Program creation project for a Minamiboso gastronomy experience that touches the essence of Japanese food culture
“Washoku” traditional Japanese dietary culture is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage and is one of the top reasons people visit Japan. This premium tour has been created to develop new attractions in Minamiboso focusing on Japanese cuisine, which has garnered a lot of attention over recent years, and the food culture that embodies the thoughts and ideas about cooking that Japanese people have.
The highlight of this tour is the special “Hochoshiki” knife ceremony that has been held as an imperial court event since the Heian period (794–1185) at Takabe Shrine, the only shrine in Japan that enshrines the “gods of cooking.” In addition, special experiences tailored to the tastes of tourists who are passionate about food have been prepared to allow people to fully enjoy the rich food culture unique to the region. Such experiences include fishing with local fishermen, who do not usually take guests with them; an organic lunch--made with locally produced vegetables--at a 300-year-old farming house with locals who share their thoughts and experiences about traditional Japanese life and culture; a visit to an “ama” female divers’ hut; a wild game experience in the satoyama, an area in which humans live sustainably in the environment; and an experience with fermented food. A professional guide will accompany the tour with the aim of providing further added value by deepening the participants’ understandings not only of the language but also of Japanese food and the local culture.
Minamiboso City, located 90 minutes by car from Tokyo and Narita and Haneda Airports, is a town of serenity and healing, with its warm and scenic location, summer sea, and spring flowers. In addition to the two-day tour that provides enjoyment of the rich charm of Minamiboso, which is blessed with plentiful seafood and fresh produce from the land, day trips to Tokyo can be arranged to suit individual needs.
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.
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.
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.
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)