The therapeutic experience of walking a country can reveal its truly off-beat hidden gems, from ancient historical rituals to spectacular, untouched landscapes.
Here’s 10 reasons to choose walking as a way to explore the varied wonders of Japan:
1. Culture vultures
History, culture and literature lead guests through Walk Japan’s unique Basho Tour: Narrow Road to the North, which follows in the footsteps of 17th Century Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho. While traveling along quiet country lanes, forest trails and mountain footpaths, guests will learn of the history and tough spirit of the people of Japan’s northerly regions.
2. Insta-worthy scenery
Japan is the perfect backdrop for social-media worthy imagery, from the snowcapped mountains and pristine forests on the Snow Country Trek, to picturesque old post towns and seasonal Cherry Blossoms on the Nakasendo Way.
3. Digital detox
For those looking to unplug and unwind, Walk Japan’s Kunisaki Retreat will provide a much needed respite from bustling city life. Nestled in the western end of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, modern Japan has left this quiet haven of rural life largely untouched. Days will start with calming meditation and yoga sessions, followed by relaxation in onsen thermal hot springs, soba buckwheat noodle master classes, ikebana flower arranging, chado tea ceremonies and Japanese taiko drumming.
4. A food lover’s paradise
Japan is known as one of the top gourmet destinations in the world. The Izu Geo Trail and Hokkaido Hike will reveal some of the country’s culinary delights at authentic Japanese restaurants, washed down with local sake. The Izu Peninsula showcases some of the freshest seafood available, from spider crab to squid, lobster, sea bream and much more, while Hokkaido’s famous scallops are world-renowned.
5. Social conscience
Walk Japan is dedicated to leaving a positive impact on all areas that their tours touch upon. In addition to supporting family-run and local businesses, Walk Japan established a Community Project in Kunisaki to preserve the environment and provide a prosperous future through farming and reforestation initiatives. The project employs local residents and offers Walk Japan employees and guests the opportunity to partake at the end of each Kunisaki Retreat or Trek.
6. Unique encounters with fascinating people
Walking will enable encounters with a range of enchanting personalities, offering insights into local societies and traditions. Guests of Walk Japan can discover the secret to the Okinawan’s longevity and hear the riveting life stories from local craftsmen and fishermen in the Okinawa Voyage, while the Kunisaki retreat includes meditation led by the abbot-in-waiting of Fuki-ji.
7. Adventure junkies
For those looking to up the adventure anti, the Yaeyama: Okinawa Voyage goes beyond walking to include kayaking across rivers, mangroves and the open sea as well as snorkeling the coral reefs. Ishigaki’s aquatic paradise is home to over 300 species of tropical fish and, with luck, guests may catch a glimpse of sea turtles as they make their way from the beaches to the open sea. Those looking for the challenge of higher altitudes can trek some of Hokkaido’s highest mountains on the Hokkaido Hike, including Mt. Asahidake, Mt. Tokachidake and nearby volcanoes.
8. City Secrets
As well as revealing remote rural hideaways, Walk Japan penetrates the back streets of Tokyo and Kyoto on city tours that uncover more about the history and culture of the fascinating cities than any other tour or guide book.
9. Led by the best
Walk Japan’s Tour guides are experts in Japanese culture, food and geography. All guides are proficient in both Japanese and English and have an intimate knowledge of Japan and its people. The ranks of WalkJapan’s Tour Leaders include individuals who have extensive experience across the media, agriculture, commerce, arts, finance, academia and tourism sectors in Japan.
For those looking to travel solo, the Wayfarer self-guided tours of Kumano and Nakasendo are an incredible way to immerse in the Japanese countryside. Drawing on the wealth of experience and knowledge amassed by Walk Japan, each guest is provided with the essential logistics and route support along with a Route Booklet covering a mix of historical relevance and modern cultural know-how for entirely independent touring of the roads less travelled in Japan.
Walk Japan, the pioneering operator of walking tours in Japan, provides meticulously planned and expertly led tours that fully immerse visitors in Japanese society, culture and history. For detailed information about all of Walk Japan’s tours visit: www.walkjapan.com