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Travel Japan: Five Ways to Reboot Your Body and Soul

This month, Japan is taking its first steps to open its borders, allowing foreign residents, business travellers and foreign students to officially return to the country. While tourists might have to wait a little longer to get over for a holiday, there’s no reason you can’t start planning your trip now. 

When it comes to future holidays, many of us are looking to regain a sense of wellbeing that was lost over the last two years of the pandemic. From the mindful art of kintsugi to the nourishing activity of forest bathing and monk guided meditations, Japan offers some truly transformative travel ideas.

Try your hand at Kutani ceramic painting

Craft activities like pottery are known for their stress-relieving benefits. At the Kutani Kosen Kiln in Kanazawa, you can give the Japanese art of pottery a try. The studio gives you the chance to experience the ancient craft, and play with traditional paints and pigments. With the freedom to design your own masterpiece, the studio will bake your pottery for you and send it back to your home address. 

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Get over a break up at Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple

Travel to the north-western region of the Nara prefecture, where you will find the famed Shigisan Chogosonshi-Ji Temple. Known as a place to recover from heartbreak, many heartbroken travellers travel to the temple for one of the purifying sessions that helps fasten the process. Other worshippers from around Japan may visit to pray for business-related success and other personal hopes and dreams. Make sure you stay overnight in a traditional Buddhist temple lodging, known as a shakudo.

The art of forest bathing

The Japanese art of forest bathing has recently caught on in the west. But why not go back to where it all started and experience the traditional ecotherapy activity for yourself. Head to the town of Yoshino in the Nara prefecture for a renowned Shinrin-yoku walk. The guided meditative excursion will take you through the sacred Japanese forest and give you the chance to reconnect with the natural world. 

Try the Kintsugi technique

The meditative art of Kintsugi is the act of repairing broken pottery with a special lacquer that’s dusted in gold, silver or platinum. The art is closely related to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi which embraces flaws and imperfections. Don’t miss the Asano store in the Higashi Chaya District for an interactive course on the art of Kintsugi and the chance to try the technique for yourself.

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Experience a fire ceremony with the monks of Nagano

Make a pilgrimage to one of Japan’s oldest temples and take part in a traditional fire ceremony. Also known as a Goma prayer, the fire ceremony is led by the monks at Zenko-Ji Temple in Nagano. The cleansing ceremony is a traditional Buddhist practise that helps rid us of our worldly desires. The ceremony is conducted in the peaceful Daikanjin compound of Zenko-Ji and gives you a fascinating insight into Japanese culture, with an added cleansing bonus.

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Read about our favourite luxury accomodation in Japan while you’re here.

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