Impressions of Japan
Our main focus is on the island of Honshu, the historical and cultural heartland of Japan, with three consecutive Imperial capitals, Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. We explore these urban gems in reverse chronological order. But there are also the rural scenes of smaller islands, the villages, the wooden shrines of ancient and medieval times, reflecting with equal intensity the profound character of Japan and its ancient indigenous Shinto beliefs that man must integrate into a respectful harmony with nature. This thought is also very much present in the Japanese version of Buddhism and on the mind of its pilgrims, walking from temple to temple on Shikoku Island.
Temples tucked away in the dense forest of Koya-san, sanctuaries on the mountain top of the Daisen volcano, ceremonial gates, toriis playing with the sea tides at Miyajima. Rugged coastlines of rock and volcanic matter, the pink feast of cherry blossoms during Sakura spring and the fire of the autumn foliage colours which generously cover the mountain slopes: nature rewards the Japanese for their quest of harmony, adding its unique magic to man’s culture, art and his worship of the past to prepare the future. Japan is all of that. And, at the same time, it embodies the sharp contrast between a history of tradition in which time moves only slowly and things change even more slowly, and the flashy, dynamic modernity of the large contemporary cities, boosted by technology and a remarkable collective social consciousness.
Our Impressions of Japan are structured in six chapters for you to discover:
2. The Kansai region : Kyoto
3. The Kansai region : Nara
4. The Kansai region : the Kii Peninsula
5. Shikoku Island and the '88 Temples Pilgrimage'
6. Western Honshu, with Hiroshima, Miyajima, Izumo and Himeji
Before visiting the place of your choice:
At Tottori, just East of Daisen, the coast of the Sea of Japan consists of a range of enormous sand dunes over a length of 10 kilometres, at places stretching 2 kilometres inland. The dunes are formed by sediments which the Sendai River carries to the sea from the inland mountains. Tottori is a very popular destination for local tourism and school trips.