In a collaboration between Okinawan traditions and beautiful ocean waters, this tour program can only be experienced here on Kume Island.
Experience precious Kumejima-tsumugi silk fabric, an Important Intangible Cultural Property of high artistic merit, handmade by artisans, and have an expert dress you in it. While wearing Kumejima-tsumugi silk fabric, visit sightseeing spots around Kume Island and learn about Okinawa’s food and traditional culture. Try your hand at weaving Kumejima-tsumugi silk fabric, stroll through old streets, take photos framed by beautiful sea waters, and visit the spectacular ruins of Uejo Castle, a National Important Cultural Property known as the Machu Picchu of Kume Island for its 360° panoramic views.
The Uezu House, a National Important Cultural Property, is the oldest historic private residence in Okinawa. With a wooden structure unique to Okinawa, it has withstood the wind and rain for 400 years, and offers magnificent panoramic views. Although the home is currently closed to the public, it will be accessible as a part of this tour.
In the deluxe plan, visitors will enjoy a unique Okinawan variation of tea ceremony called bukubuku tea at the Uezu House. This special tea ceremony imparts a sense of the mystical energy of the Ryukyu Islands.
A special dining course will also be served. Enjoy exquisitely fresh oysters, prawns, and "sea grapes" (a seaweed delicacy), which is grown in sea water about 612 meters deep, and available only on Kume Island. Visitors will enjoy a gastronomic experience using an abundance of Kume Island tuna and other local ingredients.
Amami Oshima Island is an island rich in nature located roughly halfway between the Japanese mainland and Okinawa. In July 2021, the area was registered as a World Natural Heritage site in recognition of its diverse range of wildlife living and growing in the area, including rare species such as the Amami rabbit.
The island has produced many unique traditional industries and cultures, such as Oshima tsumugi, one of the world's three major textiles, and brown sugar shochu. We will sell high value-added tours that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the natural and cultural attractions of Amami Oshima Island through trekking, cycling, kayaking, and wildlife observation.
Why are things like Oshima tsumugi and brown sugar shochu made only in the Amami Islands? There are still very few tours in Japan and other East Asian countries that offer such a unique opportunity to explore the connection between Amami's unique culture and nature through activities, making this tour a very special experience.
Come and experience the charm of Amami Oshima Island through this tour.
Kyoto Gyoen National Garden has been at the center of Japan for a thousand years. It was the location the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the home of the Emperor and the seat of government from the Heian Period (794–1185) until the Meiji Restoration (1868), when the capital was relocated to Tokyo. It remains a symbolic place of traditional culture, not only for Kyoto but also for Japan, and its vast area and serene ambiance showcases an the natural beauty of each season. This year's marché event will be the largest of its kind ever held in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, featuring food trucks and other vendors. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy an unconventional, large-scale cultural event. Enjoy culinary treats at the marché while experiencing the history and culture of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the remains of former noble residences, and the rich natural beauty of the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.
This event will bring together various attractions in Yuzawa including the Yuzawa Inukko Dog Festival, a snow festival with a history of 400 years. Other attractions include the Shigakko Festival, giant icicle displays in the Oyasukyo Gorge, and lanterns featuring bijin-ga (a form of ukiyo-e painting) with a history of approximately 300 years. In addition, snow sculpture projection mapping done by an overseas videographer, fireworks dancing in the snowy night sky, Yuzawa cuisine, and traditional crafts will also be available to be enjoyed by all.
Project to create a lively waterfront space in Sawara, said to have once thrived more than Japan's former capital Edo - Sawara riverbank: Fun, joyful, and delicious all year round Gorgeous My Night Cruising... All types of riverbank fun
The river surface and riverbanks of Ono River of Sawara, a Japanese Heritage and Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, will be used as a special event site and lit up with lanterns to allow visitors to enjoy an atmospheric Edo-style nightlife. The event will offer night cruising with dinner on a boat, festival and traditional cultural experiences to connect with the pride of the townspeople, a night market along Sawara riverbank, and a workshop on traditional fermented food.
1) Weekend night cruising: A dinner cruise on the boat with a tiered lacquered box of French cuisine, local sake, special musical performances, night talks, etc.
2) Traditional cultural experience & special dinner: (1) Experience of pulling a float and dinner at a special seat that offers a view of the grand night festival / (2) Kiri-e paper cutting craft to connect with the charm of the townscape / dinner with a town guide to enjoy the night view / (3) Tour of local sake & beer breweries and dinner with a night view / (4) Live traditional performing arts and special dinner
3) Ono River Night Market: (1) Bar hopping / (2) Starry night market / (3) Street night stalls
4) Fermented food workshop: A workshop to enjoy cooking and learning fun facts about fermented food.
5) Japanese Heritage Event: (1) Digital stamp rally of Sawara's constituent cultural properties / (2) PR exhibition of the four Hokuso cities and three shrines in eastern Japan
Following the path of the Oyama Pilgrimage's history, visitors can experience traditions that have continued since the Edo period. This special overnight tour offers a modern take on Japanese culture, eliminating language barriers by providing an interpreter guide for each group.
Participants in the Noh Kyogen experience will wear Noh masks and costumes while receiving instruction in Noh Kyogen theatre from the Yamamoto family of the Okura and Kanze schools, which have long-standing links with performing arts in the area. Visitors can enjoy the experience of ascending a Noh stage, which is normally off-limits to visitors, under the guidance of professionals.
During the visit to Oyama Afuri shrine, visitors will don traditional garb and carry large wooden swords over 4 meters in length. A special cable car will carry visitors to the shrine for a formal visit outside of normal operating hours.
Visitors will also enjoy a special dinner at Teahouse Sekison, which was awarded two stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan, where they can savor local cuisine while enjoying night-time views from the lower shrine partway up the hill.
At night, visitors can bask in the atmosphere of the Edo period in the old shrine approach area and enjoy Edo-era games, such as hanafuda (traditional playing cards) at the shukubo lodging, as well as Japanese sake, which has earned many fans overseas.
For overnight stays, each group can rent a single shukubo, a Shinto-style lodging, and enjoy opportunities to interact with local residents, including hospitality provided by a leading priest.
Other optional content includes a fire-offering ceremony experience at Oyama Dera Temple, home to a Buddhist statue designated a National Important Cultural Property, a scroll-transcribing experience at the shukubo lodging, an Oyama tofu-making experience, and more. This special tour allows visitors to experience Edo traditions right up until checkout.
Kumamoto Reconstruction Tourism project to convey the traditions and origins of Kumamoto Castle's history and culture, as well as the current state of the castle's restoration efforts
This is a special high-value-added experience that gives visitors a chance to experience the culture of the Hosokawa clan using Kumamoto Castle as the main site. Kumamoto Castle has 13 nationally designated important cultural properties and is a symbol of Kumamoto Prefecture and its citizens, as well as a landmark for tourists.
After it is closed to the general public, Kumamoto Castle will be rented out to visitors for a guided tour of the restoration efforts by masonry craftspeople who will tell the real story of the reconstruction efforts, along with a special dinner in the castle tower to provide an enjoyable experience where visitors can really learn about the culture and history of Kumamoto Castle with all five senses.
•Dining in the castle tower at Kumamoto Castle
•A dinner experience limited to three groups of two people (six people in total) on the top floor (4th floor) of the castle tower at Kumamoto Castle after the castle is closed.
•Kumamoto Castle boardwalk cocktail party
•A chance to enjoy Kumamoto's local sake and snacks while overlooking the illuminated castle tower at the special tour passage (the boardwalk) temporarily set up during the restoration work at the closed Kumamoto Castle.
•Guided tour of the ishigaki (stone wall) restorations
•Focusing on Kumamoto Castle's biggest attraction, the ishigaki, visitors can get detailed explanations about the restoration status of Kumamoto Castle while accompanied by a guide specializing in ishigaki.
•Guided tour of the castle tower at Kumamoto Castle
•A guided tour of the castle tower at Kumamoto Castle after the castle is closed, which is not usually offered to the general public.
•Kumamoto Castle samurai experience
•Samari armor experience •Katana experience
This year, the President’s prize, the highest award in the Authentic Shochu and Awamori Category of the Kura Master competition, went to a shochu called Aokage from the Yanagita Distillery in Miyakonojo.
Miyazaki Prefecture is one of Japan's leading producers of shochu and continues to be number one in Japan in shipments of authentic shochu.
However, Miyazaki Prefecture is not only known for its spirits. Visitors can also enjoy unique gourmet foods such as Miyazaki Beef, which is characterized by its superb meat quality and fine texture, and ripe mangoes grown right in Miyazaki. Both of these foods are a perfect match with Miyazaki shochu.
In recent years, Miyazaki Prefecture's natural wonders have also attracted attention from travelers. The "Cliff Diving World Series" competition, a high dive event held at tourist attractions around the world, was held at Takachiho Gorge in August 2023.
Takachiho is famous for its shrines associated with Japanese gods and its mystical scenic spots. Yokagura, a traditional form of dance which has been preserved and passed down by the villagers of Takachiho, transports visitors back to a time when the gods walked among us! Surrounded by the forests, beautiful air, and the quiet murmur of clear streams, this is the perfect place for making authentic shochu. Another shochu called Takachiho has also won over many fans around Japan and the world.
We hope you will take this opportunity to experience great pairings of shochu, gourmet food, nature, and tradition that can only be experienced in Miyazaki.
A unique shochu distillery and Miyazaki's rich nature await you.
Immersive cultural tourism driven by the traditional Japanese performing art of bunraku puppet theater
The National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka is the country's center of bunraku puppet theater, one of Japan's traditional performing arts.
Bunraku is a performing art in which three aspects come together to visually express the story of a ballad drama—a narrator explains the scenes and emotions of the characters, a shamisen player expresses the mood and emotional development of each scene, and a single puppet is manipulated by three puppeteers.
Bunraku's themes often focus on the impermanence of the world and the affairs of humanity, and its stories remain deeply moving even today.
In 1955, bunraku puppet theater was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan, and in 2008 it was registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Japan by UNESCO.
In conjunction with performances in November 2023, projection mapping will recreate bunraku scripts, which are placed on the floor during performances, and interactive content in the lobby will allow visitors to manipulate virtual puppets. During this period, tours will include strolling through Osaka and tasting its culinary delights, as well as a bunraku puppet theater experience. Visit Osaka and experience the traditional Japanese performing art of bunraku alongside the renowned cityscape and culinary culture of Osaka.
Newly developed experiential content and tours that showcase the potential of Japan's art, traditional performing arts, culture, and other tourism resources will be made possible through Tokyo Gendai, the first large-scale international art fair held in Japan. In addition to Yokohama, where the art fair will be held, there will be authentic content and special experiences offered in Tokyo, Odawara, and Kyoto with experts in contemporary art and Japanese art and culture, including experiences in undisclosed cultural properties and areas that are not usually open to visitors.
All content has been created exclusively for this special occasion and the participants. In Yokohama, where the art fair is held, there will be a special Noh performance and flower offering performance at the famous Sankeien Garden, as well as a tour of the popular cultural arts institution BankART1929. In the surrounding area of Odawara, there will be chartered private visits to art sites created by world-renowned Japanese artists. In Tokyo, for more stimulating and one-of-a-kind content, a special viewing of the world premiere will be held along with the commissioning of a new work to world-class pianists and artists. In Kyoto, all experiences are private visits reserved exclusively for the participants, offering various forms of experiences to contextualize Japanese culture, history, traditions, and arts. The program includes visits to temples, shrines, and gardens, special viewings at art museums, special viewings of contemporary art (commissioned work), visits to artists' studios, and special gallery exhibitions.