Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
Bike around the country
Our Rural Discovery Independent Tour will introduce you to rural Japan and her people while staying with a Japanese family. Of course you will see some amazing sights but the point is to sit down and talk with Japanese people, learn how Japanese live, and experience something beyond traditional sightseeing. Our rural home-stay tour will give you stories that you will remember long after your photos have faded.
As with all of our Independent tours, changes can be made to this tour depending on your requirements.
Open - Independent Tour
Per Person prices starting at US$ 2,740~ double occupancy for two travelers
7 days, 6 nights
You will be met at Kansai International Airport, Itami Airport or Shin-Osaka by a member of our staff who will take you to your first destination and hotel. In Kameoka you will be guided by your host family. Also detailed materials as well as support from our experts in Japan will be available for this independent tour.
Home-Stay in Kameoka
Train, car, and on foot.
Participants should be at least 12 years old. Everyone younger than 20 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
Your airport pick up will meet you at Kansai International Airport (assuming your flight arrives after 8:00am and before 21:30) and will take to your hotel in Osaka by public transportation. They will give you an orientation, hand you your transportation tickets, give you your rental pocket internet device, check you into your hotel, and answer any of your questions. You will be on your own for dinner but your airport pick up will make a few suggestions. Osaka is huge city with down to Earth people who are very proud of their cuisine, most notably okonomiyaki (a pancake-based dish containing vegetables, meat, and/or seafood), takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and udon noodles. These dishes are not fancy but are like the people of Osaka, friendly and open. The train from Kansai Airport to Namba Station in Osaka will take about 45 minutes.
Today you will take a train to Kyoto and then to the rural town of Kameoka. You will meet your guide/host at Kameoka Station who will take you to your home for the next 2 nights. This quaint rural town is located on the other side of the mountains that surround Kyoto but is a world away. You will stay in your guides home and they will show you around their neighborhood before settling in for the evening dinner and conversation. If the weather is nice you may consider an evening stroll before heading to bed. The train from Namba Station in Osaka to Kameoka Station will take about 1 hour.
Today you will start your in depth exploration of Kameoka along with your guide/host. Here the possibilities are endless: you can explore Kameoka by bicycle or on foot and also learn about Japanese cooking, flower arrangement, pottery, and much, much more. If you are interested your guide may introduce you to some of their artisan friends which will further expand your understanding of Japan. For lunch (not included) you will stop in a local restaurant that tourists could ever find. In the evening you will head back to your host’s home for dinner. This is really the best way to experience Japan.
Today you will cross the mountains and head to Kyoto, formerly the imperial capital of Japan. If you are traveling in Japan during the warmer months you may consider taking a traditional boat ride from Kameoka to the Arashiyama area of Kyoto. These boat are expertly guided down the river much as they were during the Edo Period. While in Arashiyama you will take a stroll with your private guide through Kyoto’s famous bamboo forest before exploring other areas of this amazing city. For accommodations you can chose from a ryokan inn, machiya townhouse or hotel. The trip from Kameoka to Arashiyama by train take only 15 minutes.
Today you will have free time to explore though your guide from day 4 and your tour organizer will give you plenty of options. Kyoto is where the traditional 'high arts' flourished. Numerous temples and shrines are located throughout the city and walking along canals, next to traditional wooden houses and through the small streets really gives you an idea of the ancient Japanese imperial culture. Let us know if you would like to join a tea ceremony, calligraphy class, flower arranging class, cooking class, geisha makeover or any other class or activity and we will make these arrangements.
Nara is located near Kyoto and was the imperial capital from 710 until 784 before it was moved to Heijo-kyo (Kyoto). During this period, a large number of shrines and temples were erected under the protection of the imperial family and aristocrats. However, the monks in the surrounding hills started ro gain too much influence and eventually tried to seize power from the Shinto emperor. It was decided to move the capital to Heian-kyo, nowadays known as Kyoto. Many of the temples built at the height of Nara power, like the Todaiji and Horyuji temples, are currently registered as World Heritage Sites. Both Japanese and foreign tourists visit the city to see these temples, to walk among the free-roaming deer of Nara park or to visit some of the beautiful scenic mountains surrounding the city. You will return to Kyoto for the evening. The train from Kyoto Station to Nara Station will take about 45 minutes.
Today will be your last day in Japan and your last chance for sightseeing and shopping. You will take a train from Kyoto Station to Kansai Airport following the directions in your tour organizer.