Ancient mythologies and spiritual paths from the well established to the newly forged await you in this tour. From learning about and practicing Zen fundamentals in the historic capital of Kyoto, to walking ancient pilgrimage paths in the sacred mountains of Kumano and Koya, you will have your own spiritual journey through Japan’s landscapes of the gods as you bear witness to the spiritually based traditions that have helped to craft Japan into the dynamic nation that it is.
- Participation in exciting festivals in Kyoto City
- A deep look into Japan’s spiritual cultures
- Adventures off the beaten path and off the main island
- Stays at traditional ryokan inns and minshuku bed and breakfasts
- Visits to Japan’s most highly acclaimed gardens and feudal towns
- Relaxation in onsen hot springs
**Highlight availability varies season to season and is subject to change.
The following tour is an example of what we can offer groups as a spiritual tour of Japan. If interested, feel free to contact us to find out what we can add to this schedule to make it special for you. We look forward to making a custom tour for you!
Day 1 Yokoso and Welcome To JapanOvernight in Kyoto City
After arriving in Japan, you will transfer to your accommodation in Kyoto City. In the evening you will meet your guide and group over a tour orientation and welcome dinner. Itinerary will be tailored according to your flight schedule.
Days 2 and 3 Kyoto’s Spiritual Links to the PastOvernights in Kyoto City
Your next few days will be dedicated to Kyoto. As it is the old capital of Japan, Kyoto is the birthplace of many of Japan’s traditions and religious cultures. While touring some of the best of Kyoto’s seventeen World Heritage Sites, you will have the unique chance to (depending on when you tour) participate in the Jidai Matsuri Festival of the Ages, as well as the Kurama Fire Festival. Both festive events promise a rare look into tradition here, one highlighting fashion and design through the ages, and one featuring dancing torches of fire.
Day 4 Sacred ArchitectureOvernight in Ise
Today you will continue your journey in Japan, but begin a deeper journey that will delve deeper into Japan’s spiritual ties and creations. Today’s adventures will focus on Japan’s indigenous religion of Shintoism. Leaving Kyoto, you will head to the Miho Museum. Though nominally a museum dedicated to art, the Miho Museum uses cues from Japanese temple and shrine designs to create its unique look. I.M. Pei who also designed the pyramid at the Louvre designed this building to be an homage to the spiritual heritage of Japan. Interesting facts about this museum do not stop there, you will find out more about this unique place during your tour. Leaving Miho, you will head onward to the most sacred shrine in Japan – Ise. Ise Shrine is dedicated to the light and life of the world, sun goddess Amaterasu. Also holding its original set of fascinating facts, you’ll come to discover much about the thought and care that goes into creating sacred ground.
Days 5 and 6 Path of PilgrimsOvernight in Kumano
Leaving the area of Ise, you will travel along Japan’s beautiful Pacific coastline and venture into remote and sacred area located deep in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. For centuries the paths here saw emperors and samurai walk alongside peasants and merchants as they completed their pilgrimage to the areas many shrines. It is here that you will walk the same paths through mountainside villages and ocean views. This part of your adventure also holds the amazing chance to relax in a natural, open air onsen hot spring. The evenings will bring delicious traditional dinners at a charming minshuku bed and breakfast or ryokan inn. This stretch of the tour also may also hold your chance to try out traditional rhythms as you learn the art of taiko drumming.