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InsideJapan Tours Debuts ‘Hidden Zen’ Itinerary Along New Bullet Train Route

InsideJapan Tours Debuts ‘Hidden Zen’ Itinerary Along New Bullet Train Route

The latest cultural adventure from InsideJapan Tours, Hidden Zen, has gone live for bookings this week. Offering travelers an insightful self-guided tour product made possible via the recently opened Hokuriku shinkansen line between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, the new Hidden Zen journey from InsideJapan also includes unique accommodations and experiences that have opened post-pandemic.

“The Hidden Zen itinerary is an exciting addition to InsideJapan’s eclectic lineup of tours that transport travelers beneath the surface-level tourism offerings in Japan,” Kate Samuel, Senior Product Manager of Tailormade Experiences at InsideJapan Tours. “The new bullet train line opens up some of these incredible places along Japan’s less-visited West Coast. Whilst still visiting key sights such as Tokyo and Kyoto, this trip aims to offer travelers a quieter side of Japan, rich in authenticity with stays in cultural gems including rural Toyama, the hot spring towns of Kaga Onsen and the ancient temples of Fukui.”

Over the course of 14 nights, the itinerary for Hidden Zen stays in 8 different accommodations, ranging from independent hotels, a historic Machiya rural townhouse, temple lodgings, a traditional ryokan and Rakudo-an, a newly opened luxury converted farmhouse. Each lodging site is an authentic cultural experience, with each property Japanese owned and operated.

“By focusing on locally owned accommodations and engagement with rural communities in the lesser-known areas of Japan, the Hidden Zen itinerary is a great option for return travelers to Japan who likely have not experienced the destinations along the newly opened Hokuriku line” commented Samuel. “Hidden Zen travels along coastal Japan via rice paddies, mountains and bamboo forests and includes an array of cultural experiences including home cooking classes, meeting local crafts people, hot spring bathing and incredible food. This new itinerary from InsideJapan Tours supports a region and people that, despite a lack of damage, has suffered from a lack of tourism after the 2024 New Years Day earthquake. This charming area of Japan is waiting to welcome visitors with open arms.”

The Hidden Zen itinerary is bookable now, starting at USD $7,839 per person for a 14-night, 15-day itinerary. Travelers looking to inquire about InsideJapan’s Hidden Zen tour are able to contact a local travel consultant here:


Hidden Zen Itinerary Overview

Days 1-3: Travelers begin their Hidden Zen Japan journey under the neon glow of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, enjoying skyline views from the metropolitan Hotel Groove by night while taking in Tokyo’s iconic highlights by day, including a visit to the renowned teamLab digital art exhibition where mesmerizing artwork will create a mind-bending experience.
Days 4-7: Following a burst of activity in Tokyo, travelers depart the city via local train for Kamakura, renowned for its iconic giant Buddha at Kotoku-in temple, yet offering a wealth of cultural treasures including temples, shrines reminiscent of Kyoto, serene bamboo forests at Hokokuji temple, and local delicacies to savor on Komachi St, with the added possibility of catching a glimpse of Mount Fuji on the horizon from the seaside. Departing Kamakura, travelers zip past Mount Fuji on the shinkansen to Kyoto to enjoy a private guide-led exploration of hidden city highlights and a home cooking session to taste the city’s famed ‘obanzai’ cuisine.
Day 8: With exploration of Japan’s famed cities complete, travelers depart Kyoto aboard the Hokuriku shinkansen bullet train bound for Fukui, the regional capital, before venturing to the outer reaches of the city to discover the historic Eiheiji temple, a revered center of the Sōtō school of Buddhism since the 13th century, offering accommodation near the complex for leisurely exploration and opportunities to experience Zen meditation and witness early morning prayers.
Day 9: Following a tranquil retreat in Fukui’s countryside, travelers hop back on the shinkansen line to Kaga Onsen, serving as the entry point to a cluster of small onsen hot spring towns like Yamanaka Onsen and Yamashiro Onsen, where they indulge in traditional ryokan-style accommodations featuring evening kaiseki meals made from seasonal ingredients and unwind with a soak in the onsen hot springs before settling into comfortable futon bedding, with opportunities for leisurely walks and exploration of the area’s renowned lacquerware craftsmanship, encouraging a serene appreciation for the simple joys of Japanese onsen towns.
Days 10-11: Continuing along the Hokuriku shinkansen, travelers arrive in Kanazawa, known as the “city of golden marshes” for its production of Japan’s gold leaf, infusing the city with an artistic flair evident in its use in various crafts and cuisine, including the indulgent gold leaf ice cream. With a rich history of geisha and feudal lords, Kanazawa boasts the renowned Kenroku-en Gardens and offers a traditional machiya townhouse stay for an immersive local experience, complemented by a guided introduction to the city on a free day.
Days 12-13: Leaving behind the urban landscape, travelers embark on a unique journey to Rakudo-an, a meticulously restored 120-year-old farmhouse transformed into a boutique inn with just three guest rooms, nestled amidst rice paddies and rural farms in Toyama prefecture. Immersed in the local community, guests are welcomed with a traditional matcha tea ceremony upon check-in and can relax in rooms adorned with crafts from renowned Japanese artisans, featuring spacious decks overlooking the picturesque countryside, offering an exclusive opportunity to engage firsthand with the culture and history of the region in a way few have experienced.
Days 14-15: Concluding a serene retreat in Toyama prefecture, travelers journey back to Tokyo aboard the bullet train’s unique ‘Gran class’ carriage, indulging in First Class luxury before overnighting in the atmospheric district of Asakusa, where they can explore Sensoji temple at their leisure, savoring one last gastronomic adventure in Tokyo’s renowned culinary scene, whether in Michelin-starred establishments or hidden gems in the backstreets, bidding farewell to Japan with hearts and bellies full of unforgettable experiences.

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