Posted on September 12, 2017 within News
Unforgettable Japanese Hot Spring Ryokans
Hot spring ryokan Yagyu no-Sho is one of Japan’s premier inns of high quality and distinction. Yagyu no-Sho presents an unforgettable stay where traditional cuisine, baths, scenery, hospitality, and the beauty of Japanese architecture come together impeccably. With conscientious hospitality as the staff’s guiding light, you will enjoy a truly unique and wonderful Japanese inn experience. Continue Reading Great Ryokans in Japanese Hot Spring Villages
Posted on August 14, 2017 within News
Echigo-Tsumari: A Japanese Great
Experience the incredible Echigo-Tsumari region of Niigata, home to over one hundred fascinating and entertaining modern art installations shown throughout the area’s beautiful 760 square kilometer landscape. Created by both global and Japanese artists, you will love these artworks which you’ll find inside local town centers, in old abandoned schools and throughout Echigo’s ubiquitous rice fields. Continue Reading Japanese Art Tour: The Fascinating Art Field of Echigo-Tsumari
Posted on July 29, 2017 within News
The Best Japanese Castles
National Treasure castle Matsumoto-jo is the oldest six story castle in Japan and one of our favorite sights to visit in the mountains. Its black and white exterior set against the shining backdrop of the Japanese Alps makes for some of the most magnificent historical scenery in the country. Matsumoto-jo ranks as one of Japan’s finest and most authentic surviving samurai castles and it doesn’t take long to see why once you enter. Continue Reading A Guide to Japanese Castles
Posted on April 24, 2017 within News
Hiking in Japan
Yakushima, a mountainous and subtropical island off the southern coast of Kyushu known as “The Alps of the Sea,” offers some of the best hiking in Japan. Yakushima’s quiet, mossy green, primeval forests comprise a vast spread of cedars containing some of the country’s oldest living trees. Continue Reading Experience the Best Hiking in Japan: Yakushima and Kamikochi
Posted on December 30, 2016 within News
For those seeking the best places to ski in Japan, Hokkaido’s Niseko Village and Nagano’s Shiga Kogen offer the top mountain ranges in the country.
With world-class snow, moguls, downhill runs and steeps, skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels find something new at every turn.
Hokkaido’s Mount Yōtei, known as the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido,” and the mountain ranges of Annupuri make up Niseko. Niseko Village is situated inside the Niseko United ski resorts area which features over two thousand acres of ski slopes and an international snow school. Award-winning hotels, fabulous contemporary dining, shopping, and the native arts of Hokkaido and Japan showcased throughout Niseko Village all encompass an extraordinary alpine getaway and make the area ideal for your Japan ski trip. Continue Reading For Powderhounds Japan is the Place to Ski
Posted on October 22, 2016 within News
Luxury travel and lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveler has published their Top 40 Best Cities in the World. Continue Reading Condé Nast Traveler Names Tokyo & Kyoto as World’s Top Two Cities!
(Washington, DC and Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2016)
JapanQuest Journeys has been featured in the newest editions of luxury lifestyle magazines Town & Country and Departures! Continue Reading Luxury Magazines Town & Country and Departures Feature JapanQuest Journeys
Posted on July 27, 2016 within News
We couldn’t wait to share the news: Scott Gilman of JapanQuest Journeys has been named to Wendy Perrin’s 2016 WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts! Continue Reading JapanQuest Journeys’ Scott Gilman Named to Wendy Perrin’s WOW List
Posted on March 14, 2016 within News
The best Japanese fish markets offer exotic and lively offerings of fresh seafood and seasonal local specialties. These busy and fascinating networks of covered streets are lined with hundreds of narrow stalls and two-story shops juggling the chaotic businesses of the nation’s fishermen. Sample locally produced and sourced delicacies while you and fellow tasters observe as buyers and sellers scurry along narrow lanes with small but efficient carts. Continue Reading The Best Japanese Fish Markets’ Exotic and Lively Seafood
Posted on November 20, 2015 within News
The truly astonishing culinary masters of Japan are awash inside cozy restaurants tucked away in neighborhoods as delicate as the dishes they serve.Experiencing the work of world famous Japanese chefs during evening dining at one of these rare establishments will leave an inimitable impression, expanding your palette into a new realm, as you join other food connoisseurs of the world.
Pure excellence and seamless pacing redefine multi-course dining and home-style hospitality. Bite down effortlessly into small portions of Wagyu sirloin, deep fried prawn, steamed fish, tofu, seasonal fruits, and vegetables or perhaps even taste the rare treat of cheese richly incorporated into Japanese cooking. Continue Reading World Famous Japanese Culinary Masters Leave an Inimitable Impression
Posted on October 12, 2015 within News
Enter one of Kyoto’s most divine Zen Buddhist temples as a Buddhist priest, born inside these very grounds, guides you around his picturesque home on a delicate voyage of tranquility and scenic artistry.Unbeknownst to the first-time visitor, you’re moments away from standing “inside” a Zen composition declared a national treasure of Japan.
Posted on September 24, 2015 within News
Travelers to Japan yearn for a naked-eye sighting of one of the planet’s most powerfully sacred mountains.Aboard the Shinkansen between several major destinations, if you keep your eyes scanning the endless landscape, you may just get a clear view of the legendary volcano through the train window. That’s if and only if the heavens above are in a charitable mood that day and the clouds have parted far and wide enough to accommodate your eyes’ desire.
Throughout your otherwise perfect journey in this captivating country you have all but crossed this daunting feat off your checklist. A trip a bit closer to the mountain itself, such as the enchanting town of Hakone, should do the trick. Continue Reading The Perfect Stealth of Mt. Fuji
Posted on May 17, 2015 within News
This article appeared in the Japan Times on May 16, 2015. Scott Gilman, Co-Founder of JapanQuest Journeys, sailed on The World from Otaru to Tokyo.
As the great ship surges into Tokyo Bay I’m on the prow, hair streaming in the wind, like Kate Winslet in “Titanic.” Wooded crags come into view, dotted with buildings and the odd factory chimney. Continue Reading Cruising the Waves of Japan’s Culture by Lesley Downer
Posted on November 20, 2014 within News
Contemplating craft in Yufuin.
Yasuhiro and Ayako Takami sit opposite each other on a small area of floor surrounded by stacks of bamboo leaning against the walls.Both are both soft spoken, gentle, and welcoming. Tungsten light and a range of bamboo hues from golden to amber fill the room with a warm glow. A back door opens to an airy patch of woods. Maple leaves, small and green, rustle in the breeze. Yasuhiro sits cross-legged and casts a large swath of canvas over his lap. He takes a blond segment of dried bamboo culm and with a long and narrow square-tipped blade, deftly begins splitting the bamboo into even-width lengths called higo. Across from him Ayako begins threading reeds together. Continue Reading Inside the Atelier By Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on August 14, 2014 within News
Saratetsu finds its place in the present
Hagiwara Ichizo is enthusiastic. With kind eyes and a jolly demeanor, he wants to show you everything.As the annals of history threaten to bind his work and the work of two fathers before him between their covers, he’d like to educate and encourage us to understand and embrace the beauty of hand dyeing in the Yuzen tradition. Continue Reading A Necessary Revival By Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on July 29, 2014 within News
The freediving traditions of ama
Three days in a row, I call Sakamoto from inland — where the air is still and the sun is warm — seemingly perfect for a boat ride. But thrice in a row, he reports impossible waves. While winter seas are predictably rough and summer seas are even and calm, spring proves the seas are capricious. There are two routes to Minato, a small village where a community of ama (freedivers) still work. One route passes farmed fields carved from dense overgrowth, the other skirts along the edge of blue that stretches toward islands on the horizon. Whether through the mountains or along the sea, both routes are winding and long and converge at Minato.
Posted on July 3, 2014 within News
A budding bonsai artist
On the brink of his twenties, Takuya Shimazu stumbled upon the world of bonsai and quickly dedicated himself to the craft. Largely self-taught, he works outside the vocation’s more staid traditions. His pieces reflect a certain whimsy, and Shimazu’s enthusiasm for bonsai is as apparent as it is infectious. Here is his story …
I planted this little guy from a seedling about eleven years ago. Pine tends to grow vertically straight. I train the young trunks with wire and gently shape them over time. The fibers and the bark adapt to the wire. That’s the crux of bonsai: shaping trees. So in that way, what I’m doing is traditional. But in terms of style, my approach isn’t. My bonsai tend to look lanky or frail compared to traditional bonsai. But in my view, there is no mandate on how bonsai should look. Each tree has its own character. I try to understand that character in order to enhance it. Continue Reading Little Ones by Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on June 5, 2014 within News
A farmer like no other
Sasaki almost quit farming before he’d actually begun. As a young man he worked side by side with his grandfather, growing award-winning produce. Though he liked the work, he was disillusioned with the return. “Among other things, we were growing goya (bitter gourd). They were splendid goya but we received only 5 yen each. Those very same goya would sell in stores for 150 yen,” he says.
Witnessing an agricultural system that rewarded corporate middle men in suits many times over the backbreaking labor of farmers sent Sasaki into a dark well. “I saw the worst side of people in those days,” he says. “I got depressed. I didn’t work, just stayed home, drank, and watched TV.” This went on for six months. “Finally, one day my grandfather brought me a book by Matsushita Konosuke. He said, ‘If you read this and still aren’t motivated, then get out.’” Continue Reading Lone Wolf by Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on May 22, 2014 within News
A portrait of place
Ono is petit. She emerges with a giant umbrella to shield me against the rain. As I thank her for her time and hand her a small cake, her cheeks swell and her eyes are lost to her smile. Ono doesn’t understand why I’m here. “It’s such a run-down house,” she says. I don’t entirely understand it either. But there’s something I can’t shake, something inherently intriguing about this space. I want to explore it more, examine its dark corners, and pass a little time inside its shell. Ono’s home doesn’t fit any category of typically revered architecture or design. Continue Reading Ono’s Home By Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on May 7, 2014 within News
Reintroducing sake to Japan
Daisuke Komatsu’s father insisted that he not succeed the family business. With sake sales falling nationwide, he saw no future in their microbrewery. “He urged me to study, go to a good college, and get a job elsewhere. He thought that was a better plan for me,” says Komatsu.
But soon upon landing employment at a securities firm, Komatsu realized that the life of a salary man was a poor fit. With a strong mind to do what’s right by his own measure, he failed to excel as biddable employee. He envisioned a different path, one in which he held the reins. As he entertained ideas from owning his own bookstore or flower shop to opening a bakery, he remembered a little microbrewery called Komatsu in the countryside of Saga prefecture that was going out of business. Continue Reading The Turnaround by Prairie Stuart-Wolff
Posted on April 15, 2014 within News
Yoshimasa Kwashima always knew he’d end up running the family business. “Probably eighth generation,” he says, guessing at his place in the lineage of tofu-making sons. But before stepping into his father’s shoes, he embarked on a self-imposed exile to the big city, working first as a salaryman. He sought to develop skills unrelated to the family business. “No matter what you end up doing, it’s better to get out and learn something unrelated to get a different perspective,” he says. “That way, you can see your goals more clearly.” Continue Reading Where Taste is Concerned by Prairie Stuart-Wolff
JapanQuest Journeys and its creative itinerary is featured in a recent edition of Unique Travel magazine as a leading bespoke travel company serving high-end clients traveling from Russia to Japan. Click Here For Full Article
Elizabeth Hansen features five of JapanQuest Journeys Luxury Signature Journeys on her blog Authentic Luxury Journeys. A guide to real experiences from a veteran travel writer.
Posted on September 3, 2013 within News
On the narrow back streets of the Ryogoku district of Tokyo, the heart of sumo wrestling in Japan, lie what are known as beya or training stables where sumo champions and aspiring champions alike hone their skills to compete in one of six annual tournaments with the hope of someday being crowned a Yokozuna or Grand Champion.
When not competing in the spotlight of the six annual tournaments held at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the national sumo stadium in Ryogoku or at similar venues in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, sumo wrestlers are up at the crack of dawn practicing in their respective sumo beya.
Posted on July 31, 2013 within News
Whenever in Japan, I find myself obsessed with the cuisine; planning my days, meetings and evenings around finding the very best and eclectic food Japan has to offer. Whether a new restaurant, an old favorite or a one tucked away for few to find, it is an important part of the Japan experience. It’s wonderment for the palette to dine, but the true experience lies in observing the preparation and presentation of Japanese food. Speaking to chefs at small Tokyo restaurants can lead to some interesting discussion such as what are the differences in quality between farm raised fish and wild fish or what is the best type of oil to use to cook tempura? These sorts of mysteries in life are best left to the traveler to discover in the restaurants we can introduce to you.
Ah, so what did a typical 24-hour food discovery look like for me during my most recent journey to Japan? First, I started off in the morning at one of Tokyo’s great bakeries, tasting some of the most delicately prepared and unique pastries you can imagine. Unbeknownst to many, Continue Reading Taste of Japan’s Food Culture
Posted on April 18, 2013 within News
Recently, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days in Kanazawa, one of my favorite cities in Japan. Located on the Sea of Japan coast, Kanazawa was the home of the Maeda lords, daimyo known for their patronage of the arts. Kanazawa retains the beauty and charm of a bygone era where the Maeda’s devotion to the arts permeates the present.
Kenrokuen, one of the finest stroll gardens in Japan, lies at the heart of Kanazawa and no matter how many times I have been there is still as magnificent as when I first laid eyes on it nearly thirty years ago. Whether covered in snow or with radiant blossoms, Kenrokuen is spectacular at any time during the year. From Kenrokuen it is but a short distance to Higashi Chaya, a beautiful area with rows of latticed faced teahouses where geisha have entertained their clients with song and dance for nearly 200 years. Nearby Kenrokuen, is Kanazawa’s former Nagamachi samurai district with its lovely cobblestone streets and earthen walls. Nagamachi is one of the few remaining samurai quarters that exist in Japan today. Continue Reading Kanazawa
(Washington, DC and Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2012)
JapanQuest Journeys is pleased to present its Luxury Hotel and Ryokan Collection. Having traveled extensively throughout Japan for many years, we have developed close and unique relationships with a great many of the country’s finest hotels and ryokans. Our first-hand, insider knowledge at each of these properties enables us to share with you the secrets to creating a truly memorable stay. Continue Reading JapanQuest Journeys Announces the Launch of Its Luxury Hotel and Ryokan Collection
Posted on November 29, 2012 within News
Kurokawa Onsen is a quintessential hot-spring town in central Kyushu, approximately a 90-minute drive from Kumamoto Airport. Having traveled extensively throughout Japan, I can truly say that my visit to Kurokawa was one of my most memorable stays.
What makes Kurokawa Onsen unique is its traditional atmosphere and abundance of nice, traditional ryokan inns. During our visit, we stayed at Noshiyu, which is one of the best-value inns that I have had the pleasure of staying at in Japan. Beautiful architecture, wonderful service and excellent food make it one of my all-time favorites. Continue Reading Kurokawa Onsen
Posted on October 15, 2012 within News
Here I was in Tokyo, the most fabulous city in the world. The summer heat finally abated and it was a delight to explore a few favorite spots and some new ones as well. If you seek a peaceful and spiritual walk in the middle of a big city, there is no better place than Meiji Jingu, a 77-acre oasis assembled in the middle of Tokyo to commemorate Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Listening to the crackling of stones as I step by step approached the shrine was music to my ears. Seeing the colorful Ema or tablets used for wishes is always beautiful to see hanging together as I approached the most sacred part of the shrine. Continue Reading Exploits in Tokyo
Posted on August 1, 2012 within News
Summer in Japan is exciting and magical as the country is enveloped in an array of colors and boisterous sounds. With summertime matsuri or festivals held in virtually every neighborhood throughout the country, the Japanese delight in enjoying themselves absorbed in games, music and traditional dance. Colorful yukata or cotton robes with brilliant patterns are the order of the day and it is a delight to witness a collage of colors as people partake in and enjoy the festivities. No matsuri is complete without fireworks and the scene of yukata-clad onlookers watching in eager anticipation as the night sky is lit up with brilliant colors is beautiful to behold.
Matsuri are a feast not only for the eyes but also for the palette. From carnival type food such as snow cones, cotton candy and candied apples that would make any youngster happy to delicious local specialties such as grilled yakitori or chicken and yakisoba or pan-fried noodles, matsuri offer a multitude of tasty treats that are a delight to try. Continue Reading Summer Festivals in Japan