Not a bad time to visit but like autumn or okay , our thoughts happily return to Japan’s famous fall colors and the perfect temperatures for exploration. We’ve missed the dynamic people, food and attractions so much and can’t wait for culturally curious travelers like you to join us now that entry restrictions have been relaxed. Of course, we tend to seek out experiences outside of the cherry blossoms and bustling cities. Come with us as we share five unique ways to immerse yourself in Japanese culture (like training with a samurai master!) and make meaningful connections with local communities.
1: Stay in a traditional monastery
Make your way to Koyasan, the center of Buddhism in Japan, and spend the night at Mount Koya Temple – a working monastery founded in 816 by Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. Located 800 meters above Mount Koya, a train takes you up the mountain to reach the monastery, which is known to be one of the The most beautiful railway journey in Japan. Here, you will have a rare opportunity to spend time with the monks, observe their morning prayers and explore the peaceful monastery grounds. Come to life at the moss-covered Oku-no-in Cemetery, one of Koyasan’s most sacred sites that includes the Kobo Daishi Shrine.
How do I do it: We have 9 days Japan Express: from Osaka to Tokyo The tour includes a one-night stay at the Temple of Mount Koya
2: Spend time with the elders in Hagi
If you are looking for a truly immersive cultural experience, Hagi Homestay sees elderly residents opening their homes, sharing meals, and teaching you their traditional way of life. The rural farming and fishing community is located on the southern coast of Japan, amidst rice fields, forests, and pristine beaches. With no direct routes for trains, Hague is still off the tourist track and has seen the younger generation migrate to the cities for work, leaving behind a large elderly population. Created to generate happiness and purpose for Hagi’s elderly residents, Hagi Elder Homestay is powered by our non-profit partner Planeterra, and benefits more than 150 members of the Hagi community. You will sleep on the traditional Chikebuton Family, learn how to cook meals with your host and enjoy a bike tour of the Hagi region, while admiring the city’s samurai-era architecture and coastal paths along the Japanese Sea.
How do I do it: We have 11 days Japan Roads Back The tour includes two nights at Hagi Elder Homestay powered by Planeterra
3: Learn from the masters of Kimbo
In Kyoto, you can feel the power through the ancient art of kempo, which honors the culture of the Japanese warrior class, the infamous samurai. Meet the Kembu masters and learn about the strict code of ethics and sense of duty that prevailed among the samurai between the 12th and 19th centuries. You’ll learn how to wield a samurai sword, and master the basic movements of this delicate art form that samurai used to improve focus and express their warrior spirit.
How do I do it: We have 12 days famous national geographic trips to japan The tour includes a special moment with Kembu Masters
4: Explore a traditional folk village
Having retained its traditional customs and touches, unlike many Japanese cities, the mountainous city of Takayama continues to attract travelers’ attention. With a limited number of visitors to combat overcrowding before the pandemic, now is the perfect time to explore Takayama’s unique history. Visit the popular nearby village of Hida No Sato and meander the quaint streets lined with breweries and handicraft stores. With buildings dating back to the 17th century, you’ll be amazed at the steep, thatched-roof farmhouses that are said to resemble praying hands.
How do I do it: We have 14 days Discover Japan The tour includes two days in Takayama and a visit to Hida no Sato Folk Village
5: Enjoy the autumn colors at a Kyoto temple
Home to more than 2,000 temples, Kyoto is the perfect place to enjoy the blazer weather and the magical colors of autumn leaves in Japan. Of the red and yellow colors, known as koyoto intense red maple leaves, known as MomExplore the peaceful gardens around the temples and cafes, and take the perfect fall photo along the way. A visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine outside Kyoto allows you to walk under the famous Torii Gates, featured in the movie geisha diary.
How do I do it: We have 11 days Japan Roads Back The tour includes two nights in Kyoto with a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine