What’s funny about Japan – other than pod hotels, vending machines that dispense used underwear and beer milk of course - is the contrasts.
On one hand, you have wilderness, the great outdoors, searing landscapes, and amazing outdoor pursuits. On the other, high rise living, insane technology and one of the most populated cities in the world.
When you mention Japan my first thoughts are generally all about the weird, wonderful and tacky highlights of Tokyo, the crazy skiing and wilderness of Nikko and the beautiful Geisha’s of Kyoto. All three stand out as key to the country.
How can a place so full of contrasts exist? And what should you focus be when you visit?
When we first started taking tours to Japan back in ’85 our focus was on exploring the extraordinary natural wonder the country has to offer. We went skiing for 25 days, cycled for 24 days through the country side, spent two weeks trekking through the Alps and ended a 3 week ski trip with a week in the hot springs. Talk about action adventure holidays!
Peregrine in Japan
Throughout the trips, our focus was on providing traditional, local experiences. Our first brochure states:
"Our trips introduce you to the fast disappearing beauty of Japan’s traditional culture, where ancient Buddhist and Shinto beliefs still dictate the day to day living styles, and show you a Japan few visitors see or know about. We stay in traditional inns, eating local food and enjoying the courtesy and hospitality for which the Japanese are so famous."
Imagine travelling back then! No email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Google maps...no one would have known what you were up to at any given moment, you couldn’t upload photos of yourself about to tuck into the most amazing Bento Box you’ve ever eaten to make your workmates jealous as they tucked into their soggy sandwiches... you had to live in the moment – not worry about what was going on at home.
Past and present
You were free in a way to completely explore your surrounds. When you got home, you had to catch up with friends and family in person to tell them all about your trip – after waiting a week till you got your pictures developed of course! That’s one thing travel lacks these days, the joy of reliving your holiday allll over again once you got your photos developed! Pulling them out of the pack, so excited to see if anything had turned out!
What amazes me about reflecting on Peregrine’s history in Japan is how not much has changed – which is incredible when you consider how different Tokyo in 2012 is from Tokyo in 1985!
We may not spend 25 days as snow bunnies, but our Japan Revealed trip really takes you to the heart of the country. Spending time in Kyoto, catching trains to mountain tops through stunning scenery, reliving history at Hiroshima, getting inner peace at 2000 year old temples... it’s a trip designed to get you back in touch with yourself, why you travel, to explore another culture in depth, to be surprised and amazed at how a country melts the past, into the future.
Best bit – you can post a pic of yourself sipping sake at a rooftop bar in Tokyo overlooking mount Fuji!
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