The Nada Gogo is a cluster of sake breweries straddling Kobe and Nishinomiya cities in Hyogo Prefecture. It has prospered as Japan's largest sake production area since the Edo period (1603–1867). The history nurtured here is that of sake brewing itself, and learning about Nada Gogo, which created the original form of modern brewing, will lead to an understanding of sake brewing as a craft. For the first time ever, the Nada Gogo area will hold events in both Kobe and Tokyo in fall and winter 2023 themed on the history of sake brewing. There will also be a sake brewing experience tour in Nada Gogo, which is considered a sacred place for sake brewing. Learn about the culture of sake brewing that evolved from Japan's unique climate and spirit, and experience the flavor of the famous sake of Nada Gogo, which still boasts the largest sake production volume in the country.
Shinhotaka Crystal Snow Park in Takayama ~Experience the great nature of Chubusangaku National Park, traditional arts and crafts, and high mountain cuisine born from the water and trees nurtured in the Northern Japanese Alps~
Shinhotaka Ropeway is hosting an event that allows visitors to experience all the tourist attractions at once! Attractions include Chubusangaku National Park's vast wilderness as well as the cuisine and traditional arts and crafts nurtured in the Northern Japanese Alps region.
At Nabedaira Kogen, the transfer point for the two legs of the ropeway, multiple booths set up in the image of the “kamakura” igloos made of snow will give visitors the chance to enjoy for the first time the traditional high alpine culture (food, spirits, and art) fostered in the Northern Japanese Alps.
Visitors can also take the second ropeway, the only double-decker gondola in Japan, to Nishihotakaguchi Station, which is 2,156 meters above sea level. A limited-time-only special event will be held there at which visitors can view the starry skies from a platform with a panoramic view of the Northern Japanese Alps. This platform has been awarded two Michelin Green Guide Japan stars for the spectacular view it provides.
Additionally, two tours providing special, highly valuable experiences are also available. One tour offers private breakfast or dinner while viewing the dawn or evening skies from a platform 2,156 meters high, reserved outside of operating hours. The second is a story tour that teaches the connections between the nature of the Northern Alps and high alpine cuisine and traditional arts and crafts.
150 year anniversary of the founding of the Meijiza Theater “Everything Meijiza” ~ From premium Japanese cuisine to ninjas! Take a behind-the-stage look!
Enjoy everything Japanese-culture offered by Meijiza Theater, Tokyo’s oldest theater with 150 years of history, including special performances!
The two top tier performances are Fuji Musume, a Japanese kabuki dance featuring a vibrant performance by the Fuji no Sei, and a ninja show by the group PADMA, which has flown across the globe to perform. Between the two shows, the audience will be offered a look at the set change, which is usually hidden behind the curtains.
Inside the theater, there will be workshops for origami and shuriken throwing, as well as a digital art museum, where captions are provided for Japanese art displayed inside the theater.
Plus, the "Everything Special Ticket" includes a premium boxed lunch packed with Japanese food, and a back stage tour where you can experience the spinning stage, the naraku area beneath the stage, and the oseri trap door lift stage mechanism.
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.
Enjoy an intrinsic and profound experience of the deeply rooted Zen culture unique to Eiheiji Town, where Zen "traditions" are inherited and "innovation" is born.
- Storytelling by two special guides: a Sōtō Zen chief priest who received training at Eiheiji Temple, and a Sōtō Zen chief priest who has taught about Zen culture at the Sōtō Zen Buddhism International Center in the United States;
- Special participation in the wishing lantern prayer at Daihonzan Eiheiji Temple that cannot be experienced by general visitors;
- Tour of the halls of Kippoji Temple, a Zen training dojo; experience making vegetarian cuisine; and an informal tea gathering;
- Japan's first Level 4 autonomous driving experience;
- And making Buddhist prayer beads to wear as omamori charms.
*All of the events listed above can be experienced on a special tour that coincides with the Eiheiji Floating Lantern Festival. Plans that best suit the needs of visitors are also offered. Please ntoe that some events may be unavailable due to weather conditions or religious events.
Enjoy a two-day, one-night premium tour in November (planned) to experience the history and culture of surfing and the sea at Ichinomiya, a surfing event site for the Tokyo Olympics and a place where 700,000 surfers visit each year. On the first day, experience real surfing with a personal surfing guide on Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, which was used as a surfing event site during the Tokyo Olympics. After that, head over to Tamasaki Shrine, a tangible cultural property of Chiba Prefecture, to enjoy a special performance of gagaku music, a classical genre of Japanese music often played at imperial court. Performed by Tamasaki Gagaku Association, this musical performance has strong ties to the ocean, adding the unique cultural element to this surfing tour. Finally, enjoy a premium dinner made from local ingredient and relax in the evening at a luxuriously private hotel. On the second day, you might choose to enjoy surfing at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach or perhaps even go for a round of golf; a personal car is prepared for all activities, and an interpreter will be available to assist you with whatever activities you decide to do.
Kudoyama in Wakayama Prefecture is the starting point of the Mt Koya Pilgrimage Route, where old traditions and landscapes live on to this day. This tour provides a valuable opportunity to experience the Japanese culture unique to Kudoyama.
A pleasant time can be spent interacting with the locals through activities such as tea ceremony, helmet making, and Japanese cooking experiences. Additionally, the Tahoto pagoda at Jison-in Temple, built by Kukai (774–835), the founder of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism at Mt Koya, will open for the first time in over 400 years. Inside the pagoda, a statue of Amida Buddha is enshrined. The Tahoto pagoda has never been open to the public since it was built in the early Edo period (1603–1867), but it will be opened for the first time in the fall of 2023. Please come and join us for this historic moment!
To commemorate this moment, a light-up event will also be held on the grounds of Jison-in Temple during the tour, and visitors will be welcomed by Japanese paper lanterns made from traditional “Koyagami” paper produced in the towns of Kudoyama and Koya in Wakayama Prefecture; enjoy the magical evening atmosphere—an entirely different charm compared to that during the day. For the second day of the tour, a trek along the Koyasan chōishi-michi trail, which is also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is planned. The chōishi-michi trail leads from Jison-in Temple in Kudoyama to the grand central pagoda of Kongobu-ji Temple on Mt Koya. The 180 stone pillars (chōishi) that stand along the route have led worshipers to the sanctuary ever since Kukai established the Mt Koya temple complex. It is one of the historic Mt Koya Pilgrimage Routes and is also registered as a World Heritage Site. Come and visit Kudoyama and Koyasan for a wonderful cultural experience!
Maruoka Castle is one of only twelve castles in Japan that still has a keep, which is the quintessential part of a castle.
The castle was built over 400 years ago and is also known as Kasumiga-jo, which translates to "Mist Castle." This name comes from the legend that when the castle was attacked, a large snake appeared and spewed out mist, and the haze served to protect the castle from the attackers.
One of the defining features of Maruoka Castle is its rustic, wabi-sabi charm that can be felt from its stone tile roof, which is a rare architectural feature in Japan, and its natural stone walls.
This event is the first of its kind to be held at the castle. The castle keep, which is normally only accessible for tours, will be closed off to other visitors while aperitifs are enjoyed on the top floor along with an experience in the letter-writing culture of “Ippitsu Keijo'' that is associated with Maruoka Castle. After dusk, dinner made from ingredients gathered from the mountains and water of the region will be served, and guests can enjoy moon-watching. The castle will also be illuminated to evoke the concept of "Oboro" (haze).
It is precisely the passage of time that makes the castle and this experience so wonderful, and we hope that you can enjoy your evening spent here.
Experience being a feudal lord in a real castle: A premium private experience at Hikone Castle, a National Treasure
Hikone Castle is located in Omi Province (present-day Shiga Prefecture), which was the setting for many historical events during the time periods when samurai were most active, the Warring States (1467–1567) and Edo (1603–1886) periods. During the Warring States period, which was ruled by samurai, and the Edo period in which peace was maintained for 260 years, Hikone Castle was the residence of the Ii family, a fudai daimyo that supported the Tokugawa shogunate, of the Hikone Domain.
In addition to the keep, which is a designated National Treasure over 400 years old, the vast grounds are also preserved as a special historical site, including the Daimyo Garden, which has been designated a scenic spot; the entire surrounding area is a “real castle” that retains the atmosphere of the Edo period.
These precious cultural properties can be exclusively reserved during times when they are closed to the public, allowing the special guests an authentic historical and cultural experience of life as a samurai or feudal lord.
The warrior class of samurai became rulers at the end of the Warring States period and maintained peace for many years during the Edo period. At Hikone Castle, a symbol of the Edo period, you can look upon the same scenery enjoyed by the samurai and feudal lords 400 years ago and imagine what they might have been thinking while looking at the same scenery.
The nighttime exclusive experience includes:
- Reservation of the castle keep, a national treasure that is characteristically Japanese, important cultural properties, and designated scenic sites for exclusive use at night;
- A dining experience at cultural properties where meals are not normally served (prepared based on historical facts and featuring regional specialties such as Omi beef);
- A learning opportunity about the politics of the Edo period, a unique period in world history when samurai ruled and maintained peace for over two centuries;
- And an authentic Japanese cultural experience at a real castle, including a tea ceremony supervised by the eighteenth head of the Ii family and the Cultural Assets Department.
Please contact us in advance to confirm the dates on which the event will be held.
Extend your visit to Himeji Castle, a World Heritage Site and National Treasure, into the night with a Noh performance by a performer who goes back twelve generations into the Himeji Domain and a tour of the castle with accompanied with a commentary from a castle researcher.
Shoshazan Engyoji Temple is one of the head temples of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is sometimes referred to as the “Mt. Hiei in the West.” Here, visitors can experience Zen meditation and sutra copying in the Jogyo-do training hall, as well as some Buddhist vegetarian cuisine in the Juryo-in Temple, both of which are designated nationally important cultural properties and are usually closed to the public. Former members of the drum performance group Kodo will hold drum shows on stage in the Jogyo-do training hall, and one hundred monks will perform Buddhist chants in the Jogyo-do training hall, the main lecture hall, and the dining hall.
Finally, visit KOKO-EN at night to enjoy an exclusive dinner comprising local, seasonal produce and sake from a local Himeji brewery. After dinner, take a leisurely stroll in Japan’s number-one garden for autumn foliage.
After watching the sunrise from Himeji Castle, come and enjoy breakfast at another national tangible cultural property, the Himeji City Museum of Literature Bokeitei House.
Himeji is simply brimming with World Heritage sites and Important Cultural Properties. We hope you’ll enjoy your trip into Himeji’s rich history.