Newsletter: Autumn 2023
10th Nov 2023
Shikoku: Kochi & Ehime Discovery
The Shikoku: Kochi & Ehime Discovery is the latest addition to our unrivalled roster of immersive tours exploring the length and breadth of Japan.
A fully-guided, seven-day tour, it explores two of Japan’s most bucolic but remotest prefectures. This region exudes elegance and tranquillity, characterised by pristine streams and rivers that meander leisurely through deeply forested mountainous terrain and lush valleys to the coast and the steely-blue Pacific Ocean. Here in numerous small farming and fishing communities set in idyllic countryside, the warmly welcoming locals maintain a timeless and gentle pace of life.
Shikoku has been considered a sacred island for over a thousand years and is famed for its 1,200 kilometre 88-temple Ohenro pilgrimage, the feature of Walk Japan’s Shikoku Temple Pilgrimage tour. The Shikoku: Kochi & Ehime Discovery also includes the theme of pilgrimage with visits to the exquisite Chikurin-ji, the 31st Ohenro temple, and a little-known 12 kilometre mini-pilgrimage set in a rustic valley. It also explores old mountain routes including one that was once vital in transporting sea salt, a precious commodity, to remote communities, and another, the Dappan-no-Michi, following in the daring footsteps of Sakamoto Ryoma. Ryoma is a Japanese hero renowned for his exploits at the end of the samurai-dominated Edo Period (1603-1868) when under pain of death he escaped from his clan in Kochi via Ehime.
Further highlights include Yusuhara, a gorgeously-sited mountain town, where a cluster of buildings designed by world-acclaimed architect Kuma Kengo is found; Ozu, a charming, castle town featuring the captivating Garyu Sanso, a Japanese masterpiece of garden, villa and teahouse; and local culinary delicacies such as katsuo seared bonito fish and myriad varieties of citrus fruit.
For further details please visit our website or contact us.
Walk Japan on Tour Near You 2023
The end of the calendar year means that Walk Japan is on the road again, on Tour Near You. In November and December 2023, we are visiting the UK, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand and delighted to meet anyone who has booked a tour with us, is considering doing so, or is just inquisitive about our company and our tours. Of course, we will also be very happy to meet anyone who joined us previously on tour.
Please click the button below to book your appointment with us. If you cannot find a suitable time, please contact us and we will do our best to make time for you.
British Ambassador Visits Oita
In early August, we were greatly honoured to welcome the British Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom, and her husband Richard Sciver to the Kunisaki Peninsula. We were additionally delighted that they stayed for two nights in our Kawasemi Guesthouse.
After an introduction to the staff at one of our local offices, Julia & Richard were accompanied by our CEO Paul Christie to the Hatchobara geothermal power plant in Kuju and Kuroshima island in Usuki, which are both in Oita Prefecture, and then on to Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture.
Kuroshima is where, in 1600, William Adams, the first British person to arrive in Japan, came ashore, and Hirado is where he died in 1620. Adams became a confidant of the great shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and one of only two Europeans ever to become a samurai.
The British Ambassador joins a growing list of people from Britain, Japan and many other nations making their way to Usuki and Hirado to pay their respects to William Adams and commemorate his legacy. Besides being our CEO, Paul is the President of the William Adams Club.
Community Project Update
At last the next major addition to our Community Project has been realised with the start of our English language academy. Long delayed by the pandemic, our plans to bring tuition in English have finally been realised with the arrival of our teacher, Cara.
Cara, who hails from South Africa, has set up in the classrooms we created over three years ago before any of us had heard of Covid. Here she has been creating curricula focused on the needs of the local school children with an emphasis on ecology and sustainability. Currently, she is holding weekly classes for elementary and junior high school students.
As Cara settles in, we will be expanding tuition to pre-school children and developing courses for our Japanese colleagues who wish to improve their English language skills. In the near future, she is planning to create a permaculture garden with the students and take them on excursions exploring the surrounding beautiful Kunisaki Peninsula countryside and further beyond into the rest of Oita Prefecture.
We were sad to say goodbye to Louis in August, when he successfully completed his six-month internship with us. A recent graduate from film school, Louis joined us on a Turing Scholarship from the UK, creating video materials for our website and social media feeds.
Throughout he has been resident in our Share House, where he established a studio to edit footage shot of the Community Project, our scheduled tours and school trips. Please check out his work on the Walk Japan YouTube Channel, and click here to read about Louis’ experience with us in his own words. To see more of his work, you can also follow him at his YouTube channel here.
For residents of Japan, you might have spotted us recently on the NHK's television show "所さん！事件ですよ" ("Tokoro san! Jiken desu yo!"). NHK filmed our Community Project, visited our great friend Etchan and joined us on one of our Kunisaki and Yufuin Walk tours. The programme is available on demand in Japanese for those with a subscription on NHK+.
David McElhinney interviewed Paul for The Japan Times. They spoke about Paul’s initial attraction to Japan, a life-changing homestay experience, his embrace of rural life, and the path that led him to take on a leadership role at Walk Japan.
Walk Japan Cup 2023
In August, we were delighted to be the primary sponsor for the Sri Lanka Japan Fellowship Association’s annual Japan Nationwide Softball Cricket Tournament held in Beppu, Japan’s onsen hot spring capital.
Our CEO, Paul Christie, presented the trophy and cash prize to the victorious team, which had travelled nearly 1,000 km from Gunma Prefecture near Tokyo to participate. Paul along with a number of our colleagues at Walk Japan are passionate about cricket. So it was a great pleasure to lend our support in Beppu, which follows our sponsorship of the kit for the British Embassy in Japan’s cricket team.
While on a sporting note, Nichole, our IT maestro, is the top female triathlete for her age group in Japan. Currently, she is on a Knights in White Lycra virtual cycle challenge sponsored by Walk Japan. Look out for more on Nichole’s achievements in our next newsletter.
In the World's Press: