Walk Japan’s new Inland Sea Odyssey & Basho Wayfarer tours provide an unforgettable look into Japan’s history and art culture
Leading tour operator Walk Japan has introduced two new walking tours, the Inland Sea Odyssey and the Self-Guided Basho Wayfarer, offering travellers even more original and intriguing ways to discover the ancient landscapes and beauty of Japan.
As the pioneering operator of seasonal walking tours across Japan, Walk Japan specialises in expertly-led small group tours that traverse the diverse islands of the archipelago. Authentic and cultural, these tours are for travellers wanting to gain an understanding of Japanese society, customs, history and food while walking at an enjoyable pace.
Inland Sea Odyssey
The 10-day, 9-night Inland Sea Odyssey is a fully-guided journey through Japan’s incredible Seto Inland Sea. This tour explores the region’s recent history including work by some of Japan’s greatest 20th and 21st Century architects, artists and film directors including Kenzo Tange, Kengo Kuma, Kusama Yayoi, Yukinori Yanagi, Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu. Travellers also delve into the life of Isamu Noguchi, a Japanese-American who led an extraordinarily full life, became one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th Century, and, in older age, found a home aside the Seto Inland Sea.
Additionally, the Inland Sea region is a wealth of beautiful vistas, sunsets, and some of Japan’s greatest ancient landmarks such as the imposing Himeji Castle. There are also abundant sleepy island communities and charming towns. Added to this is some of the best modern art and architecture found anywhere in the world, delicious local cuisine, onsen hot spring baths and a spirit of revival led by an influx of younger Japanese attracted to this delightful but lesser explored region of Japan.
Walk Japan’s Inland Sea Odyssey is a leisurely Level 2 walk and loosely follows the travels of the late American-born author Donald Richie, one of the greatest observers of modern Japan, whose book The Inland Sea relates his meandering journey east to west through the Inland Sea, from Himeji to the shrine at Miyajima that seemingly floats out over a bay.
The latest in Walk Japan’s series of self-guided walking tours of Japan, the Bosho Wayfarer is a 6-day, 5-night exploration of Japan’s northerly Tohoku region. This tour was inspired by the acclaimed poet Matsuo Basho and his travelogue, Narrow Road to the Deep North. Walkers follow in Basho’s footsteps from Sendai to Yamadera; from historic temples to beautiful coastlines, through forests in remote countryside, to charming villages and traditional, local inns. In nearly all accommodation, authentic local cuisine is followed by onsen natural hot springs baths; where a luxurious soak is the ideal way to end the day’s travels.
The Basho Wayfarer includes visits to Matsushima Bay and its pine-laden islands, known for centuries as one of the three most scenic locations in Japan; the exquisite Hiraizumi temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Yamadera, a temple dramatically poised on a cliff; and Hojin-no-Ie, a venerable thatched building and the only structure that remains to this day where Basho is known to have stayed.
Each night, accommodation is often in charming Japanese traditional inns, or ryokans, dotted across the countryside. Guests are invited to soak in the famous onsen hot spring baths and enjoy outstanding and distinct regional cuisine. Occasionally, such as in the larger cities, travellers stay in centrally located, carefully selected hotels.
Tours run at a maximum of 12 people, plus the tour leader, ensuring all walkers receive the highest levels of care and attention.