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Travel 2 weeks off the beaten track

Edan

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Dearest helpers and advisers,

My fiancée and I are planning a one month trip to Japan from Sep.15th to October 14th.
We'll be spending the second 2 weeks doing the "must see" path in Honshu (Tokyo-Kyoto-Japan Alps, with some detours) and are looking for advice on the first 2 weeks (Sep. 15-29).

We'd like to go off the beaten path (way off is fine) and visit 2 or 3 places so we can spend some time in each place. At the moment either Kyushu or Shikoku seem like the way to go.

We do not speak Japanese, but we're experienced travelers and had a good experience getting around rural China with Google Translate, hand gestures and the little Chinese we picked up on the way.

As far as preferences, our top priorities are – authentic rural lifestyle, food, nature and relaxation.
In a little more detail:

· We'd like to avoid the touristy areas (we'll have more than enough tourist attractions in the second two weeks) and experience as much of the authentic rural lifestyle as possible.

· Areas with beautiful nature and hiking possibilities would be preferable.

· Spending time in an Onsen town, combining relaxing, bathing and some hiking. Kurokawa Onsen keeps popping up in our searches, any recommendations? We also saw an interesting 4-7 day itinerary that was built as hiking between different Onsens and staying at a different Ryokan or Minshuku every night, can anyone recommend a route or an area where this might be possible?

· Staying at a monastery for a while doing zazen and experiencing the monks' lifestyle.

· Home-stay or farm-stay for a few days is a possibility.

· Beaches aren't off the table, although we'd like to focus on experiencing the local culture.

Budget wise, we're a little flexible but I'd say we're aiming for mid-low range as much as possible and hoping that heading off the beaten path will help keep costs down. Obviously Ryokans will be more expensive, but we'd especially like to find a good Ryokan or two that are enough off the beaten path so that we can afford to spend more time there.

Any thoughts on areas to look in to, activities and specific places to see / stay etc. would be much appreciated. As you can see, we're still completely open to suggestions so if you have any thoughts on anything I mentioned or didn't mention, we'd love to hear.

Sorry for the long post and thanks so much in advance!
Edan.
 

Lothor

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Dearest helpers and advisers,

My fiancée and I are planning a one month trip to Japan from Sep.15th to October 14th.
We'll be spending the second 2 weeks doing the "must see" path in Honshu (Tokyo-Kyoto-Japan Alps, with some detours) and are looking for advice on the first 2 weeks (Sep. 15-29).

We'd like to go off the beaten path (way off is fine) and visit 2 or 3 places so we can spend some time in each place. At the moment either Kyushu or Shikoku seem like the way to go.

We do not speak Japanese, but we're experienced travelers and had a good experience getting around rural China with Google Translate, hand gestures and the little Chinese we picked up on the way.

As far as preferences, our top priorities are – authentic rural lifestyle, food, nature and relaxation.
In a little more detail:

· We'd like to avoid the touristy areas (we'll have more than enough tourist attractions in the second two weeks) and experience as much of the authentic rural lifestyle as possible.

· Areas with beautiful nature and hiking possibilities would be preferable.

· Spending time in an Onsen town, combining relaxing, bathing and some hiking. Kurokawa Onsen keeps popping up in our searches, any recommendations? We also saw an interesting 4-7 day itinerary that was built as hiking between different Onsens and staying at a different Ryokan or Minshuku every night, can anyone recommend a route or an area where this might be possible?

· Staying at a monastery for a while doing zazen and experiencing the monks' lifestyle.

· Home-stay or farm-stay for a few days is a possibility.

· Beaches aren't off the table, although we'd like to focus on experiencing the local culture.

Budget wise, we're a little flexible but I'd say we're aiming for mid-low range as much as possible and hoping that heading off the beaten path will help keep costs down. Obviously Ryokans will be more expensive, but we'd especially like to find a good Ryokan or two that are enough off the beaten path so that we can afford to spend more time there.

Any thoughts on areas to look in to, activities and specific places to see / stay etc. would be much appreciated. As you can see, we're still completely open to suggestions so if you have any thoughts on anything I mentioned or didn't mention, we'd love to hear.

Sorry for the long post and thanks so much in advance!
Edan.

This might be up your street.
Chiiori Trust
Alex Kerr is a long-term resident of Japan and a Japanologist who has written a couple of books on Japan. One of his projects is reinvigorating tourism in rural Japan and he takes volunteers.

Have a good trip.
 

Edan

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This might be up your street.
Chiiori Trust
Alex Kerr is a long-term resident of Japan and a Japanologist who has written a couple of books on Japan. One of his projects is reinvigorating tourism in rural Japan and he takes volunteers.

Have a good trip.

Looks perfect!
Thanks so much.
 

WNJ

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Uncover Japan, run by Mandy Bartok, is an itinerary planner with a lot of experience in rural Japan. She's also a huge fan of Kurokawa onsen. I went with her once, and it is pretty special :) However, with the current earthquake crisis in Kyushu, perhaps she can recommend something in Shikoku instead.

The Chiiori Trust looks fantastic, I didn't know that existed either :)
 
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