Thursday 20 February 2020
Kiso Road - one of the hidden gems in Japan. Photo: Walk Japan

The Tokyo cityscape, fresh seafood at Tsukiji Market, skiing in Niseko, climbig the steps of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, exploring Nara, checking out Mount Fuji – these are some of the unmissable places to visit and things to do when it comes to Japan.

But the Land of the Rising Sun is actually more than all that. With an abundance of breath-taking landscapes, intimate onsens and authentic ryokans, off-the-beaten-path Japan shows off another side of the country. Some might even argue that it’s more “authentic” even.

Here are a myriad of different experiences by Walk Japan that will allow travellers – whether they prefer a more relaxed or intense pace – to experience this different side of Japan:

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Visit Oita Hot Springs in Japan for a taste of its beautiful countryside. Photo: Walk Japan

For the chill explorers

Oita Hot Spring Trail introduces Oita Prefecture, an area of Japan particularly rich in the beauty of its countryside, high quality and varied food, as well as its relaxed, friendly people.

Oita also boasts the largest concentration of hot springs fed by the greatest volume of water. Here they come in many different guises – some are clear and others murky, some pungent while others are fizzy. Travellers will be able to indulge in intimate soaks, spending quality time with their loved one in a unique way.

For the refined voyagers

Light walking combined with plentiful onsen hot spring baths and opulent cuisine – the Onsen Gastronomy: Gifu is a cumulation of the finer things in life.

This fully-guided tour visits northern Gifu Prefecture in the geographic centre of Japan. Look forward to exploring charming historic towns surrounded by soaring mountain scenery, a beautiful high plateau, ancient shrines, and spectacular waterfalls. The route is mainly on pavement, grassy paths and quiet country roads, allowing travellers to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful countryside. Plus, it also aids digestion of the gourmet meals, delicious titbits, sakes and other drinks included in the tour.

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Walk from Tokyo to Kyoto via the Nakasendo Way. Photo: Walk Japan

For the active wanderers

Independent and adventurous travellers will delight in the Self-Guided Kiso Wayfarer.

This unescorted walking tour centres on the Nakasendo Way, which is mid-way between Kyoto and Tokyo. The 554km-long route threads it way through the richly forested, and picturesque Kiso Valley in central Japan. One of the most well-known and maintained sections of the old highway, Kiso Road’s eleven towns are amongst the best preserved in all Japan lending a delightful ambience from an older age.

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Try Paddle Boarding in Okinawa. Photo: Walk Japan

For the adventurers

The Yaeyama: Okinawa Voyage tour is a fully-guided tour that would intrigue those who can exercise for more than three to four hours in comfort.

The trip takes us to Yaeyama, a group of islands at the farther southern reaches of both the Okinawa chain of islands and Japan itself. Some activities to expect are such as kayaking along calm rivers through mangroves and on the open sea, snorkelling above coral reefs, and walking through sub-tropical jungle. Basically, this tour is most suitable for anyone who is comfortable in and around water.