This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Japan honeymoon tour on a shoestring
Tsumago, the jewel of the Kiso Valley, was once a post town on the old Nakasendo highway linking the ancient capital of Kyoto with Matsumoto. Today the village is notable for the residents’ efforts to preserve the town’s Edo Period ambiance. Power lines are hidden away and cars banned from the main roads during the daytime so that the beautiful, traditional buildings and flag-stone streets can be seen in their true glory – and that’s why we recommend this destination to our clients.
Small guest houses are family run and are run in tune with their environmental surroundings (along the lines of simplicity and tradition). On this itinerary you’ll stay in a tiny family-run minshuku in the centre of Tsumago run by the ever hospitable Mrs Daikichi. The best way to reach the accommodation is from neighbouring Magome village – from here it’s a three hour walk along the old Nakasendo samurai trail through unspoiled farmland and tea fields. Slowing down to appreciate the Kiso Valley on foot offers an unrivalled insight into everyday life in the Japanese countryside. Full details of the walking trail will be in your complimentary Info-Pack.
Travel is by train and on foot where possible, minimising carbon emissions as much as possible.
Buddhism (and Shintoism) is the backbone of Japanese society and we’re keen to offer our clients the chance to stay in Buddhist temple lodgings on Mount Koya. A great opportunity to put tourist money back into this very special community.
At first glance, the lodgings are very similar to any ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). You'll stay in a private room with sliding fusuma doors and sleep on futon mattresses on tatami-matted floors. Some rooms may have en suite bathrooms, although at most shukubo, communal baths (separated into male and female facilities) are common. Heaters are provided in winter which are essential for mountaintop temple stays.
It's at mealtimes that things get a little different. The included breakfast and dinner are shojin ryori - that's strict vegetarian Buddhist cuisine. Ingredients are fresh and simply dressed, making the most of the subtle, natural flavours of the tofu and vegetables. In the early morning guests are invited to join the monks in a morning meditation service, which typically lasts around 30 minutes. You may also view the temple's cultural treasures, halls and gardens.
Many locally-run businesses, accommodation and restaurants are visited along the way - such as an authentic tea house which not ensures money goes into local pockets but also helps visitors to immerse themselves in and gain an understanding of Japanese culture.
Reviews of Japan honeymoon tour on a shoestring
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 29 Apr 2016 by John Hayes
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Japan is a fascinating and exhilerating place to visit. The cultural differences are marked, and with so many great sights, both traditional and modern, there is so much to see and experience. The people are very welcoming and really do want you to have the best time possible.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Take adavntage of the felxibility offered by the vacation provider but stick with their main ideas/routes. Their experience really helped.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
It definitely felt that the majority of our expenditure was focused on Japanese people and businesses. In terms of the environment, Japan is a challenging place with loads of packaging, and turning down bags offered can seem a little uncomfortable sometimes. But get your own chopsticks and carry your own carry bag. Using public transport is very easy, if a little crowded in some of the interchanges.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Excellent, stunning, huge variety of tastes, sights and experiences. We went budget but it was definitely first class!