Japan rural cultural tour

“Spend seven days getting to know the real Japan with a mix of homestays in a charming town, and traditional accommodation in historic Kyoto.”

Highlights

Osaka | Kameoka | Kyoto | Arashiyama bamboo forest | Nara | Stay with a Japanese family | Optional extras include: calligraphy, flower arranging, cookery classes

Description of Japan rural cultural tour

Get off the tourist conveyor belt, and instead get to know Japan from a rural homestay. Travel slower, travel deeper – and still see two of Japan’s greatest cities, Osaka and Kyoto.

This seven day tailor-made tour suits two or more people travelling together. Flying into Osaka, you’ll enjoy dining in the city before heading to the rural city of Kameoka, where you’ll find your homestay. In this leafy town, just 20km outside Kyoto, you’ll get to know the neighbourhood through the eyes of your hosts, from its shrines, to its temples and talented artisans.

It would be a shame to be in the area and not visit Kyoto. On day four of your trip you’ll cross the mountains and spend two days exploring. Japan’s former imperial capital is museum-like in the preservation of traditional high culture. You can join a tea ceremony and explore the famous bamboo forests. A day trip to Nara – an older former capital, makes a picturesque end to your trip.

Travel Team

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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

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

Environment
Decreasing your carbon footprint is very important though this can be a bit difficult when traveling. This is why our tours make use of Japan’s amazing mass transportation system from local buses and trains to the super fast bullet train. Not only is this the most environmentally friendly way to travel, it is also the fastest, safest and cheapest. Traveling by train will also let you people watch which put you that much closer to the culture.

Another way our to decrease your carbon footprint is to increase your physical foot steps while on one of our trips. Japan is best seen on foot so we encourage everyone to walk as much as possible and to observe the small details of Japan. We call this ‘sightseeing with your eyes open’. This means that you should not just focus on the must see sights but also on the small sights. An example of this is manhole covers which are uniquely decorated and vary with each town. This might seem trivial, but it is these small details that really connect our travelers to the Japanese culture. One way we make it easy for our travelers to walk is to have them stay at accommodations near mass transit stations, restaurants, and shops whenever possible. This way they can do everything they want without taking a taxi or having to rent a car.

While traveling it is easy to use more disposable products than you would at home. In Japan this can mean using waribashi (disposable chopsticks) instead of carrying your own, or buying water from a vending machine instead of using a reusable water bottle and the like. We encourage our travelers to carry a small bag or backpack with them so they can carry these things with them. If they do not have their own chopsticks then they can easy buy them at any convenient store or grocery story. Most of these chopsticks come in their own portable cases which make it perfect. The nice thing about carrying a bag is you can also use to carry things that you buy and refusing to accept a plastic bag.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

One of the main reasons to travel is to learn about other cultures. Our Rural Discovery Tour put you inside the Japanese culture by having you stay at the home of a Japanese person. This will give you a ton of time to interact with your host and meet their neighbors. In the evenings you will have time to just sit down and chat or go for a stroll. You never know who you will meet or what you will see. One of our favorite parts of Japan is that it is very safe. If you get lost you can use your phone’s map and internet device included in your trip.

Food is a huge part of any culture and this is especially true for Japan. You will have dinner with your host and learn how to cook some Japanese food. This is not a cooking class per se but just helping out in the kitchen and chatting with the cook.

One of the great features of Japanese restaurants is that most of them display plastic replicas of their dishes or have menus with photos. This makes it easy to just wander into any restaurant and order food. Of course this is not something that we organized but is a part of Japan which makes it easy to try new foods. If you have any food allergies we will include a translation card that you can show your server.

Before you arrive we will send you an information packet that includes an explanation of Japanese culture/etiquette, Japanese phrases and an overview of Japanese history.

Traveling to country where the first language is not English can be exciting and a little intimidating so we encourage our travelers to learn some basic phrases and to use them as often as possible. Fluency is not required but just saying arigato (thanks) or sumimasen (excuse me/I am sorry) will be appreciated, even if the pronunciation is butchered. The Japanese will see that our travelers are not standard tourists but travelers interested in the local culture. This simple effort will open up people and they will be much more willing to help. Your information packet includes basic phrases, pronunciation and how to write it in Japanese. We also send a reading list so travelers can read about Japan which will bring Japan more to life.

Local private guides can add a great deal to your understanding of Japan and the sights you are visiting. The reason why we hire local guides is that they know the area as this is where they live. We are also very critical of our guides and make sure that they are adding value. Before the start of a trip we will send the guides information about the travelers and their travel style. This way the guides can build a sightseeing plan that works for the travelers. Our guides also also very flexible and can adjust the plan to any changes in weather, interests or special events. While sightseeing you will use public transportation as much as possible and will walk quite a bit.

Climate

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