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Every visitor is unique and has their own particular blend of interests and desires when traveling;

At Tokyo Personalised we work to understand each and every guest and create tailor-made experiences based on our many years of personal explorations and connections from a wide, diverse and fascinating mix of locations and individuals.

We create bespoke, exclusive tours in Tokyo and beyond for the lone travellers, families, friends and corporate clients. Take a look at our Tours page to give you some ideas of what is possible.

Tokyo Personalised

TOURS

  • Classic Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • A Snapshot of Tokyo
  • Tokyo Backstreets
  • Uncovering Edo Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • The Art of Japanese Gardens
  • High Fashion to Street Fashion private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability
  • Japanese Design Reborn private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability
  • The Art of Living private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability

FOOD

  • Backstreets Dining Experience
  • Gourmet Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • A Taste of Tokyo
  • Discovering Japanese Tea
  • The Luxury of Japanese Fruit
  • Tsukiji Sushi Sensation

ARTS

  • Behind the Scenes Sumo – limited availability determined by Tournament schedule
  • An introduction to Kabuki – availability determined by Tokyo show schedules
  • An Interactive Introduction to Noh
  • Japanese Cultural Experience
  • Yamabushi Experience

 

TOURS

 CLASSIC TOKYO – half or full day tour
This tour allows the visitor a chance to view some of the highlights of this incredible city and uncover a little of its history; exploring elements of its growth from a fishing port to the military stronghold of the Tokugawa shogunate and capital city of Edo Japan, to the city’s revitalization during the Meiji period, its recovery after WWII, to its current manifestation as an the world’s most populous metropolis blending the ultramodern with the traditional.

A SNAPSHOT OF TOKYO – half or full day tour
A day spent wandering in the vibrant and dynamic neighbourhoods of Harajuku, Meiji Jingu and Omotesando gives you the opportunity to see many of the fascinating and diverse elements that make up this every-changing metropolis. Home to more award-winning architectural buildings per square metre than arguably anywhere else in the world; streets of teen fashion; cat cafes; artisanal coffee shops; pop-up boutiques; and art galleries.

There are extensive options available for lunch, from some of Tokyo’s best tonkatsu, breaded pork on rice, to Tsukiji sushi delivered on a conveyor belt, to Michelin starred restaurants.
Private viewings/visits can be arranged depending on request and availability

TOKYO BACKSTREETS – half or full day tour
This walk explores some of the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ neighbourhoods of Tokyo. We stroll to one of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts; home to hip designer shops, embassies, high-priced boutiques and some of the best café culture in Japan. The neighboring district, in contrast, encourages shoppers to browse without pressure to buy and diners to linger over conversations. This area attracts some of Tokyo’s coolest artists, musicians, and designers.

The tour extends into the evening in a bohemian neighbourhood; narrow alleys packed with small theater halls, live houses, bars and secondhand shops, have made this a trendsetting place for youth culture. Dinner is enjoyed in a popular izakaya (an informal Japanese gastropub).

UNCOVERING EDO TOKYO – one day tour
This tour reveals some of the unique and fascinating history of the city from its samurai origins to its development as the world’s largest metropolis.

Starting in the Edo centre of Japan, we also explore the grounds of the Imperial Palace, former site of Edo Castle before moving on to one of the downtown areas providing perhaps the closest approximation to life in downtown Edo through to Tokyo’s pre-war years. The tour finishes in the home of Tokyo’s oldest temple and largest amusement quarter in the city up until WWII; an area considered home of the Eddoko, the original townspeople of Edo.

THE ART OF JAPANESE GARDENS – half or full day tour
On this tour, we experience some of Tokyo’s loveliest gardens. From one of the city’s oldest, today designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic Site to one of the most beautiful, a strolling garden of the Edo period featuring miniature views from Japanese and Chinese landscape.

We finish in a delightful garden that can truly be described as an urban oasis. Upon every turn of the numerous winding paths, you will see a new garden lantern, memorial stone, statue or teahouse. The original garden destroyed during the bombing of Tokyo in WWII and has been painstakingly restored to its present state.

HIGH FASHION TO STREET FASHION – half or full day tour
Japan’s capital is deservedly known as a shopping mecca. Beyond department stores, the city has countless shopping streets, and we explore a few of these.

From a fountain of teen trendiness where shoppers of all ages can enjoy the bargains to the former home of Tokyo’s ninja where those ‘too cool for school’ now hang out. From the centre of Japan’s most extreme youth cultures watched by the international fashion industry to Tokyo’s Champs-Élysée, a beautiful tree-lined avenue home to high-class domestic and international brands in award winning architectural buildings. On this tour you can ‘shop ‘til you drop’.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

JAPANESE DESIGN REBORN – half or full day tour
Accompanied by our art expert, this walking tour of Ginza, Marunouchi and Nihonbashi is an intriguing mix of contemporary and historical.

The ongoing reinvention and restoration creates an experience akin to a historical Japanese Disneyland. We explore topical buildings such as the Ichigokan and Kitte, recent urban developments exemplified by Coredo, and smaller contemporary art galleries.

We consider the interplay of contemporary and historical commerce and culture, explore recent and ongoing restoration of traditional areas, and modern marketing, Japan-style.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

THE ART OF LIVING – half or full day tour
Accompanied by our art expert, this tour considers how ‘art permeates life’.

Wandering in Roppongi, one of Tokyo’s contemporary art and design hubs, we will see how refinement and sophistication have evolved over the centuries. We will visit the design museum Design Sight 21_21, smaller art and design galleries, and major museums such as the Suntory Museum of Art, Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center.

Whilst exploring the new urban complex of Tokyo Midtown, part of the day can also be spent appreciating how the Japanese have elevated shopping to an art form.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

FOOD

 BACKSTREETS DINING EXPERIENCE – evening tour only
Hidden between and behind towering skyscrapers and sprawling station complexes, Tokyo’s yokocho, alleyways, are a must see for anyone looking to experience the city’s less sterile, down-to-earth side. We visit one of Tokyo’s most representative yokocho, enjoy a cocktail or two in a lounge bar with gorgeous views over the city before moving on to one of Tokyo’s more bohemian neighbourhoods. Dinner is enjoyed in a popular local izakaya (an informal Japanese gastropub) serving a wide range of delectable Japanese dishes and round off the evening in a nearby standing bar where the owner/DJ/bar tender serves jazz from his vast personal collection with drinks.

GOURMET TOKYO – half or full day tour
The magnificence of Tokyo’s dining scene is no secret: home to 227 establishments holding one or more Michelin stars, even the street food is a gastronomic delight.

We start by learning how sushi originated in Tokyo and why there are few better places to eat it before feasting our eyes on the extensive range of delights in the bustling food hall of one of the city’s oldest department stores. Lunch is enjoyed in an elegant institution that has been serving locals, internationally renowned actors and heads of state since 1930 before strolling on to Tokyo’s “kitchen town”. We end in one of the city’s most popular izakayas (an informal Japanese gastro-pub); always full it serves local expats, university students and salarymen alike.

A TASTE OF TOKYO – one day tour
Starting at Tsukiji market we learn how sushi originated in Tokyo before taking a short walk to the home of Kabuki; this unpretentious art form has its origins in the Edo period. Guests are invited to a pre-performance private lecture and tour of the theatre gallery. Lunch is bento box enjoyed whilst watching the performance.

Following the show, we stroll to Tokyo’s most upmarket shopping district, take time to browse in one of Japan’s first department stores and enjoy a cup of tea in one of the city’s newest tearooms.

We finish the tour with a monjayaki dinner, a type of savoury pancake, and a Tokyo speciality.

DISCOVERING JAPANESE TEA – one day tour
We begin the day hosted at a private tea ceremony, by a 1st degree Chado, way of tea, instructor, where we also learn the finer points of the ceremony.

Moving to Tokyo’s most upmarket shopping district, we sample some of the many varieties of tea available in one of the city’s newest tearooms; a fascinating blend of ultra-modern and traditional, enjoy lunch and browse for tea utensils in Tokyo’s oldest department store.

The day finishes at a beautifully designed museum founded to conserve and exhibit the collection of an enthusiastic practitioner of the “way of tea” who wished his collection to be shared by all. The museum garden boasts an exquisite teahouse.

THE LUXURY OF JAPANESE FRUIT – 2-hour tour
Japanese’s dedication to perfection is what makes Japan such an incredible country; there is a reason it has the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants in the world. Thanks to this perfectionism coupled with Japanese creativity there are several kinds of ultra-premium fruits on offer in Japan, including five of the world’s most expensive.

On this tour we visit Japan’s oldest fruit shop and fruit parlor, established in 1834 where the fruits are so perfect in shape without any blemishes that the display looks like a jewelry shop. After feasting our eyes, we sample some of the delicious product and learn why fruit is considered a luxury product that features heavily in Japan’s gift-giving culture.

TSUKIJI SUSHI SENSATION – half-day tour
Tsukiji Market handles over 2,000 tons of marine products per day and features the “inner market”; the licensed wholesale market, where approximately 900 dealers operate, and the “outer market”; a mixture of wholesale and retail shops.

On this tour a trained sushi chef will guide you through the market, sharing his insights and knowledge of the stalls and merchandise. You will have the option to purchase any fish that you would specifically like to try eating. Following our trip through the market you will learn to prepare nigiri sushi, which we will then enjoy eating whilst learning sushi eating etiquette.

ARTS

 BEHIND THE SCENES SUMO – one day tour
Japan’s official national sport, it is generally considered a modern Japanese martial art although the sport has a history spanning many centuries.

Granted exclusive access to a sumo stable, accompanied by a former high-ranking wrestler, to observe the morning training session, we are invited to join the wrestlers for their traditional brunch of chanko nabe, a robust hot pot filled with vegetables and large helpings of protein in a rich broth; observe the restoration of the wrestlers’ hair to the sleek chonmage, top knot; and meet one of sumo’s top referees. The tour ends with a guided tour of the sumo museum.

AN INTRODUCTION TO KABUKI – half-day tour
Kabuki traces its origins to the start of the Edo period, a time of unique cultural development during which townspeople became patrons of art for the first time. Its lack of pretentiousness made Kabuki a popular art form as it was in general more accessible than other traditional performances. Today it is recognised as one of Japan’s three major classical theaters and has been named as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Guests are invited to a pre-performance private lecture and tour of the Kabukiza gallery, to maximize viewing enjoyment. We also visit one of the many food halls located nearby to purchase lunch boxes and snacks to enjoy whilst watching the show.
Matinee, afternoon or evening performances can be selected
Noh and Bunraku lectures and performances can also be arranged

 AN INTERACTIVE INTRODUCTION TO NOH – two-hour tour
Noh is a traditional form of performing arts with over 650 years of history; proclaimed a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO it is an important cultural asset to Japan and is one of the oldest extant theatrical forms in the world.

We join one of Noh’s prominent actors for an interactive introduction to the world of Noh. Guests are invited to watch and understand a short performance, learn some basic movements, wear one of the sumptuous costumes and examine some of the traditional props and musical instruments. This tour is particularly suitable for children.
Guests may have the chance to view a traditional Noh stage – depending on performance times.

JAPANESE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE – half day tour
Imagine strolling through Tokyo’s through oldest temple complex, taking a ride in a rickshaw and participating in a private tea ceremony in a charming local tea house wearing an exquisite Japanese kimono. After choosing from a selection of beautiful kimono, which our expert will dress you in and arrange your hair and make-up in the traditional style, we venture out into the streets of Tokyo accompanied by a professional photographer.

We end the experience hosted at a private tea ceremony, by a 1st degree Chado, way of tea, instructor, where we are instructed in the finer points of the ceremony.
A souvenir album can be arranged.

 YAMABUSHI EXPERIENCE – 2-hour tour; early morning or evening
Take time from your busy life and schedule to refresh your mind and soul in one of Tokyo’s oldest and loveliest temples. Accompanied by a certified Yamabushi priest you will be guided through some of the techniques used during Yamabushi training programmes, based on Shugendo, one of Japan’s most ancient and transformative practices.

Yamabushi are the ancient mountain priests of Japan whose role was to guide people to their true nature, teach discipline and warrior ways. Although the few remaining are mostly hidden from public life these days, their work has not changed. What they offer is more relevant than ever.

 

If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.

Beyond Tokyo

A private driver is organized for all one-day outings

  • Exploring “Little Edo” (Kawagoe) Tour
  • Sake Brewery Tour
  • Hike + Private Dining at Mt Takao Tour
  • The Ancient Capital of Kamakura Tour – former capital city of Japan around 13th century
  • Kamakura Mind + Body Experience Tour – unique experience led by 11th generation tea master. Half or full day tour
  • Golf Tours: playing on member-only, world-class courses. Can be extended to two day tours, including a Japanese ryokan experience
  • Yamabushi Private Pilgrimage Tour – unavailable in February.  Can be two/three day tour
  • Japanese Countryside Tour – can be two/three day tour
  • Introduction to Rural Farming Life Tour – can be two/three day tour

 

EXPLORING ‘LITTLE EDO’ (KAWAGOE) – famous for its many historic buildings
Kawagoe is an historic castle town offering glimpses of Japan from the feudal Edo era to the more recent Showa era. During the Edo period many powerful merchants lived in this town and as a result of their wealth and culture it became known as “Little Edo.”
After fire destroyed much of Kawagoe in 1893, surviving kura, warehouses, were converted into shops or houses, as they were known to be fireproof. Many of these kura-zukuri are still preserved in excellent condition and are in use. The city is also famous for its more recently built examples of early twentieth century architecture inspired by Taisho Romanticism and is home to Kita-in temple, one of the oldest in the Kanto region.

EXCLUSIVE SAKE BREWERY VISIT
The origins of sake date back to 4800BC China. Since then Japan’s development of the drink has made it synonymous with this nation. Requiring significant quantities of high quality water, many of the best-known brands are brewed in the mountainous regions of Japan, although there are over a dozen breweries in the Tokyo area.

We visit one of Japan’s top-ranked sake breweries located less than an hour from the city. Here we have the opportunity to view first-hand how sake is produced, enjoy some of the brewery’s best sake and other varieties not available on the open market and learn the history of sake brewing. Expert guidance is provided by sake craftsmen and industry experts once inside the brewery.

HIKING & PRIVATE DINING AT MT. TAKAO – best visited in spring & fall
The sacred mountain of Takao is one of the closest natural recreation areas to Tokyo, offering beautiful scenery, hiking opportunities, and a lovely mountain-top temple that has attracted worshippers for over 1200 years. Between April and October, you may even glimpse ascetic devotees standing beneath the cascading waters of the waterfalls on the mountain.

After working up an appetite, lunch is enjoyed at an idyllic restaurant tucked away in the foothills of Mount Takao. Not so much a restaurant as a village, guests partake of the delicious menu in private structures, set in the extensive gardens, from venerable farm buildings to thatched teahouses transported from other parts of the country.

THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KAMAKURA – former capital city of Japan around 13th century
Kamakura, located one hour from Tokyo, has a history stretching back over 800 years. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers some of Japan’s finest Zen temples, shrines and other historical monuments, including the Great Buddha of Kamakura. In addition, Kamakura’s lovely hiking trails and black sand beaches provide a welcome antidote to nearby Tokyo.

Even the Starbucks in this delightful city is unique; boasting beautiful dark wood panels and a sleek, sloping ceiling. This café sits on the grounds of a mansion owned by the late manga artist Ryuichi Yokoyama and is surrounded by cherry and wisteria trees.

KAMAKURA MIND & BODY EXPERIENCE – a unique experience led by 11th generation Wabisuki tea master
Located one hour from Tokyo, as the birthplace of zen and buke bunka, samurai culture, with a history of over 800 years. This is an artistic and spiritual journey designed to create an empty space in your mind. The Wabisuki journey is a mix of old & new, the discarded & the reclaimed. It is an invitation to let go, an invitation to recharge your batteries. It is a journey to lose yourself, and a journey to find yourself.

Learn of Japanese traditions, through the lens of Wabisuki; a unique tea garden and contemporary art space set in the burnt remains of a century old Japanese farmhouse.

KYOTO IN A DAY – one full day tour
Consider by many to be the symbol of Japan; this ancient city is home to one of the world’s largest collections of UNESCO World Heritage sights, over 2000 temples and shrines, and culture so dense it could be argued that nowhere in the world holds the same traditional spirit as Kyoto. Certainly, no trip to Japan is complete without visiting its cultural heart.

To experience this amazing city in just one day is quite a feat, however if time is short and you are up for the challenge, so are we. A little over 2 hours from Tokyo by bullet train, an early start will allow us to visit some of Kyoto’s most exceptional sights and possibly glimpse a geisha or two.

GOLF TOURS
Playing on member-only, world-class courses located within a 2-hr drive from Tokyo, accompanied by a licensed PGA professional coach

On these tours you will have the opportunity to visit some of the most famous, scenic and challenging golf courses in Japan; play in the shadow of Mt. Fuji or at dramatic cliff-top courses overlooking the Pacific Ocean; experience immaculately manicured courses set in exquisite scenery, adorned with colourful foliage in spring and autumn; enjoy outstanding Japanese hospitality from caddies and clubhouse staff and round off an invigorating day’s play in an onsen, hot spring, bath.

YAMABUSHI PRIVATE PILGRIMAGE – unavailable in February
The Yamabushi are Japan’s ancient mountain priests. Their role was to help guide people to their true nature, teach discipline and warrior ways, and although the few remaining are mostly hidden from public life their work has not changed. Take an unforgettable journey of self-development and self-discovery in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan.

Located 4 hours from Tokyo, Dewa Sanzan, is renowned for its biodiversity, mystical scenery, and rituals of spiritual rebirth. Traditionally this area was a unique hub of animistic Shinto and Buddhist fusion, where different forms of Japanese spirituality blend into one.

Accommodation is in a pilgrim’s lodge and important Shugendo location which is renowned for its excellent traditional vegetarian meals.

JAPANESE COUNTRYSIDE TOUR – recommended as two/three day tour
Situated roughly equidistant between Tokyo and Kyoto this is perfect for those wishing to take time out between these two incredible cities.  We visit a remote village set aside a crystal-clear river in a tranquil mountain valley. Known for its tea, some of the best found in Japan, as well as its onsen, hot spring baths, and spectacular terraced rice paddies, this is a wonderful introduction to the beautiful Japanese countryside.

Early May – view tea picking and processing of shincha, the Beaujolais Nouveau of Japanese tea, on a remote, hillside farm that has been supplying the Imperial family for many years.
Late May/early June – assist with planting in the senmaida (lit. “One thousand rice paddies”). This picturesque, sprawling mosaic of mountainside terraces are a scene from forgotten Japan.
Mid June – be delighted by fireflies whilst strolling through the darkened countryside.
Autumn –stroll through the sen-maida, whilst the paddies are a resplendent terrace of golden rice.
Year round –mix your own unique blend at a local sake brewery, or follow the river into the forest on a stunning walk.

A number of accommodation options exist from a beautifully appointed riverside lodge to an exclusive ryokan, Japanese inn, lovingly created from a relocated farmhouse.

INTRODUCTION TO RURAL FARMING LIFE – recommended as two/three day tour.
The beautiful prefecture of Yamanashi, 2 hours from Tokyo by car, encompasses the northern part of Mount Fuji. The region is renowned for hiking, climbing, fishing and skiing.

This sustainable-living community-orientated farm community was founded in 2010 in a traditional 100yr old farmhouse. Private stays can be arranged for individuals/groups wanting to experience rural farm living; you will have the chance to help with planting or harvesting, learn local traditional cooking techniques, visit the local sake brewery to learn about the process of brewing. All whilst soaking in the fresh air and stunning surroundings of the Japanese countryside.

 

If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.

Kyoto Personalised

These two-day tours will be run on special request

IN-DEPTH DISCOVERY OF JAPANESE TEA
We spend the first morning in the company of a tea expert covering many aspects of the tea ceremony. A delicious shojin ryori, vegetarian cuisine, lunch is enjoyed at one of Kyoto’s grandest Zen temple complexes. Whilst there we learn about two figures deeply associated with the temple who were pivotal in the development of the tea ceremony. After lunch, we partake of a formal tea ceremony.

Replete from our refreshments, we wander through Kyoto’s most famous market street which is home to two of Japan’s most famous tea purveyors. We also visit a 130-yr old producer of tea caddies, whose caddies are still used by the Imperial Household.

Dinner is at a discreet local restaurant owned by a charming tea connoisseur.

We travel to Uji, south of Kyoto, for the second day. Home to some of Japan’s oldest tea fields, Uji is also home to Asahi-yaki, a 400-yr old pottery. Under the guidance of the current master we make our own tea bowls and enjoy lunch with sen-chado, a lesser known but equally elegant tea ceremony.

In the afternoon we visit a supplier of gyokuro, shaded tea where we meet the plantation’s owners, currently in the 16th generation, who are custodians of the field where gyokuro was first produced as well as processors of leaf from the temple tea field that competes for the accolade as Japan’s oldest.

The tour finishes with a kaiseki traditional banquet at a celebrated, Michelin three-starred restaurant.

ARTISANS OF KYOTO – limited availability, determined by artisan’s schedules
‘For the first six years of training under my father, every single piece I made, no matter how pleased I was with it, he would inspect it, find a fault in it and throw it in the bin’. It’s a long and difficult journey to becoming a master craftsman in Japan.

A number of successors of Japanese traditional crafts have come together to form a collaboration of Kyoto craftspeople that apply time-honoured techniques of Japanese art and design to create new designs with contemporary international appeal. Their mission is to preserve the skills and experiences of traditions and pave the way for the future.

Artisans specialising in:
*Handcrafted wooden buckets, using a technique developed 700 years ago, for bathing and storing rice. Their recently champagne cooler which two years to complete became the official cooler of Dom Perignon
*Woven bamboo. Established in 1898 this company uses a material that has featured in Japanese culture for 10,000 years
*Hand-made kimono belts. This company traces its heritage back to Kyoto’s sixth-century silk industry
*The world’s most refined chazutsu, tea caddies. Founded in 1875, this company’s caddies are still used by the Imperial household
*Kyo-kanaami, a metal-weaving technique dating back 10 centuries, in which classic patterns are used to decorate various cooking utensils
*Ceramic tea-ceremony vessels. The16th generation head of this family pottery keeps alive a 400-yr-old tradition
According to time, schedules and interest a tour will be designed to meet these artisans, view their workshops and even try our hand at creating our own pieces.

 

If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.

Special Interest

These tours are run once or twice per year on set dates.
Availability is extremely limited – max. number of 8 guests per tour.
Early advanced booking & 50% deposit required

TEA TOUR [May 2018 & Oct 2018]
International tea expert, Tim d’Offay, joins us to impart insider knowledge garnered through his long experience sourcing the finest teas from Japan and around the world. En route we are joined by a veteran tea farmer and a Swiss master of chado, as we explore tea’s significance in Japanese history, culture, society and cuisine.

Together we experience Japan’s two greatest cities, Tokyo and Kyoto, from an insider’s perspective, and also venture into a much-lesser known Japan; deep countryside where some of the nation’s preeminent tea is produced on a small, family-owned estate. Our exploration of tea leads us to museums renowned for their exquisite works of art with significance in chado itself, to tranquil temples where chado developed, and to artisanal workshops, where some of the highest quality utensils used in the ceremony are crafted. We enjoy tea in many of our meals not just as beverage but also an ingredient in dishes.

Our meals are a culinary delight, ranging from sumptuous banquets at a traditional Japanese inn, through farmhouse-style cuisine at local restaurants to feasts at some of Kyoto and Tokyo’s foremost dining establishments. Our accommodation varies from modern, Western-style hotels to a traditional Japanese inn: all of which offer the excellent service typical of Japan.

 

SUMMER FESTIVAL TOUR [August 2018]
Tohoku (lit. ‘north-east) was one of the last regions of Japan to be subjugated in the 9th Century and in the days of Bashō, Japan’s most famous travelling poet, a trip to northern Honshū was still synonymous with walking to the ends of the Earth. Even now this area is very much the rugged north; a land of mountains and remote hot springs, of ancient folk beliefs and unique customs born of centuries of isolation. The locals are independent, plain-spoken and resolute. They are also warm and welcoming. Together these characteristics held them in good stead in the aftermath of the catastrophic tsunami that devastated much of the region’s east coast in 2011. They also retain a strongly rural identity, which is expressed in their festivals, some of the most spectacular in Japan.

In one thrilling week this tour takes in four of these spectacular festivals, including participation in the breathtaking Aomori Nebuta festival, and visits the samurai town of Kakunodate as well as the famed and scenic Matsushima Bay.

Accommodation varies from a modern hotel to an ‘off-the grid’ traditional hot spring inn, and a 300 year old farmhouse, that is still a family home.

 

YAMABUSHI TRAINING PROGRAMME [June – October]
The Yamabushi are the ancient mountain priests of Japan. Their role was to guide people to their true nature, and to teach discipline and warrior ways. And although the few remaining are mostly hidden from public life these days, their work has not changed. What they offer is more relevant than ever: an unforgettable journey of self-development and self-discovery in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan.

Located 4 hours from Tokyo, Dewa Sanzan is renowned for its biodiversity, mystical scenery, and rituals of spiritual rebirth. Traditionally and among select groups today, Dewa Sanzan is a unique hub of animistic Shinto and Buddhist fusion, where different forms of Japanese spirituality blend into one.

Under the direction of a 13th generation master, the training will take back into your lives with a renewed sense of your power, a greater understanding of your potential, and a new ability to cut through obstacles. You will gain the ability to disconnect from distraction and stress by taking yourself back to nature and back to yourself.

Accommodation is in a pilgrim’s lodge. This important Shugendo location is traditionally reserved for Shugendo initiates, however on this tour, the doors are open to you.

 

YOGA RETREAT [April 2018]
Details TBC

 

If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.