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HERO Kyoto Landscape Japan

Experiences

Japan’s Cultural Traditions and Natural Beauty

To the naked eye, Japan is a long, volcanic archipelago with striking mountains in the north and tropical beaches on its southern islands. Beneath the surface of this seemingly futuristic and modern country is an intriguing traditional culture where Buddhist temples, ryokans and Geishas still exist. Scenic landscapes and superb food are never far away in this enthralling destination where ancient traditions merge wonderfully with modern life.

When to go:
March – May, September – November

Your journey will commence in Tokyo, an incomparable city where everything you do is an experience in itself. This bustling metropolis intertwines past with present, creating a captivating city full of surprises. Accompanied by a guide, explore the remarkable Tsukiji Outer Fish Market which formerly was the world’s largest. Explore areas of fruit and vegetables and test delicious fresh samples from the impressive seafood section. Afterwards, delight in a gastronomic experience with a brilliant Japanese chef who will educate you in their traditional culinary culture. Try your hand at making fresh sushi before enjoying your masterpiece. To add some action to your time in Tokyo, take part in an exciting Samurai experience, wear the Hakata costume, learn about the iconic warriors and discover the lifestyle and etiquette of Samurai classes. After mastering your grip, posture and form, you will hone your skills to the point where you use your Katana sword to cut through a gyoza mat in this truly unique Japanese experience. To immerse further into this culture, PELORUS can arrange an exclusive journey through Japan following the endearing Samurai story, with each day introducing you to a new and exciting chapter filled with unique experiences.

Board the thrilling bullet train and watch the countryside whizz past as you travel to Jomo-Kogen for an exhilarating outdoor experience. Accompanied by a professional instructor, explore Fox and Willow Canyons for a day filled with canyoning, jumps, slides and waterfalls. Your time in the buzz of Tokyo ends with a helicopter flight over the city for sweeping views as you soar past Tokyo Tower and the Sky Tree. Keep your eyes peeled for Mount Fuji on a clear day and if you wish for a longer aerial trip to the mountain itself, PELORUS can arrange this.

Escape the crowds in the picturesque town of Nikko, the centre of Shinto and Buddhist worship and an area of astounding natural beauty with mountains, waterfalls, hot springs and wild monkeys. Explore the beautiful natural wonders of Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls before visiting Toshogu; Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine. Venture to Nikko in Autumn for glorious autumnal colours surrounding the traditional ryokans.

Continue your journey to Kanazawa, the “jewel of Japan” and the historic city where Samurai, Geisha and feudal lords have left an undoubted mark. Relish the intriguing medieval ambience that is felt around the city and visit the superb Kenrokuen garden which exudes beauty in all seasons. Enjoy a privileged opportunity to meet a Geisha in Higashiyama District, have a cup of tea and gain a better understanding of their world as your guide assists by translating your captivating conversation. Venture to the ancient village of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built by highly-skilled workers. For a truly immersive and raw experience, spend the night in one of gassho-zukuri farmhouses for a fascinating insight into the traditional Japanese family home.

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is an absolute must-see boasting temples, serene gardens and mesmerising remnants of the county’s past. Soak up Kyoto’s wooden houses and historic atmosphere as you interact with a superb variety of traditional arts and crafts that pepper the charming streets. Spend the night in the small Buddhist community of Mount Koya, a World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s most magical destinations. This experience will open your eyes to the life of a monk as you meditate, taste local cuisine and stroll through stone gardens and Okunoin Cemetery. Swap the hustle of the city for the calming atmosphere of Arashiyama, a short distance from Kyoto and home to one of its top sights. Marvel at the otherworldly spectacle of towering green stalks as you explore the tranquil Bamboo Forest, before a lazy boat ride weaving down Hozu River past striking mountains.

For a place to connect with nature and history, the hilly hot spring town of Hakone provides glorious natural beauty and cultural attractions. Enjoy a peaceful cruise on Lake Ashi, look out for reflections of the mountains in the lake surface and delight in fabulous vistas of Mount Fuji. Challenge yourself and climb this majestic symbol of Japan for a truly rewarding experience. Begin your climb in the dark of night to reach the summit for a spectacular sunrise which represents why Japan is nicknamed ‘the Land of the Rising Sun.’

If you’re travelling to Japan in winter, the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. Experience world-class skiing in Niseko where fresh snow falls daily carpeting the unspoilt wilderness in a dazzling white blanket. At the opposite end of the country lies Okinawa prefecture, a chain of subtropical islands where immaculate beaches, diverse marine life and Ryukuyu castle ruins are plentiful. Immerse yourself in the enchanting underwater world and grab the opportunity to dive with whale sharks and hammerhead sharks in the wild. From Ishigaki Island, share the sea with graceful manta rays; renowned in Japan as the number one place to experience these creatures. To observe more of the isles, take a cruise or charter your own boat to go island hopping and delight in the tropical paradise that surrounds. Okinawa is a welcome escape from the business of mainland life.