The company commenced its bespoke tours of Japan as study trips run by two Hong Kong University academics, Tom Stanley and Richard Irving, for students of Japanese history and Japanese social geography more than twenty years ago.
Today it runs a range of scheduled tours for a maximum of 12 people with a tour leader, and additionally private custom tours of beautiful and interesting areas of Japan, throughout the four seasons.
Highlights Paul Christie, Managing Director, “We believe the authentic experiences Walk Japan offers, taking guests on guided walks taking in fascinating cities and also along historic and interesting routes through various regions, hold tremendous appeal for travellers in the Australian and New Zealand markets.”
Walk Japan experiences include Summer Nakasendo Way, an 8-day, 7-night tour highlighting the journey along one of Japan’s ancient highways, the Nakasendo. This starts in Nagoya and takes in the beautiful Kaida Plateau, finishing in Matsumoto, a delightful regional city dominated by its castle, a Japanese National Treasure. Firstly, it explores the central, mountainous section of the Nakasendo Way, a highway that started in Kyoto and finishes in Tokyo. In the seventeenth century, the Nakasendo was crowded with travellers, including feudal lords, samurai, itinerant merchants and pilgrims, nowadays it provides a delightful path through scenic countryside. This is a walking tour and not a trek, with an average walking distance 10 to 16 kilometres, and also forward transport available for those wishing for a more relaxed day. This tour expresses the essence of Walk Japan tours, with accommodation in traditional inns and a hotel, and the opportunity to be immersed in the local culture and countryside with a knowledgeable guide.
The Basho Tour: Narrow road to the North available in spring and autumn, provides a unique, authentic 10-day, 9-night experience which follows the footsteps of 17th century Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694), and is named after his most famous poetic travelogue. From and sparkling metropolis of Tokyo, the journey is through the Tohoku region, along the rugged Sea of Japan coast, continuing on to the old capital of Kyoto. Walking is along quiet country lanes, forest trails and mountain footpaths and easily manageable for regular walkers. Like the poet, travellers will have the opportunity to draw inspiration from some of the greatest scenery to be found in Japan including Matsushima, one of the classic Three Views of Japan, and the beautiful gardens found at Hiraizumi and Kenroku-en. This tour once more spotlights local experiences such as stays in Japanese inns and a Shinto shrine lodgings, and also the superb Japanese cuisine from the old capital of Kyoto.
Another tour provides an in-depth look at the Kumano Kodo one of only two pilgrimage routes included by UNESCO in its World Heritage list, travelling through a thousand years of Buddhist history on Japan’s beautiful Kii Peninsula that connects these historic sites. This is captured in Walk Japan’s, 9-day, 8-night Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage operated in spring, autumn and winter, between the modern, vibrant city of Osaka, the mountain temple community of Koyasan and the Japanese Imperial shrine at Ise.
Also fascinating, the Kunisaki Trek, a 10-day, 9-night tour commencing in Fukuoka and finishing in Yufin, follows the footsteps of monks who have walked through the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula for more than a thousand years. Designed for experienced trekkers this offers exhilarating walking in spring and autumn, through sleepy hamlets, verdant forests and over towering cliffs passing many stone Buddha statues, and caves where monks once sheltered. As with all Walk Japan tours, guests will be immersed in Japanese culture of the past and present, enjoy Japanese cooking at its best, and will also be able to luxuriate in hot springs every night of the Kunisaki Trek.
For winter lovers, the Snow Country Trek winds through Japan’s snow region, which records some of the heaviest falls in the world. Embarking from Tokyo, guests explore a winter wonderland over 6-nights and 7-days that can only be accessed using snowshoes. Highlights include a a spectacular shinto shrine complex, stays in charming farming villages located in deep valleys; all set against a breathtaking backdrop of remote winter landscapes. Of particular interest for nature enthusiasts is a night walk through a beech forest. The itinerary concludes in the wintery haven of Nagano, famed for hosting the Winter Olympics.
The complete selection of Walk Japan tours may be viewed at walkjapan.com