Located in one corner of what was once the large castle town of Shibata Domain, the Registered Monument Sekisenso Garden and Tangible Cultural Property Sekisenso, including its detached Japanese house and tea room, will be reserved for one group per day (maximum of four people) to enjoy Japanese culture and food. (A private car and guide will accompany you from pick-up to drop-off.)
- Kimono experience (participants will be able to wear kimono throughout their stay)
- Tea ceremony experience (tea ceremony masters will entertain guests with tea ceremony, and guests will learn about the manners of tea ceremony as well as experience an open-air tea ceremony (nodate); will be held in the tea room in the event of rain)
- Culinary experience (local gastronomy with seasonal ingredients such as seafood from the Sea of Japan, Shibata beef, and local vegetables and fruits)
- Video and photoshoot (in the Sekisenso Garden, creating a natural backdrop of seasonal beauty formed by approximately 1,000 trees of 62 varieties)
- Overnight stay (at Kahou: Koshinosato Annex in Tsukioka Onsen, a local hot spring resort)
- From the area's history during the 1600s found in the ruins of Shibata Castle and the old domain residence through to the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s, participants will be able to enjoy Japanese culture across history.
Experience the Essence of Japanese Sword Culture at Oyamazumi Shrine, which Holds 80 Percent of Japan's National Treasures and Important Weaponry
See the treasures of Oyamazumi Shrine, followed by a performance
Located almost in the middle of the Setonaikai National Park, Omishima Island is also known as the "Island of National Treasures." This is because it is home to as much as 80 percent of the armor designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, as well as the oldest piece of armor in Japan (a National Treasure), as presented by the emperors and great generals of the past. Guests will get down to the heart of Japanese sword culture, both traditional and modern, on a private ride on the SEA SPICA, a luxury sightseeing cruiser that has been used for the G7 Summit. On this guided tour, you will hear tales from a chief Shinto priest and a Japanese sword scholar, Paul Martin, regarding the treasures that have been gifted to Oyamazumi Shrine, which will be followed by a 2.5-D performance of “The Genpei Seven Nights of Swords.”
2.5-D Performance of “The Genpei Seven Nights of Swords”
A blind, traveling minstrel visits Oyamazumi Shrine in the middle of the Seto Inland Sea under cover of darkness. As he plays his tune, the notes stir ancient warrior spirits from beyond the grave, driven by an unyielding quest for a legendary sword of Oyamazumi Shrine. This extraordinary performance features swords and other weapons used during the Genpei period during the late 1100s that have since been dedicated to Oyamazumi Shrine. This tale of seafaring military commanders is brought to you by popular 2.5-D musical actors and will premiere on a purpose-built stage on the grounds of Oyamazumi Shrine.
A special program to experience the traditional culture and festivals that have been nurtured over history on the Noto Peninsula, which is surrounded by mountains and the sea
Experience a Shinto ritual and “Naorai” at the prestigious Keta-taisha Shrine, which has a history of 1,200 years and is counted as one of Japan's top four shrines. Naorai is an event where people eat the offerings to the gods after a Shinto ritual, which symbolizes the gods and people becoming one by eating together, and involves enjoying Japanese food culture and Noto’s natural features in a beautiful setting.
Noto has many unique festivals and folk events that have been passed down through generations. Experience a Noto festival at the Wakura Onsen Omatsuri Hall, where cuisine made from Noto produce and prepared by Kagaya, one of Japan's leading ryokan, is enjoyed while local residents provide a special performance in front of festival floats.
Experience a matcha tea ceremony at Seirin-ji Temple, which stands on a hill overlooking Wakura Onsen.
An exceptional program has been planned, and it includes a specially guided tour of works from the Oku-Noto Triennale held in Suzu City, at the tip of the Noto Peninsula, a tour to view Wajima-nuri lacquerware, one of Japan's major traditional crafts, guided by one of the artisans, and purchasing food at the Wajima morning market with a one-star Michelin chef, followed by an exquisite lunch at the restaurant.
A program to create an experiential tour of daily life and the challenges of revitalization along the Fukushima coast through exchange with local residents
Content provision and the reception of visitors is mainly performed by residents living in the area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and all of the resources used (facilities such as old houses, tour guides, residents who can be interacted with, gourmet experiences, etc.) are based around the experience of the nuclear disaster and trying to rebuild through trial and error. This provides an experience of the conditions and local life at the time of the incident and explains the challenges that regional revitalization pose for the future, which cannot be learned from the news, thereby providing new value to visitors.
Experience the charm of contemporary art works unique to this tour, located in the midst of the nature of the Oshika Peninsula, which has recovered from the unprecedented earthquake. Experiences include being part of JR's global art project “Inside Out” and admiring Kohei Nawa's sculpture “White Deer (Oshika)” while being guided by the music of Takeshi Kobayashi's installation work. A special lunch featuring the rich produce of Sanriku and prepared by a highly skilled chef is included. A taxi with a professional guide will lead the laidback tour.
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.
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.