top of page

Tour details - Izumo Village Stay


  • Experience pre-industrial rural life in Japan through a truly precious opportunity to stay over 4 days in a private 18th-century country house with organic farmers

  • Delve into the world of traditional Japanese steelmaking, and its connection with food and craft traditions, environmental sustainability and ancient Japanese mythology

  • Visit village blacksmithing workshops that continue to apply the time-honoured Izumo swordsmithing tradition to produce handcrafted knives of legendary cutting quality and farming and gardening tools fit for every purpose—with opportunities for purchases

  • Explore a former steelmaking village, walk the countryside, and visit regional museums to learn about the Tatara traditional Japanese steel production method, why it resulted in the formidable quality of the Samurai swords, and the industry’s history  

  • Watch a Japanese sword forging demonstration by a master swordsmith (subject to scheduling)

  • Inspect and participate in community-run, environmentally sustainable, rural revival projects—including landscape restoration through integrated firestick farming–forest management systems, and small-scale, cold-climate organic-cotton farming (subject to seasonal availability)

  • Experience the region’s ‘real’ food culture including visits to small artisan soy sauce and sake breweries, sampling heirloom buckwheat soba, and a macrobiotic-influenced lunch at a charming country café, and discover the reasons behind the region’s long tradition of sustainable and safe food production

  • Rejuvenate yourself with delightfully different onsen experiences—including a secluded ryokan featuring a public outdoor bath with views along a forested gorge, and a small, rustic village onsen 

A ‘village-stay’ itinerary of a type not offered anywhere else commercially! The centrepiece of this tour is a 4-day stay in a private 18th-century country house with organic farmers who largely lead a pre-industrial lifestyle—be awed by the atmosphere and authenticity of your experience as you surround the open fireplace where your meals of farm-fresh local produce are cooked. During your stay, you will discover how ancient mythology, natural environment, history, traditional industries, food and culture all relate to forge the unique character of the Izumo region in western Japan. The itinerary is constructed around the main themes of traditional Japanese steel-making and bladesmithing, environmental sustainability, and the ‘real’ food culture, and examine the surprising linkages between them—with their important messages for how humans may be able to live more sustainably with the environment into the future. Your experiences include visits to historic sites, regional museums, small artisan blacksmithing and food workshops, a range of local food experiences from rustic traditional country-style cuisine to gourmet Japanese-Western fusion courses, and easy-grade country walks. You will also learn about some of major challenges rural Japan faces today by inspecting (and potentially participating in) community-run farming and land-management projects. The tour also includes shorter stays in a variety of accommodation styles including traditional ryokans. Through your participation in this tour, you will be directly supporting community-based initiatives aimed at revitalising declining regional areas and preserving cultural heritage, farmers practising environmentally sustainable agriculture and continuing farming traditions into the future, artisans dedicated to preserving the Izumo blacksmithing tradition—one of many traditions in Japan facing the threat of extinction due to aging and economic hardships—and environmentally and health-conscious family-run businesses that uphold regional craft and food traditions.


MAIN DESTINATIONS COVERED: Izumo-Taisha, rural Izumo region


TOUR LENGTH: 9 days (8 nights)




SEASON: mid-May to mid-June, late October to early December, late February to late March (weather and snow conditions permitting)


BOOKINGS CLOSE: 120 days before agreed departure date


START LOCATION: JR Okayama Station [MAP]


END LOCATION: JR Okayama Station [MAP]




CULTURAL TOLERANCE: high (must be able to sleep on traditional futon bedding on at least 7 nights; must be able to tolerate sleeping in traditional rooms with no locks or sound-proofing on 6 nights; on 4 nights, must be able to tolerate accommodation in a traditional house nearly three centuries old with simple facilities, shared open-plan sleeping quarters for all participants including the tour leader, a small washbasin for all washing needs, bathing at set times at a nearby onsen facility, and smoky indoor conditions from open fires; must be able to sleep in an open-plan room with up to 4 persons on 1 night; must be able to tolerate a shared public onsen bath with public nudity on 1 night—private bathing arrangements available with itinerary modification)


COST: from AUD $4100/person (4 persons) to $5400/person (2 persons), including ALL ground transport, accommodation, meals, tour guiding, fees and charges

bottom of page