In Japan, the line between ancient and modern is often so blurred that one becomes a traveler through time. Seventh-century shrines and vibrant traditional markets. Mountain ridges covered in thousands of cherry trees. A world of natural beauty combined with ancient culture—grace and tradition unlike anywhere else.
1-2 Walk through quiet forests, visit ancient shrines and pass by bright orange torii, the traditional gates found at the entrance to sacred Shinto sites | Behold views of peaceful Kyoto from a summit above the city | Sip green tea during a traditional tea ceremony | Discover the Philosopher's Walk, a tranquil treelined path | Sample local figs, fresh edamame and soba noodle soup.
3-4 Hike in the peaceful hills above Nara, then visit its vibrant markets | Take a scenic journey aboard a Japanese bullet train | You're in for a treat with a private sake tasting | Explore 17th- and 18th-century merchants' houses and shops in Takayama's old quarter | Experience unique hospitality and atmosphere at a superb ryokan.
5-6 Relish a quiet morning in the Shogawa Valley, home to World Heritage site Shirakawa-go | Enjoy a relaxing soak in an open-air hot tub | Take in the gorgeous setting of traditional mountain villages | Discover Old Japan in Narai, where well-preserved Edo-period architecture is set against rolling hills and beech forests | Meet members of the Tezuka family, who have lived in Narai for 22 generations.
7-8 Explore the breathtaking alpine landscape above Matsumoto, keeping an eye out for antelope, monkeys and bears | Be mesmerized by the stone and woodwork at Matsumoto Castle.