Insight / Japan

Japan

12 Ways

Japan’s sights are as remarkable as they are varied. Our 12 immersive experiences allow you to see its myriad faces, while appreciating deep-rooted customs, neon-hued modernity and lush landscapes –sometimes all at the same time.

    SPOT THE SNOW MONKEYS, YUDANAKA

    Perhaps one of Japan’s most documented images is that of the fluffy ‘snow monkey’ enjoying a steamy bath in a hot spring. See the playful primates for yourself at Jigokudani hot springs. As well as soaking in the warm waters, the Japanese macaques often play, preen and even throw snowballs.

    THE SECRETS OF THE SUMOS, TOKYO

    Experience Japan’s oldest sport, with a privileged look at how sumo wrestlers live and train and be privy to an exhilarating sumo wrestling ‘basho’ (tournament). Watching these skilled giants embody the ancient art of sumo is a fascinating insight into the pervading traditions of Japan.

    BRING ANIME TO LIFE, TOKYO

    The home of manga and anime, Tokyo is the place to immerse yourself in the world of Japanese comic culture. Appreciate the intricate skill of sketching in a manga drawing workshop, visit a riveting Japanese animation studio and lose track of time in a cavernous manga comic library.

    SIMMER IN HOT SPRINGS, MOUNT FUJI

    Steamy and reviving, Japan’s hot springs in Hakone National Park are part of the fabric of everyday life. Stay in a traditional ryokan and be immersed in local architecture including tatami mat flooring and futon mattresses. Best of all, soak in an outdoor onsen bath, warmed with mineral-rich geothermal spring water.

    SIP SAKE, TAKAYAMA

    Traditional market town Takayama is a popular spot for artisan crafts and is also home to a number of sake breweries. This makes it the perfect place
    to sample a variety of different sakes from the abundance of family run brewers in the old town. Follow up with a dinner of soba noodles or roasted rice balls.

    SKI POWDER PISTES, NISEKO

    Fly down the slopes of Niseko, Hokkaido’s ultimate winter sports resort surrounded by the alpine beauty of Japan. For aficionados of off-piste, Niseko’s
    extensive network of backcountry routes can be explored with a knowledgeable guide. A cold beer and sushi platter awaits you at the end of a long day.

    MEET A MAIKO, KYOTO

    Geishas and maikoes (apprentice geishas) are an evocative and enigmatic icon of Japan’s far-reaching culture. With our contacts, have the honour of a face-to-face tea ceremony in a Gion tea house in Kyoto. With a translator, enjoy conversation, traditional games and watch a dance performance.

    EXPLORE AN ART ISLE, SETO INLAND SEA

    A tiny island, Naoshima sits in the Seto Inland Sea, set apart by its extraordinary collection of modern art. Galleries, architect-designed buildings, workshops and even beaches are home to sculptures and artwork by the likes of Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell. Cycle around and absorb all this artistic isle offers.

    WANDER A ZEN GARDEN, KANAZAWA

    Experience the joy of a beautifully landscaped Japanese garden at famed Kenrokuen, known for its perfectly zen ambience. Admire lily ponds, artfully raked gravel, stone pagodas, bridges and tea pavilions among sculpted moss, pine trees, bamboo and flowering blossoms.

    STREET FOOD TASTER, OSAKA

    Osaka’s motto kuidaore – to ‘eat, drink and enjoy life’ – is easily achieved on this street food tour where roadside sushi bars, pubs, hole-in-thewall eateries and ramen joints showcase the stars of Osaka’s deep rooted food culture. Don’t miss the katsu skewers and octopus dumplings.

    LIVE LIKE A MONK, MOUNT KOYA

    Connect with Japan’s prominent religion – Buddhism – with a fascinating stay at a Buddhist temple lodge, known as a shukubo. Similar in design to a ryokan, you will join the monks for morning meditation, eat Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and observe the pilgrim’s unique way of life.

    WALK THE NAKASENDO WAY, KISO VALLEY

    Follow in the footsteps of the samurai along the Nakasendo Way, traversing the picturesque lower Japanese Alps; the prettiest section covering the scenic
    Kiso Valley. Observe rural life, quaint Japanese architecture, tea plantations, bamboo forests and friendly locals ready to say konnichiwa.

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