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Japan: The Rising Sun, Pre-Pokémon

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui


Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

See all 25 trips >>

Go Active
Next fall Wilderness Travel tries its hand at time travel. The outfitter's 13-day trip to Shikoku, the archipelago's fourth largest island, will crisscross rural roads in search of Japan before the Harajuku Girls and the wild tangle of Tokyo. Shikoku, with its hidden valleys and striking inland sea, is the ideal region to experience on foot, says Wilderness Travel's Barbara Banks. You'll explore Shikoku's Iya Valley, which was thrust into the spotlight by Australian author Alex Kerr in his 1994 book, Lost Japan (he is the first foreigner to win Japan's prestigious Shincho Gakugei Literature Prize); the area is considered one of Japan's three hidden regions. Spend time among the thatch-roof farmhouses, monasteries, and fishing villages. A safe haven for the Heike Clan during civil wars in the 12th century, Iya's tall peaks and deep gorges are today home to tiny hamlets where residents struggle to preserve traditional ways despite increasing economic pressure to move to the cities. There are reminders of a bygone Japan everywhere: Four of the country's only remaining castles hark back to the samurai era, and Shikoku's 88 Sacred Temples have famously drawn pilgrims for a thousand years.

Vitals

Outfitter: Wilderness Travel (www.wildernesstravel.com)

Price: $4,550

Length: 13 days

Departs: October

Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

See all 25 trips >>

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