Arrival at the Ohara Station. Visit the Ohara historical preservation area and have Honjin lunch (warlord’s journey meal) at the birthplace of Miyamoto Musashi followed by iaido demonstration and talk by Trevor Jones.
Visit Tsuyama City. It once flourished as the capital of Mimasaka Province, and is now a quiet and charming castle town. One of the highlights the city has to offer is Kuwagata Keisai’s (1764-1824) painting, “Bird’s-eye View Map of Edo” displayed at the Historical Museum of Tsuyama Region which is situated right at the foot of the castle fortress. The picture gained national attention when its replica was introduced at the Tokyo Sky Tree at the tower’s opening in 2012. The view from the tower exactly matches the map created 200 years ago. From there, 5 minutes’ walk eastwards along the Joto preservation area, once a bustling post station during the Edo period, one can visit the Kajimura Residence, a traditional wealthy merchant’s house and the recently renovated Museum of Western Learning which visually tells the incredible stories of how the local scholars trail-blazed this field of study. Some of the cosy cafes and restaurants are the locals‘ favourites, serving local dishes well worth a try. The best time to visit is when the cherry blossoms literally wrap around the castle fortress and guard tower in early April.
Katsuyama is another former castle town about a one-hour train ride west from Kifu no Sato and was also once a post town along the Izumo Road. The Katsuyama historical preservation area was chosen to be “one of the best 100 stroll streets in Japan” featuring the beautiful “Noren” (shop curtains) made by local dye artist, Yoko Kano.
Immerse yourself in Japanese Culture in Yunogo Town
Kick off the day with Ikebana (flower arrangement) activity with the master at the ryokan. Then you will have the exciting opportunity to cook some simple traditional Japanese dishes with an up-and-coming young chef and enjoy your own culinary creations afterwards! In the afternoon, why not try putting a kimono on and stroll around the town to get a glimpse into the local people’s unpretentious daily life (professional photo taken). Or some of you might like to visit a tea plantation in one of the most scenic and soul-enhancing valleys in the area. There you will have tea with Mr Shimoyama, a dynamic entrepreneur, with whom you can try calligraphy and also a tea denim dyeing workshop. Finally finish the day at one of the local restaurants tucked away in the small alleyways. We would love you to get to know a side of Japan which is less sophisticated and elegant than you might know but earthy and embracing through the flavours of the Japanese home-cooking dishes served at these eateries.