Celebrating 100 years since its inception, Japanese whiskey is gaining popularity and attention in Europe and the United States. "Yamazakura" is a blended malt whiskey distilled at the Asaka Distillery in Koriyama City, which produces the oldest local whiskey in Tohoku. Yamazakura won the world's best blended malt award at the 2022 World Whiskey Award (WWA) International Whiskey Competition. Alcohol is said to be cultivated by the climate, and this whiskey is the result of the fusion of three elements: limpid water of Asaka Sosui flowing from Lake Inawanashiro, which served as the foundation of the development of Koriyama and was mentioned in the Japanese Heritage "Ippon no Suiro"; the cold wind from Bandai, or the climate with large contrasts in temperature; and the ambition of Sasanokawa Shuzo that started brewing sake 300 years ago in the Edo period (1603–1867). Yamazakura whiskey is produced in the unique climate of the Asaka Plains. We hope that participants will also enjoy our hand-filled whiskey, which they can blend themselves from several different types of raw whiskey and pour into a bottle. We offer a distillery tourism that incorporates the local history and culture for those seeking authenticity. This is an experience-based tour in which participants will enjoy sampling renowned whiskey cultivated by the climate of Koriyama, along with dishes prepared by local chefs at hot spring ryokan inns and outdoor restaurants.
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.
Edo Tokugawa Culture Premium Experience Program in Modern Tokyo: Special Visit to Zojo-ji Temple & Tokugawa Culture Experience
The Tokugawa family founded Tokyo, which was known at the time as 'Edo', and brought one of the world's longest periods of peace, "Pax-Tokugawana," which lasted for over 300 years.
The tour will be led by Iehiro Tokugawa, the nineteenth head of the Tokugawa family. He will guide participants through Zojo-ji Temple, which has connections to the Tokugawa family, and will explore the essence of the history and culture of Edo, which prospered as the center of the samurai class and developed differently from Kyoto.
▼The following special programs will allow participants to experience a quality encounter with the essence of the history and spirit of samurai, an experience not offered anywhere else in Japan.
・A full-scale historical and cultural stay program, which is one of the few programs of its kind in Tokyo, and also the first that is offered by the Tokugawa family.
・Opportunity to learn about the samurai spirit through the Tokugawa Edo period, which established one of the longest periods of peace in the world.
・Fully authentic cultural experience of the Japanese culture that prospered during the peaceful Edo period and has continued to this day, with the head of family that has continued since the Edo period.
・Special visit to the restricted area of Zojo-ji Temple, one of Tokyo's most famous temples associated with the Tokugawa family.
(Visit to the upper level of Japan's Important Cultural Property Sangedatsumon Gate, which has watched over Edo/Tokyo since its establishment over 400 years ago)
・Special exhibition of historical cultural properties owned by the Tokugawa family
Silk culture tour of Kaga silk production areas with Mr. Takamatsu, the only Japanese tailor of haute couture for women
・Private tour to experience silk culture in the Johana area of Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture. The tour is led by Taichiro Takamatsu, the only Japanese tailor of haute couture for women, with a background in Christian Dior Couture Paris.
・Exhibition and explanation of dresses made of shike silk, the only one of its kind in Japan that uses the breed called Koishimaru, a native breed also kept by the Imperial family (some dresses are not available for viewing).
・Visit to Matsui Silk Weaving, the only weaver of shike silk in Japan, accompanied by Mr. Takamatsu himself, who will explain the weaving process.
・Accommodation at the art hotel Rakudo-An, where guests can enjoy food, folk art, and contemporary art.
・Dinner party with Mr. Takamatsu at il Clima, an Italian restaurant that lavishly uses local ingredients.
Iriomote Island is the largest island among the Yaeyama Islands, where about 90 percent of the island is subtropical jungle. There are plenty of activities that take advantage of the abundant nature, but this tour steps even further into the charm of Iriomote Island, an unexplored gem where the only way to reach other villages is by boat. Hence, this tour take participants through a mangrove on traditional Okinawan Hari boats to Funauki village, which is like its own little island but on land.
Iriomote Island is the first internationally recognized International Dark Sky Place in Japan, where the Milky Way can be seen all year round and constellations change with the seasons. Participants are offered a luxurious stargazing experience, where they enter a tent sauna to observe the island's soothing yet impressive starry sky while enjoying the warmth of the sauna.
The ultimate diving experience is offered off Barasu Island, an uninhabited island located 5 kilometers off the northern coast of Iriomote Island, between Iriomote Island and Hatoma Island. This includes PADI and divers who offer inbound guiding and a chartered cruiser for small groups of participants.
The upstream of many of the rivers on Iriomote Island are home to undiscovered secluded waterfalls and a great variety of wildlife. The tour offers trekking and canyoning with a professional guide at Geta Waterfall, which is referred to as a mythical waterfall, and Yutsun Falls, which has a 35-meter drop and the most beautiful gradation of water thanks to the ebb and flow of the tides. Participants will feel energized from the greenery of the subtropical jungle and the clear water of Geta Waterfall on this guided tour.
We have a wide range of intimate tour products of Iriomote Island that can only be experienced here and nowhere else in Japan or in the world.
Project hosted by the prominent Takeda family, which has supported Arimatsu tie-dyeing for 400 years, to deliver an experience of hospitality meant for the Shogun
(1) Dressing in the finest Arimatsu tie-dyed kimono and having authentic makeup (for women) applied is a rare experience even for Japanese people. This is a rare and valuable experience for overseas visitors, and they will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience of elegance. In this attire, participants will have commemorative photographs taken at Japanese gardens, a traditional house, and around the town.
(2) A tea ceremony will be held at the tea house Saishoan, a significant tea house which was visited by the Tokugawa Shogun twice. Participants will enjoy an authentic Japanese tea ceremony using a tea bowl made by an artist who is a living national treasure. The tea room is a special place that exudes a simple atmosphere of the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, or imperfect and ephemeral beauty.
(3) Wear a kimono and take a stroll through the traditional streets of Arimatsu, a town that has continued since the Edo period. On the way, visit an Arimatsu tie-dyeing workshop to observe the dyeing process of Sekka, also known as Itajime, or board-clamping tie-dye. The moment the dyed work is finished is truly awe-inspiring, creating a one-of-a-kind, original work of art.
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.
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.
Entertainment by Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine and the geisha of Fukagawa, sure to be an extremely memorable part of your visit to Japan
1. Japanese traditional performing arts: A well-paced show of Japanese traditional performing arts with English commentary at the Wedding Hall of Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine. An opportunity to learn about history and tradition.
2. Cultural experience: Experience the beauty and spirit of Japan, from putting on a kimono upon arrival, to the sword action in the play and the tea ceremony after the meal.
3. Ozashiki games with geisha: You can enjoy ozashiki party games, which usually require a referral and reservation, with a lecture by a geisha as an attendant.
4. Sacred venue: Decorated with seasonal decorations, Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine is a sacred space that is not available for public use, with approximately 400 years of history.
5. Fine kaiseki dining at the prestigious Tsujitome: High-end kaiseki cuisine with seasonal ingredients and the chef's extra care to create well-balanced dishes. Finish with Fukagawa-meshi rice dish.