Nature & the Outdoors
Kamuiwakka Hot Spring Falls opens to the public again after eighteen years (Kamuiwakka Hot Spring Waterfall Trekking)
Kamuiwakka Falls is an unexplored region within an unexplored region. Under new rules, all four waterfalls are entirely open to the public for the first time in eighteen years. This has given birth to a new adventure activity: Kamuiwakka Hot Spring Falls Trekking.
The temperature of the river rises as you trek up alongside the mysterious Kamuiwakka Hot Spring Falls, and it reaches approximately 35 to 38°C at the final destination of the fourth waterfall.
Splashing through the water, trekkers cross a number of smaller waterfalls toward the upper reaches of the Kamuiwakka River. This is an exhilarating riverside walk in virgin forest surroundings. Watch in surprise as hot spring waters bubble up. Feel a sense of accomplishment as you trek up waterfalls of various sizes. This valuable adventure activity gives you a glimpse of the true power of the earth.
The world's first nighttime entertainment held in a national park
Lake Akan Forest Night Walk: Kamuy Lumina is a mystical adventure tour to the world of the kamuy (divine beings), based on an ancient Akan Ainu yukar (epic tale), "The Owl and the Jay."
The setting is Lake Akan in Akan-Mashu National Park, Hokkaido. Follow the 1.2-kilometer Bokke Nature Trail from the lakeside forest, where a dreamlike experience will begin at dusk as you are immersed in Ainu culture.
Visitors are invited to experience the Ainu worldview, which treasures harmony with nature, as it is recreated in the natural forests of this national park using state-of-the-art digital techniques, including “Rhythm sticks” used by each participant, projection mapping, scenography (staged lighting and sound), and more.
A multilingual mobile phone application has also been developed so that visitors from around the world can more deeply experience and learn about Ainu culture. There are also special programs to book private use of facilities and wear original Ainu-patterned clothing, as certified by the Akan Ainu Consulun so as to express unity with the Ainu people.
Kamuy Lumina is part of the Lumina series of night walks developed around the world by Moment Factory, a cutting-edge multimedia entertainment company based in Montreal, Canada. Lake Akan is the only such event in the world set in a national park.
"A walkable gem."
The New York Times listed Morioka City, in Iwate Prefecture, second only to London in its "52 Places to Go in 2023" article.
Morioka, and all of Iwate Prefecture, is truly a gem, full of culture, food, and historical buildings that are a joy to discover.
Morioka holds special events such as a jazz café in a historical building designated National Important Cultural Property, where dining is not usually permitted. There is also a premium sake brewery tour where visitors can observe the refined techniques of Nanbu brewing masters and sample sake intended for competition, which is not commercially available. A specially designed event, the Morioka Premium Town Walk, takes strolling around the city to another level of fun.
In addition, a premium buffet only available on certain days and venues will be held at the Morioka Castle in Morioka and at three World Heritage sites (Hiraizumi, Hashino Iron Mining and Smelting Site, and Goshono Jomon Site). Visitors will have the opportunity to savor the food and local sake of Iwate to their heart's content while watching special stagings of traditional local performing arts which are passed down from generation to generation.
There’s also "wanko soba," a traditional specialty of Iwate Prefecture. A waiter fills bowls, one after the other, with bite-sized portions of soba noodles, and the bowls are stacked to show how much soba you have eaten. This year, the world's first ever International Wanko Soba Championship will be held, and it awaits visitors ready to take up the challenge.
Such special experiences in Morioka and nearby World Heritage Sites are sure to shine in your heart forever.
◆ Content has been developed and provided for visitors from Asia to experience the rice terraces and ponds where koi originated and continue to inhabit.
(1) Digital Content:
・ The entire former village of Yamakoshi is demarcated as the Nishikigoi Heritage Museum. A fee-based tour passport that enables reservations and payment for destinations within the target area, a booklet that provides historical and cultural explanations on maps, and an audio guide on the smartphone-based website will be produced.
(2) Green Season Options:
・ An event held at a tourist-oriented pond not open to the public allowing visitors to hold a koi (June to October).
・ A log house, BBQ, and sauna under the starry sky is packaged for one group per day
・ A tour of Yamakoshi’s instagrammable heritage spots and Japan's first agricultural heritage site
・ Experience the wisdom found through life in the mountains! A tour of "Nakayama Tunnel”, Japan's longest hand-dug tunnel (a certified Civil Engineering Heritage Site)
(3) Snow Season Options:
・Private ski slopes: A special reservation of the Koshi Kogen ski area for inbound tours from areas unfamiliar with snow and corporate training trips!
Enjoy snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and sledding
・ A private ski slope and a fully-reserved restaurant that hosts an event pairing Niigata/Yamakoshi food and sake
In addition to the Atomic Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine, both World Heritage Sites, this tour also explores the mountains, rivers, sea, and city over five days and four nights, providing an authentic taste of Hiroshima through various activities and local encounters.
Originally, there was little flat land in Hiroshima, making the area unsuitable for agriculture. Instead, people created their own industry through the tatara method of ironmaking. They expanded the size of land through reclamation and used marine transportation to further develop the ironmaking industry. In other words, they built their own city through their own efforts. It was through this passion that the city of Hiroshima was created.
The city was destroyed by the atomic bomb and the devastating fires which spread in the bomb's aftermath. However, the passion of Hiroshima's residents, inherited from the city's forebearers, and a strong desire for peace enabled the city to quickly recover. Today, a new generation has taken on these ideals and actively confronts any challenges in order to create a new Hiroshima.
Participants can experience the history of Hiroshima alongside fellow tour members, as well as through activities such as cycling, climbing rivers and waterfalls, sea kayaking, and mountain climbing. In addition, dialogue around the lingering embers of the atomic bomb will ignite participants' spirits and open their eyes to their own lives and the world around them.
Tour of Kyushu’s Three Main Cities of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima ((1) Local gourmet tour, (2) Historical and traditional experience tour, and (3) Cycling tour)
(1) In Kagoshima, have a hands-on farming experience on Sakurajima, known for its majestic active volcano. Discover where Kagoshima's fresh produce is grown and enjoy Kagoshima's specialty, shabu-shabu hotpot, at a local restaurant. In Kumamoto, learn how to spend time at an izakaya and experience the full charm of dining at an izakaya. In Fukuoka, enjoy the local cuisine such as Fukuoka's famous tonkotsu ramen, yakitori, and oden at food stalls.
(2) In Kagoshima, enjoy the beautiful Sengan-en Garden while gazing upon Sakurajima, the symbol of the city. In Kumamoto, take a deep dive into the life of Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary swordsman who was said to be undefeated in 60 battles. In Fukuoka, watch traditional crafts such as Hakata textiles and spinning tops being made by skilled craftspeople up close, and try your hand at making your own original handicrafts (painting marbles).
(3) In Fukuoka, enjoy the coastal scenery while cycling along Shikanoshima Island in Hakata Bay and get a glimpse of the traditional townscape of villages that prospered from the fishing industry and the lifestyles of the local residents. In Kumamoto, take a guided tour of Suizenji Jojuen Garden, the symbol of Kumamoto also known as the “Land of Water.” In Kagoshima, enjoy cycling through the refreshing breeze from Kinko Bay while gazing at the majestic active volcano Sakurajima.
Creating Valuable Tourism Products that Utilize Ascetic Experiences at Sacred Sites along the Shikoku Pilgrimage
On the small, spiritual island of Shikoku, we are offering a unique chance to experience pilgrimage culture cultivated through the Shikoku Pilgrimage route and Shinto mountain worship culture unique to Shikoku, which is home to Mt. Ishizuchi (1,982m) and Mt. Tsurugi (1,955m), two of the highest mountains in western Japan. The tour features highly private and valuable experiences that can only be found in rural areas, such as small-group ascetic practice experiences in a special rented space, discussions with monks and priests, and individualized tours by local guides who know the region inside out.
This tour consists of a performance by the Japanese drum entertainment group “DRUM TAO” from special seats at their "Theatre in the Sky” in Aso-Kuju National Park, which boasts the largest grassland area in Japan. Next, guests enjoy a special dinner in an area that is usually off-limits to the public where they can take in the surrounding nature, including Ubuyama Village of Kumamoto Prefecture. There are also options for special outdoor events taking place outside business hours, such as a sunset bar, "sea of clouds" cafe, stargazing, and more. In addition, a multilingual history tour of DRUM TAO, a world-renowned entertainment group and the pride of Japan, is available. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful nature and the art history of the surrounding land. There will also be a Japanese taiko drum workshop with direct instruction from members of DRUM TAO. It is definitely a memorable experience for both the body and mind. Accommodations include luxury facilities such as hot spring inns and glamping at the foot of the mountain. There are four tours, all of which provide thorough and entertaining plans where nature can be enjoyed to its fullest. Create fantastic memories of Japan by experiencing Japanese culture and nature that cannot be easily experienced anywhere else.
Experience sake in a whole new way through the world's first sake-brewery-turned-hotel: "Master Brewer Experience" & "Rice to Sake Cycling Course"
A special sake-making experience the world has never seen!
The master brewer is responsible for many things, including the controlled fermentation of unrefined sake compounds and the analysis of their composition. This program allows participants to help out with these tasks (limited to November–December and February–March, under direct instruction from the master brewer of each brewery). This program represents something special that cannot be found anywhere else, converting what was previously considered the domain of master artisans into a tourism experience. As an advanced course, this program is limited to repeat visitors who have participated in the regular three-day, two-night sake brewing experience.
We offer various sake-related experiences from rice cultivation for sake to the brewing of sake year-round. English-language services are available to meet the demand from foreign visitors and residents who wish to learn more deeply about sake culture, starting with rice cultivation.
Seminars will be held for foreign participants to explain the flavor profile of each type of rice used in sake production. We strive to create a destination that people can enjoy by bicycle—Rice to Sake Cycling Course—while also getting people to appreciate the terroir of sake. (We hope to accomplish this with the region's high concentration of sake breweries and rice fields for sake production).
A special stage will be set up in the plaza next to the Daidokoro (the kitchen, normally closed to the public) of Nijo-jo Castle, a World Heritage Site, and a special concert will be held after the normal visiting hours for the castle. The event will combine a wide range of music, including performances by Japan's leading jazz musicians, young rock guitarists, female drummers, brass bands, koto (Japanese harp) players, and choirs. Performances will also feature collaborations between masters of traditional Japanese dance and a variety of other dances, as well as naginata, a traditional Japanese martial art. A medley of anthems from around the world will also be performed ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France this August, making this one-of-a-kind concert an absolute must-see.
A product exhibition will be set up next to the venue (accessible to the public), selling products unique to individual regions in Japan (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Kyoto) that can only be purchased at this event.
The day before the event, a symposium will also be held in the former main building of the Kyoto Prefectural Office, an Important Cultural Property.
Uniquely Japanese experiences in the stylish district of Nishijin, Kyoto.
Enjoy teahouse entertainments in Kamishichiken, one of Kyoto's oldest entertainment districts, and watch the dances of maiko and geisha performers.
Follow this up with lunch or dinner at a restaurant in the Nishijin area, where reservations can be difficult to make, or other popular local Kyoto restaurants.
Take a simple Japanese dance lesson at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater, which is usually closed to the public, under the guidance of the head of the school.
Listen to live traditional music performances at temples and venues usually not open to the public.
Experience the work of traditional artisans and try traditional weaving yourself.
A variety of experiences such as these are available. Contents vary depending on the time of year, so please check the official website for details.