Experience the worldview of Ito Sekisui V, the Sado Mumyoi Yaki potter and National Human Treasure, and experience Sado's traditional culture
(1) Hear directly about the appeal and techniques applied in the world of “Mumyoi Yaki” pottery from Ito Sekisui V, the Sado Mumyoi Yaki potter and Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder (Human National Treasure). In this program, you not only can appreciate the beauty of the pieces and their artistic characteristics, but you can also enjoy Sado cuisine in them.
(2) On Sado Island, local dishes have been passed down for use in religious ceremonies and festival events. Among them, you can prepare familiar makizuki (sushi rolls) by yourself. The beautiful patterns revealed when the makizushi rolls are cut open are highly enjoyable; find yourself charmed by the artistic design sense of local Sado cuisine.
(3) For the first time, the thatch roof buildings of the Hojo Residence and Daigan-ji Temple will be used in this program. In the space of these historic buildings, visitors can experience Japanese aesthetics on paper through impressive calligraphy, receiving instruction by a female calligrapher descended from the Hojo Clan. Guests will also be taught the heart of Buddhism through sutra and service by the 46th head monk of Daigan-ji Temple, which has 650 years of history.
(4) Since the Edo Period (1603–1867), Sado has been one of the great treasure troves for wild and medicinal herbs in Japan. Guided by the top wild herb researcher in Sado, guests will pick many types herbs that grow naturally in the satoyama and learning about functional plantlife. This program offers a unique look at Sado and the opportunity to make cuisine and crafts.
(5) Experience a trip to play taiko drums led by the internationally famous Japanese taiko drum performance group “Kodo.” Through a taiko drum experience on the grounds of Daigan-ji Temple, surrounded by green, learn about the culture of Sado’s Ondeko and let the beat of the taiko drum that echoes to the main temple building summon the soul.
Premium experience limited to one group per session. Get special instruction from Aso, the assistant head monk of the Saikoku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Daigo sect of Shingon Buddhism. Leave the bustle of the city behind and unite body and mind through learning, sutra copying, meditation, and service. Time moves slowly in Setouchi, giving you ample opportunity to come face to face with who you are. There is a one-night, two-day “body and soul approach” program that includes reserved accommodation, a lesson in making Buddhist shojin vegetarian cuisine, and a sake experience. Release yourself from daily worries and stresses, and come find the next step forward in your life.
Special program to experience Kanazawa's traditions and culture that have been handed down from the time of the samurai
At the "Samurai Feast Premium Dinner," guests can enjoy a special dinner in Kanazawa Castle that recreates "samurai gourmet," which the Maeda family, who ruled Kaga Domain from the late 1500s through to 1867, had served when entertaining guests. Kanazawa Castle's Gojukken Nagaya, where meals are not normally served, has been specially set up as the dining venue, and the food is prepared by a long-established ryotei restaurant with a history of serving as the leading restaurant of Kaga Domain. This is a special program that adapts the finest hospitality of the samurai culture to modern times, a tradition that can only be recreated in Kanazawa, where the samurai culture has been passed down from the Edo period (1603–1867).
In addition, tours are offered to experience the richness of Kanazawa's traditions and culture, where traditional crafts and performing arts have thrived for hundreds of years.
Guided by a young Noh performer, visitors will experience the mysterious and profound world of Nohgaku. Nohgaku is one of Japan's leading traditional performing arts, with a history of more than 600 years. The Kaga daimyo poured their resources into all arts, including Noh, and even after their rule came to an end, the arts have been passed down by fans in Kanazawa.
There is also a tour of Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's most famous gardens, guided by a garden specialist. Learn about the backstory and highlights not covered in the guidebook, and have a drink while admiring the oldest existing fountain in Japan at the site where the Kaga family's villa once stood.
Similarly, the Nagamachi Samurai District conveys the atmosphere of the samura era with its old-fashioned earthen walls and cobbled streets. Tour the streets with a local guide and through an SDGs perspective on the rows of stately samurai residences.
In the beautiful rural landscape of Komatsu, visit an auberge renovated from an abandoned school and savor pairings of delicious food with sake brewed at the adjacent sake brewery.
A trip to discover the faith and culture of Suwa, which developed through communication between people and nature in the area known as Jomon Ginza, which once thrived over 10,000 years ago
Located in the middle of Nagano Prefecture, the Suwa/Chino area is easily accessible from the Tokyo metropolitan area as well as Nagoya. This area is said to have been the most populated in Japan during the Jomon period (10,000–300 BCE), and Jomon culture thrived here. The Suwa faith has since taken root in the area, originating from Suwa Taisha Shrine, and the culture and lifestyle of respecting and coexisting with nature are very much alive in the area today. Captivated by the power of this place, many keep coming back to it, and many continue to live here. Two programs will be held to allow visitors to take time to reflect on themselves through an encounter with magnificent nature and interactions with local residents.
One program focuses on special cultural content that allows visitors to experience the spirituality of the Suwa faith. Suwa taiko drum is a cultural performing art that evolved from kagura (Shinto music) dedicated to Suwa Taisha Shrine and serves as the origin of the modern kumidaiko style of drumming. Makoto Yamamoto, who is the successor of this tradition, will give a tour of Suwa Taisha Shrine. Afterwards, visitors will head to Buppo Shoryu-ji Temple, which has deep ties to Suwa Taisha Shrine, to experience the worldview of the Shinto-Buddhism syncretism and its story of overcoming the political storms. At the end of the tour, visitors will have a special opportunity to observe an up-close performance of the Suwa taiko drum dedication to the Shinto god of the Upper Shrine, Suwa Daimyojin (original Buddhist deity Fugen Bodhisattva).
The other program allows visitors to discover the history of the Suwa region. The tour will specially reserve Honjin Iwanami House at Shimosuwa-juku, which was considered an important hub along the highway during the Edo period (1603–1867). Participants will tour the buildings, scenery, and treasures that remain today under the guidance of the 28th head of the family. There will be an opportunity to enjoy a Koto performance in the reception room overlooking Nakasendo's best garden, which will be the main attraction of the event.
Encounter a heart that has been inherited from the traditional culture that lives in Kyoto (1/KYOTO)
Encounters can change your destiny.
Whether it is a close friend, a strict coach, or someone you fall in love with,
an encounter with just one person can change your life.
There are billions of people in the world, and we cross paths with countless people when traveling,
but our aim is to forge a deeper, lifelong connection.
Kyoto is filled with unique and interesting people,
such as, a craftsman who continues to reinvent tradition as he weaves,
or a monk who has inherited the deep wisdom of a thousand year-old temple.
Have a genuine encounter with a Kyoto resident who could never be met through sightseeing alone.
Listen to them, talk to them, touch their heart, and connect with them. This is the journey that we offer.
If possible, we would love to hear your story too.
We want a heart-to-heart dialogue rather than a one-sided transmission of information and knowledge.
Only then can we say that two people truly had an encounter.
Through our program, people who have lived completely different lives in distant locations can communicate from the heart.
Make lifelong memories through rich experiences that can only be found in Kyoto.
We aim to transform travel from touring different places to encountering new people.
Ask any Japanese person about Koyasan (Mt. Koya) and they will tell you that it is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is also one of Japan’s top three sacred Buddhist mountains. Since its establishment over 1,200 years ago by eminent Buddhist monk Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi, Mt. Koya has developed a unique food culture centered around Buddhist vegetarianism. To top it off, it is only a 90-minute drive from Kansai International Airport.
Kongobu-ji Temple, the head temple that presides over all of Mt. Koya, is proud to present Koyasan Premium Dining at Daishoin Temple. For this event, it will bring in Chef Tetsuo Ohira, Japan’s leading expert on vegan cuisine, who will not only personally design the menu but will also stand at the stovetop to prepare a new fusion of vegetarian cuisine just for visitors. The dishes served will maintain over 1,200 years of tradition while simultaneously pushing the limits of Japanese vegan cuisine. Guests can also partake in an Ajikan meditation session with the Buddhist nuns.
We will be waiting for you amid Kansai's beautiful red autumn foliage at Daishoin Temple on Mt. Koya from October 20 through October 29, 2023.
*Lunch Course: 13,000 yen (Ajikan meditation session and mealtime prayer included; drinks sold separately)
*Dinner Course: 20,000 yen (Ajikan meditation session and mealtime prayer included; drinks sold separately)
Special experience programs for overseas guests to enjoy sumo, Japan’s national sport, are offered all throughout the year.
The Grand Sumo Tournaments are held every January, March, May, July, September, and November. Our guides arrange tours and help visitors better understand and enjoy sumo wrestling during these tournaments, but we have also prepared a range of programs for visitors to enjoy sumo wrestling even during the off months. For example, some of the contents include visits to early-morning practices at the sumo stables, which are usually only open to sumo wrestlers, and private tours of “sumo schools.” Guided tours in January 2024 will be conducted by English-speaking NHK global announcers, making this a truly valuable guest experience.
1. Guided Tours of the Grand Sumo Tournament (for 20 days in November 2023 and January 2024)
2. Premium Guided Tours of the Grand Sumo Tournament with English-speaking NHK Global Announcers (for two days in January 2024)
3. Exclusive Early-Morning Practice Tour of the Sumo Stables (for 10 days in October 2023, December 2023, and February 2024)
4. “Sumo School” Tour (for 15 days in October 2023, December 2023, and February 2024)
(Scheduled dates and frequencies in parentheses)
This luxurious tour includes the beautiful nature of Nasu’s autumn leaves, one of Japan's best hot springs, shopping at an outlet mall, Nasu’s unique food, and the culture and history of the Meiji aristocracy.
(1) Culture and history of the Meiji aristocracy
The Nasu area used to be a barren, uninhabitable wilderness until the Meiji elite had the Nasu Canal excavated in order to secure water that was essential for development. As a result of the subsequent establishment of large-scale farms, it has now grown into one of Japan’s leading dairy regions. Follow in the footsteps of Meiji aristocrats with a professional guide and dress up in aristocratic Meiji clothes for photos.
(2) Autumn leaves
With the arrival of fall, Nasu's rich forests turn into a sea of bright reds, oranges, and yellows, and the scenery of these colors surrounding the mountains and lakes is truly spectacular. Canoeing and other experiences are available and offer diverse views of the autumn leaves.
(3) Meals and shopping
Nasu has a treasure trove of fresh vegetables and mountain delicacies, and this program will serve food that can only be tasted in Nasu. Enjoy shopping for famous brands at the Nasu Garden Outlet mall, as well as attendning a brewery tour and tasting “Nasu de Suna”, a craft beer selected as a Nasushiobara brand.
Seven tailor-made experiences have been prepared especially for this event:
1. The first-ever dinner event in the history of Hasedera Temple!
A rare opportunity to share in this inaugural event.
2. A private event at Hasedera Temple, a historic and popular tourist attraction!
When the temple-goers finish their daily prayers, Hasedera Temple will open its doors to participants for this private event.
3. Private viewing of floral bonsai designed by renowned garden artist Kazuyuki Ishihara!
Visit an art installation from a garden artist who was featured in the TV documentary series "Jounetsu Tairiku."
4. A special musical experience in front of the magnanimous 1,300-year-old main deity!
Enjoy a different kind of musical performance every day in an otherwise solemn temple dedicated to the Buddhist deity of compassion, Kannon.
5. Special dinner with an assortment of delicious foods from Shonan and Kamakura!
Enjoy a limited-time menu specially crafted by local shops and restaurants for this event.
6. Beat the crowd to enjoy a private autumn stroll, with the season lit up in all its glory at Hasedera Temple!
Take an early autumn walk in privacy through the seasonal illumination event, which officially starts on November 23.
7. Prayer candle devotions for every participant!
Prayer candle inscriptions will be used during the Kannon Mandōe service on New Year’s Eve.
Key Attractions of the Tour:
◆Puts importance on sustainability views
The understanding and cooperation of both local residents and visitors to the area is essential to protect its beautiful nature. This tour chooses environmentally friendly activities, and meals are centered on the idea of local production for local consumption.
◆Shows hospitality through a fully guided, community-based & collaborative tour
Tour guides who love the area will assist participants throughout the entire duration of the tour. The guides' roles are also to connect the local residents with the visitors, promoting collaboration and communication.
◆Tours the unexplored, normally inaccessible "Maejima Island," and allows participants to explore and experience the old and new cuisines to fully appreciate the culture of Okinawa's remote, idyllic islands
Maejima Island became uninhabited about 60 years ago when the last family moved to the main island of Okinawa. The atmosphere is mystical, as the remnants of a previous lifestyle slowly merge with nature. Participants will also get to meet Mr. Nakamura, who was born on the island and continues today to protect it, hoping for its restoration. This experience is one of the the major highlights of the tour.