The Autumn Koyo (colourful leaves) season is one of the most beautiful times to visit Japan, when large groups of travellers flock to admire the dramatic changes of colour across the country. With the Autumn season just around the corner, check out these best three experiences offered by the pioneers of off-the-beaten-track walking tours in Japan, Walk Japan, for those wanting to see the very best of Koyo away from the main busy, tourist haunts.
Experience the best of Autumn Koyo with Walk Japan
The Kyushu Expedition
Kyushu – Japan’s third largest island, located southwest of the main island Honshu.
An 8 day tour through mountains and forest trails, starting in Yufuin and finishing in Kagoshima, with accommodation in traditional Japanese inns and onsen hot spring resorts. The Kyushu Expedition offers excellent trekking through the volcanic heartlands and ancient rainforests of one of the wettest places on earth, Yakushima, the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. A scenic Yamanami Highway walk through the Kuju Mountains to the giant caldera and volcano-sculpted landscapes of Aso, on to the giant cedars forest and towering peaks of Yakushima, before the final destination of Kagoshima.
PRICE: JPY 386,000 Per person.
The fully guided tour includes local travel; accommodation for 7 nights; 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 7 evening meals, baggage transfers and entrance fees
DATE: 11 November 2016 – 18 November 2016
The Kunisaki Retreat
Kunisaki – a city located in Ōita Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan
A 7 day tour for the mind, body and health, which focuses on meditation, gentle exercise, relaxation and learning the traditions that make the beautiful peninsula of Kunisaki so special.
Kunisaki is nestled into the western end of Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Modern Japan has left this quiet haven of rural life largely untouched – few Japanese, and even fewer foreigners, have heard of it, let alone visited. It also has excellent local cuisine and a little walking, with accommodation is in delightful, rural Japanese inns. The tour starts at Hakata Station in Fukuoka and finishes on the Kunisaki Peninsula, takings guests through stunning countryside, sleepy hamlets, verdant forests and paddy fields, craggy ridges and mountains – a true immersion in Japanese culture of the past and present.
Guests of The Kunisaki Retreat experience Japanese farmhouse cooking, onsen thermal hot springs and ancient Japanese traditions at their best. Kunisaki’s once-powerful religious institutions are long gone, but temples, wayside shrines and myriad stone buddhas are reminders of its deeply religious past. Mine-iri, a monk’s practice of traversing sacred mountain paths in prayer, part of the religious life of Kunisaki since the 9th Century, still continues today in Kunisaki, – one of only a few places left in Japan where it still happens.
Most mornings start with instructed meditation and yoga sessions followed by a Japanese breakfast.
PRICE: JPY332,000 Per person.
The fully guided tour includes local travel; accommodation for 6 nights; 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 6 evening meals; baggage transfers and entrance fees
DATE: 21 November 2016 – 27 November 2016
Walk Japan Special Offer: The Kyushu Expedition tour complements Walk Japan’s Kunisaki Trek tour and run in succession for an easy combination of the two tours – guests can book both tours at a discount and receive transport between them.
The Basho Tour
The Narrow Road to The North – Starting Tokyo and finishing in Kyoto
Basho’s most famous poetic travelogue, Narrow road to the North, is one of the great works of Japanese literature. A unique, authentic experience following in the footsteps of 17th Century Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho (1644~1694). Taking travellers through the beautiful and iconic scenery of the Tohoku region, along the rugged Sea of Japan coast before reaching the cultured, old capital of Kyoto. The walk is along quiet country lanes, forest trails and mountain footpaths; taking in some of the greatest scenery to be found in Japan including Matsushima, one of the classic Three Views of Japan, the beautiful gardens found at Hiraizumi and Kenroku-en.
Besides the beauty of the countryside, guests travel through the haiku poetry of Basho, learning the tumultuous history that wreaked destruction but also nurtured the tough spirit and culture of the people of Japan’s northerly regions. The Basho Tour also features visits to onsen thermal hot spring resorts, stays in Japanese inns and sumptuous Japanese cuisine.
PRICE: JPY484,000 per person.
This fully guided tour includes local travel; accommodation for 9 nights; 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 8 evening meals, baggage transfers and entrance fees.
Walk Japan Special Offer: Customers joining the Basho Tour tour can receive two different City tours at discounted prices: The Kyoto Tour and The Tokyo Tour .
– 25 September 2016 – 4 October 2016
– 27 September 2016 – 6 October 2016
– 16 October 2016 – 25 October 2016
– 30 October 2016 – 8 November 2016
During Koyo season, leaves of the deciduous trees all turn beautiful hues of turn red, orange, yellow and brown
The Koyo season starts in the northern island of Hokkaido in mid-September and makes it’s way down Japan, reaching Kyushu by late October
The Koyo season lasts around 50 days, some trees around Tokyo and Kyoto remain colourful well into December