Find adventure in Japan with Collette

Date published: 13 Nov 18

Enormous Red LanternTo find adventure in a new country is a traveller's dream and my trip to Japan was unlike anything I have ever experienced. This tour allowed me the opportunity to dive in to a culture where experts coordinated everything I needed. Visiting foreign countries can be complicated but it doesn't have to be. When Collette Travel invited me to join the Cultural Treasures of Japan Tour, I wasn't exactly certain that a group tour would be my favorite way to travel. Typically, I either travel with my husband or I travel solo. I am so glad that I let my natural instincts kick in and jumped at the chance to join this group traveling to Japan.

Group travel is the only way to see to Japan and here is why!

Insider Scoop

Truthfully, a tour is a must! This is not because Collette Travel invited me to experience the Cultural Treasures of Japan Tour, but because I can say unequivocally, I could have never planned a trip like this. Even if I researched for weeks and months, there were so many unique opportunities and nuances that were impossible to duplicate.

Golden PavilionEverything was planned to perfection, but there was still a little wiggle room for all of us to meander on our own. No worries, no confusion, all handled seamlessly. Every day was organized, every ticket purchased, every hotel room ready and waiting for us after a long day. A trip to Japan could be daunting because language and culture are perceived barriers for most westerners. But Collette created a tour of Japan that was easy to navigate and such an enjoyable experience!

Expert Commentary

Our tour was most certainly authentic, but it was more than that. Each day’s adventure was personal, intimate and enlightening. Combining Japan's long and unique history with an expert guide can be a powerful duo! Our delightful guide Kazumi was our personal liaison and she made sure that every detail was accomplished and her expert commentating created the perfect travel scenario. We were so well prepared for every day of touring. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning!

Expansive Itinerary

We began in the capital city of Tokyo where the streets are sometimes crowded, but fast and exciting. Move over Sydney, Tokyo has become my new favourite city in the world. That is a tall order, but this city impressed me. A lot. It is sophisticated, elegant, fashionable, delicious, stylish, vibrant, clean and exhilarating. It is a perfect mix of fashion-forward and ancient architecture.

Shibuya CrossingOur tour continued west across the island of Honshu, up and over the grey, jagged, snow topped mountains near Hakone. We stopped in Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO site and strolled through centuries old houses where each roof was thatched and made of three-foot thick pampas grass. We even took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hiroshima. Hold on to your hat because this high- speed train goes 180 mph! Like a ride at Disneyland, but way better! On the tour we climbed high into ancient black castles, wandered through old samurai villages, tasted excellent sake and discovered beautiful rock gardens.

There was just enough of a history lesson to complete the excursions but not too much where we felt like we were in school. The balance was just perfect. Everyone loved it. We learned about hand painting kimono fabric and the gold leaf process in Kanazawa. I even decorated my own bento box with gold leaf!

Japan is for food lovers

Meal with blue dishesEvery meal was so tasty, so delicious and so innovative. But what I loved most about the food of Japan was the creativity. The Japanese chefs can make a bowl of broth and some noodles seem like a feast. We were so fortunate to devour meal after meal of fresh sushi, veggie and shrimp tempura, grilled Hida beef (like Kobe), Yakatori, and MORE!

The presentation of every dish was worthy of applause. The service is kind and doting and we never had to think twice about it. In every small town or big city, we visited a local establishment, sampled the local specialty and engaged with the people there. You could not have asked for a more immersive foodie adventure! 

The people are special

If I had to narrow down my long list of 'loves' of Japan, my top love would have to be the people. They greet you with huge smiles even when we don’t share the same language. Always considerate, bowing to let us pass first, our comfort was important to them. Very often the local people wanted to learn where we were from and we met so many friendly folks every single day!

Suzanne with teensThe Cultural Treasures of Japan tour exceeded every expectation! This insider’s itinerary included so many delights and it was such a treat to experience what every traveller would want to see, but never knew existed. The colors, the beauty, the incredible culinary feasts were all part of my magical adventure in Japan. I will dream of this trip for a very long time and lucky for me I can revisit this tour every time I visit my blog! I hope you will consider moving Japan to the top spot of your 'Adventure List', you will not be disappointed.

More about Suzanne

Suzanne Stavert is the creator of the luxury travel and lifestyle blog, AdventuresofEmptyNesters.com, where she shares her motivating midlife inspiration, illuminating travel stories, as well as where to find the tastiest food from her eclectic restaurant adventures.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Collette.

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