Nature & the Outdoors
Japan Fruits, a duty-free shop (Note 1) selling fresh, high-value Japanese fruits and cut fruit that can be eaten on the spot, will open in the special security-restricted area (the food and shopping area after passing through customs) of Terminal 3 of Tokyo International Airport for a limited time from early October 2023 until the end of January 2024.
Visitors can experience the full appeal of fruits, which can only be gained by visiting the store, including comparing the flavors of different fruits in season. Grapes and mandarin oranges are sold in October and November, mandarin oranges and strawberries in November and December, and strawberries in January; melons and apples are sold from October to the end of January. Please buy some as a souvenir for that special someone (Note 1). In addition, the store will also display information about tourist farms with fresh fruit harvesting experiences and other tourist attractions in the surrounding areas.
Please enjoy the delicious charm of Japan Fruits while reminiscing on your happy memories of Japan before getting on the plane.
(Note 1: Due to plant quarantine regulations, there are a limited number of countries and regions where Japanese fruits can be taken.)
Shinhotaka Crystal Snow Park in Takayama ~Experience the great nature of Chubusangaku National Park, traditional arts and crafts, and high mountain cuisine born from the water and trees nurtured in the Northern Japanese Alps~
Shinhotaka Ropeway is hosting an event that allows visitors to experience all the tourist attractions at once! Attractions include Chubusangaku National Park's vast wilderness as well as the cuisine and traditional arts and crafts nurtured in the Northern Japanese Alps region.
At Nabedaira Kogen, the transfer point for the two legs of the ropeway, multiple booths set up in the image of the “kamakura” igloos made of snow will give visitors the chance to enjoy for the first time the traditional high alpine culture (food, spirits, and art) fostered in the Northern Japanese Alps.
Visitors can also take the second ropeway, the only double-decker gondola in Japan, to Nishihotakaguchi Station, which is 2,156 meters above sea level. A limited-time-only special event will be held there at which visitors can view the starry skies from a platform with a panoramic view of the Northern Japanese Alps. This platform has been awarded two Michelin Green Guide Japan stars for the spectacular view it provides.
Additionally, two tours providing special, highly valuable experiences are also available. One tour offers private breakfast or dinner while viewing the dawn or evening skies from a platform 2,156 meters high, reserved outside of operating hours. The second is a story tour that teaches the connections between the nature of the Northern Alps and high alpine cuisine and traditional arts and crafts.
Enjoy an intrinsic and profound experience of the deeply rooted Zen culture unique to Eiheiji Town, where Zen "traditions" are inherited and "innovation" is born.
- Storytelling by two special guides: a Sōtō Zen chief priest who received training at Eiheiji Temple, and a Sōtō Zen chief priest who has taught about Zen culture at the Sōtō Zen Buddhism International Center in the United States;
- Special participation in the wishing lantern prayer at Daihonzan Eiheiji Temple that cannot be experienced by general visitors;
- Tour of the halls of Kippoji Temple, a Zen training dojo; experience making vegetarian cuisine; and an informal tea gathering;
- Japan's first Level 4 autonomous driving experience;
- And making Buddhist prayer beads to wear as omamori charms.
*All of the events listed above can be experienced on a special tour that coincides with the Eiheiji Floating Lantern Festival. Plans that best suit the needs of visitors are also offered. Please ntoe that some events may be unavailable due to weather conditions or religious events.
Enjoy a two-day, one-night premium tour in November (planned) to experience the history and culture of surfing and the sea at Ichinomiya, a surfing event site for the Tokyo Olympics and a place where 700,000 surfers visit each year. On the first day, experience real surfing with a personal surfing guide on Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, which was used as a surfing event site during the Tokyo Olympics. After that, head over to Tamasaki Shrine, a tangible cultural property of Chiba Prefecture, to enjoy a special performance of gagaku music, a classical genre of Japanese music often played at imperial court. Performed by Tamasaki Gagaku Association, this musical performance has strong ties to the ocean, adding the unique cultural element to this surfing tour. Finally, enjoy a premium dinner made from local ingredient and relax in the evening at a luxuriously private hotel. On the second day, you might choose to enjoy surfing at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach or perhaps even go for a round of golf; a personal car is prepared for all activities, and an interpreter will be available to assist you with whatever activities you decide to do.
Kudoyama in Wakayama Prefecture is the starting point of the Mt Koya Pilgrimage Route, where old traditions and landscapes live on to this day. This tour provides a valuable opportunity to experience the Japanese culture unique to Kudoyama.
A pleasant time can be spent interacting with the locals through activities such as tea ceremony, helmet making, and Japanese cooking experiences. Additionally, the Tahoto pagoda at Jison-in Temple, built by Kukai (774–835), the founder of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism at Mt Koya, will open for the first time in over 400 years. Inside the pagoda, a statue of Amida Buddha is enshrined. The Tahoto pagoda has never been open to the public since it was built in the early Edo period (1603–1867), but it will be opened for the first time in the fall of 2023. Please come and join us for this historic moment!
To commemorate this moment, a light-up event will also be held on the grounds of Jison-in Temple during the tour, and visitors will be welcomed by Japanese paper lanterns made from traditional “Koyagami” paper produced in the towns of Kudoyama and Koya in Wakayama Prefecture; enjoy the magical evening atmosphere—an entirely different charm compared to that during the day. For the second day of the tour, a trek along the Koyasan chōishi-michi trail, which is also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is planned. The chōishi-michi trail leads from Jison-in Temple in Kudoyama to the grand central pagoda of Kongobu-ji Temple on Mt Koya. The 180 stone pillars (chōishi) that stand along the route have led worshipers to the sanctuary ever since Kukai established the Mt Koya temple complex. It is one of the historic Mt Koya Pilgrimage Routes and is also registered as a World Heritage Site. Come and visit Kudoyama and Koyasan for a wonderful cultural experience!
Extend your visit to Himeji Castle, a World Heritage Site and National Treasure, into the night with a Noh performance by a performer who goes back twelve generations into the Himeji Domain and a tour of the castle with accompanied with a commentary from a castle researcher.
Shoshazan Engyoji Temple is one of the head temples of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is sometimes referred to as the “Mt. Hiei in the West.” Here, visitors can experience Zen meditation and sutra copying in the Jogyo-do training hall, as well as some Buddhist vegetarian cuisine in the Juryo-in Temple, both of which are designated nationally important cultural properties and are usually closed to the public. Former members of the drum performance group Kodo will hold drum shows on stage in the Jogyo-do training hall, and one hundred monks will perform Buddhist chants in the Jogyo-do training hall, the main lecture hall, and the dining hall.
Finally, visit KOKO-EN at night to enjoy an exclusive dinner comprising local, seasonal produce and sake from a local Himeji brewery. After dinner, take a leisurely stroll in Japan’s number-one garden for autumn foliage.
After watching the sunrise from Himeji Castle, come and enjoy breakfast at another national tangible cultural property, the Himeji City Museum of Literature Bokeitei House.
Himeji is simply brimming with World Heritage sites and Important Cultural Properties. We hope you’ll enjoy your trip into Himeji’s rich history.
Enjoy SUP in Taisetsu Dam, located in Daisetsuzan National Park and normally closed to the public🎵
In addition to viewing the autumn colors, there are plenty of new autumn tourist programs to experience this beautiful view from above the dam lake that usually cannot be seen.
There will also be a special program by Kenta Yamada, the rider and ambassador of the Japanese SUP manufacturer SAWARNA, who has also won the All Japan SUP Championship two years in a row.
At night, enjoy a night cruise on a SUP equipped with LED lights that is sure to shine on Instagram and a nighttime economy package tour that features local nature.
For a limited time from June to November, Happo-One Development, which operates Happo-One Ski Resort, in cooperation with regional development consulting by Snow Peak Inc. and others, is offering stays in the Hakuba Kitaone Highlands at an altitude of 1,200 m on a 2,856 m2 site with beautiful views of Japan’s Northern Alps and the three Hakuba Sanzan mountain peaks. The program includes overnight accommodation in specially designed tents, three meals, guided nature tours, hot spring and sauna experiences with spectacular views, and transportation to nearby sightseeing spots, as well as pick-up and drop-off at Nagano Station. (Average unit price per room: 251,000 yen at two guests per room. Average unit price per person: 125,500 yen)
In 2023, they will start offering and promoting experiences for inbound travelers by combining experience-based content already refined for Japanese customers with a pre-trip concierge service.
30th Anniversary of Registration as Natural World Heritage Site: “Crossing the Alps on the Ocean, From 0m to 0m Above Sea Level (ZERO to ZERO),” Adventure Tour That Captures All the Charms of Yakushima Island
The Yakushima Adventure Tourism Committee has emphasized the importance of promoting sustainable tourism by striking a balance between the promotion of tourism and environmental conservation. To that end, it is working to develop eco-tourism in the World Natural Heritage Site of Yakushima Island in order to create new value and develop it into a tourist destination. The tourist attractions that have now become synonymous with Yakushima Island, namely the Jomon Sugi and Shiratani Unsui Gorge, were developed as such by the local community as a whole, with consideration for the implications both in terms of tourism and the natural environment. Yakushima Island is also known as “The Alps of the Ocean” for its numerous mountains over 1,800 m in elevation—including Mount Miyanoura (1,936 m), the highest mountain in the Kyushu region, located near the center of the island. This project will help to develop a new route distinct to Yakushima Island, that goes from 0 m above sea level to 0 m above sea level from one side of the island to the other, capturing all the charms of the island along the way.
Living with Shimanto River, the “Last Clear Stream”: Exploring the Symbiotic Relationship between People and Rivers through Dragonflies and River Fishing
'- Special Content (1): World’s first nature reserve for dragonflies
Until recently, it had been believed that leaving extraordinary natural environments alone was enough to keep them in good condition. Efforts at Dragonfly Nature Park, however, have evidenced for the first time in Japan the legitimacy of human intervention when it comes to maintaining a diverse ecosystem in the satoyama (woodlands/mountains near populated areas). The park conducts ecological maintenance work systematically throughout the year such as managing the water level and vegetation at the Dragonfly Pond. The park is also constantly conducting ecological surveys both inside and outside of the protected area. In this particular tour, participants will have the special opportunity to accompany Mitsutoshi Sugimura, executive director of Shimanto Dragonfly Park and Shimanto River Gakuyuu Hall Akitsuio and an expert that has been involved in dragonfly conservation for many years, on an ecological survey. Over the course of the tour, participants will learn about changes in the environment, as well as information about and the background behind the nature of Shimanto City and its conservation efforts.
Visits by Crown Prince Akishino: The nature reserve has twice received visits from Crown Prince Akishino due to Sugimura’s capacity as president and honorary president of World Wildlife Fund Japan (WWF-J). His communications with the Imperial Household are ongoing, with books written by him being delivered to the household through the WWF at the time of publication.
'- Special Content (2): Experience traditional river fishing as passed down through generations at Shimanto River
The Shimanto River is divided into separate fishing grounds held by individual fishermen, with the general public not permitted to fish in these grounds. The river is also home to many traditional fishing methods passed down through the generations that require traps to be changed depending on the season. Fishing is also closed during certain periods for conservation purposes, with fishing only permitted during the open season.