Capture the feeling of serenity through Japan’s most sacred path, the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. Walk the famous trail to explore the holy sanctuaries, such as the Ise Jingu Grand Shrine, with stunning views through bamboo and Japanese cypress forests. This journey will introduce you to the fascinating culture and history of the ancient capital of Kyoto. Zen meditation sessions with monks will help you find your inner peace, and in the evenings relax in either luxurious or tranquil, simple surroundings.
• Hiking: Embark on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage along Japan’s ancient and sacred pilgrimage trail network - the only pilgrimage routes besides the Camino de Santiago to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Temples: Spiritual stops along the way include Kokedera (Moss Temple), Tenryuji Temple and Ise Jingu Grand Shrine, the latter being one of the most significant destinations for pilgrims, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu.
• Meditation: Meet with monks to ease your mind and soul through a private zen meditation session.
Arrive in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan. Transfer to the temple, settle in and enjoy the peace and silence until your private zen meditation with a monk. After your mind and soul are eased from all the anxiety and stress, relish the delicacies of the traditional Buddhist temple cuisine, shojin ryori.
Begin the day with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony alongside the temple’s monks. Next, you will travel to Kokedera, also known as Moss Temple, and discover its spectacular garden. Continue to Tenryuji temple, which is, as well as Kokedera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Follow with a visit to the Ryoan-ji temple, one of the finest Japanese rock gardens in the world. Later walk among the endless green bamboo stalks in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Finish your day in eastern Kyoto visiting the Sanjusangendo Temple.
Drive one hour to a true historic treasure Nara, where you will stay in a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) after stopping en route to visit the Fushimi-Inari shrine. Next, explore the Isui-en Garden and continue to Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most important sanctuary. Take a peek at Daibutsu, the Great Buddha in the main hall of the Todaiji temple, before finishing your day with a pleasant walk in the Nara Koen Park.
Travel one hour to the sacred mountains of Mount Koya. During the day, discover the Danjo-Garan temple complex and the Kong?bu-ji - the Temple of the Diamond Mountain. You’ll learn about culture and religion in the Reihokan Museum before an afternoon walk through the Okunoin, Japan’s most famous and sacred cemetery and pilgrimage spot. At night, you will stay the Soji-in temple, where you can enjoy the shojin ryori with the monks.
Rise early to meditate and pray with the monks. After a vegetarian breakfast, depart Mt. Koya and drive 2 hours to the Kumano region. Don your hiking shoes and prepare to walk the holy Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail. The approximately four-and-a-half mile and three-hour long hike starts at Hosshinmon-oji, the "gate of awakening of the aspiration to enlightenment" and ends at the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, the main shrine of the three Grand Shrines. Time-permitting, visit the Kumano Kodo Centre which exhibits objects and docments related to the Kumano Kodo history and culture. Dine and relax at the Kawayu Onsen Fujiya hotel in the evening, which has a natural hotspring in front of its property.
Today the pilgrimage journey continues on to two holy sanctuaries. You will reach the first one, Kumano Hayatama Taisha with its 800-year-old sacred tree after a forty-minute drive along the Kumano-gawa River - a UNESCO World Heritage Site; if you wish, you can take a boat journey, the way pilgrims have done traditionally, instead of driving. Then it’s onto your next sacred destination, Kumano Nachi Taisha and the 436-foot high Nachi-no-Taki waterfall - you can either hike the sacred trail or drive directly to the top. You will spend the night in Hotel Nakanoshima, a hot-spring resort on an isolated island, located in Katsuura an hour from the shrine.
Today’s three-mile hike through the Matsumoto Toge Pass, the final part of the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route, will take two-to-three hours. You will pass by the statue of Jizo, and Lion Rock (Shishi-iwa). Next, you’ll explore Japan’s oldest majestic shrine, the Hana-No-Iwaya Shrine. At the end of the day, rest and relax in a local hotel in Owase city.
Take a morning walk through the Owase Fish Market to the charming Owase Hinoki forest before your four-and-a-half mile trek along the Magose-toge Pass, which is a part of the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route. During the route, you will come across the Yonaki Jizo shrine, and later the Magose-fudoson next to a waterfall. Drive onward through Mie prefecture to get to Shima where you will spend a night of luxury at the hotel Amanemu.
Spend the day exploring the Ise-Shima, also called Shima peninsula. First stop is an extensive shrine complex, the Ise Jingu, an iconic destination for pilgrims. Its two most significant buildings are Geku (the Outer Shrine) and Naiku (the Inner Shrine). In the afternoon, admire the ama divers, “the sea women”, free-diving the depths of the sea to collect pearls, before you enjoy a delightful lunch on the Mikimoto Island. Return to your luxury hotel and relax on the final night of your journey.
Following a relaxing morning and check out, you’ll be transferred to Nagoya Airport where you will can connect to a flight to Narita or Osaka International Airports for your flight onward.
The highly anticipated Aman Kyoto brings an even higher level of luxury to the historic and cultural ancient capital. A blend of authentic, traditional ryokan hospitality and contemporary spaces, the Aman Kyoto offers travelers a respite in the heart of one of Japan's most visited cities. The secluded 80-acre property is situated in a hidden garden close to the Golden Pavilion at the foot of the Mountain of Hidari Daimonji, within easy reach of Kyoto's impressive collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Scattered among the grounds is a series of standalone pavilions. The four guest pavilions house 24 guest rooms (choose between garden or stream views) and a pair of two-bedroom villas overlooking the forest canopy. Each room captures a contemporary, minimalistic style with nod to the quintessential ryokan feel; walls of windows bringing the outside in to spacious, light-filled interiors. Facilities include separate Arrival, Living and Spa pavilions. The signature restaurant, Taka-An, showcases Japanese haute cuisine in the form of the kaiseki banquet - a multi-course dining experience made using the season’s finest local produce. The Living Pavilion offers an inviting spaces with a central fireplace for guests to enjoy home-cooked Kyoto obanzai-style cuisine and afternoon tea. The Spa Pavilion’s onsen bathing facilities use water from a local spring and the range of treatments highlight local, natural ingredients such as green tea, black beans, sake and cold-pressed camellia oil.
Hidden away in the sacred Kasugayama Primeval Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Tsukihi-tei Ryokan offers a taste of Japan’s traditional roots in serene surroundings. The small inn has only five guest rooms, outfitted with traditional tatami mats, low tables and futon mattresses. The ryokan offers Michelin-class kaiseki meals, based on a seasonal menu.
Nestled amongst a lush landscape overlooking the Ota River and a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Hongu Taisha Shinto shrine, the Fujiya Onsen Hotel is an ideal location to stay while enjoying the local natural splendor and the neighboring Kawayu Hot Spring. The hotel's 31 suites and rooms are furnished with inviting balconies and feature simple Japanese designs with futons, tatami mats, and chabudai dining tables. Guestrooms are also equipped with flat-screen televisions, mini fridges, electric kettles, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The on-site gender-segregated bathhouses have indoor and outdoor pools with natural spring water. Parking is complimentary, as are breakfast and dinner which is served in banquet halls or private dining rooms.
On a rugged island surrounded on all sides by an azure sea rests Hotel Nakanoshima, a modern hot spring hotel complex with opulent rooms that feature breathtaking views of the bay and ample opportunity for relaxation. The spacious rooms are furnished with futons and tatami mats and include modern amenities such as minibars, flat screen televisions, and free Wi-Fi. Fresh, hot spring water invites guests at the hotel’s indoor and outdoor bathhouses, many of which afford spectacular ocean views. Breakfast and dinner are included with one’s stay and are served in-room or at the various on-site dining rooms. There is also a seasonal outdoor pool and beach access available for guests. Additionally, the hotel's location conveniently provides access to such tourist sites as the "Kumano Kodo" world heritage sites of Nachisan and Kumano Sanzan.
On the island of Honshu, the Kii Peninsula in the southwest is home to Ise-Shima National Park, with its rolling hills covered in lush green forests. Amanemu perches atop a hill overlooking the crystal blue waters of Ago Bay, also known as the Bay of Pearls with its islets and diving boats. Dotted throughout the park and within easy reach of the resort are sacred sites including shrines to deities of clothing, food, shelter and the sun. A hot spring sanctuary, the healing waters upon which Amanemu is built feed the private onsens in each suite and villa. Guests can relax in their own personal sanctuary or undertake further therapies, including a traditional watsu treatment, in the wellness center. Additionally, guests’ health is further augmented with the fresh, seasonal produce, expertly prepared in the hotel restaurant.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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You are invited to Remote Lands’ signature Aman Jet Expeditions, in partnership with our friends at Aman. These are small group journeys designed for people who usually travel independently.