What experience could be more exceptional and unforgettable than spending the night in a UNESCO World Heritage Site? On this trip, you will stop off in the small village of Shirakawa-go in the Japanese Alps where you will have the opportunity to spend the night in a typical local building: a Gassho-zukuri . These buildings do not exist anywhere else in the world and there are only 150 of them today. They are now protected and their current occupiers would like to invite you to spend one night in these historical buildings where you will experience Japanese life in a remote region unaffected by the passing of time.
The Okhotsk Sea is the object of studies and fascination, especially concerning the formation of the famous icebergs that float in it in winter. The water at the bottom is salt water but the water is less salty at the surface because of the fresh water from the Russian river Amur, which allows these glaciers to form from mid-January to mid-April. The lake is also home to a wide range of sea creatures, the most impressive of which you will get a chance to see on this excursion: whales as well as sea eagles, and at certain times sea lions too.
The first and only museum in the world to be dedicated to the character of the Little Prince, the Hakone museum was inaugurated in 1999 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The museum has rebuilt the key places of the aviator’s life on over 10,000 square metres. You will be impressed by the level of realism of the exhibits and fascinated by the museum’s breakdown of the exciting life of an exceptional man who created one of the most emblematic heroes of French literature.
Board a boat in the small village of Katsurahama for a spot of whale watching. These beautiful, rare mammals come close to the shores of Shikoku between April and October. A wonderful sea excursion that allows you to breathe in the sea air while taking in the amazing view! Do not forget to bring your cameras!
What experience could be more charming and authentic than spending two nights with the locals in a historical house built in the traditional Japanese style? You will have the opportunity to spend two evenings with a local family in the small town of Tsumago. You will sleep on futons in a room with tatami mats, sliding doors and windows made of rice-paper. Finally, you will sample your hosts’ excellent homemade cooking. A real treat for your taste buds!
Spend a magical night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese guesthouse with all the charm and tranquillity of Japanese architecture, from sliding doors to rice-paper windows ! You will sleep on a very comfortable futon on traditional tatami mats! You can also wear yukata— indoor kimonos – to relax or to go to the hotel’s indoor hot baths! Finally, you will taste delicious homemade traditional Japanese dishes prepared by your hosts with fresh, seasonal ingredients! A real treat !
In Gifû, do not miss the riveting and unusual scenes of cormorant fishing! Board one of the traditional boats for an exciting fishing trip following local customs. This 13-century old technique uses the cormorants’ skills at finding the fish, diving in and bringing them back in their breaks. Each boat traditionally has 12 cormorants that must bring back as much fish as possible!
Visit the environmentally friendly farm of Chiiori
The Chiiori farm is located in the heart of the Iya Valley. Dating back to the 17th century, this beautiful traditional building was restored in order to preserve the region’s specific architectural style. A testimonial of the past and ancestral way of living in rural Japan, Chiiori opens its doors to you to introduce you to daily life in rural Japan, in the heart of the Iya Valley. You will share your meals with the locals who will show you certain local crafts. This visit will take you back in time as part of a project aiming to preserve this rich, atypical heritage.
What experience could be more exceptional and unforgettable than spending the night in a UNESCO World Heritage Site? When you visit Mount Koya, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, you will have the opportunity to spend the night in a Buddhist monastery, a shukubo, where you will experience the daily life of a monastery first hand. You will eat the same vegetarian food as the monks and will sleep on tatami mats and futons in a typical Japanese setting. Finally, at dawn, you will attend the monks’ morning prayers, as they rise with the sun.