Join AdventureWomen in April 2021 for a cultural and high-energy journey through Japan in cherry blossom season, enjoying delicious Japanese feasts, exploring ancient traditions, hiking the ancient trails of the Kumano Kodo, relaxing in hot springs, and meeting Japanese women – from priestesses to pearl divers!
Your journey begins in Kyoto where you’ll meet your fellow AdventureWomen travelers, and enjoy a lively welcome dinner sharing stories about why each of you is excited to explore Japan. You’ll meet your guide versed in Japan’s culture, traditions, history, and cuisine. You are also accompanied by an AdventureWomen Ambassador, committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure, and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your own unique way!
Explore Kyoto and marvel at how this city has retained a firm grasp on Japanese culture and traditions. Visit the Ginkaku-ji Temple, stroll on the Philosopher’s Pathway, and enjoy a special private experience with a maiko, an apprentice geisha, or geiko, as they are known in Kyoto. Discover the back lanes and traditions of Gion, a famous district known for its tea houses, geiko, and maiko.
Next explore Nara, home to some of Japan’s greatest cultural treasures, many of which are situated in or near Nara Park. Visit the Todajii Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, known for housing the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Walk through Nara Park, home to over 1,000 free-roaming deer, and considered to be sacred messengers of the gods. Return to Kyoto to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, followed by free time in Higashiyama district to browse the many small shops offering traditional handicrafts.
Your journey on the Kumano Kodo begins on the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kumano Kodo became popular in the 11th century as a place of pilgrimage. Follow the trail as it winds through small settlements and peaceful countryside. During your walk, you will be accompanied by one of the few female yamabushi, or mountain ascetic priests. Learn more about the training of yamabushi and the Shugendo faith. Enjoy nightly soaks in hot springs baths at your Japanese ryokans, traditional inns of the area. Your ryokans are each unique, but all are traditional Japanese accommodations – when you arrive, kick off your shoes and ditch your dusty hiking clothes in favor of the provided cozy robe and slippers!
Travel by train to Ise where the shrine is surrounded by 1,000-year-old cedar trees. The next day, learn more about Ama Divers and how this traditional lifestyle is under threat. Your journey ends in Tokyo, the capital of Japan and the eighth largest city in the world. Visit the Hama Rikyu Gardens, stop at Nihonbashi (the “Japan Bridge”), and the Ginza shopping district. Enjoy a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends as you reminisce over all the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an amazing journey through this spectacular country.
- Hike from village to village along the ancient pilgrimage route of the Kumano Kodo resting at night in traditional inns
- Hike with one of the few female yamabushi, or mountain ascetic priests and learn about the preservation of Japan’s regional traditions
- Meet Ama pearl divers, Japanese women who free-dive for pearl oysters
- Experience the etiquette and tradition of a formal Japanese tea ceremony
- Relax in the evening in natural hot spring baths with a soothing 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
- Women-To-Women Exchanges