Road Trip : From the Sea of Japan to the Inland Sea by the mountains

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2014

After a few days in the imperial capital of Kyoto, take control and head towards Miyama, a preserved village with thatched houses. In the surreal village of Ine, you meet men who live at one with the sea in their “funaya” boathouses. The next day, in total privacy, treat yourself to a relaxing experience in the thermal town of Kinosaki before climbing the impressive sand dunes of Tottori.

You drive across the historical Matsue, Kotohira and Hiroshima, the spiritual Miyajima; the large island of Shikoku, and also Matsuyama, Tokushima and the gourmet Osaka. You will discover all of them and much more in total freedom.

  • YOU are the only one to decide !

Dive into authentic Japan and lose yourself in the diversity of its landscapes while enjoying true freedom.

  • Huge diversity of landscapes & activities

From historical places to remote countryside, you will be able to discover Japan far from its usual beaten paths all around the inner sea.

  • All-in-one secure and curated service
 
 

Map

Itinerary

Day 1: Smooth Arrival in Kyoto

You have arrived in Osaka! Your guide hands you vouchers, wifi device, train tickets and all you need for a comfortable trip. You’ll then go to your hotel in the bustling heart of Kyoto. Take the time to grasp the beauty of the city in the evening and rest after your long journey. Kyoto is full of spiritual wonders. If you have enough time and energy, you can head to the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha, the largest Shinto shrine in the archipelago, built more than 13 centuries ago.

Day 2: Kyoto's Western Jewels

Let’s head to Arashiyama, home to the bamboo forest and Tenryu-ji temple. A walk along the Katsura river gives you an overview of Japanese poetry and art-de-vivre. Let’s move towards the Kinkaku-ji “Golden Pavilion” where the golden glow is reflected in a zen pond. `Finally, the “Ryoan-ji” zen garden, will impress you with its famous stone garden. For those who prefer to find some calm, we recommend the peaceful Daitoku-ji temple to end the day.

Day 3: Kyoto - The Hidden Treasures of The East

Spend the morning in the Ginkaku-ji Pavilion stone garden before losing yourself along the old canal bordered by hundreds of cherry trees at the Nanzen-ji temple. The alley, known as the Philosophers Path, takes you to the Heian Jingû Shrine. In Teramachi, the heart of the imperial capital, dozens of merchants will offer you a sample of their signature dishes from their stalls while in the Nishiki Market. Considered to be some of the best food in Kyoto, you have to try!

Day 4: The Thatched Roofs of Miyama

The secluded village of Miyama offers you a break in another world. Head to Kayabuki no Sato and immerse yourself in its charming landscapes and preserved traditional thatched-roof houses. Get lost among the many hamlets as you feel the nostalgia and soul of yesteryear that rural Japan embodies so well. Here, you will feel a sense of tradition, and see it practised among locals.

Day 5: Discover the Funaya of Ine

You continue your journey north of Kyoto to Ine on the Sea of Japan. This calming landscape is where man lives in perfect harmony with the sea! Tonight you stay in a “funaya” a house on a boat. Bordered by green mountains and a blue sea, these wooden dwellings are still the scene of a life lived off of fishing and agriculture. You get a taste of life in a house on water for one night and let your soul escape to the Sea of Japan.

Day 6: The Hot Springs Village of Kinosaki

Make way for rest and relaxation in Kinosaki! Known for its many natural hot springs, Kinosaki is a peaceful stopover on your trip. Dressed in a light kimono, you set off to explore the seven public baths open to visitors. Each one has its own atmosphere but only one objective: to relax and soothe. You enjoy a delicious meal of local products in the cosy ryokan where you spend the night. You can also enjoy the thermal baths at your hotel.

Day 7: Tottori and the Sand Dunes

Your first stop is the Kannon-in temple, dating from the early 17th century, and its Japanese garden from the Edo period. You continue to the ruins of the old castle of Tottori, which offers breathtaking views of the city. Then, the famous Tottori sand dunes. This unusual geological formation extends over 16 km and culminates at 50 metres. Part of Sanin Kaigan National Park, they have an interesting museum with sand sculptures by artists from around the world.

Day 8: The Warriors of Matsue

Head west to Shimane and Izumo! We recommend that you start with Matsue Castle, one of the oldest in the country. Then, you could visit the Adachi Art Museum. If you have some energy left, we also encourage you to visit the sumptuous Izumo Taisha, one of Japan’s oldest and most sacred Shinto shrines. It is said that the ancestral gods of Japan go there every year and celebrate for several weeks.

Day 9: Shobara Village; Where Time Stands Still
Shobara is known for its landscapes of peaceful forests and its majestic oxen which are among the most beautiful in the archipelago. Stay in a real peasant house in the middle of the rice fields. The Japanese call it the "Kominka", a kind of small farm brought with modern additions that have been added to accommodate passing visitors. A chef-restaurateur will come and cook local dishes just for you this evening. A privileged moment around rooted but resolutely gourmet cuisine.
Day 10: Hiroshima and Bound for Miyajima
The bullet train takes you to a place rich in emotions with a heavy history: Hiroshima. Sadly famous for being the first city in the world to be hit by an atomic bomb, Hiroshima has rebuilt itself with an energy and dynamism that will move and surprise you. You visit the Peace Memorial Park and its museum where you will be saddened by the photos of the tragedy but confident in Japan's commitment to peace. Tonight you will go to Miyajima to experience a change of atmosphere!
Day 11: Torii in Miyajima
As soon as the sun rises, you witness the spectacle of the famous Itsukushima shrine that seems to float on the inland sea. This panorama is considered to be one of the three most beautiful views in Japan. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can understand why facing its majestic vermilion torii. Afterwards, climb Mount Misen. The short hike can be sweeter by cable car, you will still be stunned by the magnificent panorama of Hiroshima Bay.
Day 12: Matsuyama; Castle, Cherry Trees and a Steam Bath
You cross the bay by train to get to Matsuyama. The city has two main attractions: a very well preserved castle and Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest bathhouses in Japan. If you visit Japan in the spring, you’ll enjoy the incredibly scenic view of the flowering cherry trees in the adjacent park. Towards autumn, an orange panorama awaits you. Then get lost in the wooden maze of the Dogo Onsen, opened since 1894, before enjoying its 18 pools of water with various and varied virtues; all therapeutic.
Day 13: Millenium Ascent of Mount Zozu
Today, you head by car to Kagawa prefecture. In Kotohira, you start your visit at the beautifully preserved old Kanamaruza Theatre. Finally, you tackle the 1368 stone steps of Mount Zozu, which lead to the Kompirasan Temple. You will not regret it: at the top, the view of Kotohira is breathtaking. Kompirasan is a sanctuary dedicated to sailors and navigation. You can observe both Shinto and Buddhist elements.
Day 14: Iya Valley, Miyoshi and the Doll Village
Head into Tokushima. The first stops are the city of Miyoshi and the Iya Valley, one of the most remote places in Japan. You will spot several interesting things the Oku Iya Monorail, a hiking trail on wheels in the lush forest, the rope bridge of Iya on which you venture, Mount Miune and the unusual village of Nagoro most of whose population is made up of dolls. Spend the night in a hotel with outdoor thermal baths, amidst the unchanging mountains of Shikoku.
Day 15: Blown Away by Tokushima Whirlpools
For your second day in Tokushima prefecture, you will meet on the coast of the Inland Sea. You observe one of the attractions of the region: the whirlpools of Naruto. From Onaruto Bridge, connecting Shikoku to Awaji Island, or on a cruise to get as close as possible, you can observe this curious natural phenomenon. If you are lucky enough to arrive in August, the dancers of Awa Odori will take you on a dance from the depths of the ages.
Day 16: Wander around Osaka
Osaka Castle is worth a visit; you may have already planned to see it! The city conceals secrets that lovers of street food and bonhomie will appreciate; friendly locals and a more relaxed pace of life will make you feel warmly welcomed. Today's exploration will make you dismiss the serious cliche of a dull and serious Japan that is influenced by the business centres of Tokyo.
Day 17: Goodbye Japan!
We hope you enjoyed your road trip in Japan. Gather your unforgettable memories together and get ready for your departure. You'll be transferred to Kansai airport.

Budget

Includes

  • 16 Nights Hotel Accommodation
  • 15 breakfasts et 4 dinners
  • Your personal road book
  • Translation of your driving license
  • Rental of a wifi router and a translation device
  • Transfer by public transport from the airport to the hotel with a English-speaking guide
  • Car rental category E 7 days then 5 days
  • Transfer by train from Hiroshima to Matsuyama
  • Transfer by train from Osaka to Kix Airport

Excludes

  • International flights
  • Entrances to sites other than those mentioned as included
  • Meals, except those mentioned as included, as well as drinks
  • Transport other than that mentioned as included (taxis, ferry ...)
  • Tourist tax, between 100 and 500 yen per night and per person, collected on site in cash in hotels in major cities
  • The thermal tax, about 150 yen per night and per person, collected in thermal cities in cash
  • The amount to be paid in cash for baggage shipments (see above luggage delivery slip)
  • (Optional) Concierge service 7/7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help you book certain services and activities (except restaurants, be careful, some establishments may refuse reservations)
  • Your personal expenses
  • Tips (mainly for non-Japanese guide or assistants)
  • Insurance (repatriation, cancellation)