BEAUTY OF JAPAN

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Category Hiking/Mountain| Gourmet
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Region Hokkaido| Tohoku| Kanto| Chubu
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Explore Historical Kitakata with local experiences and homestay: 2 days guided tour

2016.07.06

Introduction

■History
Kitakata, a small town located in Tohoku, northern Honshu is home to one of Japan's Three Greatest Ramen noodles, Kitakata ramen. With roughly 120 ramen shops in town, Kitakata has the highest ramen shop-per-person ratio in all of Japan and known as ramen town. In Kitakata, you can eat ramen any time of the day. Some shops even open from 7am for Asa Rah, a unique custom of the region - "Morning ramen" or "Ramen for breakfast".

Besides the ramen noodles, Kitakata is also well known for KURA, traditional storehouse style buildings and is nicknames as KURA no Machi - "town of KURA". Kitakata has long been known as centre of sake (rice wine) brewery and miso (soy bean paste) production. KURA, able to maintain stable temperature and humidity throughout a year, were built to store and preserve the products.
When the Great Fire of Kitakata broke out in 1880, only KURA survived the fire and many of buildings were built by KURA style afterwards. At present day in Kitakata, there are over 4,000 KURA built all over the town - from main streets to back alleys, the largest number of KURA in Japan and many of them still in use.
On this tour, you have the privileges to visit inside of these KURA with your English-speaking guide. You will see a variety of KURA during the tour - from saka gura (KURA for sake brewery), shonin yashiki (KURA used as living quarter by merchant) and jozo moto (KURA for soy source brewery).

■Highlights
- Enjoy authentic Kitakata ramen, one of Japan's Three Greatest ramen noodles.
- Stroll around the town of Kitakata and discover and experience its history and culture - you will find picturesque KURA around you.
- Get close with Japanese local life through the homestaying and farming experience.


■Sample itinerary
----Day 1-----
11:20AM Meet a guide at Kitakata Station (About 90 minutes train ride from JR Koriyama station.)
- This tour is also available on bicycles.

Lunch
- Enjoy Kitakata ramen noodle, or local gourmet cooked from locally grown products at a restaurant with traditional atmosphere.

Visit kura yashiki
- Visit kura yashiki (KURA used as living quarter) of successful merchants who built fortune by various business such as silk-reeling, soy bean paste production and soy source brewery. Enjoy one of the largest and most splendid KURA in Kitakata.

Visit sembei specialty store
- Try and experience sembei (rice cracker) making. With over 100 years of history, you will see sembei grilled over charcoal one by one by hand at the store.

Visit unique KURA style temple
- In Kitakata, you will find even temple is KURA style. The main hall of the temple was re-constructed by KURA style after it was destroyed by the Great Fire of Kitakata. It is not easy to find such temple in other parts of Japan.

Take a break at wagashi sweets shop
- Relax and enjoy wagashi sweets of yokan (jellied dessert made of adzuki bean paste), manju (steamed bun) and many others at a shop build by KURA style with irori, sunken floor hearth.

Visit saka gura from Edo-period
- Sip, taste and learn about the marvels of sake brewery at one of saka gura with over 200 years of history.

Visit shoyu gura
- This shoyu gura, KURA used as soy source brewery, is made of persimmon trees and bricks. Many of KURA in Kitakata are soil lacquered and only privileged merchants were able to build such KURA with their fortune. If you are lucky, you may get to taste their soy source.

Visit shikki store
- Handmade by craftsperson, admire beauty of Aizu shikki, lacquer ware painted with region's original techniques. You can also create your own -paint furin (wind-bell), hand mirror, chop sticks or uchiwa (fan) with one of Aizu shikki technique called maki-e.
* Tour schedule may change should you wish to try maki-e."

Tour finished at 5:30pm, 5:30PM-6:00PM Head to accommodation place

6:00PM Check-in
- You will stay at Minshuku run by local farming family - Japanese style inn.
- You will have a chance to sleep on the tatami mats

-----Day 2-----
7:30AM Breakfast
9:00AM-12:30PM Cultural experience / Lunch
*End time might be varied between 11:30AM and 1:30PM depends on your requested experience.
Get close Japanese local life unique experience with local people.

Selectable cultural experience:
-Stroll in Oguni-numa Pond with local guide:
You will stroll the beautiful wetlands of Fukushima best in the mountains where about 280 species of alpine plants bloom in a year

-Vegetable harvest and cooking experience:
Harvest a lot of Japanese vegetables with local famer and cook local Japanese foods on your own.

-Making Soba noodle experience:
The professional Soba chef will kindly teaches you A to Z of making Soba noodle.

*Pricing: please inquire us.

Tour Detail

Tour Style
Available language: English
*English-speaking guide is available on first day only.
Group Size
Min. 1 person
Max. 6 persons
Duration
2 days
Destination
What's Included
- Guide (1st day)
- Admission fee to facilities
- Accommodation
- Dinner
- Lunch on the second day
What's not Included
- Transportation fee to/from meeting point
- Lunch on the first day
- Beverage
Tour Tips
Booking process
1. Please contact us for availability and pricing through ‘BOOK IT’ button below.
2. We will check the availability and come back to you within 1 business day.
3. Payment request will be sent.
4. Reservation will be confirmed upon payment is received. Confirmation e-mail will be sent to you.

Payment method: Paypal, wire transfer, and bitcoin
*Payment needs to be made in advance

Cancellation Policy
Reservations may be cancelled without a charge up to 8 days prior to the program date.
Reservations cancelled less than 3 days before the program date will incur the following charges:
- Between 7 days and 3 day: 30% of the program charge
- Between 2 days and 1 day: 80% of the program charge
- Less than a day or no show: 100% of the program charge
*Time in JST