Satoyama Route, Gifu Tour

NEXT SEASON WORK IN PROGRESS ! NEXT PROGRAMS FROM OCTOBER 2019

Program

  • 3 days tour
  • Visit to the village of Higashi-Shirakawa: rice and tea fields
  • Japanese style tea preparation
  • Visit to the ancient city of Takayama
  • Class of “Shodo” Japanese calligraphy 
  • Visit to the shrine of Kanda with Shinto ritual
  • Visit to Inuyama Castle

Visit Takayama, Higashi-Shirakawa and Inuyama, some of the most fascinating places in the heart of Gifu Prefecture. Take a walk on the streets of ancient Japanese villages, taste the flavor of local cuisine and admire the landscapes surrounding the rice and tea fields. Learn about the culture of “Satoyama”, literally “mountain village”.

Higashi – Shirakawa is a small village surrounded by mountains.


Along with wood manifacturing the economy is based mainly on rice and tea cultivation.

But why are rice cultivation and nature care so important to the Japanese people? Although it is extremely common in Japan to find Buddhist temples along with Shito shrines, Higashi Shirakwa is one of the few places in Japan where the only religion is Shinto. More than a religion, it would be more correct to define Shinto as a way of life. There is a “Kami” (divinity) in everything that exists in nature. Man living in nature himself must respect this Kami and protect the place where he resides. In return the divinity will return to him the products of the earth, in the case of natural divinities, or protection, good luck and so on. It is from Shinto that the concept of respect, so strong here in Japan, derives.

In the beginning of Japanese civilization it was no other than the emperor, descendant of Amaterasu founding deity of Japan, to originate the tradition of rice cultivation. Everyone was required to cultivate it, it was not an exclusive task of the peasants. According to the myth the thought of the emperor was that if each of us cultivates rice everyone will be able to eat and there will be no conflict. In this way it will be possible to build a solid nation.

From sowing to harvesting everything is done without using any machinery or chemical fertilizers, making it one of the most iconic of Japan.

The Shirakawa River, symbol of the village.

Over the millennia the settlements of the Earth’s crust have given life to the Shirakawa river and its big brother, into which it flows, the Hida river. The steep rocks and the untouched nature represent one of the treasures of the prefecture of Gifu.

In Spring the landscape is enriched by beautiful Cherry Trees, the symbol of spring In Japan.

Tasting good green tea is a perfect way to relax here, in the land of the Rising Sun.


Even better when you have the chance to taste a local product!

Takayama, located in Hida, a region in the north of the Gifu prefecture, is a pulsing city full of life. “木 の 文化” (Ki no Bunka) wood culture is the key word when visiting Takayama. Since the ancient era of Nara (710 AD), wood carving techniques have been improved in this city surrounded by mountains. It is not uncommon to find, in places such as Kyoto, structures or wooden statues made in Takayama.

The city of Takayama, famous throughout Japan for its wood crafts, hosts Takayama’s “matsuri” twice a year, during spring and autumn. A local festival to thank the gods for the arrival of spring and autumn. The symbol of the festival is the wooden cart “Yatai”, pride of the artisans of Takayama.

The city’s economy has always been focused on trading, guaranteeing its citizens considerable wealth over the centuries. The main attraction is certainly the old city (市内-shinai) almost unchanged since Edo period (1603-1868).

The castle of Inuyama
(1440). It is the oldest castle in Japan and one of the four designated national treasures and UNESCO heritage sites


We will visit the rural village of Higashi – Shirakawa, Takayama and Inuyama.

Although the meeting point is indicated on the program, we will provide detailed information on how to reach us when you book the tour.

DURATION: 3 days / 2 nights

DEPARTURES: Every month from March to November. Minimum 8* people, maximum 15

* It is possible to book in smaller numbers, but in this case a special plan fee will be prepared as the tour price is based on a group of 8-15 participants

Program:

First day

11: 00 Arrival at JR Mino-Ōta Station (美濃太田駅 Mino-Ōta-eki)
*The station is easy to reach from JR Kyoto and JR Nagoya stations using the JR pass

12:00 After meeting at the station we will have lunch

13: 00 check-in

14: 00 demonstration of Japanese style tea preparation

14: 20 tea tasting

15: 00 visit to the rice and tea fields. Depending on the season a working experience on the rice fields will be possible. It is not obligatory 

17: 30 dinner at the local restaurant based on “key chan”, method of preparing the traditional chicken of the prefecture of Gifu

19: 00 return to hotel / cottage / ryokan – free time

Second day

07: 00 breakfast

08: 00 Departure towards Takayama

10: 00 Visit to the ancient district of Takayama

13: 00 course of “Shodo” Japanese calligraphy

15: 00 free time in Takayama

17: 00 dinner with beef from Hida, renowned meat of the prefecture

18: 30 departure from Takayama

20: 30 return to the tree / cottage / ryokan – free time

Third day

07: 00 breakfast

09: 30 check-out

10: 00 visit to the sanctuary of Kanda. After the visit we will see an authentic Shinto ceremony

12: 00 Arrival at Inuyama and lunch

13: 00 Visit to the castle of Inuyama

15: 00 departure for Nagoya station

16:00 Arrival at Nagoya Central Station, end of tour

Useful items to bring:

  • water
  • Hat
  • Towel
  • Repellent spray for insects etc. (Summer)
  • Comfortable working clothes, if willing to try the rice camp working experience

The rate includes:

  • Pick-Up service at the station upon arrival
  • Travel by private bus for the duration of the tour
  • MEALS INCLUDED: 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • 2 Overnight stays in ryokan/cottage in Higashi-Shirakawa
  • Italian (english speaker) tour leader who supports the japanese staff and will accompany you throughout the tour
  • Japanese calligraphy lesson
  • Shinto ritual at the sanctuary
  • Guided tour of the rice and tea fields of Higashi-Shirakawa
  • Escort to Nagoya station at the end of the tour