Walking holiday in Japan
Description of Walking holiday in Japan
This walking holiday invites travellers to make the most of ancient Kyoto before taking a path less travelled so as to explore Japan’s remote Kumano Kodo region, one which boasts incredible significance for pilgrims and walkers alike.
The pace is moderate and the main focus of each day will be enjoying the scenery and soaking up the rural lifestyles as you follow in fabled footsteps on some of Japan’s most historic trails.
As a point to point walking holiday you’ll become immersed in the peace and quiet of the countryside with overnight stays in traditional roadside ryokans allowing for authentic experiences to unfold as well as opportunities to make friends with hosts and other members of the group.
Travelling between trail heads by train is yet another authentic Japanese experience to savour with visits to Toba, home of the Ama pearl divers, and a walk on the Nakasendo Way providing yet more excuses to get excited as you pass Mt Fuji on route to your final destination, Tokyo.
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Water is a really important issue with trips such as this and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal culture and craft:
This trip offers many opportunities to be exposed to the culture, traditions and crafts of Japan. In Toba, we learn about the life of Ama divers and get to witness a fishing demonstration by them. With the fresh seafood caught, clients can enjoy a grilled seafood lunch in a traditional Ama diver hut. Being an Ama diver holds a life threatening risk and this thereby discourages younger generation to carry on this tradition. But our visit will help support and preserve the Ama diving community and traditions that are at the brink of extinction.
During the trip, we will visit a number of shrines and temples which will allow clients to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture that Japan holds. Our stop in Kyoto, Hongy, Toba, Tsumago and Magome also offers plenty of chances for clients to visit local shops and support local craft. Visiting local markets such as the Miyagawa river morning market is a great opportunity for clients to foster cultural exchange. Of course, our local guides will advise clients on what can be purchased and what should be avoided.
Our local partner is also a firm believer in travelling responsibly where they ensure that they minimise negative impacts and maximise positive ones for both the environment they operate in and the communities living there. They support numerous projects in various countries in South East Asia, specifically Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Laos. One of the initiative they are currently supporting is RefillMyBottle which is an application that enables travellers to locate water refill points in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia to encourage clients to refill instead of buying single use bottles of water.
A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help clients understand how they can help reduce their impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from our visit.
Accommodation and Meals:
On this trip we spend most nights in traditional style ‘ryokans’ (local inns) and others in comfortable hotels. Most of them are small family run accommodations that employ local staff as we try to avoid multi-national hotels to benefit the smaller businesses instead. Locally sourced ingredients will be used where meals are provided otherwise our local guides will encourage and recommend clients to visit local restaurants and cafés to try local specialties. Japanese cuisine is definitely one of the highlights on this trip. Besides sushi and sashimi, other staple dishes include rice and miso soup, soba, Udon, Sukiyaki (meat, fish and vegetables cooked in broth) and Yakiniku (grilled meat). Seafood is also very common, and it usually comes grilled or deep fried.
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Self-guided walking along Japan’s ancient Nakasendo trail