Rural Japan 15 day tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Rural Japan 15 day tour

Environment

This cultural tour makes the most of travelling around Japan via public transport, just as the locals do. This includes trips via train (including Japan's famous Shinkansen bullet trains, which are an attraction in themselves), subways, local buses, cable cars, boats and ferries, trams and also bikes, which are best for exploring rural Japan. Travelling this way reduces carbon emissions and road congestion, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

This tour also includes a three-hour cycling tour of Osaka with a local tour guide, which is both an eco-friendly and fun way to explore the city. Miyajima Island and Naoshima Island are also great places to explore via rental bike.

We only work with hotels and guesthouses which share our commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental responsibility, especially in terms of recycling and energy conservation initiatives. For example, the ANA Hotel Matsuyama, in the city of Matsuyama, is an IHG Green Engage Hotel and it strives to implement the Green Solutions which are aimed at reducing energy, water and waste, and cutting carbon emissions.

To further keep up sustainable practices during your trip, we recommend you carry your own reusable, non-plastic chopsticks or cutlery, as Japan gets through 24 billion pairs of ‘waribashi’ (disposable chopsticks made of wood or bamboo) every year. That's 185 pairs for every person in Japan! There are also ample recycling facilities in the country and as tap water is drinkable, we urge you to use a refillable bottle rather than buying bottled water.

Community

We are committed to responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism in Japan, and we’re proud to work with a fantastic local operator that shares our values with regards to responsible tourism. This tour of off-the-beaten-path Japan focuses on lesser-known destinations, thereby supporting the communities in areas which don't benefit from as many tourists as the more famous cities and towns.

Our tour activities focus on authentic cultural experiences, such as a Zazen meditation experience with Teramae Join, the head priest at Gesshin-in temple in the Higashiyama Mountains and a visit to the the charming and traditional Ochiai Hamlet in Iya Valley.

Your stays in rural Japan will also be a chance to support local communities, as this tour includes an overnight stay at a monastery at Mount Koya, where you will live how the monks do; as well as stays in traditional (and often family-run) Japanese ryokans, such as the historic Iwaso Ryokan in Hiroshima. In Iya Valley, you'll stay at the Iya Onsen Hotel, which prides itself on locally-sourced ingredients for its spectacular kaiseki meals.

We believe that the best way to learn about the culture of Japan is through immersive experiences like these, which often benefit the local community as well. By gaining a deeper understanding about Japan’s culture, traditions, rich heritage and religious beliefs you’re likely to have a much more interesting and meaningful travel experience.

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