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.