Don't miss out on our Autumn 2019 & Winter 2020 tour season!
by Takehiko 'Riko' Hashimoto, 14 March 2019
RECOMMENDED TOUR ITINERARIES:
end October to early November 2019
late November to mid-December 2019
mid-January to March 2020
Akita Winter Festivals (departures in early February 2020 only)
Chikugo Valley in Early Spring (departures in late February 2020 only)
Tours are still available for departures from end October to early December 2019, and mid-January to mid-March 2020 unless otherwise stated. Due to anticipated congestion related to the Tokyo Olympics, we will not run tours during mid-2020. Don’t miss out!
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, authorities are expecting an unprecedented number of international tourists to visit Japan during 2020. Apart from the obvious economic benefits, this is expected to bring accommodation shortage and crowding in the mainstream tourist destinations within Japan. Our tours specifically focus on non-mainstream destinations within Japan for a more authentic, personalised travel experience. Having said that, we still rely on the public transport system, which will become congested with the huge increase in visitor numbers near the time of the Olympics. Potential hikes in costs are also likely, whether it be transport, baggage forwarding or accommodation. As such, from now until early 2020 is likely to be the last ‘window of opportunity’ before the rush, with its less-than-ideal conditions for travel in Japan.
So why not consider a special Japan experience with us this northern autumn and winter? Autumn is one of the best times to explore the Japanese countryside and its culture. In terms of food, it is a time of abundance as harvests bring new-season grains, vegetables and fruits, forests yield wild mushrooms, chestnuts and walnuts, and the seas offer a variety of fish and seafood of unsurpassed freshness. With the onset of cooler weather, artisans come alive in their family-run workshops, handcrafting objects of practical beauty including ceramics, textiles, lacquerware and metalwork. Foliage colours adorn traditional gardens and the rural landscapes take on warm and earthy tones reminiscent of French impressionist paintings.
Autumn in the wilderness of northwestern Tohoku region
Dinner around the fireplace in a 270-year old farmhouse
Many Australians are familiar with winter in Japan through skiing. However, there is so much more to the Japanese winter that can only be appreciated when you stay in non-tourist areas of the countryside. Stay in traditional country houses and discover what rural winter life is really like in Japan’s ‘Snow Country’, one of the snowiest regions in the world. Celebrate the approaching end of winter with the locals at one of the numerous small regional winter festivals. Visit craft and food artisans in their workshops and learn how the very nature of Japanese winters has shaped these traditions. For something entirely different, head south for a sneak preview of the Japanese spring blossom season in Kyushu, when much of Japan is still gripped by the rigours of winter.
Winter village life in Japan's 'Snow Country'
A winter festival in a Tohoku regional town
For the outdoor types, there are options for day-hikes and country walks in the alpine foothills of central Japan and the volcanic terrain of Kyushu. Whether in autumn with its glowing colours or winter with its frosty brilliance, walking in the cooler seasons has its own attraction that is entirely different from the more challenging summer hikes at higher elevations.
Late winter country walking in northern Kyushu
Bracing winter walking in the Central Volcanic Ranges foothills
All our tours are conducted in small private groups and guided by an expert on Japanese culture and environment. Using our extensive personal knowledge and connections in regional Japan, we offer travel experiences that only a local can provide. Our tours directly support individuals, community groups and small businesses in regional Japan that are contributing to the survival of traditions and cultural heritage into the future—in areas that face immense challenges from aging, depopulation, economic hardships and natural disasters.
Join us during autumn 2019 and winter 2020 for a Japan experience like none other... before the biggest tourism rush in Japanese history. For further details on our tours, please contact us via the enquiry form at the bottom of the page. See you in Japan this autumn and winter!