Easy walking tours with strong emphasis on onsen hot springs and Japanese gastronomy
At the invitation of the Onsen Gastronomy Tourism Association, Walk Japan, specialists in small, authentic group tours, has unveiled the first of a new series of Onsen Gastronomy tours: Oita & Kumamoto in Kyushu, Japan’s most westerly main island, and Gifu & Nagano in Honshu, central Japan. These new tours celebrate distinctive aspects of Japanese culture: the ritual of bathing in onsens hot spring baths and savouring fresh seasonal delights.
Each tour, of up to five days, has a special focus on two distinctive aspects of Japanese culture: its relaxing, restorative and therapeutic onsen hot spring baths, and its wonderfully unique and delicious cuisine.
Leisurely, guided walking is over easy terrain with distances each day limited up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) but averaging between 6 to 8 kilometres (3.7 – 5 miles), allowing ample time to savour these elements, and also visit local sites of interest.
Like all Walk Japan tours, the Onsen Gastronomy tours are led by expert Tour Leaders, with the maximum group size of 12 people. Customers are immersed (or, get to be immersed) in the traditional Japanese way of bathing and every evening stay in a delightful local inn, almost always with their own onsens. They will also enjoy exceptional Japanese cuisine, regarded among the world’s finest for the quality of its seasonal ingredients, range of dishes, and sheer artistry of presentation. Whilst flavourful, beautifully presented meals are a feature of all Walk Japan tours, in the Onsen Gastronomy series of tours, this is taken to a higher level and becomes a celebration of the Japanese quintessential art of dining.
Onsen hot springs, featured on many of Walk Japan’s tours, are found throughout Japan. They are a perennial favourite leisure diversion amongst the Japanese and overseas visitors alike. Enjoyed over the millennia for their relaxing and restorative powers, onsens were used in Buddhism, which first arrived in Japan in 552 for purification riteFems. Since then bathing in Japan has remained a ritual: a practice which is distinctly Japanese.
The Onsen Gastronomy: Oita & Kumamoto is a fully guided five-day, four-night tour starting in Beppu and finishing in Oita City on the island of Kyushu. This tour encompasses Oita and the north-east corner of Kumamoto Prefectures in the centre of Kyushu, a region renowned for its richly varied, rural landscapes, the high quality of its food sourced from the fertile land, pristine rivers and the surrounding seas, and particularly for its abundance of onsen hot springs.
The Onsen Gastronomy: Gifu & Nagano is another fully guided five-day, four-night walking tour. The group visits central Gifu and western Nagano Prefectures, largely a remote area of mountain ranges, deep valleys, high plateaus and remote villages. The region’s onsens provide a delightful and symbiotic sustenance.
Onsen Gastronomy: Gifu & Nagano Price: From JPY298,000 (GBP£2,110) per person. 2019 dates: October 16 – 20.
Onsen Gastronomy: Oita & Kumamoto Price: From JPY278,000 (GBP£1,967) per person. 2019 dates: November 12 – 26.
About Walk Japan
National Geographic has described Walk Japan as “one of the 200 Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”. The company leads the way in providing the most fulfilling and enjoyable tours available in Japan. Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of regular, scheduled tours for Japan and is researching more for the future. It also creates and runs private, custom tours tailored to customers’ particular interests and requirements. These include private tours for families, friends, societies, companies and schools.
Founded in 1992 by two academics, Dr. Thomas Stanley and Prof. Richard Irving, the company has since grown considerably both in its number of tours and customers to become the acknowledged leader of specialised tours that immerse visitors in Japanese society and culture; provide great insights into the nation and its people; and often explore little-visited, beautiful and diverse regions of the nation.
Based in rural Kyushu, Walk Japan actively operate in a way that recognises the important role and responsibilities that business has in society. This means being committed to and supportive of the communities in which they operate and ensuring that their tours have a positive impact in these areas. Wherever possible Walk Japan uses and supports family-run and local businesses.
For more information, visit walkjapan.com