A high value-added stay program to experience the mystique of the 1250-year-old Shingon sect Daihonzan Daisho-in Temple of Mt. Misen on Miyajima (Itsukushima), the "island of the gods"
This program will focus on the spirituality of Miyajima, which has been worshipped as the "island of the gods" since ancient times. The entire island is registered as a World Heritage site, and by offering experiences of Japanese culture and history unique to Miyajima, this program offers a deep dive into spirituality to encourage participants to converse with themselves. Through historical and cultural experiences at Shingon Buddhist Daisho-in Temple, the oldest temple on Miyajima, visitors can feel spirituality that has been passed down for more than a thousand years. The tour will provide visitors with the key to unlocking the history of Miyajima while allowing them to pay their respects by visiting the seven shrines around the coast of Miyajima.
A new partnership between HONDAJET and helicopters, yachts, and hire cars is here! The trip from Haneda Airport to Naoshima, which used to take five to six hours, has been shortened to only two hours. The Geiyo Islands area, which includes Setoda and Shimanami Kaido, is also now only an hour away from the Naoshima area. This partnership has achieved an unprecedented level of convenience for visitors!
The local experience offers an exclusive taste of all three categories: culture, mindfulness, and interaction with locals. In Naoshima, the renowned Chichu Art Museum and Teshima Art Museum are fully chartered. Participants can also experience the "Ma" program, which uses aroma and tea to harmonize the five senses and mind.
In the Setoda area, participants will tour the hidden secret islands by catamaran yacht. On board, private chefs offer sushi, Japanese meat cuisine, Japanese-French cuisine, and more. Participants will also stop at local residences on the islands along the way and enjoy welcome parties thrown by the islanders.
There are also a variety of cultural experiences to have, such as visits to sake and soy sauce breweries, Japanese paper studios, pottery studios, Shinto shrines, and Buddhist temples. Surprising experiences that even Japanese people do not know about await visitors, including Gerhard Richter's largest work of art, Chichibugahama Beach, known as the Salar de Uyuni of East Asia, and the giant Goemon Cauldron Baths, which are only found in Japan. At dusk, a colorfully constructed grazing table is prepared, loaded with locally sourced ingredients. With a local brew in hand, sit back and enjoy the sunset and evening cruise.
High value-added theatrical tour to make most of the evening: Iwami Tatamigaura, a designated National Natural Monument, and Iwami Kagura, a Japanese Heritage
Hamada, the town from which Iwami Kagura comes from, is located in the Iwami region of western Shimane Prefecture. The dynamic kagura dance performed by maiko in their ornately decorated costumes to the profound yet lively musical accompaniment fascinates all who see the Iwami Kagura performance.
The ornately decorated costumes, masks made from Japanese paper, and snake bodies used in the performance of "Orochi" are integral to Iwami Kagura, and all of them are created in Hamada City. Along with the dynamic dances they are used in, these items have had a great influence on the entire Chugoku region.
In this tour, participants will watch a ceremonial dance performed as part of a prayer to the gods at the designated National Natural Monument Iwami Tatamigaura, where night kagura dances are not usually performed. Iwami Tatamigaura, known as Shimane's Salar de Uyuni, reflects the setting sun over the Sea of Japan, inviting people into a magical world of water and light, where Shinto gods reside.
Participants will enjoy Hamada's gourmet food at Sanku Shrine (Omatsuri Ameno Iwatohiko Shrine), which enshrines Tajikarao-no-Mikoto. This god appears in the legend of Amano-Iwato, where kagura as a form of dance is said to have originated. While enjoying the food, participants will learn the essence of kagura from the dancers and hear their passionate thoughts as insiders of Iwami Kagura. This experience is sure to pique your intellectual curiosity.
The Shimane Aquarium Aquas, one of the leading aquariums in the Chugoku region, will hold a night kagura performance after the aquarium closes. The ornately decorated Iwami Kagura costumes will be displayed inside the aquarium, creating a one-night-only kagura theater.
The above content will be offered in a one-day tour package with an overnight stay option for a full day of kagura.
Iwami Kagura is a traditional performing art that continues to evolve while preserving its traditions, and we hope to see you at this event.
JAPAN FARM STAY: Ancient Japanese self-sufficient rural living based on the theme of interaction with locals in an off-grid, one-story house
The village of Ueyama in Mimasaka City, Okayama Prefecture, is a place where country challengers who are neither "outsiders" nor "country people" gather, and about 40 percent of its 150 residents are young newcomers. Here, young newcomers pass on and evolve the history and culture of Japanese farming villages as they learn about them from the elderly locals, who make up the remaining 60 percent of the local population. Residents always call out to each other when crossing paths, go to their neighbor's house to borrow soy sauce if they are running short, and take their neighbor's laundry inside when it rains. It is a beautiful village filled with warmth and care, and it shows the richness of the traditional Japanese way of life.
Experience this way of life through a tour that includes accommodation in an off-grid, one-story house away, which combines solar power and a rainwater filtration system. The tour also offers spectacular views of terraced rice fields recognized as "Tsunagu Tanada Heritage," a sea of clouds, as well as a clay wall smoked sauna experience and a bamboo craft workshop using Ueyama bamboo.
1,000 years of traditions and techniques: Bizen ware pottery production and a trip to the Seto Inland Sea
Bizen ware pottery, fired at high temperatures of 1,200 to 1,300°C without any glaze, is also known as the art of "clay and flame," boasting a charming earthy quality. Under the guidance of renowned artists and traditional artisans, participants will create their own one-of-a-kind Bizen ware item. Deepen interactions with artists by strolling together around the town of Imbe, the home of Bizen ware, and dining featuring Bizen ware at the long-established Ebisu Araki Ryokan, where famous artists such as Rosanjin and Isamu Noguchi once stayed. The next day, spend time in an artist’s workshop, enjoying a meal and experience "apprenticeship" with the artist.
Bizen (Hinase) is a fishing port facing onto the Seto Inland Sea. It was admired by Western intellectuals visiting in the 19th century, such as Thomas Cook, the founder of modern tourism, who was astonished by the never-ending, ever-changing natural beauty of the landscape. Take a cruise on the adorable NORINAHALLRE ferry and enjoy the cuisine of Seto Inland Sea fishermen.
The Tanabe family managed tatara ironworks, in which iron and high-quality steel called “tamahagane” were forged in traditional methods. The iron they produced was exhibited at the Chicago World Fair and Paris World Fair during the Meiji Period and highly appraised across the globe, and during the Taisho Period, the Tanabe family ironworks had the honor of smelting the tamahagane steel that was later smithed into a protective katana for the emperor. 100 years later, this valuable metal was brought back for modern use when the Tanabe family’s tatara furnace was revived, producing a new metal called “Shinpi Iron.”
- Tatara ironmaking requires a furnace made of clay, iron sand, and charcoal. One round of tatara ironworking requires 13 tons of iron sand and 13 tons of charcoal, which are slowly added and burned continuously. Bellows power air into the furnace, which heats it to around 1,500 degrees C. The melted clay of the furnace and the impurities of the iron sand are extracted as slag, while the high purity iron forms massive lumps of metal called “kera.” The portion of the kera with the highest purity steel is called “tamahagane,” a rare metal that is used in producing Japanese swords.
- This overnight plan allows guests to experience tatara ironmaking, which used to meet the pre-industrial metalmaking needs of Japan. This is a rare chance to pass on the technology and thought behind this craft to the next generation. The traditional methods of making iron also had a significant impact on the land and agriculture, so eating a meal from land directly influenced by the ironmaking traditions, even many generations later, gives a sense of core ironmaking culture.
On par with Matsue Castle (designated National Treasure) and considered the heart of Matsue City’s tourism is the MATSUE WATER TERRACE. For a limited period of three months between September and November 2023, visitors to Matsue can enjoy views of the Horikawa Pleasure Boats drifting leisurely down Hori River, various shops, such as Karakoro Plaza, and cafes and bars from the comfort of “waterside terrace seat” located in the Katahara/Kyoten water embankment area. During the day, you can relax while gazing at the boats that drift down the historic Hori River; during evenings, delight in the beauty of the area lit-up spectacularly thanks to the designs by lighting designer Shiho Nagamachi. What’s more, various restaurants and bars in the area have decided to come together to create an area of communication and social exchange, with a special take-out menu and plenty of opportunity to interact with the people around you. We hope that this limited-time MATSUE WATER TERRACE becomes a hub of both interaction as well as water tourism in Matsue City. MATSUE WATER DINING (an evening outdoor restaurant) will also be held for a two-day period.
Project to create and host sustainable tourism events utilizing the national park in the Bihoku area of Hiroshima Prefecture
An interactive entertainment space utilizing the latest technology and digital art will appear in the Flower Square of Bihoku Hillside Park, where the Winter Illumination 2023 - 2024 event will be held.
NAKED, INC., a creative company that uses the latest technology to render magnificent sceneries, will decorate the Flower Square at Bihoku Hillside Park with projection mapping and other light installations.
In addition, there will be a limited-time-only plan for an overnight stay in partnership with "Cohan stays SHOBARA," a glamping facility which opened in March 2022 and uses domed tents set up in the National Bihoku Hillside Park.
Flourishing from the Muromachi period (1336–1573) to the early Edo period (1603–1867), the World Heritage site “Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape” was a renowned silver mine.
Experience the culture and lifestyle in two traditional towns, Omori and Yunotsu, as well as a limited-time opening of the Okubo Mabu Mine Shaft, the largest in Iwami Ginzan, which is usually closed to the public. Feel the value of World Heritage site “Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape” through an accommodation plan that combines kominka old traditional houses (Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings) with small luxuries.
Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is a popular tourist destination about an hour from Hiroshima and Osaka Stations by JR railway lines, with its old-fashioned white-walled streets, souvenir stores, and jeans stores. The tour will explore the footsteps of the Ohara family members (Magosaburo and Soichiro Ohara), who laid the foundations for the town, with a guide who will take you on a tour of the Ohara House Katalyzer, the Ohara Museum of Art, and the surrounding areas. The tour will begin with a lecture on the history of the Ohara family. This will foster intellectual curiosity and provide an opening for visitors to deepen their understanding of Kurashiki, as they will learn how the Ohara family was involved in the formation of Kurashiki, which prospered as a spinning mill town.
The main focus of the tour is on experiencing culture and art through seeing, hearing, and experiencing the "real things" that are tied to the Ohara family. The tour will reserve the Ohara House, where the Ohara family has lived for generations, and will also include a special visit to the private collection of the Ohara family, which is not normally open to the public, and an ensemble concert on the Bechstein piano, which has been loved and cherished by the Ohara family for generations. In addition, the Ohara Museum of Art will be chartered for a guided tour by an English-speaking guide who has received special training in artwork, as well as for a special private dinner experience in the exhibition room. This will also include a private viewing of Yurinso, the former villa of the Ohara family used as a guest house, which is not normally open to the public.
For accommodation, a stylish inn that was renovated from an old traditional house in Kurashiki and rented out as a whole house will be prepared. We hope that you will indulge in this experience as if you were living in the city of Kurashiki.
Come to the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter to experience various other activities, such as a green tea ceremony, a tour of a local sake brewery, a rickshaw ride, and a chance to wear a kimono.