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Secrets of the Inland Sea

“Secrets of the Inland Sea” is a wellness tour with escapism and inner soul searching at the heart of its foundation. You will be guided through cities and villages that are rich with culture and serenity. Experience a blend of Japanese and western luxury’s along a coastal scenic journey through the south west of Japan, witnessing incredible nature, seaviews, landscapes and of course tasting delectable food along the way. Enjoy romantic strolls on sandbars, through rice paddies and olive gardens. Soak in some of Japan’s oldest onsen (hot springs) and recharge your mental health during forest bathing in serene forests and gorges.

Category:
Duration: 15 Nights/16 Days
Route: Kyoto – Arima Onsen – Hiroshima – Nagato – Onomichi – Dogo Onsen – Takamatsu – Shodoshima – Tokushima - Osaka

Details


Dates: Best Time May - October
Duration: 15 Nights/16 Days
Starts: Kyoto
Ends: Osaka
Route: Kyoto – Arima Onsen – Hiroshima – Nagato – Onomichi – Dogo Onsen – Takamatsu – Shodoshima – Tokushima - Osaka
Tour Type: Self Guided ­­­­­with local guides
Prices from: From €5,200 per person sharing (See Prices Below)
Accommodation Category: Superior or Deluxe Categories

Experiences

Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage Temples & Shrines

The Arashiyama district is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. The first visit of the day is the Kinkakuji Temple. Kinkakuji is a Zen temple in the northern part of Kyoto and is known as the ‘Golden Temple’ because the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. In contrast to the glamour of Kinkakuji, our next visit will be Ryoanji Temple, which is known as the Rock Garden, a temple where you can sit in the garden and quietly gaze at the 15 stones in front of you and let your mind wander. You will also visit the famous bamboo forest and cross the Togetsukyo bridge. The Togetsukyo Bridge is Arashiyama’s well known, central landmark. Many small shops, restaurants and other attractions are found nearby, including Tenryuji Temple, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves. The following day, on the way back from Nara, you will climb the many steps up to Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds. The iconic appearance of the Senbon (meaning thousand in Japanese) Torii gate has made it a hugely popular tourist attraction.

Nara Park - Japan’s Ancient Capital

Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo Period, the city now known as Nara. First, you will visit Todaiji. The temple is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan. Next, a guide will take you to Kasuga Taisha. The shrine is Nara’s most celebrated shrine. It was established at the same time as the capital and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. Kasuga Taisha had been periodically rebuilt every 20 years for many centuries. You will have some free time to enjoy lunch in Nara Park (feeding not only yourself but perhaps some of the many wild deer that roam the park also).

Arima Onsen Village

Arima Onsen is considered one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts with a history of over one thousand years and has often stood at or near the top of onsen rankings for Western Japan. Although Arima Onsen has a modern look today, but still find several narrow lanes and wooden buildings when strolling around the center of town. Due to its compact size, the small town can be explored entirely on foot, and there are several hot spring sources, nice temples such as Zuihoji and shrines. On this tour, you can learn about the history of Arima Onsen, the etiquette of bathing in the hot spring, and the manners of visiting temples and shrines while walking around the hot spring resort with a guide.

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered as Japan’s most spectacular castle for its imposing size and beauty and its well preserved, complex castle grounds. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country’s twelve original castles. The first fortifications built on the site were completed in the 1400s, and were gradually enlarged over the centuries by the various clans who ruled over the region. The castle complex as it survives today is over 400 years old and was completed in 1609. It is made up of over eighty buildings spread across multiple baileys, which are connected by a series of gates and winding paths.

Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park

Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park is one of the most prominent features of the city. Its trees, lawns, and walking paths are in stark contrast to the surrounding downtown area. The park’s main facility is the Peace Memorial Museum. Consisting of two buildings, the museum surveys the history of Hiroshima and the advent of the nuclear bomb. The personal details displayed are quite upsetting and serve to remind us that we should not take peace for granted. Also visiting must-see architecture of Atomic Bomb Dome a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Dome, also known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, is what remains of the former Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. When the bomb exploded, it was one of the few buildings to remain standing and remains so today.

Forest Bathing at Sandankyo Abyss

Sandankyo is a very popular spot among the locals but a hidden gem for international tourists. It is a standout location to explore scenic nature and it’s the best location to try forest therapy that can be reached in under and hour from Hiroshima. The term forest bathing emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). The purpose was twofold: to offer an eco-antidote to tech-boom burnout and to inspire residents to reconnect with and protect the country’s forests. The Japanese quickly embraced this form of ecotherapy. In the 1990s, researchers began studying the physiological benefits of forest bathing, providing the science to support what we innately know: time spent immersed in nature is good for us.

 

Luxurious Ryokan (Japanese Traditional Hotel) Located in Stunning Nature

This is the day to the dive into relaxation which is provided by the luxury property. Surrender yourself to high-quality relaxation while feeling the presence of nature nearby. The Nagato-Yumoto hot spring resort is a quiet, bustling town in a mountainous area rich in nature. The crystal clear Otozure River flows through the town. As you walk upstream along the Fukagawa River, you will hear the rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the louder sound of insects, and you will see a majestic inn emerge from the greenery. As the optional tour, You can enjoy the historical town Hagi, or Motonosumi Shrine, Torii gates stands along the massive ocean view, or rough sea cruising at Oumi Island.

Sake Tasting & Visit to Sake Breweries

Saijo city is famous throughout Japan as the home of one of the best sake-brewing communities in Japan. There are eight breweries, seven of which are concentrated along Sakagura-dori (Sake Brewery Street). It’s enticing because you can take a light stroll through a historic district while walking from brewery to brewery to delight in tasting of sake!

Zen Experience at Shinshoji Temple

Join the Zen practice with the trainee monk at Shinshoji Temple. A Zen practice experience to eliminate distractions, regulate your mind and body, and look at yourself. Forgetting the passing of time, you will regain your true self with each breath. Through the practice of the Heart Sutra, zazen, sutra copying, and tea ceremony, you will be able to face yourself and experience a practice similar to that of a specialized Rinzai dojo.

Dogo Onsen

Japan’s famous hot spring, Dōgo Onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, with a history stretching back 3000 years.The present building of the Dōgo Onsen public bathhouse partially inspired the design of Yubaba’s bathhouse in Spirited Away. Everything here has been healing the body and soul of travelers. Amidst the bustle of the many inns and hotels that line the area, there is a hidden inn that sits quietly in the middle of it all: Betsutei Oborozukiya. We hope you will spend some time at Bettei Oborozukiyo to regain your true self.

Trekking at Ishizuchi Mountain

You will enjoy trekking to the summit of Ishizuchi, the highest mountain in western Japan (1,982m) which is located in the western part of the Shikoku Mountains. Located on the border between Saijo City and Kuma Kogen Town in Ehime Prefecture, the mountain has been revered as a mountain of mountain worship (Shugendo) by many people since ancient times. It is one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan, one of the 100 most scenic spots in Japan, and one of the seven sacred mountains in Japan. It is said that Kobo-Daishi Kukai once practiced asceticism here, and with the development of mountain Buddhism and Shugendo, the mountain is still popular not only among ascetic monks but also among the general public.

Olive Gardens, Rice Paddies and sandy paths on Shodoshima Island

Shodoshima is an ideal place for growing olives and boasts the highest production of olive oil in Japan. The island has also been known for its soy sauce and somen noodles since ancient times, and traditional manufacturing techniques have been carefully preserved. Before lunch, we will visit the olive groves and rice terrace that spread out beautifully against the backdrop of the Seto Inland Sea. Angel Road, a sandy path that appears when the tide rises and falls. There is a romantic rumour that if you and your loved one cross this path hand in hand, your wishes will come true. The sandy path appears for about three hours around the time of maximum low tide, and then returns to the sea for three hours… This mystery of nature can be seen about twice a day.

Kankakei Gorge & Seto Inland Sea

The Kankakei Gorge is a breathtaking ravine at the center of Shodoshima Island. It is ranked as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gorges and becomes particularly spectacular during the autumn color season. A ropeway runs to the upper station where near Shodoshima highest peak and has observation decks with nice panoramic views over the gorge, the island and the Seto Inland Sea. Please enjoy the scenic nature view and feel the nature with your whole body.

The Great Seto Bridge

The Great Seto Bridge or Seto Ohashi Bridge is a series of double deck bridges connecting Okayama and Kagawa prefectures across a series of five small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. It is one of the three routes of the Honshū–Shikoku Bridge Project connecting Honshū and Shikoku islands and the only one to carry rail traffic. After you had a great local cuisine for lunch you will explore the city of Tokushima then take the ropeway up to Mt. Bizan. and enjoy the spectacular view. Bizan is a familiar symbol in Tokushima as its name implies is a mountain with a gentle shape of eyebrows, which was written about in the oldest anthology of poems called Manyoshu (8th century).

Naruto Whirlpools of Tokushima

Your accommodation is perched on a cliff between the whirlpools of Naruto and the expansive Shikoku sky. Blending traditional Japanese hospitality and aesthetics with modern design and technology. A wellness resort that embraces the indulgence of fine wine and delicious food. The Naruto whirlpools are tidal whirlpools in the Naruto Strait, a channel (1.3 km / 0.81 miles wide) between Naruto in Tokushima and Awaji Island in Hyōgo, Japan. The strait is one of the connections between the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea, a body of water separating Honshū and Shikoku, two of the main islands of Japan. The tide moves large amounts of water into the Inland Sea twice a day and also removes large amounts of water twice a day. With a range of up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft), the tide creates a difference in the water level of up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) between the Inland Sea and the Pacific. Due to the narrowness of the strait, the water rushes through the Naruto channel at a speed of about 13–15 km/h (8–9 mph) four times a day, twice flowing in and twice flowing out. During a spring tide, the speed of the water may reach 20 km/h (12 mph), creating vortices up to 20 m (66 ft) in diameter. The whirlpools can be observed from the shore on Awaji island, from tourist ships, or from the 1985 Ōnaruto Bridge spanning the strait. The suspension bridge has a total length of 1,629 m (5,344 ft), with the center span over the strait having a length of 876 m (2,874 ft) and a height of 41 m (135 ft) above sea level. The whirlpools inspired the name for narutomaki surimi which in turn inspired the name Naruto Uzumaki from the manga and anime Naruto, “Uzumaki” meaning whirlpool.

Accommodation

Kyoto - Western Style (3 Nights)

Superior: The Thousand Hotel, Kyoto
Deluxe: Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto
A Luxury Collection hotel located in the heart of Kyoto – adjacent to Nijo-jo Castle, on the site of the Kitake family home, an executive branch of the Mitsui Family. The Mitsui family have maintained this land for over 250 years. Steeped in history, reflected in each of the 161 guest rooms. Natural materials used throughout to elevate the use of traditional artisanal skills.
[Includes breakfast daily]

Arima Onsen - Japanese Style (1 Night)

Superior & Deluxe: 
Gosho Bessho Ryokan
[Includes breakfast, Dinner & Hot Springs]

Hiroshima - Western Style (1 Night)

Superior & Deluxe: Sheraton Grand Hotel Hiroshima
[Includes breakfast]

Nagato - Japanese Style (2 nights)

Superior: TBC
Deluxe: Otanisanso Otozure
[Includes breakfast & Dinner daily]

Onomichi - Western Style (1 night)

Superior & Deluxe: Bella Vista Spa & Marina Onomichi
[Includes breakfast]

 

Dogo Onsen - Japanese Style (1 Night)

Deluxe: Bettei Oborodukiyo
[Includes breakfast, Dinner & Hot Springs]

Takamatsu (2 nights)

Superior & Deluxe Auberge de Oishi
[Includes breakfast & French Dinner]

Shodoshima Island (2 Nights)

Superior: Shodoshima International Hotel
Deluxe: Shimayado Mari
[Includes breakfast & Dinner]

Tokushima (Naruto) - Wellness Resort (2 nights)

Superior & Deluxe: Hotel RIDGE
Perched on a cliff between the whirlpools of Naruto and the expansive Shikoku sky. Blending traditional Japanese hospitality and aesthetics with modern design and technology. A wellness resort that embraces the indulgence of fine wine and delicious food. Hotel Ridge is a member of The Ryokan Collection, a luxurious natural escape where adults can reconnect with nature and reset their own equilibrium.
 
[Includes breakfast & Dinner]

Whats included

 

ServiceSuperiorDeluxe
Airport Transfers (Arrival & departure)Private Transfers (Door-to-door)Private Transfers (Door-to-door)
13 Nights AccommodationWestern (8) + Deluxe Ryokan (5)Western (8) + Deluxe Ryokan (5)
Meals12 breakfasts + 9 dinners12 breakfasts + 9 dinners
Transport
  • 1st Class Japan Rail Pass (7 day Green)
  • Private Car with driver & guide on 7 days
  • Local Taxi’s (as per itinerary)
  • Japan Rail Pass (7 day Green)
  • 1st Class Reserved seats on all bullet trains
  • Private Car with driver & guide on 7 days
  • Local Taxi’s
Local Guide
  • Kyoto
  • Nara
  • Arima Onsen
  • Himeji
  • Hiroshima
  • Onomichi
  • Setouchi
  • Tokushima
  • Kyoto
  • Nara
  • Arima Onsen
  • Himeji
  • Hiroshima
  • Onomichi
  • Setouchi

Tokushima

UJT’s Essential Travel PackReceived 2 weeks prior to departureReceived 2 weeks prior to departure
Vamoos Customised Travel AppAvailable upon paying depositAvailable upon paying deposit

Per Person Prices from:

Tour CategoryEUR 

 

Superior€5,200 ~
Deluxe€9,400 ~
Prices are per person and based on two people sharing a Twin or Double Room. To request a daily itinerary or full tour dossier, contact us with your name, travel dates, and preferred hotel category. We will send you a detailed proposal upon request.

How to Book

Step 1: Booking Deposit

 

By paying your deposit today, you:

  • Fix the price
  • Allow UJT team book all services
  • Can relax a little ……your job is almost done!

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Step 2: Book Your Flight

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Step 3: Final Payment Due 8 Weeks Prior

Your Essential UJT Travel pack will be couriered to your home address 2 weeks prior.

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Step 4: See you in Japan!

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