003 Shirakawa GO and Satoyama culture

  • One day tour
  • Meeting point at JR Takayama station
  • Shirakawa GO
  • -Lunch break-
  • “Shodo” session, Japanese calligraphy lesson
  • Japanese style tea preparation
  • Tea time and brief discussion on Japanese culture
  • Return to JR Takayama station

Japan still remains a place full of mysteries. A culture completely different from ours with an incomprehensible writing system and customs that for many people are exotic. All of that contribute to make it difficult to approach this world, but at the same time makes it fascinating and intriguing.

This tour will help you understand the concept of “Satoyama (里山)“, Japanese mountain village, visiting Shirakawa GO, one of the places that has kept the spirit of ancient Japan. In addition you will be able to experience firsthand some of the typical Japanese costumes such as tea preparation and Japanese calligraphy, Shodo.

First stop, Shirakawa GO!

Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, Shirakawa GO is famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style was developed over many generations and it is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter.

Luch break !

“Gohemochi” Rice cake baked with caramelized with miso.

Second stop, Shodo class !

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles when traveling in Japan is in fact the language that is impossible to read for those who have not studied Japanese. Through this workshop we will discover the link between the Japanese writing system and the art of calligraphy, the Shodo.

During the course you will receive a shikishi, a special rigid paper, and the instructor will explain how to write your favorite ideogram to take home as a souvenir.

Last stop, tea preparation and Japanese culture session

One of the treasures of Japan, green tea.

We have reached the end of our journey. What better way to end our adventure than to taste good Japanese tea? In this session an expert will show you how to prepare Japanese green tea.

Classic Japanese tea set.

During the tea tasting a brief lesson will be held about the fundamentals of Japanese culture.

Many have wondered: why do the Japanese people bow ? Why do they always apologize ? Where does the culture of respect so strong here in Japan and where it came from? This concept is to be found in the indigenous religion of Japan, Shinto. We will explain this and much more to you in our small cultural session, hoping to help you enjoy the rest of your trip to Japan to the fullest.

Finally we will ride the bus and go to TAKAYAMA JR Station

The tour consists of :

  • In the morning we will visit the old village of Shirakawa GO
  • Starting at 14:00 we will take part in a Shodo class, a Japanese calligraphy course.
  • Japanese style tea preparation method will be illustrated. It will then be served with typical local sweets and during the tasting a brief lesson will be held on the basics of Japanese culture.
  • Bus to Takayama station, end of tour

Dutation: one day

Every month if the minimum quota of 8 people is reached. It is possible to book directly in a group. Maximum 15 people.

Program:

8:30 Meeting point JR TAKAYAMA STATION

  • Takayama is easily accessible from JR Kyoto and JR Nagoya stations by using the JR pass with the JR Hida express train or by direct bus from Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya or Osaka for about 7000 yen

10:00 Visit to Shirakawa GO

12 : 30 Lunch break

13: 00 Shodo lesson, Japanese calligraphy class

14: 20 10 minutes of relax and conversation (with interpreter) with the Shodo teacher

14: 30 Tea preparation

15 : 00 Tea tasting and discussion on the foundations of Japanese culture

15 : 30 Return to JR Takayama station, end of tour

Useful items:

  • Water
  • Hat
  • Umbrella
  • Towel
  • Bug repel spry (Summer)

The fee includes:

  • Pick-up service at the station upon arrival
  • Private bus transfers for the duration of the tour
  • MEALS INCLUDED: snacks during tea tasting
  • Hard sheet (shikishi) for writing your own Japanese calligraphy
  • Italian (english speaker) tour leader who supports the japanese staff and will accompany you throughout the tour
  • Japanese calligraphy lesson
  • Tea preparation lesson
  • Discussion on Japanese culture
  • Escort to JR Takayama station at the end of the tour