JTB explores off the beaten path

JTB Australia has introduced a series of new experiences for Australian travellers, providing adventures that take guests off the beaten track while providing hands-on activities for a closer insight into Japanese traditions.

Among new options are a series of walking tours offered in conjunction with Oku Japan, available either as a guided itinerary or in self-guided form. They include a five-day self-guided walk along Japan’s Nakasendo Way — an ancient highway winding through the central mountains between Kyoto and Tokyo that can still be followed today.

Travelling along paved village paths and unpaved mountain trails, the route has been used since feudal times and can be explored while staying overnight in local family-run guest houses. A 12-day guided option for small groups includes an English-speaking host and luggage forwarding service, while a five-day self-guided option involves the provision of extensive documentation and photographs for navigation, plus the reassurance of an on-site emergency contact.

Other experiences have been introduced with local operator Beauty of Japan, including a bar-hopping backstreet tour in Tokyo. Visiting locations that foreign visitors seldom see, they provide a chance to sample Japanese food, drink and nightlife while learning a little about the culture.

The operator has also allowed JTB to introduce a new Sumo tour, in which guests can interact with wrestlers and gain insight into their daily life — including a chance to dine on their staple chanko-nabe hot pot.

JTB has operated in Australia for almost 60 years, with a dedicated wholesale team based in Melbourne offering options including cultural tours, Ryokan accommodation, private customised tours, small-group escorted tours, self-drive itineraries and ski packages.

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