Japan cultural immersion holiday

“A two week Japan cultural holiday that is as much about hands on experiences as it is about place. From cooking to canoeing, immerse yourself in real Japan in Tokyo, Kyoto and Matsumoto. A small group tour. ”


Tokyo | Sumo tournament | Nagano | Sushi making | Canoe trip on Lake Hokuryuko | Matsumoto | Kyoto | Audience with trainee geisha | Roketsu cloth-dyeing experience | Stay at traditional ryokan inn

Description of Japan cultural immersion holiday

From soba noodle-making classes to taiko drumming, from boat rides to pottery, and from traditional Japanese ryokan inns to a night in a capsule hotel – this tour is practically overflowing with unforgettable experiences.

Food is one of the highlights of any trip to Japan, and this tour is no different. Besides a range of superb included meals, from a breakfast of the freshest sushi to a kaiseki feast in Kyoto, you'll also learn to make your own. In Takefu this means a soba noodle-making class, whilst at the Daio wasabi farm you'll make traditional pickles and perhaps try a taste of wasabi ice cream!

The creative arts are well represented, and as you continue your adventure you'll test your skills at pottery and roketsu cloth dyeing in Kyoto, traditional papermaking in Takefu and taiko drumming in Tokyo.

Enjoy superb natural scenery as you canoe through valleys and help farmers with their crops in Togari Nozawa Onsen, take a traditional yakatabune boat trip in Tokyo, and hike through the thousands of torii gates at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Japan is famous for its rich traditional heritage, and this tour offers you a window into a wide variety of cultural institutions. In Tokyo you'll attend a sumo tournament for a glimpse into a strictly regimented world that is much more spiritual than most outsiders realise.

Matsumoto offers the chance to climb to the top of the imposing "Black Crow" samurai castle, whilst in Kyoto you'll try Japanese green tea and be entertained by a maiko (apprentice geisha).

Even going to bed can be an exciting experience in Japan, and along with western hotels you'll stay in traditional ryokan inns - with a night in a space pod-style capsule hotel to boot!

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

As well as visiting Japan’s most exciting cities, Tokyo and Kyoto, this tour takes us to a few places that you just won’t find in the guidebook. Togarinozawa Onsen is a tiny village deep in Nagano Prefecture. Here people work the land as they have for generations. We’ll travel by local train to get here, try the locally grown food, soak up the natural hot springs and have a go at farming techniques. Whilst here the tour leader and farm owner will make sure we follow the country code to ensure we have a minimal impact on the natural environment.

You’ll be encouraged to recycle throughout the tour, to refuse excess packaging and to leave no food waste. All customers receive a detailed Info-Pack before departure containing tips for going green in Japan, such as turning down the hotel room air conditioning, avoiding the use of disposable chopsticks and refilling your water bottle daily at the hotel as the tap water is safe to drink in Japan!

The Impacts of this Trip

There is simply only one Japan. This is a magnificent country with a long history and unique traditional culture. Despite globalisation, Japan’s remains proudly different and we hope it continues to be so for future generations. That’s why we believe it’s important for visitors to learn about traditional arts and crafts, to support the local people still practising these things both economically and psychologically.

This tour includes the following unique experiences:
• Taiko drumming
• Yakatabune traditional river boat trip
• Sumo tournament
• Farm visits
• Hot spring bathing
• Sushi making
• Kimono wearing
• Tea ceremony
• Geisha district tour
• Pottery experience
• Roketsu cloth dyeing
• Soba making
• Paper making
• Knife sharpening

Will also visit some of Japan’s most important temples, stay in traditional inns (ryokan) and eat authentic Japanese cuisine. At each stop the tour leader (as well as a local geisha expert in Kyoto) will be on hand to explain the history and social importance of each experience, so you’re not just seeing Japan, but touching, tasting and most importantly understanding Japan as well.


2 Reviews of Japan cultural immersion holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The itinerary was very well balanced; hands-on experiences with historical sightseeing in different locations.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go for it!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We were in contact with local craftsmen and business very often

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an excellent tour.

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Firstly - Sumo wrestling was an incredible spectacle. This won't be offered on all. Hands on Japan trips, but if you have the opportunity seize it with both hands. Secondly - Shrines and Temples are endlessly amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take a book that you can collect stamp impressions in (not postage stamps, but rubber stamps). Make sure it is fairly large as many of the temples, gardens,
train stations, etc.... offer some really exciting rubber stamps you can collect that are great tokens of your travels. Even small temples and shrines will have

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Japan is a first world country, so needs little benefit from tourist. I did feel like the local operator made reservations (in restaurants and places to stay) in lesser
known places, so likely benefited smaller businesses.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was great. I would highly recommend it

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