Ever wanted to visit Japan, in a group of eight, or fewer, people, travel in the uncrowded countryside and not have to pack your suitcase every night? Then mark your calendar for Thursday May 16, 7pm at Collins View Dance & Arts Center, 318 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland 97219, for an evening presentation about the many Visits to the Japanese Countryside tours planned for 2013.
Visits to the Japanese Countryside are just that, leisurely tours in rural Japan, far away from the big cities, for experiencing traditional crafts, countryside lifestyle, hiking, cycling, festivals, soaks in mountain hot springs, morning markets, local history and more -- all at a leisurely pace. Think of it as non-traditional travel in traditional Japan.
The guides are all local people, accommodations are in traditional Japanese inns -- minshuku and ryokan, with two meals included -- and transportation is by local bus and train, and your own two feet. One does a lot of walking in Japan.
Tours are planned for:
August in Tohoku (northern Honshu) for farm visits and the Nebuta festival in Aomori Prefecture; Lake Towada; and the Sanriku coastline of Iwate Prefecture. Yes, this is part of Tohoku so devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, but entirely safe to visit. Let's extend our sympathy and goodwill for the people of this area.
Mid-October to Sado Island, Niigata prefecture, home of taiko; Takayama in the Japan Alps, Gifu Prefecture; and Matsumoto, home of the black castle in Nagano Prefecture.
Mid-November to Kagoshima on the island of Kyushu for farm visits, hot springs soaks and more.
April 2014 to travel the Kumano Kodo Ancient Pilgrimage Routes, a World Heritage Site, in Wakayama Prefecture.
This is a hiker's dream experience in Japan. DVD available.
These are grass roots tours where you travel as Japanese do, spend a minimum of 2 or 3 nights in each destination and have the time to relax and absorb your surroundings and the local lifestyle -- no "20 minutes and back on the bus" on these trips. They average $3000/person for a 12-day trip, plus RT airfare, and are limited to 8 participants. In the 2 months before departure there will be 10 hours of cultural education including lots of links to websites about the destinations and local customs, traveler Japanese language and the opportunity to democratically decide the group's choices for local activities in each destination. It's your trip, after all.
Again, the tours presentation will be on Thursday, May 16 at Collins View Dance and Arts Center, 318 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, Oregon 97219. Call 503-293-6195 for more information.