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.
Dive into authentic Japan and lose yourself in the diversity of its landscapes while enjoying true freedom.
From historical places to remote countryside, you will be able to discover Japan far from its usual beaten paths all around the inner sea.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.