The New Golden Route is to Be Experienced

Don't just look, experience Japan with all your senses!

Featured    - 7 min read

To truly appreciate the Hokuriku area, you can’t just look—you have to jump in and experience the rich culture of the area for yourself. With a huge number of ways to explore the terrain, learn ancient traditions, and live as a local at your disposal, the only challenge is deciding what you want to do. Join us as we learn artisanal crafts, master the culinary skills to make Japanese washoku cuisine any time, and get our pulse racing through a selection of exciting activities.

Hozugawa River Boat Ride in Kyoto

Set sail on a river cruise with a difference as you voyage the 16 kilometers of water that take you from the mountain valleys of Kameoka to the historic town of Arashiyama. At times tranquil, at others thrilling, the river ride is brought to life by your kinetic crew who will see you safely through the rapids!

Sado Island Taiko Centre in Niigata

Learn from a Kodo taiko drumming master as you go from tentative taps to taking on a full-size drum with all your might. Nothing compares to the colossal boom of the taiko drum at your own hands, and, once you have started, you won’t want to stop. The remote island setting sets you free from inhibition as you get into the rhythm, and your ears and arms will be reverberating long after you have left.

Inami Wood Carving at Kurokamian and Nomura Wood Sculpting Studio in Toyama

The historic town of Inami is responsible for a huge amount of the traditional wood carving that you will see throughout Japan. See for yourself the handcrafted artisanal chiseled method that was developed to produce the intricate reliefs panels in the local Zuisenji Temple before picking up the tools and having a go yourself. You can quickly fashion a basic item and leave with your own complete example of the craft the same day.

Gold Leaf Studio Sakuda in Ishikawa

Gold leaf work is one of the principle artisanal crafts of Kanazawa, turning up in everything from simple lacquerware to the hallowed interiors of Japanese temples. You, too, can try your hand at this most luxurious craft using stunning gold leaf. You might be surprised how simple, yet satisfying, it is to make an object of great beauty to be treasured.

Lodging at Shirakawa-go Village in Gifu

Shirakawa-go Village is one of the few UNESCO sites that you can actually stay in. And while the thatched cottages are rustic in style, there are flashes of modernity to ensure your comfort. Enjoy dinner by the hearth before stepping out and taking in crystal-clear, starry skies completely devoid of artificial light.

Yakatabune by Edomaekisen in Tokyo

Set sail on a traditional pleasure boat on Tokyo Bay with drinks flowing and a hot plate in front of you. You can cook either okonomiyaki (savory pancakes) or monja (pan-fried batter) as you sail along. And don’t worry if you haven’t cooked either—the staff are on hand to make sure you do the delicious food justice.

Sayama Tea-picking at Miyanoen in Saitama

Green tea might be ubiquitous in Japan, but a true mastery of the various flavors, varieties, and brewing methods can only come from following the journey from shrub to powder to teapot. Dive into the meditative picking process before taking your harvest all the way to a fine powder, which you can take home to share your handiwork with your friends and family.

Shima Lake Canoeing by Lakewalk in Gunma

Nothing puts you in touch with lake scenery quite like viewing it from the low vantage point of a canoe as you effortlessly glide across the waters. The lake’s mysterious waters can change color several times in one day, depending on the weather and time of day, leaving a unique impression not to be forgotten!

Cycling by Maibara Cycle Station in Shiga

The vast Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, can be viewed from innumerable points in Shiga Prefecture. But there is nothing quite like taking to its shores via bike and cycling along its perimeter. Bikes and other equipment can be conveniently rented at Maibara Cycle Station, located in JR Maibara Station.

Soba-making Experience at Echizen Soba Village in Fukui

Learn the art of making delicious soba noodles in the hub of the soba industry in Echizen. Your chef will take you from kneading the buckwheat to rolling it out wafer thin, and then finally cutting it into strips using the distinctive soba kiri Japanese knife. Once your noodles have been cut, it is off to the kitchen where you can eat your own handiwork right away!

Hot Air Balloon by Hakuba Lion Adventure in Nagano

Flying isn’t just for the birds! View Hakuba’s natural beauty from 30 meters up in a hot air balloon! Short tours depart at the crack of dawn, allowing you to experience the magic of an early-morning 5-minute mooring flight over the majestic Japanese Alps during what is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit.

Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Osaka

Ferris wheels hold a timeless appeal, and the Tempozan Ferris Wheel is popular with Osaka locals and visitors alike. Soaring 112.5 meters at its highest point, the wheel affords spectacular views of the city of Osaka and far beyond during the 15-minute ride. The wheel is beautifully lit up at night using the latest digital tech for an experience like no other!

For more information on rail passes, routes, and everything you need to plan your Hokuriku adventure, please visit the Explore Japan website below.

Explore Japan Official Website

Visit the official Hokuriku Arch Pass website here:

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Sleiman Azizi a year ago
Sado Island is a gem. Can't wait to get back there.