Industry & Agriculture
To understand the Japanese psyche you must first get to grips with the country's economics.
The world's third largest economy and an industrial powerhouse throughout the 20th century; away from the big cities, small scale fishing and farming are still prevalent.
Japan has been one of the economic powerhouses of the 20th century and, despite struggling with ongoing recession throughout the 90s and the first years of the 21st century, is still the world's third biggest economy.
Japan's wealth and economic might have been built around manufacturing and industry: high-tech products such as computers and scientific instruments have flooded into the West; Japanese car makers dominate the world motor industry; and the petrochemical industry has helped deliver the refined oil that has powered the economic miracle.
But before industrialisation, towards the end of the 19th century, Japan was predominantly agricultural - and once you get outside of the cities and industrial heartlands of the eastern seaboard, this is still true today.
Ask any Japanese businessman their dream and 90% of them will respond "to buy a small house in the country with some land and farm". Perhaps this reflects some desire to get back to nature; to reconnect with the land having been squashed into tiny apartments in the massive urban centres. Whatever the case, agriculture and farming is still a very important part of the Japanese psyche.
There are many opportunities in Japan to experience both sides of Japan's economic activity. Whether you wish to see the high-tech robots of car manufacturing or pick shiitake mushrooms in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture, there are experiences available.
Mazda factory tour
Visit the Mazda museum and factory in Hiroshima, the car company's home city.
Daio wasabi farm
Wasabi fans will love exploring a working wasabi farm - but do you dare try wasabi ice cream?
Toyota factory tour
See the manufacturing processes that have made Toyota the world's most successful producer of automobiles up close with a tour of their main plant
Check-out of the big cities & stay on a small farm run by a family dedicated to the preservation of Japan's natural environment & traditions
Learn to fish with locals from the tiny fishing community on Sakate Island just off the coast from Ise.
Green tea harvesting
Help out on the farm by picking some of Japan's finest green tea leaves.
Nagano rural farm experience
A modern ryokan on a farm where you can try sushi making, carve chopsticks and canoe across Lake Hokuryuko.