InsideJapan has created a new cultural adventure to combat overtourism and give clients a deeper cultural understanding of Japan.
In the pre-pandemic world, Japan was on every traveller’s bucket list. It was also fast becoming a victim of overtourism in destinations like Kyoto.
The small-group tour company wanted to design a trip that gave a better understanding of Japanese culture, which would increase enjoyment and appreciation of each place visited.
Now, with the Year of the Dragon on the horizon, and Qantas flights to Tokyo restarting in December, Japan looks like it will be back on the Aussie travel radar once again.
InsideJapan’s new Japanese Ikigai and the Paths to Happiness self-guided cultural adventure aims to delve deeper into the concepts around Japanese culture.
“We have all lived in Japan and understand some of the interesting cultural quirks that make Japan so different and special,” said Harry Sargant, InsideJapan’s Brisbane-based trade marketing manager.
“This trip is designed with some of those concepts in mind and a little understanding of these traditional concepts such as wabi-sabi (the acceptance of transience and imperfection) or kodawari (relentless devotion to one’s craft) often help to open up a place or an experience.”
The 13-night trip visits Tokyo and Kyoto, but not only captures the obvious – the neon buzz and the incredible temples – it promises to take in some of the lesser-known districts and dips into different experiences.
A day with an Insider tour leader in Tokyo will unfurl some of the mysteries of the city, and a session with a Kintsugi master will demonstrate the beauty of wabi-sabi, whilst in Kyoto, the opportunity to try some Zen meditation with a priest at a famous Kyoto temple will add to the experience.
The trip stays on the Izu Peninsula a few hours south of Tokyo, at a traditional ryokan guesthouse allowing for hadaka no tsukiai (naked communion) in hot spring onsen baths, but also introduces omotenashi Japanese hospitality and kaiseki dining with a vast array of seasonal and local dishes served to the tatami-floored room.
The chance to partake in Shinrinyoku forest-bathing amongst ancient forests that line the cobbled roads of the Nakasendo trail also await along with a stay in a traditional kominka eco-farmhouse, soaking up the rural surroundings and local food prepared by its proud and welcoming owners in what will no doubt be an example of Kizuna (the bond that connects people).
“Many people travel to tick the boxes, but there aren’t enough boxes for Japan,” Sargant said.
“This trip is ultimately a ‘wellness’ trip, with each concept adding an extra element to the trip. The rural train journeys, the food, aspects of culture and the people are what make this trip special.
“Japan has been our ikigai – our reason for being – for almost 21 years, and we cannot wait to introduce this unique trip to our trade partners and their customers. It has been a long time since we travelled, so why not make the next trip even more special”.
InsideJapan’s ‘The Japanese Ikigai and the Paths to Happiness’ self-guided adventure can be tailored to suit budgets, interests and time frames, making it ideal for both Japan newbies and repeat visitors alike.
Featured image source: iStock/Boogich