Days 1 to 3
Kampo Herbal Medicines, and Kaiseki Cuisine -- Experience the Wisdom of Traditional Beauty and Health
On the first day of your journey, you will experience kampo traditional Japanese medicines, and kaiseki cuisine. Start by heading to the Nihondo Kampo Boutique, where you can learn about the ancient ideas of kampo, which borrows from nature to keep people healthy through food. The idea behind kampo -- that the ingredients themselves lead to good health -- is still spreading in Japan.
After you have experienced a variety of kampo, make your way to Todoroki Valley, the only valley in all of Tokyo's 23 wards, and truly a spot that can be called an oasis in the city. Despite its location in Tokyo near a train station, Todoroki Valley is enveloped in greenery that allows visitors to forget around their daily life and refresh their body and mind. In addition to walking along the promenades, having a picnic on the grassy areas is one of the park's attractions.
The next location you will visit is Happo-en, which was a residence for a daimyo lord and their hatamoto vassals during the Edo era and which has an expansive Japanese garden on the premises. Enjoy kaiseki cuisine in the restaurant while gazing out onto the garden, with all of the kaiseki meals being made with the care and attention for the health and happiness of each and every customer.
Nihondo Kampo Boutique
The Nihondo Kampo Boutique Aoyama is a beauty and health kampo
specialty store. The store building contains a gallery where you can easily learn about kampo
through panel displays, a boutique where you can consult about kampo
and purchase products, and a restaurant where you can enjoy medicinal dishes that use Japanese and Chinese ingredients. The idea behind kampo
has been passed down since ancient times, and you will learn about how kampo
borrows from nature to keep people healthy through food. Becoming familiar with kampo
and medicinal foods will give you a new perspective on health and wellness.
20 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Todoroki Valley is the only valley in all of Tokyo's 23 wards, and should definitely be visited if you want to enjoy nature in Tokyo. Spring water flows forth from multiple places within the park, forming a wetland. If you listen to the murmuring of the springs and water while strolling along the promenade that follows the Yazawa River as it flows through Todoroki Valley, then you will nearly forget that you are still within Tokyo. Enveloped by greenery, you will be able to refresh both your body and mind. The highlights of the park are the red Golf-bashi Bridge and the shoin
-style building. You can have a picnic on the grassy areas or can take a break at the shoin
-style building while looking out at a Japanese garden.
20 minutes by train (non-JR lines)
Happo-en has vast grounds that cover almost 10 acres, including a Japanese garden for walking that is centered around a beautiful pond. Happo-en shows the beauty of the four changing seasons, and during the Edo era it was a residence for a daimyo
lord and their hatamoto
vassals. The garden is also dotted with historic buildings and sites, such as the Kahoan
teahouse and the Bonsai Road that displays numerous bonsai
trees, some of which are more than 500 years old. Happo-en is open to the public as a wedding hall and as a restaurant. At the restaurant, while looking out at the Japanese garden, you can enjoy beautiful kaiseki
cuisine that uses seasonal ingredients. If you are coming to Japan, then make sure you experience kaiseki
cuisine. Restaurant guests may freely walk around the garden.
30 minutes by bus
65 minutes by train (JR)
25 minutes by train (non-JR lines)
15 minutes by bus
Days 4 to 7
Cleansing Your Mind with Zen Meditation and Hot Springs.
Move on to Fukui Prefecture to visit Eiheiji Temple (Soto Zen), which had two stars bestowed upon it by the Michelin Green Guide Japan. Monks in training live and practice zen at Eiheiji temple, where you can view the ceiling paintings and experience zazen meditation, and at the shops in the town near the temple you can also experience authentic Buddhist vegetarian cuisine.
On the following day, you will travel to Yamanaka Onsen,which is one of Hokuriku's most well-known hot springs, and is connected to famed haiku master Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694). Hot springs also feature in Basho's travel diary Oku no Hosomichi ("The Narrow Road to the Deep North").
After washing away any fatigue by slowly soaking in the hot springs, which are said to be the hot springs that Basho also soaked in, enjoy having your fill of fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan. Yamanaka Onsen also has many walking spots and there are plenty of attractions other than the hot springs. Visiting the galleries and cafes in the area is also recommended.
Soto Zen Daihonzan Eiheiji Temple
Eiheiji temple is the head temple for Soto Zen and had two stars bestowed upon it by the Michelin Green Guide Japan. Built in 1244, Eiheiji temple still serves as a place in which monks in training called unsui
live while practicing zen
, and a dignified air suffuses the temple. Must-see locations within the temple grounds include the Rurishobokaku
treasure hall and the Sanshokaku
(also called the "Room of Painted Ceilings"), where 230 Japanese-style paintings are spread out along the ceilings. At the temple you can also experience zazen
meditation, and in the town near the temple you can enjoy Buddhist vegetarian food and search for souvenirs. Admission fees are ¥500 for adults, ¥200 for elementary and junior high school students, ¥200 for individuals who present a disability certificate, and free for preschoolers. A separate donation is required for the zen
15 minutes by car
25 minutes by train (non-JR lines)
25 minutes by train (JR)
30 minutes by bus
Yamanaka Onsen is one of the hot spring towns with a distinctive traditional atmosphere that Hokuriku is most well-known for. It has a long history, and it is said that it was discovered by Gyoki, a high-ranking Buddhist priest, approximately 1,300 years ago. Yamanaka Onsen is also connected to famed haiku
(a form of traditional Japanese poetry) master Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694) and makes an appearance in his famous travel diary Oku no Hosomichi
("The Narrow Road to the Deep North"). There are numerous walking spots, such as the promenade along the Daishoji River and the Yuge Kaido shopping street that runs through the town, and there are also plenty of attractions to visit, such as galleries and cafes. Even though Yamanaka Onsen is located in the lush mountains, the Sea of Japan is located nearby, so visitors can enjoy fresh seafood delivered from Hashitate fishing port.
30 minutes by bus
50 minutes by train (JR)
JR Hokuriku Shinkansen
45 minutes by car
Days 8 to 11
Refresh via Waterfall Meditation! Recommended Spots in Toyama
Toyama is the place you will visit at the conclusion of this "Journey to be Reborn, Physically and Mentally, through Traditional Food and Experiences." First, you will go to Oiwasan Nissekiji temple, a mountain worship temple that was founded in the year 725.
Magaibutsu (Buddha figure(s) carved into a cliff or natural rock face) are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties, and the magaibutsu at Oiwasan Nissekiji temple, due to its size and beauty, is one of the best in Japan. Additionally, if you make a reservation, then you can refresh your mind and body through a waterfall meditation experience.
Toyama's somen, thin noodles made from wheat flour, are famous, so take a moment and enjoy them together with river fish and wild plants at a restaurant near the temple's gate. At the Ikedaya Yasubei Shoten kampo store, you can learn about Toyama's kusuri-uri medicine sellers, a tradition which has been passed down since the Edo era, and at the store's restaurant you can enjoy medicinal foods that are made with Japanese kampo.
Generation after generation of the store's managers have been experts of kampo traditional Japanese medicine, and during the tour the current manager will explain in detail kampo's past and present. Kampo remedies can also be bought as a souvenir.
Then, by the end of the trip, you will feel refreshed and renewed in both body and mind.
Oiwasan Nissekiji Temple
Oiwasan Nissekiji temple is a mountain worship temple that is said to have been built in the year 725. The temple's main object of worship, the Oiwa Nisseki Magaibutsu
, is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property, and consists of five figures, including the 3.1m-high Fudo myo-o
statue, the Nidoji
statue, which is believed to have been carved in the late Heian era, and the Amidanyorai
statue that is enshrined as Tateyama's deity. Within the temple grounds there are numerous attractions such as the Three Story Pagoda and the Sanmon
Gate, and anyone can experience waterfall meditation in the winter at Roppon
Waterfalls (reservation required). The cold water rushing over you can strengthen your body and mind. Oiwasan is famous for somen
thin noodles made from wheat flour. In addition to the somen
noodles, you also enjoy river fish and wild plants in the shops near the temple's gate.
45 minutes by car
Ikedaya Yasubei Shoten Kampo Store
Toyama Prefecture is famous for its Toyama no kusuri-uri
pharmaceutical venders (individuals in the Edo era who went out from Toyama, delivering and selling medicines to households nationwide). Ikedaya Yasubei Shoten kampo
store is a place where you can experience the culture of Toyama no kusuri-uri
, which have been liked nationwide since the Edo era. You can try making medicine tablets using a manual manufacturing machine that was used in the past, or you can also get order-made kampo
prescribed in the traditional way. Hangontan
, which was introduced in the middle of the Edo era and is now sold as a stomach medicine, is famous as a medicine that represents Toyama and can be purchased here. Additionally, there are unique and must-see souvenirs such as candy in hangontan
packages. At the restaurant on the second floor you can enjoy medicinal dishes that use traditional Japanese kampo
"A Journey to be Reborn, Physically and Mentally, through Traditional Food and Experiences" introduced a course of travel that takes you from the heart of Tokyo to Hokuriku. Travel time is required for some portions of this journey, so taking at least eight days will allow for a leisurely journey.
Example transportation have been provided for reference, but walking around and exploring in the areas near the spots introduced in this journey as the mood takes you is also recommended.
*The information provided here is as of March 2022.
*Transportation information does not include the number of transfers or transfer time.
*Admission fees may be charged depending on the spot/facility. For the latest information on business hours, days when spots/facilities are regularly closed, and prices, etc., please check the official website for each spot/facility or check directly with the spot/facility.