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  • Writer's picturekemiwells

Japan's Seto Inland Sea Region

Have you heard about this amazing part of Japan? The region offers a mix of art, culture, and history and is so picturesque. We always fully customize trips for our clients- but sometimes it's nice to get some inspiration from a sample itinerary with highlights we think you should not miss. This includes:

  • A visit to Rakuto-game, for a pottery workshop with local artisans

  • Foodie tours where you can try 3 local experiences. These include very local standing bars, sake tasting and izakaya where you can enjoy local ingredients

  • Experience a zen meditation with a monk at Shinsho-ji temple in Onomichi

  • Take a revjuvenating soak in Dogo Onsen, Japan's most famous hot spring

  • Immersive visits to living art museums reflecting the incredibly diverse scene in Setouchi, including the Benesse House and Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum

  • Bullet train journeys, island hopping and stays in authentic, stylish ryokans

We wanted to share a suggested itinerary idea for a 8 days/7 nights journey, which is a perfect amount of time to explore the region. You would enjoy private guides and transfers, but the day to day will be fully tailored to your interests.

Day 1: Osaka

This is the start point for your adventure. Upon arrivalat Kansai International Airport, you will be met by an English speaking assistant at airport meeting point. Then, you will be transferred to your hotel by private vehicle. If you have the energy, we suggest a half-day private tour and intro to the city. Of course, if you want to fly into Tokyo or Kyoto we can also plan an itinerary for those regions.

Hotel We Love: Ritz Carlton Osaka

(Plus you get Virtuoso amenities here, so think complimentary breakfast, room upgrade, resort credit and more!)

Day 2: Himeji-Awajishima Island

On this day, we will take you to Awajishima Island. En-route to the island, swing by Himeji Castle. Himeji is also well-known as Sake brewing and you will visit local Sake Brewery in Nada district. After visiting the brewery, you can stop at Honpukuji Suigodo Temple in Awajishima Island which is designed by Tadao Ando. Honpukuji is known as the "Water Temple" for reasons that become obvious when you see it.

Hotel We Love: Amahara on Awaji Island. Especially their rooms with an ocean view open-air bath!

Day 3: Awajishima Island-Takamatsu

Next step is heading to Takamatsu, by private transfer. Must see visits include Ritusrin Park. It. Other highlights we suggest is the Noguchi Isamu Garden Museum where your private guide can ensure you learn a lot more about the history and traditions. The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum Japan is the fulfillment of Noguchi's wish that his former studio in Mure be an extension of his museum in New York, that it be a place to inspire artists and scholars.

Hotel We Love: Auberge de Oishi in Takamatsu

Day 4: Takamatsu-Naoshima

Today, you will dive into face of art in Setouchi inland sea. Your private guide will take you to Naoshima and Teshima island by ferry. Benesse Art Site Naoshima is a collective name for the art activities conducted by Benesse Holdings and the Fukutake Foundation on Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima. We suggest visiting Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, Benesse House Museum and Teshima Art Museum in the islands.

Day 5: Takamatsu-Dogo Onsen

Next stop is Matsumaya, which you can reach by express train from Takamatsu station. The main attraction of the day is Dogo Onsen. Dogo Onsen is one of Japan's oldest and most famous hot springs, located to the east of central Matsuyama. The area is popular with tourists for its beautiful bath house and many ryokan. You will stay in traditional Japanese traditional "Omotenashi" Ryokan for the evening.

Hotel We Love: Dogo Yamatoyabesso. They have beautiful rooms with a private open-air bath!

Day 6: Dogo Onsen-Hiroshima-Onomichi

Today you will head to Hiroshima, en-route you will swing by Onomichi and drive by famous cycling route Shimanami Kaido. In Onomichi, you will visit Senkoji Temple. It is famous as scenic view from the open stage. You can see many islands beauty in Setouchi inland sea.

Hotel We Love: Sekitei in Hiroshima

Day 7: Hiroshima-Osaka

Today we suggest a full day Hiroshima highlight tour with your private guide and driver. Suggested highlights include visiting: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island . When youa re ready, you will transfer to Osaka via bullet train.

Hotel We Love: Conrad Osaka

(Plus you get Virtuoso amenities here, so think complimentary breakfast, room upgrade, resort credit and more!)

Day 8: If you're limited on time, this could be your departure day, or if you have more time to explore Japan we would love to plan a custom itinerary for other parts of this awe-inspiring country.

We love Japan and would love to help you plan a future trip there. Fully customized, tailored to your interests. We hope you enjoyed reading this sample of what we can create for your own epic vacation!

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