From Tokyo’s bright city lights to Miyazaki’s rural mountains and the gentle sea breeze of Oita’s fertile coast, a visit to Japan offers you a rich opportunity to witness the intertwining cultures of contemporary and traditional ways of life.
Start your journey in the metropolis of Tokyo at teamLab’s Borderless museum. This digitally immersive and interactive space blends science, art, and nature into a dazzling show of lights and perspective that will blur the boundaries between reality and the illusions that surround you. Explore as vivid patterns, colors, and sounds shift from one room to the next in this sensational spectacle.
Photo: teamLab Borderless, Tokyo © teamLab
Head to Nezu, one of Tokyo’s older districts, for a quiet intermission from bustling city life. This charming residential neighborhood retains much of its Showa-era (1926 – 1989) nostalgia, which survived the world wars. Meander through narrow streets lined with cafés, boutiques, and retro shops, or visit the historical Nezu Shrine and its brilliant red torii gates. Head back downtown and spend the night in one of Tokyo’s high-rise hotels for a night view of the capital.
Day 2 Fly from Tokyo to Miyazaki airport, then rent a car and drive to Ayano Farms, family-owned for seven generations. This farmer’s guest house is the perfect way to unwind in the clean, mountainous air of Shiiba village while experiencing a piece of rural life. Spend your day with the farm animals or go straight to work in one of the farming activities, such as harvesting shiitake mushrooms, picking bamboo shoots, or foraging wild vegetables. In the evening, satisfy your hunger with a sumptuously prepared meal of fresh farm ingredients in the friendly company of family members.
Day3 Wake up to the rousing calls of roosters and lend a hand with the morning farm work, such as jarring local honey. In the afternoon, drive to the Shiiba Folk Entertainment Museum, and browse through five stories of folk artifacts, photographs, and video displays of how the Shiiba way of life preserves the village’s rich cultural heritage. From here, you can walk to Tsurutomi Yashiki, an estimated 300-year-old samurai residence built in Shiiba’s unique architectural style. This house is the setting for a story of two star-crossed lovers from opposing samurai clans who once lived here.
In the morning, leave the mountains of Miyazaki behind and head to Saiki’s fishing village in Oita Prefecture. This coastline is known for its rich and abundant marine life, which has supported a thriving community of fishermen for generations. Go fishing off one of the many docks, as curious cats wrap their tails around your ankles, or pick shells along the black sand beach of Motosaru Bay. Spend the night at family-owned Shimizu Marine Guesthouse and feast on Saiki’s rich display of seafood served in every way imaginable.
Get an early start and head to the morning fish auction at Kamae Port. As small fishing boats continue to bring in the day’s fresh catch throughout the morning, seawater tanks fill up with a wide variety of sea life, including Saiki’s famous rainbow-hued scallops. For lunch, walk to the nearby Kamae Roadside Station for another one of Saiki’s freshest local seafood meals.
Hop on the ferry at Kamae Port for a 30-minute ride to Fukashima island. The turquoise-green waters and colorful coral along this remote island’s rugged beaches will make you feel like you’ve stepped onto a tropical island. You’ll also be welcomed by the island’s large cat population, which outnumber the human residents in this cat paradise. Admire the coral as you go snorkeling or enjoy the sea breeze while sea kayaking. Don’t forget to taste the flavors of the island’s locally made miso before you head back to the city.
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