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Akita & Iwate Culture of the Forests

  • Discover the fascinating regional culture including the original Japanese bushcraft tradition, and its relationship with the rich forest environment

  • Explore the rich regional craft traditions including woodcraft, lacquerware, ceramics, bamboo and wickercraft.

  • Enjoy uplifting day hikes in the northern Tōhoku wilderness, including a forested gorge and alpine meadows in their early summer splendour

  • Learn about the amazing prehistoric Jōmon culture, and their connection with the cultural traditions of Tōhoku and Japan

  • Experience a variety of rustic regional foods, including a hands-on demonstration of northern Tōhoku’s ancient mixed-grain cuisine


The northern Tōhoku region is among the least populated areas of Japan, and is blessed with beautiful natural and rural scenery. The wild environment and long cold winters have developed a resilient culture rich in traditions, including crafts, food and folklore. This tour provides you with a taste of Akita and northern Iwate’s unique traditions, with a particular emphasis on crafts, and their fascinating relationship with the region’s forested environments since prehistoric times. You will experience the beautiful wilderness of northern Akita in their early summer splendour through easy to moderate-grade day-hikes. A visit to one of northern Tōhoku’s numerous archaeological sites will reveal clues to how the cultural traditions of the region, and Japan as a whole, have developed in harmony with nature since prehistoric times.   


Day 1: Travel Tōkyō–Kakunodate, Kakunodate Samurai residence district walk (including the Kabazaiku cherry-bark woodwork museum); Day 2: Kakunodate Samurai residence district walk (including a private visit to a Itayazaiku wickercraft workshop); Day 3: Japanese bushcraft museum and lunch, traditional ceramics or bushknife workshop visit; Day 4: central Akita alpine meadow day-hike; Day 5: transit day; Day 6: central Akita forest gorge day-hike; Day 7: Odate Magewappa woodbending experience; Day 8: northern Iwate bamboocraft workshop; Day 9: northern Iwate Jōmon archaeological site, traditional country cuisine lunch and cooking class; Day 10: Jōbōji lacquerware village, Nanbu-soba lunch and Nanbu-senbei traditional biscuits workshop, travel to Morioka.


Accommodation: 2 nights mid-range tourist hotels (Western-style bedding); 2 nights mid-range onsen ryokan (Japanese-style bedding, shared public onsen bath); 2 nights private country lodges (Western-style bedding); 1 night mid-range onsen hotel (Western-style bedding); 1 night minshuku (Japanese-style bedding); 1 night mid-range city hotel.




Physical fitness requirement: MODERATE/HIGH


Cultural tolerance requirement: MODERATE/HIGH


Departure date: 25 June 2018


Bookings before: 27 March 2018 [PLEASE NOTE REVISED DATE]


Cost: from AUD $4800­ per person


Maximum group size: 6 persons

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