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Beat the Christmas rush and enjoy rural Japan at its finest during November

by Takehiko 'Riko' Hashimoto, 2 May 2019

Quiet meditation at a country temple 


Autumn afternoon along a country lane in the Japan Alps foothills

Many would already know that November is a great time of the year to visit Japan. Tourists flock to the renowned temple gardens of Kyoto with their exquisite foliage colours, and the generally pleasant weather attracts visitors to other scenic spots throughout the country. On the down side, however, is the resultant overcrowding in many of the tourist areas, which can really detract from enjoying the otherwise spectacular sights. Unfortunately, this late autumn tourist rush leads into the major peak tourism period around Christmas and New Year, with even worse crowding.

Away from the tourist areas in rural Japan, however, you can enjoy the best that November in Japan offers without the crowds. November is particularly a good time of the year to explore the Japanese countryside for many reasons. Enjoy a walk down country roads and historic trails, with the landscape in its warm autumnal hues and framed by mountains dusted with the first snows of the season. Enjoy the ultimate food experience as the bountiful autumn harvests are transformed into culinary delights in country kitchens. Visit a country brewery in full swing for the ‘brewing season’, and learn all about how sake, miso and soy sauce are produced. Autumn is also when activities related to traditional crafts and arts ramp up. Observe artisans painstakingly handcraft ceramics, textiles, wood and metalwork in small workshops, using time-honoured techniques. Drop in at some of the small galleries in the countryside and regional towns to admire traditional and contemporary art. And if you really need your temple garden ‘fix’, there are plenty of exquisite gardens hidden away in the countryside and regional towns, where you can appreciate the autumn foliage in peace, without the maddening crowds of Kyoto.


Country cuisine showcasing the bounties of autumn harvest


Japan Alps in November

So why not treat yourself to a pre-Christmas get away in rural Japan, without the tourist crowds and at one of the best times of the year? We offer fully guided private tours that will allow you to access the non-tourist areas of rural Japan without any prior knowledge or Japanese language skills. Using our extensive personal knowledge and connections in rural Japan, we offer travel experiences that only a local can provide. Your tour leader will provide cultural guidance at all times during the tour for a stress-free experience. You will also be provided with carefully researched cultural, historic and environmental background so that your travel experiences will be more meaningful. Some of our pre-packaged suggestions are listed below, or contact us for a customised tour that is perfect for your requirements:

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. For further details on our tours, please contact us via the enquiry form at the bottom of the page. November is fast approaching, so don’t leave it for another year!

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