Ookini (thank you) to all my fellow travellers in 2016
It's been some time since I wrote to you, but I've been on the road for the past couple of months, so there were few chances to write. This year, I guided 56 people through Japan on six scheduled tours and one private tour. We also organised eleven independent tours for 26 travellers - thank you Jason for looking after them during my travels. Also, a big thank you to all my fellow travellers for joining me.
Oct-Nov tour reports
Late 2016 was a busy time with three great tours been and gone. We were very lucky to have pretty good weather on all of them, and everyone returned home safe and well.
Starting with my Earth & Fire ceramics and art tour, we (above) got to enjoy some great things. Particular highlights were our stay at Yoyokaku Ryokan in Karatsu and also our ceramics experience with Hajime-san in Bizen.
Following that tour, I met with fellow travellers in Osaka for my revised Spirit of Japan walking tour. It now includes five day walks at Koya-san, the Kumano-Kodo and the Nakasendo. The autumn colours on our walk over Torii Pass between Yabuhara and Narai were incredible. A special thank you to Sonia and Craig (pictured walking next column) who joined one of my tours for the second time. Also thank you to my brother, Daisuke, for providing back-up on this tour.
Finally, I ended 2016 with my Autumn Colours tour. It is such a beautiful time of year especially in the country side in the more remote places like Shirakawago and Gero (pictured below).
The year ahead
For 2017, both sakura tours and my walking tour in May sold out quickly. Japan is becoming more and more popular for foreign travellers, and there's a boom going on, especially in places like Kyoto. Fortunately, all my tours in the latter part of 2017 are still available, including my Earth & Fire ceramics and art tour (Oct 3-14), my Spirit of Japan walking tour (Oct 17-30), and my Autumn Colours aesthetic tour (Nov 17-30) pictured below. With just ten spots in each, they can fill at anytime, so please contact me soon if you're interested.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer holiday. I'll be staying in Sydney over new year; it's such a nice place to be at that time, with all the traffic gone. The only thing I'll miss about Japan is nishin soba (below), which is a specialty in Kyoto at this time of year... Ah... Enjoy your Christmas feast everyone!