Immerse yourself in the history and culture of old Japan with our 9-day Shoryudo itinerary. From castle towns and samurai relics to historical villages and shrines, this journey will take you from the cultural mecca of Kanazawa to the ancient UNESCO World Heritage inscribed Kumano Kodo trails across the Kii Peninsula.
On the way, you’ll visit the unspoiled highlands of Nagano, the ‘Crow Castle’ of Matsumoto, the Geisha districts of Kanazawa, the traditional pearl divers of Mikimoto and many more ancient delights – an unparalleled window into the Japan of yesteryear.
A 40-minute shuttle bus from Komatsu Airport or 2.5 hour Hokuriku Shinkansen ride from Tokyo will take you to the city of Kanazawa – the perfect beginning to this journey of cultural immersion. Rivalling only Kyoto for its sense of tradition, Kanazawa offers many wonders both cultural and natural. The fantastic Kenrokuen Garden is one of Japan’s finest landscape gardens, and the serenity is palpable the moment you enter. You might also visit Nagamachi, the former samurai district, and Higashi Chaya-gai, the thriving Geisha centre with music and dance performances—to prime you for the week ahead.
Things to see and do
Possibly Japan’s most treasured landscape garden, Kenrokuen is lined with cherry blossom trees and beautiful waters which bring a sense of tremendous wellbeing.
This Geisha district is distinguished by wonderful lattice windows and offers a vibrant glimpse of the past in the present. Some are open to the general public, with explanations provided in English.
Located in the samurai district of Nagamachi, Nomura-ke is a restored samurai residence that doubles as a museum of the period and the lifestyle of this warrior class.
Stay overnight in Kanazawa, either in the traditional samurai neighbourhood or near any of the stations for convenience:
Kenrokuen means ‘The Garden of the Six Sublimities’ – which includes spaciousness, seclusion, antiquity and artificiality.
Jigokudani (the location of the Monkey Park) literally means ‘Hell Valley’ because of the hot steam vents from underground.
The Ise Grand Shrine predates the introduction of Buddhism, and so its architecture is untouched by the influence of mainland Asia.
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