Brought to you by Pilot Productions - producers of addictive travel and adventure TV shows that take you to unforgettable destinations around the planet. Globe Trekker is the ultimate intrepid traveller's guide to exploring our wonderful world.

Presenter : Megan McCormick

Central Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha (Fushimi Inari Shrine) is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, the god of rice, sake, and prosperity. "Fushimi" is simply the location, added to the name to distinguish it from other Inari shrines.

Fushimi Inari Taisha (Fushimi Inari Shrine) is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, the god of rice, sake, and prosperity. “Fushimi” is simply the location, added to the name to distinguish it from other Inari shrines.

Starting her journey in Japan’s beautiful former capital Kyoto, Megan McCormick sees a colourful festival celebrating 1200 years of the city’s history, and visits the gorgeous Fushimi Inari Shinto shrine, where she eats barbecued sparrow (which are eaten here as traditionally they’ve been considered an enemy of the harvest for eating rice grains).

In-Kyoto,-at-the-Toei-Movie-Studio-Theme-Park,-which-is-the-cheapest-place-in-Kyoto-where-you-can-get-dressed-up-as-a-GeishaAt Toji Buddhist temple, one of Kyoto’s 13 World Heritage Sites, Megan explores the city’s best flea market, which has a huge variety of traditional items on sale.  After trying Zen meditation with a Buddhist monk, Megan visits the district of Gion, home to most of Kyoto’s few hundred remaining Geisha, where she meets a Geisha apprentice and is then entertained by a group of Geisha at a traditional-style banquet.

Next Megan travels to Japan’s bustling second city Osaka, home to nearly three million people.  In the crowded city, many apartment blocks don’t allow tenants to keep pets – Megan visits a Cat Café, where cat lovers can enjoy chilling out with over 20 different breeds of cat whilst having a coffee.  Osaka’s children are taught traditional Japanese values at an early age – Megan visits Kidzania, a theme park where kids can pretend to work at a huge variety of jobs, including the police and fire service.

After staying overnight at a convenient capsule hotel in Osaka, Megan travels to Iga-Ueno, which for centuries was one of the top strongholds of Japan’s famous Ninja, who were used as mercenaries by feuding warlords during the Era of the Warring States in the C15th & C16th.  After enjoying a popular Ninja tourist show, she takes part in a hilarious knockabout competition that aims to find the best local amateur Ninja.

Moving on to the small town of Sekigahara, Megan visits the site of Japan’s most famous Samurai battle on its anniversary – Samurai re-enactors dressed in traditional armour commemorate the warriors who were killed here in 1600.

Sado-island-is-the-home-of-the-world-famous-traditional-Japanese-drumming-group-KodoTravelling by train through the Japanese Alps, and then by ferry across the Japan Sea, Megan heads to the remote and unspoiled island of Sado.  Here she goes fishing in a bizarre barrel-shaped ‘boat’ that is unique to the island. Bicycling along Sado Island’s beautiful coast, Megan then visits the training centre of the traditional Japanese drumming group Kodo, where apprentices practise daily in the hope of being accepted into the world-famous group.

Finally, Megan travels to Himeji, where she witnesses the highly colourful, dramatic and dangerous Nada Fighting Festival, involving a ‘battle’ between heavy portable shrines carried by local villagers in loincloths, which is a spectacular climax to a fascinating journey.

In Kyoto, at the Toei Movie Studio Theme Park, which is the cheapest place in Kyoto where you can get dressed up as a Geisha.

In Kyoto, at the Toei Movie Studio Theme Park, which is the cheapest place in Kyoto where you can get dressed up as a Geisha.

 

Credits

With Thanks to:

JAPAN NATIONAL TOURIST ORGANISATION

JAPANVISITOR.COM

CHARLES JENKINS

KODO CULTURAL FOUNDATION

KYOTO CONVENTION BUREAU

KYOTO TOURISM

SADO ISLAND TOURISM

ATSUSHI SUGANO

WALK JAPAN

CHIKA YOSHIDA
NORIKO ANSELL

Places Mentioned - Japan

Share the series

Destination Guides

Asia

View Destination Guide

Japan

Asia

View Destination Guide

Kyoto

Japan

View Destination Guide


Articles

Flag of Japan

Study Guide: A Brief History of Japan

The early periods of Japanese history can be divided into four distinct periods. Firstly, the Japanese Paleolithic Period, which lasted several millennia...

Read Article