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  • A beginner’s guide to Takayama

    As someone who was based in Fukuoka on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost island, I had very little cause to travel north when I lived in Japan. In fact, the furthest north I had ever been was Tokyo. Of course, when I was presented with the opportunity to go back to Japan and visit the Japanese Alps with InsideJapan Tours I simply had to see what all the fuss was about. In particular I was very keen to visit Takayama, which features in the vast majority of our trips. Takayama isn't on many foreign visitors' radars - in fact you've probably never heard of it. Many Japanese will also give you a rather puzzled look and ask, “Why would you want to go there? It’s in the middle of nowhere!” My own journey to Takayama was an incredibly convoluted and complicated one, which I would not ever recomm ...

  • Japan: A Pescetarian’s Paradise

    Having dietary requirements when visiting Japan can add extra challenges to your holiday, but with the help of your travel consultant, tour leader or guide, and Info-Pack you should still be able to have a delicious time in Japan, no matter what you eat; vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian or otherwise! If you happen to be a pesky pescetarian like me, you needn't worry. My recent trip to Japan has reminded me that Japan really is a pescetarian's paradise. (more…)

  • 7 reasons to visit Kyushu

    So far in our exploration of Japan's different regions, we've had a look at 10 reasons to visit Shikoku, 5 reasons to visit Tohoku, and 10 reasons to head to Hokkaido. Today, we'll be taking a look at just a few of the reasons to consider Kyushu... (more…)

  • 10 reasons to visit Shikoku

    Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, yet it has some of the country’s most beautiful sights. Much more rural than most parts of Japan, its lack of mega-cities and world-famous sights means that it is rarely included on holiday itineraries – but I strongly urge you to give it a thought! Here are a few reasons why… 1. Dogo Onsen Thought to be Japan’s oldest bathhouse, Dogo Onsen is so old that it’s mentioned in the oldest book of Japanese classical history, the Nihon Shoki. It’s also rumoured to have been the inspiration behind Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpiece, Spirited Away, and it has special baths reserved just for the Japanese royal family. Don’t worry though – there are baths for commoners like ourselves too. 2. Kazurabashi vine bridges Criss-crossing the I ...

  • Bunraku – The Ancient Puppetry of Japan

    Often obscured by its more famous siblings, traditional Japanese puppet theatre, known as bunraku (or ningyo joruri), is an experience well-worth having during your stay in Japan. A single performance can be quirky and delightful one minute, and devastatingly emotional the next. But what is bunraku? Along with the more well-known kabuki and noh, bunraku is recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Though it shares that honor with world-famous dramatic Japanese arts, most would be hard-pressed to describe what bunraku actually is and why it is so popular here in Japan. Lucky for you, I've written a primer for even the most casual bunraku fan! (more…)


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