*Route Ohenro is a route made up of 88 temples for Japanese Buddhist pilgrims. Many Japanese people wish to visit these 88 temples before they die.
We will meet at Kobe and travel to Shikoku together. We will have a dinner together and get prepare for our adventure in Shikoku that will start next day.
Today, we will dedicate all day to discover two small islands of Setouchi where many modern art works are permanently displayed outdoor and make up very interesting contemporary scenery with traditional Japanese landscapes. We will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of both islands and take pictures of beautiful landscape of Inland Sea of Japan, dotted with small islands.
We will visit a temple of Route Ohenro to photograph and understand what it is all about. Then, we will go to see Bunraku, a theatre play of traditional Japanese puppet. In the afternoon, we will get on a boat to see the impressive whirling tides from a short distance.
We will visit Naoshima, headquarter of Setouchi Art Festival. Naoshima has a few important museums designed by famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, also famous huge pumpkin artwork by Yayoi Kusama. Modern art, nature, architecture, landscape and slow life melt together beautifully in this island. We will spend the whole day, wondering around the island and capturing the essence of the life in the island.
We will wake up early to be the first visitors of the impressive Japanese garden and have a Japanese breakfast in the garden. Afterward, we will head to the most popular Shinto shrine in Shikoku. In the evening we will retreat to a ryokan, Japanese style inn, near the shrine and enjoy authentic kaiseki dishes and hot springs bath to relax our bodies and mind.
Before we proceed to the heart of Shikoku, we will visit one of our favorites temples of Route Ohenro, hidden in a mountain. From there, we will head to the gorges where we get on a boat to enjoy the gorges. Later we move deeper into the valley where we will find vine bridges to cross the river. This night, we will stay at a renovated Japanese traditional house in a village lost in the heart of Shikoku, which will be a very unique and wonderful experience.
We will visit the third temple of Route Ohenro. At lunchtime, we will go to a market where there are various local food stands. It is the perfect place to taste famous tataki bonito cooked in a traditional way. In the afternoon, we will head to one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan that is housed in a photogenic old Japanese house of Meiji period. Also we will visit a castle, one of the most appealing castles in Japan. We will stay at a ryokan. If you want, you can take a walk in yukata (thin kimono) and geta (Japanese wooden sandals), take pictures around or take a bath.
We will visit the old streets of a village with well-conserved traditional architectures of Edo period (17th-19th century). Later, we will head to a road that connects various small islands of Inland Sea of Japan. We will see 500 stone sculptures of disciples of Buddha, stand on the top of the hill from where we can see the spectacular view of Setouchi, Inland Sea of Japan. We will photograph a beautiful sunset on small islands in Setouchi.
We will visit a soy sauce caller, terraced rice fields, and in the evening we will witness Kabuki, traditional Japanese theatre, performed by the villagers in an outdoor wooden Kabuki theatre with thatched roof. This rural Kabuki performance has 300-year-old tradition. It will be an unforgettable experience.
We will finish our Photo Tour to Japan with one of the most popular autumn festivals in Shikoku. In the festival, many portable shrines carried on the shoulders of a group of men gather in a shrine. This festival is also known as Taiko (Japanese drum) Festival because each portable shrine carries children on top who play taiko while a group of men agitate the portable shrine on their shoulders. It is amazing especially when all men hold up the portable shrine off their shoulders up in the air with full of strength. This is a 100% Japanese experience with few or no foreign tourists around, but only with authentic local Japanese people, which is a perfect ending for our Shikoku tour. In the afternoon, we will get on a ferry that takes us to the city of Himeji. The tour ends at the station of Himeji. From there, each of us can choose their next destination. You might want to stay in Himeji to see Himeji Castle the next morning, or you can head to another city.
During our photo tour to Japan we will combine nights in ryokan with nights in western hotels. Whether they are traditional Japanese inns or western hotels, all of them are mid-high or high class with good reputation or selected by tour leaders from their experiences.
The rooms will be twin room (with two beds), so participants who come alone will share a room with another single participant. If you wish to stay in a single room for the whole trip, you must pay a supplement. But single room might not be available in some of the accommodations, and you have to share a twin room with another participant. (In that case, we will return proportional part of single supplement fees.)
Restaurants are carefully selected to enjoy the varieties of Japanese food from sophisticated kaisei to homemade local food. Not to be forced to eat the same things together, some of the meals are not included. If breakfast or lunch is not included, since we normally go to a restaurant together for breakfast or lunch, you just choose what you would like to eat and you pay for it. If dinner is not included, each person can choose a restaurant to dine. If you don’t want to look for a restaurant, you can also go to a restaurant where the tour leaders go, and you just pay for what you eat.
If anybody has allergy or food intolerance problems, or is a vegetarian, we will try to make the necessary changes in the menus when it is possible.
For the trip to be carried out, there must be at least 5 participants (maximum of 10 participants). For this reason it is recommended to consult the occupancy of the trip before buying the international flight if the flight ticket requires cancellation fees.
It is mandatory to have comprehensive insurance cover for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, dismemberment, and accidental death. You have to give us a copy of travel insurance before the trip.
If the cancellation is made more than 61 days before the start of the tour, deposit will be refunded in full only if the place(s) is/are filled with another/other participant(s). Deposit will not be refunded if the cancellation is made within 60 days before the start of the tour. For more details of cancellation and conditions of refund of the balance due after 60 days, please read our terms & conditions.
If you have more doubts about any topic related to the photo tour to Japan, send us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Documentary photo project on Japan by Toru Morimoto and Tina Bagué
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