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.
Intimate discovery of Benesse Art Site Naoshima: Enjoy the wide array of entertainment in the Seto Inland Sea for 2 days on Naoshima Island
A local guide will lead participants through the art facilities and provide support as they take the opportunity to explore and connect deeply with the history and philosophy of the activities of Benesse Art Site Naoshima. The tour offers first-class hospitality, including an introductory video created especially for this tour that summarizes the thoughts of the founders and architects, a helicopter and cruiser ride to see the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea archipelago from every angle, a stay in the Oval Suite at Benesse House, a special menu at the hotel's Terrace Restaurant, and a special charter of the Chichu Art Museum before the museum opens. Special menus in partnership with the island's eateries are also available for local dining options and socializing in the area.
Kushiro Wetland, the largest marshland in Japan and one of the world's great natural wonders, can be experienced through a tour that allows visitors to enjoy the marshland from multiple perspectives, including from the Ainu culture, which has strong roots in the region.
■ Experience the rare marriage of magnificent panoramic views and traditional culinary culture on an exclusively chartered train running through the Kushiro Wetland ■
・From the windows of a special chartered train that runs through the wetland, visitors experience the vastness of the marshland up close with panoramic views.
・A special lunch will be served on board the train, offering a glimpse of traditional Ainu culture through food.
■ Experience these marshlands and the wonders of nature from Takkobu Auto Camping Ground, located in a national park ■
・Private night canoeing experience on Lake Takkobu: Enjoy the extraordinary experience of being enveloped in the world of a full moon floating above the lake under a star-filled sky.
・An immersive, realistic experience in a marshland using drones: Enjoy pristine, unspoiled nature over the vast plains, including the meandering Kushiro River.
・The tour also offers a comprehensive Ainu cultural experience (cooking class under direct supervision of Ainu people, traditional dance performance, and hands-on experience with authentic Ainu musical instruments).
・Unique grand viewing experiences are ensured from the observatory points.
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.
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.
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).
■ Enjoy the snow at a small ski resort with an exclusive private tours
Royal Valley Ski Resort, a small local ski resort, will be rented out exclusively for a limited period of time for a hands-on snow tour that goes beyond just skiing.
(1) Snow activities centered on experiencing Japanese snow culture
These activities allow visitors to enjoy snow to the fullest while experiencing Japanese snow culture such as Kamakura igloos, making snowmen, and sledding on the slopes. The Kamakura igloos will be lit up, with snacks and other Kushiro local specialties to be served inside. Enjoy Japanese snow culture alongside the mesmerizing beauty of the landscape!
(2) Enjoy Japanese drum bathing amid nature and snow
We have prepared drum baths to offer a liberating bathing experience very different from bathing in a natural, snow-covered hot spring.
(3) Experience robatayaki, an original cuisine of the Kushiro area
For dinner, we offer a robatayaki grilled foods, a special kind of grilling said to have originated in the city of Kushiro. Savor local specialties and enjoy seafood that are the pride of Kushiro!
Yakushima is a nearly circular island 28 km from east to west and 24 km from north to south located about 60 km south of the southernmost tip of mainland Japan in Kagoshima Prefecture.
With its continuous peaks of over 1000 m in altitude, including the highest peak of Mt. Miyanoura at an altitude of 1935 m, it is called “the Alps of the sea.”
What also distinguishes this single island is the range from subtropical vegetation by the coast to alpine vegetation, which even has snowfall in the winter.
This is therefore an invaluable area where one can see unique and diverse eco-systems. Yakushima was registered World Natural Heritage in 1993.
This year in 2023, there will be a vertical race for the first time in Yakushima to commemorate the 30th anniversary of it being registered as a World Natural Heritage.
Zao’s Okama Crater Lake is usually closed to the general public and is inaccessible during the winter season. This tour consists of a helicopter cruise tour of Mount Zao with views of Okama Crater Lake and the famed “ice monsters” of Mount Zao, one of Japan’s top three spots for this phenomenon of ice-covered trees. Okama Crater Lake and the “ice monsters” of Mount Zao seen from the sky offer exclusive, truly spectacular views. The flight time is approximately 20 minutes. This plan includes a shuttle service to and from the takeoff and landing sites. Additionally, those taking part in this tour may also experience snow glamping upon request. (There is an extra charge for glamping.)
Night Party of Atami Cherry Blossoms (winter cherry blossoms that bloom the earliest in Japan) ~Atami Onsen / Showa Nostalgia Journey~
Atami, famous for its hot springs and beautiful ocean views, is only around 40 minutes from Tokyo Station by bullet train. In addition to hot springs, Atami is replete with wonderful places rich in culture, nature, and food.
For this event, Atami's early-blooming cherry blossoms, its Showa retro town, and Kiunkaku/Atami Geigi Kenban have been packaged together to create a single event: Atami Cherry Blossoms: Night Party.
Enjoy a nighttime light-up display of Itogawa’s Atami cherry blossoms, which bloom the earliest in Japan and can only be viewed at this time. This display and a mystical lantern monument create
a view of cherry blossoms that can only be enjoyed in Atami during winter.
Also, at Kiunkaku (Tangible Cultural Property), which can usually only be observed and not entered, visitors can do a photo shoot wearing a yukata or Showa retro clothing at this limited-time event.
Although Atami is often thought of in Japan as a place for young people to gather during trips, it has the atmosphere of the Showa period and is a historic tourist site.
Please come enjoy this Showa retro world while gazing at the winter cherry blossoms.