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Autumn Walking Japan

PRICE: TBA    *Register your interest*

DURATION: 19 Days

DEPART: 11-29 October 2022

Highlights

This itinerary is a one-off creation to showcase Japans’ ancient landscape and hidden environments steeped in history and traditions. Experience age old pilgrim walking routes through some of the country’s magical and pristine forests.  A tour for wondrous walkers seeking that extra connection with a traditional world:

  • Beautiful autumn walks daily, all varied and different with a minimum of 9 hike days
  • A great balance of premier hotels, traditional ryokan & minshuku and hot spring baths
  • 3 days in the ancient forests of Yakushima featuring 1,000 year old trees, and an island rarely visited
  • 5 days on the beautiful Nakasendo Pilgrim Route
  • Japanese cultural experiences throughout – sake & miso brewing, wasabi farm, traditional tea making, origami and calligraphy
  • Transport by flight, jetfoil, bullet train and 2nd class rail and coach transfers

Dates

2022: 11-29 October 2022

AVAILABILITY: Spaces available

This itinerary is a one-off creation to showcase Japans’ ancient landscape and hidden environments steeped in history and traditions. Experience age old pilgrim walking routes through some of the country’s magical and pristine forests.  A tour for wondrous walkers seeking that extra connection with a traditional world.

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Our Personalised Program

FRI 15  ARRIVE KANSAI > NARA

On arrival at Kansai Airport, we will be transferred to our hotel in Nara by private bus with English speaking assistant. Evening is at leisure.

Accommodation for 2 nights including breakfast

SAT 16  NARA

Today enjoy a full day at leisure to relax and explore Nara independently. It is highly recommended to spend some time in Nara Park, the 1,300 acre public park in the old city of Nara which is home to around 1,200 freely roaming sika deer. Considered in Shinto to be messengers of the gods, these creatures have become a symbol of the city and have been designated a natural treasure. Nara Park contains several temples and shrines that make up the UNESCO World Heritage listing of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”.

SUN 17  NARA > YAMANOBE-NO-MICHI > OSAKA

Accompanied by an English speaking guide, this morning we will be transferred by local train to Isnokami Shrine (30 minutes) to begin today’s walk to Omiwa Shrine along the most popular section of the Yamanobe-no-michi trail (approximately 11kms). An ancient road in Nara Prefecture, and the oldest road mentioned in Japanese records, today it is a pleasant hiking trail through rural landscape, connecting multiple shrines, temples and other sites of interest. The Yamanobe-no-michi is predominantly a dirt trail, but sometimes becomes paved as it meanders through small villages. There are a couple of short, steep hills, but apart from that the trail is gentle.

Later, we will be transfer by local train to Osaka for check-in at our hotel.

Accommodation for 1 night including breakfast

MON 18  OSAKA > YAKUSHIMA ⒷⒹ

This morning we will be transferred by private bus with English speaking assistant to Osaka’s Itami Airport for our flight to Yakushima, one of the subtropical Osumi Islands in the southern Kagoshima Prefecture.

On arrival we will be transferred by private bus with our trekking guides to Yakusugi Land to hike the trails for approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Yakusugi Land is a nature park populated by a number of 1000 year old yakusugi such as the Buddhasugi, Futagosugi and Sennensugi, along with a series of well-developed trails that lead through them. The park is one of the most accessible places on Yakushima to see the ancient cedar trees, as many of the trees are just a short walk from the parking area. The park has a variety of hiking courses to choose from that will accommodate nearly any ability.

After our afternoon of trekking, we will get our first taste of Yakushima with an included dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, we will be transferred to our hotel for check-in, where we have Japanese style rooms with traditional tatami mat flooring.

Accommodation for 3 nights including breakfast

TUE 19  YAKUSHIMA ⒷⓁⒹ

Today we head to Shiratani Unsuikyo to hike the trails for approximately 5 to 6 hours. We will be transferred by private bus with a trekking guide, and a boxed lunch is also included.

The Shiratani Unsuikyo ravine is a lush, green nature park containing a number of the island’s ancient cedars such as the Nidaiosugi, Kugurisugi and Yayoisugi. The park offers a network of well-maintained hiking trails that run along the ravine. One of the main attractions of Shiratani Unsuikyo is a part of the forest that served as the inspiration for the Studio Ghibli animated film Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke). Oga Kazuo, the lead artist for the film, spent lots of time here working on sketches for the movie’s forests.

WED 20  YAKUSHIMA ⒷⓁⒹ

Today we have a full day sightseeing tour with an English speaking guide that will allow you to experience the rest of this beautiful island, some of which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is covered by an extensive cedar forest that contains some of Japan’s oldest living trees. Trees more than 1000 years old are affectionately called yakusugi (a combination of Yakushima and sugi, the Japanese word for cedar), the most ancient of which may be over 7000 years old. Whether hiking or driving, you are likely to encounter Yakushima deer and monkeys, locally referred to as Yakushika and Yakuzaru. Throughout the day, we will have opportunities to stop for a short walk. Lunch is also included at a local restaurant.

Highlights of our round the island tour today include:

Senpiro-no-taki Waterfall, one of the most famous falls on the island. It stands at 60 metres, and has created a massive valley from a vast granite bank.

Nakama Gajumaru, a giant 300 year old banyan tree. Though Yakushima is most well-known for its beautiful cedar forests, this tree is also worth seeing as it stretches over the road, the vines forming a tunnel that you can walk or drive through.

Ohko-no-taki Waterfall, considered one of Japan’s 100 best. This spectacular 88 metre high fall is located on the west side of the island.

Seibu Rindo Forest Path, a narrow winding road covering 20 kilometres of the western side of the island (most of which is part of the World Heritage site).

Nagata Inakahama Beach, well-known as a local nesting spot for turtles between May and July.

At the end of our tour, we will have dinner at a local restaurant before returning to our hotel for the night.

THU 21  YAKUSHIMA > KAGOSHIMA

This morning we will be transferred by private bus to Miyanoura Port and travel by jetfoil to Kagoshima (travel time just under 3 hours). On arrival in Kagoshima,  an afternoon sightseeing in Kagoshima, including Sengan-en and Sakurajima.  It is often referred to as the “Naples of the East” for its bay location, sunny climate, palm tree lined streets and iconic volcano, Sakurajima.

The UNESCO World Heritage Cultural site of Sengan-en is the stately home and gardens of the Shimazu clan, and one of Japan’s finest examples of a feudal lord’s garden.

Sakurajima is the volcano that sits across the water from Kagoshima city. One of Japan’s most active volcanoes, it smokes constantly and is the area’s most prominent geographical feature.

Due to the isolated location at the southern end of Kyushu, Kagoshima has developed a distinct cuisine with many local specialties that are not common elsewhere in the country. Most famous is “kurobuta”, or black pork – so named due to the colour of the animal’s skin, and not the meat itself. You’ll find it prepared in various ways, from deep fried tonkatsu to steamed buns called butaman.

Accommodation for 2 nights including breakfast

FRI 22  KAGOSHIMA > KIRISHIMA & EBINO KOGEN > KAGOSHIMA

We head around Kagoshima Bay towards the mountains of Kirishima, an active volcanic mountain range that holds an important place in Japanese mythology.

Ebino Kogen is a small town in the mountains of Kirishima just inside Miyazaki Prefecture‘s borders. Ebino Kogen is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, famous mountains and hiking trails. We hike an easy two hours, with good views of the surrounding mountains and highlands. We will also stop at a black vinegar factory in the area. A regional treasure, also known as kurozu, it is rich and earthy and available in a range of ages, the younger versions being more suitable for cooking.

SAT 23  KAGOSHIMA > HIROSHIMA

This morning we board our Shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima. An afternoon tour around Hiroshima’s highlights including Peace Park and Museum which exhibits artefacts from the bombing. The museum’s mission is to contribute to the abolition of nuclear weapons throughout the world and to promote world peace.

Accommodation for 1 night including breakfast

SUN 24  HIROSHIMA > MIYAJIMA & MT MISEN > KYOTO

This morning travel by train and ferry to Miyajima, home to the famous Itsukushima Shrine.  “Miyajima” which literally means “Shrine Island” The shrine is known worldwide for its iconic “floating” torii gate, which is perhaps the most photographed site in Japan  and dates back to the 6th century. Its breath-taking beauty and quiet atmosphere make Miyajima known as one of Japan’s most beautiful areas.

Miyajima is also home to Mt Misen, the highest peak on the island at 500 metres above sea level. There is a ropeway from town, and three hiking trails that lead up to the top.  After our hike, later this afternoon, we will return to the station in Hiroshima for our Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto.

Accommodation for 3 nights including breakfast

MON 25  KYOTO

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