kyoto, Japan. Its exhibition hall houses pieces and replicas of “Japanese treasures”, representing different artistic and historical periods of the country, all donated by the Japanese government and other partner entities. 

Pieces of Japan in Brazil: discover 5 Brazilian places that exude Japanese culture

Liberdade neighborhood (Sao Paulo, SP)

As the largest urban center in the country and the main destination of many people who decide to live in Brazilian lands, São Paulo is a city that exudes different cultures and, therefore, will have a large space on this list. One of the traditions of the metropolis are the neighborhoods formed by immigrants, such as the Bixiga neighborhood, with a strong tradition of Italian immigrants, and the Liberdade neighborhood, an oriental refuge in the middle of São Paulo.

In Liberdade, we find everything from Korean stores to skincare to markets specializing in Japanese foods and products. To start the tour, small cafes on the main avenue of the neighborhood offer delicacies inspired by oriental cafes. 

On Saturdays and Sundays, the Liberdade fair takes place, with several stalls selling typical products and foods for the public. It is worth planning to go early, as many stalls - especially culinary ones - have long waiting lines. 

Still, it's worth tackling the bandwagon to experience a bit of Japanese culture and have experiences that are hard to find elsewhere in Brazil. Throughout the year, the neighborhood is also the stage for festivals typical of oriental culture, with dances, music, food and presentations.

The neighborhood was founded in 1914 by a group of Japanese immigrants and ended up becoming a stronghold not only for the Japanese-Brazilian community, but also for several other eastern peoples who chose Brazil as their home. There, we find extremely traditional restaurants and markets, with affective and cultural foods that are not normally found in Brazilian restaurants. 

To visit Liberdade and explore every corner of the neighborhood, a good tip is to use utility cars to move around the neighborhood and, perhaps, even visit other Japanese spots in São Paulo. The eastern quarter also has its own metro station in the main square, making it easy for those who want to spend the day spending little on transport. 

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