Nara Traditional Crafts Experience, Traditional Dance and Music Tour, and Special Exhibition of Nara Crafts, Shrines, and Temples
Nara's traditional crafts have a history that developed together with Nara's shrines and temples, and the techniques of these crafts have been passed down to the present day.
This event will feature the following four projects to allow participants to immerse themselves in its history and traditions.
Event Duration: (1) & (2) November 1 and 15, December 1 and 15, 2023, and January 15, 2024
(3) & (4) November 15, 2023, to January 21, 2024
Closed: every Monday (*Excluding January 8, 2024), the day after a National Holiday (November 24 (Fri.) and January 9 (Tue.)),
Year-end and New Year holidays (December 26 to January 5)
(1) Experience making Nara's traditional craft, korakumen masks
Participants can try their hand at coloring korakumen masks, which are used in Shinto rituals with bugaku music and dance performed at shrines and temples in Nara. This is a valuable experience where Ryudo Nakabo, an artist who has worked in the field for over 60 years, will provide instructions on how to make the masks and tell stories about korakumen masks.
(2) Himuro Shrine: Watching Nanto-style bugaku music and dance performance, and lighting ice lanterns
Participants will have a special seat from which to watch the bugaku performance, which has been passed down through the historic Himuro Shrine in Nara and can only be seen there. They will also experience an ice lantern lighting, which is unique to Himuro Shrine. (The god of ice is enshrined at Himuro Shrine, and the name of the shrine, Himuro means 'ice room.)
(3) Nara Crafts Museum: Special Exhibition of Traditional Crafts "Crafts, Shrines and Temples of Nara"
Please enjoy the works of contemporary artists together with the history of Nara's crafts, which developed hand in hand with the ancient and famous temples.
(4) Nara Crafts Museum: Sales of traditional crafts
Visitors can purchase artwork produced by Nara's craft artists. Visitors will be able to see firsthand and purchase the crafts of Nara, which have been produced using methods handed down and refined for over 1,300 years.
Kameoka is adjacent to Saga Arashiyama and is rich in natural resources. It has inherited many traditional industries, and is actively involved in SDG initiatives.
In this quaint city of Kameoka, we offer a tour like no other.
On the first day, participants will enjoy the seasonal beauty of the valley from the Sagano Romantic Train. Then they will rent a bicycle to enjoy the satoyama landscape of Kameoka.
Participants will make their own original eco-bags from discarded paraglider fabrics and have lunch using locally grown ingredients at KIRI CAFE, which is a cafe renovated from an old minka (traditional Japanese house).
Next, participants will harvest fresh vegetables grown using a high-quality water source at the Rokuya Wonder Village, an eco-farm redeveloped from abandoned land.
Participants will also try their hand at making dinner chopsticks and plates at an onsite workshop held by a long-established bamboo fence specialty store.
To finish off the evening, participants will enjoy dinner made with freshly harvested vegetables and game meat from the mountains behind the restaurant.
On the second day, participants will climb up to Senjuji Temple, which offers a panoramic view of the Kameoka Basin, where they will have a leisurely breakfast while taking in the spectacular view for a special start to the day.
This will be followed by a visit to Izumo-Daijingu Shrine, Japan's number one matchmaking spot with a history of approximately 1,300 years. Try your luck with an omikuji fortunetelling slip, which reveals your fortune when dipped into water.
To finish the tour off, participants will have a one-of-a-kind indigo dyeing experience using Kyoto indigo, which once ceased production entirely due to various reasons.
This tour will include the full range of Kameoka's attractions, offering a special experience that is available only here.
In an age where it is increasingly easy to take photographs, this art project dares to use the earliest photographic techniques to capture the streets of Japan that retain an Edo Period ambience. The Fukusumi area in Tamba-Sasayama City, which has been designated as a Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, retains the looks of an Edo period post town and surrounding rural landscape. The area is about an hour's drive from the cities of Kyoto and Osaka.
Participants will learn about the earliest photography techniques and the history of photography in a lecture by photographer Koichiro Kurita while also participating in an art project. Participants can take home photographs that they have taken and developed themselves using these techniques.
For accommodation, participants will stay in a hotel renovated from a 250-year-old traditional minka house, where they will enjoy creative fusion cuisine that combines French and Japanese culinary techniques. Enjoy a two-day trip of authentic local culture and Japanese art right between Osaka and Kyoto.
Awaji Island—The Birthplace of Japan: Satisfy the Senses with Zen Experiences and Gourmet Clean Eating
The myth of the creation of Japan is described in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki, considered to be the first written records of Japan. Here, it is said that Awaji Island was the very first island to be created. Journey to this significant island and experience Japan through two sustainable buildings, "Zenbo Seinei" and "Haru San San," designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning contemporary architect Shigeru Ban.
At Zenbo Seinei, turn your focus inward on a "Zen Wellness" retreat as you bask in the nature of Awaji Island. Then, show your body kindness by sampling some fermented cuisine free from animal products, flour, oil, and sugar.
At Haru San San, nestled amidst serene farmlands, culinary maestros, including Michelin Green Star chefs, will craft an exquisite “clean eating plan" that is both delicious and nutritious. This plan will be prepared with locally sourced ingredients both produced in and for Awaji Island.
Also on offer is a wide array of activities to deepen your experience of Japan, such as maki-e lacquer painting, Japanese musical instruments such as taiko (drum) and koto (zither), and old Japanese sake tastings.
Discover the Artistry and Soul of a Japanese Garden Through Its Gardeners—Tea Ceremony and Vegetarian Refreshments—
There is a mansion on the grounds of Kyoto’s Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and its garden, known as Shōsei-en Garden, is a historic Japanese-style garden that was created during the Edo period (1603–1867).
Situated opposite Kyoto Station, the garden sits on a vast plot of land, approximately 35,000 square meters large, has two ponds, one large and one small, and has a group of elegant mansions which contain a tea room and a drawing room. The landscape is rich and varied, with such seasonal flowers as maple trees and cherry blossoms. The garden has served as a guest house of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and many distinguished guests from Japan and abroad have come for the hospitality, including Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837–1913), who was the last shogun of the Edo shogunate, Emperor Meiji (1852–1912), and Nicholas II of Russia (1868–1918). This Buddhist temple garden was designated a national place of scenic beauty because it has retained the magnificent essence of the Edo period through its arrangement of garden stones; it is the imagination of literati come to life.
For this plan, visitors will experience the essence of traditional craftsmanship and the Japanese aesthetic found in the appreciation of nature and spirituality through a guided tour and pruning demonstration by the very people who tend to the garden every day: the gardeners. The garden has been graced with nature’s abundant blessings over the 370 years since its opening. It serves as a valuable green sanctuary in the heart of the city, a biological haven (refugium) for all living things. The head gardeners are currently leading a project entitled “Biodiverse Garden Cultivation and Management” to ensure the timeless preservation of this cherished environment. Examples and in-depth explanations of this project will also be on offer within this plan.
Finally, visitors will be able to transport themselves back to the refined elegance of the Edo period through the meticulous craftsmanship of a Japanese-style boat, expertly recreated for visitors to experience the boating lifestyle of that time. This, in addition to the hospitality epitomized by tea ceremony and accompanied by vegetarian refreshments in the exclusive tea room and drawing room, is sure to be a one-of-a-kind premium experience of a lifetime.
World-first stay on a bridge! The ultimate 24-hour Akashi Kaikyo Bridge infrastructure tour to experience all parts of the bridge
This is the world's first ever experience tour of staying inside the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is one of the world's longest suspension bridges, spanning Japan's main island (Honshu) and Awaji Island with a total length of 3,911 meters and a central span of 1,991 meters. Stay overnight in a private tent inside the Maiko Marine Promenade, which protrudes into the Akashi Strait at a height of 47 meters above the sea, and experience the thrilling view of the sea below through the glass floor. Enjoy the sunset, night view, and sunrise from the bridge's maintenance passage, which is one of the bridge’s best vantage points but is usually inaccessible to the public, and use a drone to take dynamic photos of the sunrise and sunset as backdrops. Freshly caught fish from the rich waters of the Akashi Strait and local sake will be served for dinner. With the bridge romantically lit up in the background, enjoy sushi prepared right in front of you at the historic Western-style building, the Former Residence of Sanji Muto, which is registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property. At night, relax in an open-air bath and enjoy the night view. The next morning, take a chartered boat from the port to view the bridge from below, witness the bustling auction at the Akashi Fishing Port, and take a stroll to sample local gourmet, such as Akashiyaki and Akashi octopus. Fully experience the extraordinary feeling of staying on a bridge and the charm of the nearby sea!
Akame Valley is home to many giant salamanders, the living fossils that are designated as a special natural monument, and is also a spot where the existence of a crossbreed with the Chinese salamander was confirmed. The giant salamander, the world's largest amphibian, is an endangered species that can only lives in parts of the Americas, China, and Japan, and is on the verge of extinction in mainland China. Observe the precious giant salamander in Akame Valley and have a first-hand experience of observing its nighttime behavior. Investigating the DNA of captured salamander and learning about biodiversity means it is also an extremely valuable experiential tour from an academic standpoint.
Misaki-cho is a rich fishing area at Osaka Bay not far from Kansai International Airport. This tour is suitable even for beginners, as you can fish in the sea without bringing any equipment. The tour also includes lectures on how to fish given by professional and expert anglers as well as lessons on how to cook the fish you catch in the most delicious ways, providing interest on multiple levels.
In this area, you can catch various types of fish depending on the season, including red sea bream, swordfish, amberjack, yellowtail, grouper, mackerel, and flounder. The fish you catch will be served in various fish dishes, such as sashimi, in a restaurant near the harbor. One of the perks of fishing is eating fresh fish you caught yourself. On this plan, you board a charter boat with expert anglers, eat fish you catch during the fishing experience, and enjoy a luxury yacht cruise (with accommodation).
For two days on November 4 (Saturday) and 5 (Sunday), the FUSHIMI YOKAI SAKE FESTIVAL will be held in Fushimi, Kyoto. Just as the name suggests, this event is themed around sake and “yokai” (monsters).
Fushimi is one of the top sake producing towns in Japan. The charming and nostalgic town streets are lined with historic sake breweries. Just like Japanese sake, yokai are an aspect of Japanese culture that has gained international attention.
Now, the FUSHIMI YOKAI SAKE FESTIVAL is being held to encourage people to learn more about Japanese culture through Japanese sake and yokai.
Various activities will be prepared, such as the “Fushimi Night Parade of 100 Demons,” where yokai will walk through the town, sake tasting by yokai, and a bar-crawl style event that involves enjoying sake from various bars. The general public can also wear yokai costumes, adding an extra element of fun to this spooky event.
“Traditional performance x light x experience”
MPLUSPLUS, which charmed the world with an innovative light performance, is casting a spell of light on traditional arts!
“Maiko dance” “OSK Nippon Revue Company” and “Kagura” are Japan’s top tier dance and performance groups,
and they have come together to deliver the most impressive and newest entertainment.
With a special ticket to enjoy the show even more, your experience starts before the show.
You gather at a secret location, put on a special outfit that puts light on Japan’s traditional clothes, called “happi,”
and walk through Kyoto at night to the theater.
Fully enjoy the show while wearing the happi that lights up in time to the performance!
A new type of show begins, featuring a fusion of tradition and innovation!