Izumo Taisha in Shimane Prefecture

Mythical Japan : land of legends - 16 days

This itinerary, focused on nature and personal experience, will take you to a Japan where you will hardly see any tourists, built of sanctuaries, water and forests. Izumo, a historical region with vague borders, is the mythical cradle of the entire country, since Okuninushi came down from the sky to begin creating the empire of Japan there. The region that we propose to visit is filled with myths, certainly inspired by its luxuriant nature that you will discover. Bike tours around the beautiful lake of Shinjiko, hiking to a temple inlaid in the rocks, visit the Oki Islands, designated a UNESCO Global Geopark, crossing the Tottori dune by the seaside, ... This tour will for sure be different than what you have experienced before, a true immersion in the local culture. All while also enjoying a few days in two of Japan's must-see cities: the massive Tokyo and the traditional Kyoto.

The essential sites that you will discover:
 

- The wonderful metropolis of Tokyo

- A travel to the origins of the country of the rising sun

- The capital of Shimane Prefecture, Matsue: the city of water

- Matsue Castle and the Historic District

- Shinjiko Lake

- The Izumo-taisha shrine where the god "creator of the country" is venerated

- Visit the mythological region by bicycle or public transportation

- The islands of Oki:  designated a UNESCO Global Geopark

  • Dogo Island: Tamawakasumikoto Shrine → Yaosugi's Cedar → Dankyo Waterfall → Cape Nagu → Mizuwakasu Shrine → Cruise to "Candle Rock"
  • Nakanoshima Island: Oki Shrine → Kinkoji Mountain → Akiya Coast
  • Nishinoshima Island: Yurahime Shrine -> Akao Belvedere la> Matengai Cliff -> Tsutenkyo Rock

The Adachi Art Museum: elected for 16 consecutive years "Japan's First Garden" by the American journal "Journal of Japanese Gardening"

- The historic district of Kurayoshi City

- The hot spring town of Misasa-onsen: place of purification of the body and mind

- Sanbutsuji temple at Mount Mitoku standing against the cliff

- The dunes of Tottori: the desert by the sea

- Kyoto and its old neighborhoods
 

You can freely modify this tour. If you wish to make changes, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.

 Contact us here


- Travels in Japan with Peak Experience Japan - 

16
From ¥399,000

Overview

This itinerary, focused on nature and personal experience, will take you to a Japan where you will hardly see any tourists, built of sanctuaries, water and forests. Izumo, a historical region with vague borders, is the mythical cradle of the entire country, since Okuninushi came down from the sky to begin creating the empire of Japan there. The region that we propose to visit is filled with myths, certainly inspired by its luxuriant nature that you will discover. Bike tours around the beautiful lake of Shinjiko, hiking to a temple inlaid in the rocks, visit the Oki Islands, designated a UNESCO Global Geopark, crossing the Tottori dune by the seaside, ... This tour will for sure be different than what you have experienced before, a true immersion in the local culture. All while also enjoying a few days in two of Japan's must-see cities: the massive Tokyo and the traditional Kyoto.

The essential sites that you will discover:
 

- The wonderful metropolis of Tokyo

- A travel to the origins of the country of the rising sun

- The capital of Shimane Prefecture, Matsue: the city of water

- Matsue Castle and the Historic District

- Shinjiko Lake

- The Izumo-taisha shrine where the god "creator of the country" is venerated

- Visit the mythological region by bicycle or public transportation

- The islands of Oki:  designated a UNESCO Global Geopark

  • Dogo Island: Tamawakasumikoto Shrine → Yaosugi's Cedar → Dankyo Waterfall → Cape Nagu → Mizuwakasu Shrine → Cruise to "Candle Rock"
  • Nakanoshima Island: Oki Shrine → Kinkoji Mountain → Akiya Coast
  • Nishinoshima Island: Yurahime Shrine -> Akao Belvedere la> Matengai Cliff -> Tsutenkyo Rock

The Adachi Art Museum: elected for 16 consecutive years "Japan's First Garden" by the American journal "Journal of Japanese Gardening"

- The historic district of Kurayoshi City

- The hot spring town of Misasa-onsen: place of purification of the body and mind

- Sanbutsuji temple at Mount Mitoku standing against the cliff

- The dunes of Tottori: the desert by the sea

- Kyoto and its old neighborhoods
 

You can freely modify this tour. If you wish to make changes, please select your date of departure on the schedule at the bottom of this page and fill in the request form.

 Contact us here


- Travels in Japan with Peak Experience Japan - 

Day 1 : Tokyo

After hours of flight and the time difference


Landing at Tokyo airport (Narita or Haneda): Nihon he yôkoso ! 🗾

Drop your luggage at the hotel and take your first steps into the metropolis to find a good restaurant (we also have suggestions).
Don't get too impressed, the journey has just begun !

If you chose to rent a pocket WIFI, please pick it up either at the WIFI rental service of the airport or at your hotel, according to your preivous choice.


Check-in at the hotel.

Depending on your time of arrival, freely explore your neighbourhood and get accustom to japanese convenience stores !

Hotel inTokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 2 : Tokyo

Let's visit the capital!


Enjoy a comfortable first day of discovery in Tokyo.
Through its oldest witnesses: buddhists temples and shinto sanctuaries, why not start your discovery of this dynamic capital by admiring the prominence of red colors at the Sengakuji temple while enjoying their peacefulness, and by discovering the Japanese habit of paying your respect at temples?
You will slowly get used to Tokyo's busy daily life and will relax into green spaces such as the garden of the Hama-rikyu. You can have a walk around Asakusa where you will discover Tokyo's oldest temple, the Senso-ji or the old town district of Ya-Ne-Sen. It's all up to you! Just tell us what you're into and we will give you the best recommendations we can offer.

 

You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form.
Hotel in Tokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 3 : Tokyo

Enjoy Tokyo's modernity 


Why not go for a walk in the trendy districts of the capital ? 

Let's go for a stroll at Shibuya where you will see the famous crowded Shibuya crossing. Strangely you shouldn't bump into anybody... Then continue to the luxurious and beautiful Omotesando district and take your dinner in the lively Shinjuku district to enjoy Tokyo's nightlife. You could also decide to go to the futuristic man-made island of Odaiba with all its shops and restaurants.

                     You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form. 
                     You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Tokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 4: Tokyo - Late night train

Leave the capital for a day!


You should have had plently of the heart of Tokyo. What about the surroundings? Why not go behind the walls of the capital?
You could take a leap into China by tasting Chinese foods at Yokohama's China Town and enjoy the famous view on its bay with the Ferris Wheel.
You could also head further South, searching for a gigantic sitting buddha and penetrate a temple from the 8th century in Kamakura.
For those missing Nature, we can suggest you to walk at your own pace, on one of the numerous hiking tracks of Chichibu-tamakai National Park or at the Nokogiri Mount.
You could also visit the peaceful town of Kawagoe, called Little Edo, with its historical charm, and wander around its nostalgic streets.

Discover our excursions from Tokyo

Discover our guided daytrip to Kamakura and Enoshima
 

You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form.
You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Tonight, you’re leaving the capital to embark on an adventure away from the beaten paths, in the mythical lands of Japan. Let the adventure begins!

22:00 Get on the night train "Sunrise Izumo" from Tokyo Station to Shimane Prefecture.

Night Train "Sunrise Izumo" two beds cab
breakfast

Day 5 : Matsue

Recommended itinerary
 

Arrival at Yasugi station around 9:30

Free time for Breakfast

Free shuttle bus to the Adachi Museum (20min)

- Visit Adachi Art Museum and Yasugi-bushi Theater

→ Yasugi station (20 min from the museum and the theater by free shuttle)

30min by train → Matsue station

Drop your luggages at the hotel

- Free visit in the city of Matsue


 

The Adachi Art museum and its garden

Adachi was passionate about gardens and painting, and created the museum towards the end of his life, as a tribute to his childhood region. Works of one the most famous painter from Pre-War Japan, Taikan Yokoyama, are exhibited along other numerous artworks and a beautiful Japanese garden. The "Journal of Japanese Gardens", a well-known American magazine, ranked the Adachi museum garden, created by Adachi himself, as the most beautiful Japanese garden 16 years in a row until 2018, the 2019 ranking not being revealed yet. It also has 3 stars on the Michelin green guide.

The Yasugi Bushi Theatre

 

You will have the opportunity to experience a show of Yasugi Bushi in the very place of his creation, made famous in Japan notably with the song Dojou Sukui (Fishing of the pond loach). It is a very popular local dance and song performance and one can even participate in one of the classes organized by Yasugi Bushi’s Dance Conservation Association. At the end of the performances, it is also possible to try this art for 10 minutes. In addition, you can taste the famous loche of the song in one of the local restaurants or buy it in a souvenir shop.

The origin of Yasugi Bushi dates back to the middle of the Edo era (18th century) and then blossomed as a famous folk song from the Taisho era until the Showa era (20th century) throughout the country. The beauty of the landscapes of the Yasugi region, as well as the naive humanity that emerges from the songs, has made several famous, including The dance of the fishing of the pond loach , The Woman Dance, etc… But The dance of the fishing of the pond loach remains the most popular because of the grotesque and humorous character of his dance and the grimaces of the character.


 

Matsue : City of Water

 

Matsue, capital of Shimane Prefecture, is a city of many surprises. Cradle of the thrilling stories of the author Lafcadio Hearn, born in Greece and naturalized Japanese under the name of Koizumi Yakumo, Matsue is a land of legends, crossed by many canals, rivers, bordered by the Japanese Sea and the beautiful Shinji Lake. This city of water has one of Japan’s 12 best preserved castles, numerous Buddhist temples and mysterious Shinto shrines, gardens, and its northern shoreline hides a breathtaking natural landscape.


Our suggestions in downtown Matsue:

- Matsue Castle: one of the 5 castles included in the national treasure list

One of the national treasures, one of the few Japanese castles to preserve its original keep. Following his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, the daimyo Horio Yoshiharu of the Matsue clan was offered this magnificent castle which survived the ordinance of destruction of the Japanese castles in the nineteenth century, thanks to its inhabitants. It is also one of the 100 best places to admire cherry blossoms in Japan. Beyond the forests and the beautiful rivers that surround the building, its surrounding area is full of ancient samurai mansions. You will also find the former house of the author Lafcadio Hearn and the museum dedicated to him.

 

- Shiomi-nawate Historic District

- Shimane Art Museum

- Tour of sake breweries

- Shinjiko Lake or canal cruise around the castle
 

Shinjiko Lake: This 50 kilometre lake is known as one of the best places to watch the sunset in Japan. We warmly recommend that you admire it from the banks located in the city of Matsue. This lake is also famous for cooking, because it is in its waters that is caught the Shijimi shellfish, small black shells that are often found in miso soups. Take advantage of a short cruise to recharge your batteries, or immerse yourself in the colours of the setting sun.


Check-in at the hotel 

*Possibility to stay in a charming traditional inn (ryokan) by the lake with hot springs, 10 min bus from the train station.
Hôtel in Matsue City

Day 6 : Biking in Izumo
e.g. Shinjiko Lake and Izumo Taisha Shrine

Bike Tour: Ride along Shinjiko Lake to Izumo-taisha Shrine


Duration: 1 day

Level: easy - intermediate

Distance: 88km

This pleasant course will take place on a flat road, on the edge of a lake and a countryside landscape.  You will admire the legendary shrine Inasa no hama perched on a rock in the middle of the sea, and the shrine Izumo, where in October, the legend is that all the gods gather, and become some kind of matchmakers for humans. It will also be an opportunity to taste the delicious local cuisine. You can take your bike on the return train to rest after the ride.

* Mountain bikes are available as an option as well as road and electric bikes.

OUR SUGGESTIONS ON YOUR JOURNEY:

* The road on the north shore of Shinjiko Lake

* The artisan dye workshop

* Taste soba Izumo for lunch and finish with a little sweetness, a "Izumo zenzai", the region’s speciality

* Shimane Winery

* Izumo-taisha Shrine and other Shrines in the Surroundings

 

 

Izumo-taisha shrine where the god "creator of the land" is venerated

This national treasure is one of the most important sanctuaries of the country, but also one of the largest and one of the oldest. According to Shinto beliefs, it was founded by the gods themselves and more particularly dedicated to Okuninushinomikoto, the creator of all that exists. The buildings of this sanctuary have been renovated many times, and the ones that we can see nowadays date from the eighteenth century. The honden, the main building of the sanctuary is the highest in Japan, with a height of 24 meters.

* The sacred beach of Inasanohama

* Misaki-umineko kaido road 

* Hinomisaki-jinja Shrine and Izumo-Hinomisaki Lighthouse


* Return riding the local train "Ichibata-densha" (bikes are allowed)
 
Hotel in Matsue City
breakfast

Day 7 : Bike around Izumo
Visit of six highly spiritual shrines

Bike Tour: visit of six founding shrines in the Izumo region 

Duration: 5 hours

Level: easy

Distance: 47km
 

These six shrines are linked to the myth of the creation of Japan in Izumo.
Each temple is an ancient and mysterious place where you will certainly feel a strong spiritual energy. Since the bike ride is mostly flat, you will enjoy a pleasant moment without much effort. 

- Iya-jinja Shrine

- the entrance of the beyond "Yomotsuhirasaka"

- Kumano-taisha Shrine

- Rokusho-jinja Shrine

- Manai-jinja Shrine


- Kamosu-jinja Shrine

 
- Yaegaki-jinja Shrine

 If the weather is good, you can visit the island of Daikon in the middle of Lake Nakaumi to admire the beautiful Japanese garden Yuushien.
Hotel in Matsue City
breakfast

Day 8 : Dogo Island ( Oki Island )

The Oki Islands

The Oki Islands are located about 60 kilometres from the Shimane Peninsula, and consist of 4 large islands on which about 25,000 people live, and is composed of about nearly 200 islets. Accessible by boat or plane, these islands are full of hidden sanctuaries with mystical atmosphere, gigantic cliffs overlooking the sea such as the cliff of Matengai on Nishinoshima Island or waterfalls and vast forests with many legends. The city of Okinoshima is the largest on the Oki Islands, and you can see the fishermen’s houses directly on the canals leading to the sea, their boats being moored just in front of the houses. A destination off the beaten path perfect to discover another Japan.
 


Today's Itinerary


Check-out from Matsue Hotel

- Leaving from Matsue by local bus to Shichirui Port, then ferry to Saigo port on Dogo island (around 2h25) 


Dogo Island :

With a circumference of about 200 kilometres, Dogo Island is the largest island in the Oki Islands. It appeared following a volcanic eruption, and is made up of mountains of about 500 meters of altitude. Approximately 15,000 people live in the city of Okinoshima, the most populous city on the Oki Islands. Forests straight out of the cartoon Mononoke Princess; the setting sun of the Candle Island, sanctuaries of various styles inspired by the whole Japanese archipelago, as well as old houses dating back more than 180 years.

- Arrival at Saigo Port

- Free time for lunch 

 

 

- Visit of Dogo Island by taxi and by feet[Tamawakasumikoto Shrine→The cedar tree of Yaosugi→The waterfall of Dankyo→The Naguzaki Cape→Mizuwakasu Shrine]
 

- Cruise towards the Candle Rock 


Check-in at your hotel

*
For the Oki Islands trip, if the weather conditions are not good, the ferries may be cancelled. We will arrange instead of the nights in Matsue, where on the contrary an extension of the nights in Oki, no refund can be made.
Hotel on Dogo island
breakfast, dinner

Day 9 : Nakanoshima Island (Amacho City)

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your Hotel 

‐ Departure from Saigo port then ferry to Hishiura port on Nakanoshima Island (1h10)  

 

Nakanoshima Island(Amacho City)

Nakanoshima, also known as Amacho, is one of the Oki Islands, located 60 kilometres off the Shimane Peninsula. The surrounding sea is crossed by the warm currents of Tsushima (an island between Japan and South Korea). The inhabitants of the island live from agriculture and fishing, and its spring water is known for its great purity. On the 4 inhabited islands of Oki, it is the third largest, with a population of 2,300, and a circumference of 89 kilometers. You can easily go around the whole island in just 2 hours by car.

Amacho is a remote island. However, nature is abundant and offers the inhabitants everything they need to live. There is also an expression in Amacho in Japanese "nai mono wa nai" which literally means: there is nothing that is not there. This expression represents a double meaning as follows (1) the things that do not exist there are not necessary, (2) All important things are here. It was chosen as Amacho’s motto, expressing the way of life, the charm and personality of the island.


- Arrivée au port de Hishiura ver 9:40

- Visite de l'île en taxi [ le sanctuaire Oki→le mont Kinkoji→La côte Akiya ]


- Lunch : Marinated Squid on rice with oysters OR Yakiniku set with Oki Beef
 (+400yen)

 
- Free visit until ferry departure

- Departure to Nishinoshima Island by Ferry Boat


Check-in at your hotel.
Hotel on Nishinoshima Island (or Nakanoshima)
breakfast, dinner, lunch

Day 10 : Nishinoshima Island

Today's Itinerary


Check-out of your hotel  

Nishinoshima Island

The westernmost of the Oki Islands, Nishinoshima is full of abundant nature, some of which are steep cliffs that will remind you of the landscapes of the Faroe Islands such as the Kuniga Coast or the 257-metre-high Matengai cliffs where wild horses feed. This island is a paradise for hikers and many trails with breathtaking landscapes await you, on top of which one finds magnificent sanctuaries. Other activities await you, such as sea kayaking and diving.

- Visit of the Island by foot and by taxi [Yurahime Shrine –> Akao Lookout ー>Matengai Cliff –> Tsutenkyo Rock ] 

- Lunch : Seafood Menu

- Free visit until ferry departure

- Leaving from Shichirui port at 15:45 by ferry boat (approximately 2h10 )  

- Local bus from the port to Matsue city or Yonago city

Check-in at your hotel close to the station

Hôtel dans la ville de Matsue
breakfast, lunch

Day 11 : Matsue - Kurayoshi - Misasa-onsen

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your hotel  

Leaving from Matsue Station in the morning towards Kurayoshi city in Tottori prefecture (1h express train)

Bus to the historical district of Kurayoshi ( 20min )

Visit of Kurayoshi's old town

 



Kurayoshi's old town

Formerly called the province of Hoki, the city of Kurayoshi, which dates back to the fourteenth century, has an unmissable historic district. In these streets with the atmosphere of Edo (ancient Tokyo) are lined up old merchant houses, traditional houses, craftsmen, temples and shrines as well as a superb park where once stood a castle. The city is surrounded by numerous onsen (volcanic hot springs) where you can relax at the end of the day, such as Sekigane Onsen, one of the 100 best onsen in Japan.


To Misasa onsen by local bus (25min)

Check-in at your hotel in Misasa-onsen

Walk around Misasa-onsen town

 

The hot spring town of Misasa Onsen

Misasa Onsen is located 20 minutes far by bus from Kurayoshi. It is a small thermal town with hot springs known to have a high level of radium and are particularly used for therapeutic purposes. They say if you bathe three mornings in these waters, any kind of disease will be cured. The small town is full of ryokan, great small restaurants, sake shops. A stay to purify body and spirit.

Ryokan traditionnel enégistré par l'état comme la propriété culturelle tangible 
breakfast, dinner

Jour 12 : Hike to Sanbutsuji, the temple inlaid in a cliff

Hike to Sanbutsuji, the temple inlaid in Mitoku Mountain ( option : 6000yen /1person )

9:00   Leaving from your Ryokan by car 
9:15   Arriving at Mount Mitoku parking
9:50   Stretch
10:00 Hike in Mount Mitoku ( Around 2 hours )
13:00 Back to the car, stretch, Lunch (optionnal)      
14:00 Back to Misasa-onsen and free visit around town

Conditions

‐ 5 years old ~74 years old

- Having good physical condition

- Your safety will be your own responsibility

     

Clothing and equipment

- Mountain hiking clothing and light equipment 

- Water, wallet, mountain shoes, gloves, hat, towel

 

Lunch (optionnal)

  • Local specialities :  Tochimochi, a local pastry made from rice paste, soy tofu from Kamikura, vegetarian cuisine based on mountain ingredients, take-out meals, products from Mitoku Mountain, medicinal cooking, steam cooking.

As lunch is optionnal, please pay straight at the restaurant.

*For safety reasons, the trip will be cancelled in case of rain or snow. In this case, we will offer you an additional half-day activity of your choice to make pottery or indigo dye, yoga and other experiences, ... and to walk in a retro urban landscape.




Sanbutsu-ji Temple in Mount Mitoku 

Located on the 900 metres high Mount Mitoku, the Sanbutsu-ji Buddhist temple was built during the Heian period, directly on a cliff overlooking a breathtaking landscape of mountains covered with lush vegetation. It is designated as the national treasure of Japan, and considered an important site of the Shugendo, a spiritual practice incorporating both Shinto and Buddhist thoughts.

 
Traditional Inn listed as Japanese Tangible Cultural Property
breakfast, dinner

Day 13 : Tottori Sand Dunes - Kyoto

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your hotel  

Leave your hotel in Kurayoshi in the morning ( 25min local bus )

Express train to Tottori station ( 30min ), then bus to the Tottori Sand Dunes (20min)

 



The Tottori Sand Dunes 

The dunes of Tottori are located close to the city of Tottori, on the shores of the Sea of Japan. They were formed by the volcanic dust piles of Mount Daisen mixing with the sand of the Sendai Gawa River for more than 100,000 years. You can enjoy many activities such as camel rides, paragliding or even sandboarding. Nearby is the Sand Museum where you can admire amazing sand sculptures.

 

Back to Tottori Station by bus (20 min )

Express train to Kyoto ( 3 hours )

10min by Taxi from Kyoto station to your hotel located in the center of Kyoto



Check-in at your hotel in Kyoto


Planned Accomodation: Enso Ango Hotel

The hotel is composed of 5 structures located at different addresses in the same district (except YAMATO I in the Gion district). You have free access to all other hotel facilities located in the surrounding area to enjoy the fitness room, the tatami lounge and admire the chashitsu (room for the tea ceremony). Each building has its own concept.
 

Hotel in Kyoto (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 14 : Kyoto

Looking for traditions at Kyoto former capital


Wake up early to enjoy the former capital in the morning, when most of the crowd is still away.
Wherever you go, you will find a gorgeous temple, a magical verdant place or an historical remain. Here are a few ideas.
You could wander into the rich nature of Arashiyama and at the shores of the Hozu river, and into the fascinating flora of the Gio-ji moss temple.
You could rather choose to go to admire the vivid colors of the famous Golden pavillon called Kinkaku-ji or visit the former residency of the Tokugawa shogunate in Nijo castle.

Learn more about Kyoto and its surroundgings 

You are free to extend your stay in Kyoto. To do so, please fill in the request form.
You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Kyoto (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 15 : Kyoto

Lost in transition in the North of Kansai


Enjoy a free day to meander in the commercial and historical streets of Kyoto. The structure of the streets is the closest you can find to our occidental ones' so you should easily find your way around. If at a corner you catch a glimpse of marvelous colors and intriguing motif on a kimono, fitted with a white face with vivid red lips, don't bother its owner...This geisha is working!

Amongst the numerous essential experiences offered in Kyoto, you could : pay your respect to the Fox God at the Fushimi Inari Taisha sanctuary, study the astonishing architecture of the temple on stilts Kiyomizu Dera, or step into one of the oldest shinto sanctuary in Japan, the Kamo-mioya-jinja.
You could also explore remote places such as the Amanohashidate bridge linking Heaven and Earth or the fishing village of Ine.


Discover our excursions from Kyoto

You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Kyoto or hotel close to the airport

Day 16 : Leaving from Kansai Airport

See you !


Check-out.
Take the free shuttle bus of your hotel or ride on a train from a local station, to arrive at Kansai international airport in advance. 

Flight check-in and luggages dropping.

Your jouney comes to an end. you are bringing back many souvenirs...of all shapes.
The country of the Rising Sun hopes to see you again.

We wish you a safe trip home !! 👋

If you rented a Pocket WIFI, return it to the WIFI rental service counter, at the station of the airport or directly at Kansai airport.

Where to Go

Itinerary

Day 1 : Tokyo

After hours of flight and the time difference


Landing at Tokyo airport (Narita or Haneda): Nihon he yôkoso ! 🗾

Drop your luggage at the hotel and take your first steps into the metropolis to find a good restaurant (we also have suggestions).
Don't get too impressed, the journey has just begun !

If you chose to rent a pocket WIFI, please pick it up either at the WIFI rental service of the airport or at your hotel, according to your preivous choice.


Check-in at the hotel.

Depending on your time of arrival, freely explore your neighbourhood and get accustom to japanese convenience stores !

Hotel inTokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 2 : Tokyo

Let's visit the capital!


Enjoy a comfortable first day of discovery in Tokyo.
Through its oldest witnesses: buddhists temples and shinto sanctuaries, why not start your discovery of this dynamic capital by admiring the prominence of red colors at the Sengakuji temple while enjoying their peacefulness, and by discovering the Japanese habit of paying your respect at temples?
You will slowly get used to Tokyo's busy daily life and will relax into green spaces such as the garden of the Hama-rikyu. You can have a walk around Asakusa where you will discover Tokyo's oldest temple, the Senso-ji or the old town district of Ya-Ne-Sen. It's all up to you! Just tell us what you're into and we will give you the best recommendations we can offer.

 

You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form.
Hotel in Tokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 3 : Tokyo

Enjoy Tokyo's modernity 


Why not go for a walk in the trendy districts of the capital ? 

Let's go for a stroll at Shibuya where you will see the famous crowded Shibuya crossing. Strangely you shouldn't bump into anybody... Then continue to the luxurious and beautiful Omotesando district and take your dinner in the lively Shinjuku district to enjoy Tokyo's nightlife. You could also decide to go to the futuristic man-made island of Odaiba with all its shops and restaurants.

                     You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form. 
                     You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Tokyo (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 4: Tokyo - Late night train

Leave the capital for a day!


You should have had plently of the heart of Tokyo. What about the surroundings? Why not go behind the walls of the capital?
You could take a leap into China by tasting Chinese foods at Yokohama's China Town and enjoy the famous view on its bay with the Ferris Wheel.
You could also head further South, searching for a gigantic sitting buddha and penetrate a temple from the 8th century in Kamakura.
For those missing Nature, we can suggest you to walk at your own pace, on one of the numerous hiking tracks of Chichibu-tamakai National Park or at the Nokogiri Mount.
You could also visit the peaceful town of Kawagoe, called Little Edo, with its historical charm, and wander around its nostalgic streets.

Discover our excursions from Tokyo

Discover our guided daytrip to Kamakura and Enoshima
 

You are free to expand your stay in Tokyo. To do so, please fill in the request form.
You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Tonight, you’re leaving the capital to embark on an adventure away from the beaten paths, in the mythical lands of Japan. Let the adventure begins!

22:00 Get on the night train "Sunrise Izumo" from Tokyo Station to Shimane Prefecture.

Night Train "Sunrise Izumo" two beds cab
breakfast

Day 5 : Matsue

Recommended itinerary
 

Arrival at Yasugi station around 9:30

Free time for Breakfast

Free shuttle bus to the Adachi Museum (20min)

- Visit Adachi Art Museum and Yasugi-bushi Theater

→ Yasugi station (20 min from the museum and the theater by free shuttle)

30min by train → Matsue station

Drop your luggages at the hotel

- Free visit in the city of Matsue


 

The Adachi Art museum and its garden

Adachi was passionate about gardens and painting, and created the museum towards the end of his life, as a tribute to his childhood region. Works of one the most famous painter from Pre-War Japan, Taikan Yokoyama, are exhibited along other numerous artworks and a beautiful Japanese garden. The "Journal of Japanese Gardens", a well-known American magazine, ranked the Adachi museum garden, created by Adachi himself, as the most beautiful Japanese garden 16 years in a row until 2018, the 2019 ranking not being revealed yet. It also has 3 stars on the Michelin green guide.

The Yasugi Bushi Theatre

 

You will have the opportunity to experience a show of Yasugi Bushi in the very place of his creation, made famous in Japan notably with the song Dojou Sukui (Fishing of the pond loach). It is a very popular local dance and song performance and one can even participate in one of the classes organized by Yasugi Bushi’s Dance Conservation Association. At the end of the performances, it is also possible to try this art for 10 minutes. In addition, you can taste the famous loche of the song in one of the local restaurants or buy it in a souvenir shop.

The origin of Yasugi Bushi dates back to the middle of the Edo era (18th century) and then blossomed as a famous folk song from the Taisho era until the Showa era (20th century) throughout the country. The beauty of the landscapes of the Yasugi region, as well as the naive humanity that emerges from the songs, has made several famous, including The dance of the fishing of the pond loach , The Woman Dance, etc… But The dance of the fishing of the pond loach remains the most popular because of the grotesque and humorous character of his dance and the grimaces of the character.


 

Matsue : City of Water

 

Matsue, capital of Shimane Prefecture, is a city of many surprises. Cradle of the thrilling stories of the author Lafcadio Hearn, born in Greece and naturalized Japanese under the name of Koizumi Yakumo, Matsue is a land of legends, crossed by many canals, rivers, bordered by the Japanese Sea and the beautiful Shinji Lake. This city of water has one of Japan’s 12 best preserved castles, numerous Buddhist temples and mysterious Shinto shrines, gardens, and its northern shoreline hides a breathtaking natural landscape.


Our suggestions in downtown Matsue:

- Matsue Castle: one of the 5 castles included in the national treasure list

One of the national treasures, one of the few Japanese castles to preserve its original keep. Following his victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, the daimyo Horio Yoshiharu of the Matsue clan was offered this magnificent castle which survived the ordinance of destruction of the Japanese castles in the nineteenth century, thanks to its inhabitants. It is also one of the 100 best places to admire cherry blossoms in Japan. Beyond the forests and the beautiful rivers that surround the building, its surrounding area is full of ancient samurai mansions. You will also find the former house of the author Lafcadio Hearn and the museum dedicated to him.

 

- Shiomi-nawate Historic District

- Shimane Art Museum

- Tour of sake breweries

- Shinjiko Lake or canal cruise around the castle
 

Shinjiko Lake: This 50 kilometre lake is known as one of the best places to watch the sunset in Japan. We warmly recommend that you admire it from the banks located in the city of Matsue. This lake is also famous for cooking, because it is in its waters that is caught the Shijimi shellfish, small black shells that are often found in miso soups. Take advantage of a short cruise to recharge your batteries, or immerse yourself in the colours of the setting sun.


Check-in at the hotel 

*Possibility to stay in a charming traditional inn (ryokan) by the lake with hot springs, 10 min bus from the train station.
Hôtel in Matsue City

Day 6 : Biking in Izumo
e.g. Shinjiko Lake and Izumo Taisha Shrine

Bike Tour: Ride along Shinjiko Lake to Izumo-taisha Shrine


Duration: 1 day

Level: easy - intermediate

Distance: 88km

This pleasant course will take place on a flat road, on the edge of a lake and a countryside landscape.  You will admire the legendary shrine Inasa no hama perched on a rock in the middle of the sea, and the shrine Izumo, where in October, the legend is that all the gods gather, and become some kind of matchmakers for humans. It will also be an opportunity to taste the delicious local cuisine. You can take your bike on the return train to rest after the ride.

* Mountain bikes are available as an option as well as road and electric bikes.

OUR SUGGESTIONS ON YOUR JOURNEY:

* The road on the north shore of Shinjiko Lake

* The artisan dye workshop

* Taste soba Izumo for lunch and finish with a little sweetness, a "Izumo zenzai", the region’s speciality

* Shimane Winery

* Izumo-taisha Shrine and other Shrines in the Surroundings

 

 

Izumo-taisha shrine where the god "creator of the land" is venerated

This national treasure is one of the most important sanctuaries of the country, but also one of the largest and one of the oldest. According to Shinto beliefs, it was founded by the gods themselves and more particularly dedicated to Okuninushinomikoto, the creator of all that exists. The buildings of this sanctuary have been renovated many times, and the ones that we can see nowadays date from the eighteenth century. The honden, the main building of the sanctuary is the highest in Japan, with a height of 24 meters.

* The sacred beach of Inasanohama

* Misaki-umineko kaido road 

* Hinomisaki-jinja Shrine and Izumo-Hinomisaki Lighthouse


* Return riding the local train "Ichibata-densha" (bikes are allowed)
 
Hotel in Matsue City
breakfast

Day 7 : Bike around Izumo
Visit of six highly spiritual shrines

Bike Tour: visit of six founding shrines in the Izumo region 

Duration: 5 hours

Level: easy

Distance: 47km
 

These six shrines are linked to the myth of the creation of Japan in Izumo.
Each temple is an ancient and mysterious place where you will certainly feel a strong spiritual energy. Since the bike ride is mostly flat, you will enjoy a pleasant moment without much effort. 

- Iya-jinja Shrine

- the entrance of the beyond "Yomotsuhirasaka"

- Kumano-taisha Shrine

- Rokusho-jinja Shrine

- Manai-jinja Shrine


- Kamosu-jinja Shrine

 
- Yaegaki-jinja Shrine

 If the weather is good, you can visit the island of Daikon in the middle of Lake Nakaumi to admire the beautiful Japanese garden Yuushien.
Hotel in Matsue City
breakfast

Day 8 : Dogo Island ( Oki Island )

The Oki Islands

The Oki Islands are located about 60 kilometres from the Shimane Peninsula, and consist of 4 large islands on which about 25,000 people live, and is composed of about nearly 200 islets. Accessible by boat or plane, these islands are full of hidden sanctuaries with mystical atmosphere, gigantic cliffs overlooking the sea such as the cliff of Matengai on Nishinoshima Island or waterfalls and vast forests with many legends. The city of Okinoshima is the largest on the Oki Islands, and you can see the fishermen’s houses directly on the canals leading to the sea, their boats being moored just in front of the houses. A destination off the beaten path perfect to discover another Japan.
 


Today's Itinerary


Check-out from Matsue Hotel

- Leaving from Matsue by local bus to Shichirui Port, then ferry to Saigo port on Dogo island (around 2h25) 


Dogo Island :

With a circumference of about 200 kilometres, Dogo Island is the largest island in the Oki Islands. It appeared following a volcanic eruption, and is made up of mountains of about 500 meters of altitude. Approximately 15,000 people live in the city of Okinoshima, the most populous city on the Oki Islands. Forests straight out of the cartoon Mononoke Princess; the setting sun of the Candle Island, sanctuaries of various styles inspired by the whole Japanese archipelago, as well as old houses dating back more than 180 years.

- Arrival at Saigo Port

- Free time for lunch 

 

 

- Visit of Dogo Island by taxi and by feet[Tamawakasumikoto Shrine→The cedar tree of Yaosugi→The waterfall of Dankyo→The Naguzaki Cape→Mizuwakasu Shrine]
 

- Cruise towards the Candle Rock 


Check-in at your hotel

*
For the Oki Islands trip, if the weather conditions are not good, the ferries may be cancelled. We will arrange instead of the nights in Matsue, where on the contrary an extension of the nights in Oki, no refund can be made.
Hotel on Dogo island
breakfast, dinner

Day 9 : Nakanoshima Island (Amacho City)

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your Hotel 

‐ Departure from Saigo port then ferry to Hishiura port on Nakanoshima Island (1h10)  

 

Nakanoshima Island(Amacho City)

Nakanoshima, also known as Amacho, is one of the Oki Islands, located 60 kilometres off the Shimane Peninsula. The surrounding sea is crossed by the warm currents of Tsushima (an island between Japan and South Korea). The inhabitants of the island live from agriculture and fishing, and its spring water is known for its great purity. On the 4 inhabited islands of Oki, it is the third largest, with a population of 2,300, and a circumference of 89 kilometers. You can easily go around the whole island in just 2 hours by car.

Amacho is a remote island. However, nature is abundant and offers the inhabitants everything they need to live. There is also an expression in Amacho in Japanese "nai mono wa nai" which literally means: there is nothing that is not there. This expression represents a double meaning as follows (1) the things that do not exist there are not necessary, (2) All important things are here. It was chosen as Amacho’s motto, expressing the way of life, the charm and personality of the island.


- Arrivée au port de Hishiura ver 9:40

- Visite de l'île en taxi [ le sanctuaire Oki→le mont Kinkoji→La côte Akiya ]


- Lunch : Marinated Squid on rice with oysters OR Yakiniku set with Oki Beef
 (+400yen)

 
- Free visit until ferry departure

- Departure to Nishinoshima Island by Ferry Boat


Check-in at your hotel.
Hotel on Nishinoshima Island (or Nakanoshima)
breakfast, dinner, lunch

Day 10 : Nishinoshima Island

Today's Itinerary


Check-out of your hotel  

Nishinoshima Island

The westernmost of the Oki Islands, Nishinoshima is full of abundant nature, some of which are steep cliffs that will remind you of the landscapes of the Faroe Islands such as the Kuniga Coast or the 257-metre-high Matengai cliffs where wild horses feed. This island is a paradise for hikers and many trails with breathtaking landscapes await you, on top of which one finds magnificent sanctuaries. Other activities await you, such as sea kayaking and diving.

- Visit of the Island by foot and by taxi [Yurahime Shrine –> Akao Lookout ー>Matengai Cliff –> Tsutenkyo Rock ] 

- Lunch : Seafood Menu

- Free visit until ferry departure

- Leaving from Shichirui port at 15:45 by ferry boat (approximately 2h10 )  

- Local bus from the port to Matsue city or Yonago city

Check-in at your hotel close to the station

Hôtel dans la ville de Matsue
breakfast, lunch

Day 11 : Matsue - Kurayoshi - Misasa-onsen

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your hotel  

Leaving from Matsue Station in the morning towards Kurayoshi city in Tottori prefecture (1h express train)

Bus to the historical district of Kurayoshi ( 20min )

Visit of Kurayoshi's old town

 



Kurayoshi's old town

Formerly called the province of Hoki, the city of Kurayoshi, which dates back to the fourteenth century, has an unmissable historic district. In these streets with the atmosphere of Edo (ancient Tokyo) are lined up old merchant houses, traditional houses, craftsmen, temples and shrines as well as a superb park where once stood a castle. The city is surrounded by numerous onsen (volcanic hot springs) where you can relax at the end of the day, such as Sekigane Onsen, one of the 100 best onsen in Japan.


To Misasa onsen by local bus (25min)

Check-in at your hotel in Misasa-onsen

Walk around Misasa-onsen town

 

The hot spring town of Misasa Onsen

Misasa Onsen is located 20 minutes far by bus from Kurayoshi. It is a small thermal town with hot springs known to have a high level of radium and are particularly used for therapeutic purposes. They say if you bathe three mornings in these waters, any kind of disease will be cured. The small town is full of ryokan, great small restaurants, sake shops. A stay to purify body and spirit.

Ryokan traditionnel enégistré par l'état comme la propriété culturelle tangible 
breakfast, dinner

Jour 12 : Hike to Sanbutsuji, the temple inlaid in a cliff

Hike to Sanbutsuji, the temple inlaid in Mitoku Mountain ( option : 6000yen /1person )

9:00   Leaving from your Ryokan by car 
9:15   Arriving at Mount Mitoku parking
9:50   Stretch
10:00 Hike in Mount Mitoku ( Around 2 hours )
13:00 Back to the car, stretch, Lunch (optionnal)      
14:00 Back to Misasa-onsen and free visit around town

Conditions

‐ 5 years old ~74 years old

- Having good physical condition

- Your safety will be your own responsibility

     

Clothing and equipment

- Mountain hiking clothing and light equipment 

- Water, wallet, mountain shoes, gloves, hat, towel

 

Lunch (optionnal)

  • Local specialities :  Tochimochi, a local pastry made from rice paste, soy tofu from Kamikura, vegetarian cuisine based on mountain ingredients, take-out meals, products from Mitoku Mountain, medicinal cooking, steam cooking.

As lunch is optionnal, please pay straight at the restaurant.

*For safety reasons, the trip will be cancelled in case of rain or snow. In this case, we will offer you an additional half-day activity of your choice to make pottery or indigo dye, yoga and other experiences, ... and to walk in a retro urban landscape.




Sanbutsu-ji Temple in Mount Mitoku 

Located on the 900 metres high Mount Mitoku, the Sanbutsu-ji Buddhist temple was built during the Heian period, directly on a cliff overlooking a breathtaking landscape of mountains covered with lush vegetation. It is designated as the national treasure of Japan, and considered an important site of the Shugendo, a spiritual practice incorporating both Shinto and Buddhist thoughts.

 
Traditional Inn listed as Japanese Tangible Cultural Property
breakfast, dinner

Day 13 : Tottori Sand Dunes - Kyoto

Today's Itinerary


Check-out from your hotel  

Leave your hotel in Kurayoshi in the morning ( 25min local bus )

Express train to Tottori station ( 30min ), then bus to the Tottori Sand Dunes (20min)

 



The Tottori Sand Dunes 

The dunes of Tottori are located close to the city of Tottori, on the shores of the Sea of Japan. They were formed by the volcanic dust piles of Mount Daisen mixing with the sand of the Sendai Gawa River for more than 100,000 years. You can enjoy many activities such as camel rides, paragliding or even sandboarding. Nearby is the Sand Museum where you can admire amazing sand sculptures.

 

Back to Tottori Station by bus (20 min )

Express train to Kyoto ( 3 hours )

10min by Taxi from Kyoto station to your hotel located in the center of Kyoto



Check-in at your hotel in Kyoto


Planned Accomodation: Enso Ango Hotel

The hotel is composed of 5 structures located at different addresses in the same district (except YAMATO I in the Gion district). You have free access to all other hotel facilities located in the surrounding area to enjoy the fitness room, the tatami lounge and admire the chashitsu (room for the tea ceremony). Each building has its own concept.
 

Hotel in Kyoto (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 14 : Kyoto

Looking for traditions at Kyoto former capital


Wake up early to enjoy the former capital in the morning, when most of the crowd is still away.
Wherever you go, you will find a gorgeous temple, a magical verdant place or an historical remain. Here are a few ideas.
You could wander into the rich nature of Arashiyama and at the shores of the Hozu river, and into the fascinating flora of the Gio-ji moss temple.
You could rather choose to go to admire the vivid colors of the famous Golden pavillon called Kinkaku-ji or visit the former residency of the Tokugawa shogunate in Nijo castle.

Learn more about Kyoto and its surroundgings 

You are free to extend your stay in Kyoto. To do so, please fill in the request form.
You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Kyoto (☆☆☆)
breakfast

Day 15 : Kyoto

Lost in transition in the North of Kansai


Enjoy a free day to meander in the commercial and historical streets of Kyoto. The structure of the streets is the closest you can find to our occidental ones' so you should easily find your way around. If at a corner you catch a glimpse of marvelous colors and intriguing motif on a kimono, fitted with a white face with vivid red lips, don't bother its owner...This geisha is working!

Amongst the numerous essential experiences offered in Kyoto, you could : pay your respect to the Fox God at the Fushimi Inari Taisha sanctuary, study the astonishing architecture of the temple on stilts Kiyomizu Dera, or step into one of the oldest shinto sanctuary in Japan, the Kamo-mioya-jinja.
You could also explore remote places such as the Amanohashidate bridge linking Heaven and Earth or the fishing village of Ine.


Discover our excursions from Kyoto

You can also hire a private English-speaking guide, for an extra fee.

Hotel in Kyoto or hotel close to the airport

Day 16 : Leaving from Kansai Airport

See you !


Check-out.
Take the free shuttle bus of your hotel or ride on a train from a local station, to arrive at Kansai international airport in advance. 

Flight check-in and luggages dropping.

Your jouney comes to an end. you are bringing back many souvenirs...of all shapes.
The country of the Rising Sun hopes to see you again.

We wish you a safe trip home !! 👋

If you rented a Pocket WIFI, return it to the WIFI rental service counter, at the station of the airport or directly at Kansai airport.

Important to know
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult

  • Please inform us, at the time of booking, about the participation of any person with reduced mobility or suffering from any  condition requiring special needs during the trip.

  • Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking.

  • The delays, shortened visits or unvisited places due to traffic jam, bad weather or any other circumstances are not refundable.

  • Depending on the weather, traffic, or opening times; the itinerary's order might be changed to insure a great experience.

  • The price is by person, on the basis of a double or twin room booking.

  • An extra fee apply for solo travellers. Most of ryokans do not have single rooms.

  • All reservations must be confirmed at the latest 30 days before the first day of the trip.

  • For the Oki Islands trip, if the weather conditions are not good, the ferries may be cancelled. We will arrange instead of the nights in Matsue, where on the contrary an extension of the nights in Oki, no refund can be made.

Additional informations
  • ​​​​​​You have the possibility to stay in a wide range of accommodation types in order to immerse yourself in our culture. Please refer to  “Accommodation”.
  • Discovering Japan, also means trying its peculiar and traditional food. This is why we choose to let you decide for your own meal for lunch and dinner. You will be surprised by how many restaurants are in Japan as well as their great value. Please check “Meals”.

  • A moderate amount of walking is involved / This itinerary includes hiking paths; please wear comfortable walking shoes.

  • This tour includes free time. You will be able to enjoy freely the local spots as you please. Any personal expenses are at your charge during free time.

  • Please refer to “Travel information” about any useful information.

  • Pictures are used for illustrative purpose only.

Included
  • Short briefing with our staff the day after your arrival

  • Detailed itinerary, travel documents and our recommendations  

  • Customer support during your trip by email or phone

  • 14 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 diners

  • Every transport mentioned in the itinerary : Night train, ( Tokyo - Yasugi ), Express train ( Matsue - Kurayoshi, Kurayoshi - Tottori, Tottori - Kyoto ), Ferry ( Shichirui - Saigo, Saigo - Hishiura, Beppu - Shichirui ), Taxi ( l'île de Dogo, l'île de Nakanoshima, l'île de Nishinoshima )
    *Transportation during your free time is not included

  • Activities : Location de vélo pour 2 jours ( ou remplacer par une carte de transport valide 3 jours dans la région Izumo) , Croisière vers "Le Rocher Bougie"

  • Accomodation for 14 nights and 1 night in the sleeper train "Izumo"

We also offer you to rent a Wi-fi Pocket during your stay, with an extra fee.

Not included
  • International flights

  • Insurances

  • Personal expenses

  • The meals not mentioned in the itinerary

  • Transportations and activities not mentionned in the intinerary : Train ( yasugi - Matsue, Izumo - Matsue-shinjiko), tous les bus locaux, ferry ( Hishiura - Beppu )

  • Tour leader or guide

    *Please ask us for any extra nights before or/and after the tour.

Dates & Prices

Please select & click on the date below to make a reservation / inquiry.

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