In late March 2018, AdventureWomen heads to Japan to hike along sacred paths exploring the roots of Japanese culture. The Japanese culture, at its core, is centered around beauty as it fosters the pursuit of perfection and spiritual enlightenment. These aesthetic ideals are reflected in virtually all aspects of life in Japan: in its architecture, food, fashion, philosophy, art, and even in the symbol of the cherry blossom and the symmetry of Mount Fuji itself.
Your AdventureWomen tour in Japan includes visits to the must-see areas of Tokyo and Kyoto during the beautiful cherry blossom season. Kyoto is a city located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan, with a population close to 1.5 million. It is home to seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the 10th to the 19th century, and each is representative of the period in which it was built. You’ll notice that even though Kyoto is one of Japan’s largest cities, it doesn’t have tall skyscrapers as you might expect. Few buildings or structures are taller than the pagoda of Toji Temple at 187 feet.
Walk along the Philosopher’s Path, with craft shops, cafes, shrines, and temples beside the clear waters of a small canal. Enjoy a special private experience with a maiko, an apprentice geisha, or geiko, as they are known in Kyoto. Walk though Nara Park, home to over 1,000 free-roaming deer, which are considered sacred messengers of the gods and experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Your hikes in Japan take you along the Kumano Kodo, one of only two ancient pilgrimage routes that have been given UNESCO World Heritage designation. The Kumano Kodo is associated with the Shugendo faith, a religion based on a form of mountain worship and blends a number of imported religions with native beliefs. At its core is an emphasis on physical endurance as a path to enlightenment. This area of Japan is home to shrines associated with the creation myths of Japanese culture in the Shinto tradition with a history stretching back over a millennium. As you hike from village to village, you’ll stay in traditional Japanese inns called ryokans, which feature communal baths using water from local hot springs.
You will hike in and around Hongu, Japan one of the sacred shrines of pilgrimage on the Kumano Kodo. At the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano was said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, the ‘other world’ to which spirits traveled in Japanese mythology.
Each night on your Japan adventure, you’ll lay your head in “ryokans” (traditional inns) along the way, each with their own local “onsen” (hot spring and spa facilities), tucked into cedar forests with rivers and views of mountains. You get the chance to sleep on traditional Japanese futon-style bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) on the floor in one of the ryokans.
In Ise, you’ll have a true “women-to-women” experience meeting the Ama divers, women who practice free-dive fishing as they dive without oxygen tanks or other mechanical help to collect seafood or pearl oysters. This traditional Japanese lifestyle is under threat and slowly dying out, as a younger generation of women choose not to follow in their mothers’ footsteps.
You then head to Tokyo, the capital of Japan, the eighth largest city in the world where we visit the Hama-Rikyu gardens, which contain the “Shio-iri-no Niwa” (garden with a tidal pond) on the sea, and its scenery varies with the ebb and flow of the tide. You’ll witness the striking contrast between these gardens and the gleaming towers of the new Shiodome business area beyond.
Don’t miss this new AdventureWomen Spring 2018 womens hiking tour to Japan. Experience this unique culture in all its facets!
- Meet remarkable Japanese women who share their personal stories with you:
- Get to know one of the few female “yamabushi”, or mountain ascetic priests, as you walk with her listening to her describe her training and faith.
- Learn how these local spiritual leaders help preserve Japan’s regional traditions through both folk songs and dance.
- Meet the Ama divers, Japanese women who free-dive for pearl oysters and seafood, and learn first-hand about this 3,000 year-old profession.
- Hike from village-to-village along ancient pilgrimage routes resting at night in traditional inns known as ryokans
- Experience the etiquette and tradition of a formal Japanese tea ceremony
- Relax in the evening in natural hot spring baths with a glass of wine
What You'll See and Do
- Cooking Class
- Cultural Exploration
- Historical Sites
- Hot Springs
- Local Delicacies
- National Parks
- Tea Ceremony
- Wildlife Viewing