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Snow Country Life and Traditions (Autumn)

  • Discover the unique culture and landscapes of the Snow Country, and learn how they relate to the region’s extreme climate

  • Delve into regional craft and food traditions including textiles, textured paper, handcrafted knives, fermented foods and Japanese sake

  • Experience everyday rural life through stays in traditional country houses in picturesque non-tourist villages

  • Spectate a traditional bull sumo-wrestling tournament in a hill village


Japan’s ‘Snow Country’ is among the snowiest areas in the world. The people of the Snow Country have developed a distinct culture to overcome hardships and ingeniously utilise the extreme conditions in their everyday lives. An example is the tradition of fermented foods that has allowed people of the Snow Country to not only survive the long winter, but maintain a healthy diet. The heavy snowfall also blesses the region with abundant fresh water that supports thriving agriculture during warmer months, bountiful fisheries, and an astounding variety of traditional industries. This tour will provide you with an introduction to fascinating culture and landscapes of Niigata Prefecture in the heart of the Snow Country, including its cuisine, architecture, craft traditions and spirituality.


Day 1: Travel Tōkyō–Urasa, Urasa winery lunch and woodcarving temple visit, Muikamachi-Onsen relaxation;

Day 2: Hakkaisan climb OR Hakkaisan foothills food, art and landscapes walk;

Day 3: Sanjō traditional knifemaking workshops;

Day 4: Nagaoka ‘fermentation town’ walk (shoyu and sake breweries);

Day 5: Nagaoka hill village experience (terraced fields country walk and bull sumo-wrestling tournament);

Day 6: Minami-Uonuma historic town walk (including visits to a traditional kimono textile workshop and a country Zen temple);

Day 7: Matsudai fermented food and modern art experience, Kashiwazaki rural village experience Part 1 (thatch-roof village stay);

Day 8: Kashiwazaki rural village experience Part 2 (country estate and moss garden visit, sake brewery tour)

Day 9: Kashiwazaki rural village experience Part 3 (traditional paper-making and country food experience);

Day 10: Tōkamachi history and traditions walk (including museum and kimono showroom visits);

Day 11: travel to Echigo-Yuzawa then to your onward destination.


Accommodation: 5 nights traditional country houses (private rentals; Japanese-style bedding); 2 nights upper-range ryokan (Japanese-style bedding; onsen bath); 1 night mid-range ryokan (Japanese-style bedding); 1 night minshuku (Japanese-style bedding); 1 night mid-range city hotel.




Physical fitness requirement: MODERATE (HIGH/VERY HIGH for the Hakkaisan climb option)


Cultural tolerance requirement: MODERATE/HIGH


Departure date: 30 October 2018


Bookings before: 21 July 2018


Cost: from AUD $5200­ per person


Maximum group size: 6 persons

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