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Our Insider Tour Leaders love to introduce people to their adopted home country, taking them to those great little places that no one has heard of, and explaining those bits of culture that people don’t quite understand. They enjoy sharing experiences and knowledge, and introducing us to the places and people we probably wouldn’t otherwise see. In short, they love Japan – and they are the best at what they do. At the moment, they don’t have any travellers to show around, so they’re no longer wearing their ‘Tour Leader’ hats – but they are still Insiders, so they can’t help but share what they’ve been up to.
With a love of Buddhism and culture, Richard Farmer is in his element. Heading off from his Kyoto home to the island of Shikoku, he has been walking (and driving) sections of a 1,200km-long, 88-temple pilgrimage. Following in the footsteps of Shingon Buddhism founder Priest Kukai and millions of devoted pilgrims, here are a few shots from the Ehime section of the ‘henro’.
“Ehime is home to what became my favourite temple of the entire pilgrimage; temple number 45, Iwaya-ji. With its main hall dug into a cave on the mountainside, the atmosphere was ethereal.”
Another Kyoto-based Insider, Van Milton is not shy of adventure – and to prove it, he set off on a pilgrimage of his own on bike, followed by a hike. He has just returned from the Setouchi region (which spans Eastern Honshu and Shikoku) having cycled the 60km Shimanami Kaido road – which connects the main islands via six smaller islands that sit in the Seto Inland Sea.
“I have started exploring other islands and ‘kaido’ roads and they are all amazing – but I’ve ridden the Shimanamikaido 13 times and I still love it”.
After years living in mountainous Yamaguchi prefecture, Brett Plotz calls the city of Yokohama home these days. He jumped at the chance to head north into the mountains of the Tohoku region and a place called Iwaki, boasting mountains on three sides, ocean on the other, and a lot to explore in between.
“Tohoku scenery is craggier and more visceral, but no less beautiful than other parts of Japan. Iwaki’s Jofukuji Temple is on a par with anything Kyoto has, and Yamagata’s Haguro-san is one of the most breathtaking and spiritual places I’ve been in Japan”.
There’s not much our Insider Tyler Palma doesn’t know about Tokyo, but nonetheless, he continues to explore the many districts that make-up one of the biggest cities in the world. He recently shared a few images from Kagurazaka, which you may have never heard of (it sits quietly just north of the Imperial Palace).
“Tokyo is such a city of neighbourhoods and each with its own personality. Travelling to the different areas can feel like travelling between cities and the back streets of Kagurazaka are some of the prettiest in all of Tokyo”
While travelling to Japan isn’t possible, our Insiders will continue sharing insights into their lives in the country – but they’re looking forward to sharing even more in person, in the not too distant future.
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