Once you are well equipped, I suggest you discover three circuits that will allow you to take trails that are less frequented by the many tourists who also come to admire the wonders of Japan. You may have heard of cherry blossoms in the spring, but do you know the glow of maple trees? The Japanese call it “kôyô” (red leaves) and it is of course in autumn that you can admire it. In Japanese, there is also a word for contemplation of this phenomenon: “momijigari”.
To enjoy it, I recommend the Ueno Park in Tokyo, before leaving for the southwest of the country. Hike to the top of Mount Takao in the autumn colours, pass by the Kenrokuen Garden, one of the most sumptuous Japanese gardens in Kanazawa. Continue your itinerary through Kyoto where you will be spoilt for choice to indulge in momijigari.
Miyajima Island, Matsuyama Hot Springs and Takamatsu Park will leave you with unforgettable memories.
The wonders of Kyoto
Always in the spirit of discovering an authentic Japan, I also propose a tour in the western region of the country, the Chugoku. Almost ignored by Western tourists, the region, which seems far from the neon lights and frenzy of Tokyo, has much to offer: splendid sanctuaries in Izumo and Miyajima, an enchanting garden in Okayama and, of course, a passage through the ancient capital, Kyoto.
This circuit even offers you a small but incredible bonus: sand dunes and… a camel ride! Yes, in Japan! And it’s in Tottori, along the west coast that it happens.
Kyushu, the preserved island
Finally, another circuit sheltered from mass tourism: that of Kyushu Island, the large island in the south of the country. On this preserved territory, you will enjoy the local dishes of Fukuoka by stopping at the takeaway stands. You will discover with emotion Nagasaki, a city bombed in 1945 which enhances its heritage and you can canoe in the volcanic gorges of Takachiho. Finally, you will have the opportunity to experience a 50°C black sand bath in Ibusuki; this one is so purifying that it will definitely make you a lover of the Japanese archipelago.