With guided tours now able to operate following last month’s easing of travel restrictions in Japan, leading Japanese walking and cultural tour operator Oku Japan has announced a resumption of service, including a selection of small group guided tours available for Fall 2022.
With a range of departures available running from September through November, all of which meet with current government guidelines for travel, the company will provide additional inclusions such as guide meet & greets of guests upon arrival with an escort to their hotel, and extra meals that are not typically included, as part of a special “welcome back” offer.
These tours are:
This nine-day guided tour follows a pilgrimage route to Kumano, part of the mountainous Kii Peninsula, which stretches south from the Kansai cities of Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. The well-maintained trail threads its way through deep valleys, mountains, and small villages, with stays at comfortable family-run inns and the opportunity to soak in natural hot springs and visit shrines along the way.
Combining must-see cities Kyoto and Tokyo, this 11-day guided walking and cultural tour highlights the country’s best loved trails – the Kumano Kodo and the Nakasendo. Combining more relaxed hiking with cultural immersion, it offers a deeper discovery of the unique culture that surrounds each trail, with routes suitable for fit and active travelers.
This 11-day guided foodie tour focuses on Japan’s best-kept culinary traditions. Visiting famous locations like the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto, as well as hidden rural villages and the unique culture of Awaji Island in the fabled Inland Sea, this is one of the most intimate ways to uncover Japan’s vibrant history and culture. Forage for wild ingredients, harvest the bounty of the land, cook with emblematic figures and alongside members of local communities, and learn about culinary traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.
This 15-day small-group guided walking tour starts in Kyoto, where travelers walk the Philosopher’s Path and explore Nishiki food market (“Kyoto’s kitchen”). It continues to Asuka, where Japan’s early Emperors are buried, and then via boat over the Inland Sea to the southern island of Kyushu. Known as the cradle of Japanese civilization, several locations relate to the Japanese creation myths that inspired the Yokagura dances in Takachiho. Kyushu is also known for its numerous active volcanoes, onsen hot springs, unforgettable hot sand baths at Yamakawa, unique flora and fauna, and more.
This eight-day guided walking tour spends two nights in Kyoto, where the Nakasendo (or ‘Road through the Central Mountains’) trail begins, followed by three days of walking along the trail – a key route in feudal Japan’s network of highways – before ending in Tokyo. The time in Kyoto also takes in a side-trip to an excellent hike in nearby Nara before heading to the Kiso Valley. By day, guests walk along the ancient route as it passes through beautifully preserved villages, with evenings spent in traditional country inns enjoying exquisite regional cuisine prepared from the freshest ingredients.
Starting in Tokyo, this 12-day guided tour will spend four days walking along the Nakasendo, an ancient trail dating back to Japan’s feudal period. Travelers will see the exquisitely preserved villages of Narai, Tsumago, and Magome, stay in monastery lodging in the temple town of Mount Koya, bathe in the thermal waters at a hot spring Ryokan, enjoy fresh, regional cuisine, and more.
With a maximum of 13 people in any group, Oku Japan’s fluently bilingual guides ensure guests enjoy rich, meaningful experiences from start to finish. Oku’s itineraries steer clear of the classic tourism haunts and the on-the-bus/off-the-bus style of travel, with carefully crafted itineraries and interactions that encourage guests to get up close and personal with the places visit and people they meet along the way, putting tourist dollars to good use in remote, local communities.
To learn more about Oku Japan’s year-round offerings of guided, self-guided* and custom tours, please visit www.okujapan.com.