March 12, 2012 (Monday) Sakaiminato and Yonago, Tottori
Fly from Haneda Airport to Yonago Airport in the morning. Begin the journey with a sake lecture by John Gauntner and special brewerytour of Chiyomusubi Shuzo, known for their Kitaro label. See thepopular Mizuki Shigeru Road where statues of spooky yet verycomical Gegege no Kitaro characters welcome you. Enjoy Matsuba-gani crab in different styles: BBQ, boiled, and in soup. We'll be just intime to catch the end of the crab season.
Hotel: ANA Yonago Hotel Meals: Dinner
March 13, 2012 (Tuesday) (Tuesday) Yasugi and Matsue, Shimane
Drive through the country side and visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple that served as a spiritual center since the dawn of Buddhism in Japan. Enjoy the tranquil woods and elaborate vegetarian lunchof Shojin Ryori, which originated as monk's food. Then, stroll in the beautiful Japanese gardensof the Adachi Museum of Art and appreciate their collection of Japanese paintings and potteryfrom renowned artists. After transferring to Matsue, visit Matsue Castle, one of the few remainingoriginal castles from Edo period. Enjoy leisure time in the evening.
Hotel: Route-Inn Hotel or equivalent Meals: Breakfast; Shojin Ryori lunch
March 14, 2012 (Wednesday) Matsue, Shimane
Enjoy Matsue: a cultural center surrounded by water. Start the day by visiting Rihaku Shuzo, theproducer of Wandering Poet. After our interview with the brewer at Rihaku, continue the quest on foot and visit a nearby artisanalsoy sauce producer. In the afternoon, learn how tea culturedeveloped; a private tea ceremony will show how people enjoysweets with tea today in this graceful city. Learn the art of "wagashi" sweets making from a local expert. Savory banquet-style dinner served with local sake at a historical Japanese-styleinn that once hosted Lafcadio Hearn.
Hotel: Oohashi-kan (Japanese style inn by Lake Shinjiko)Meals: Breakfast; banquet-style dinner
March 15, 2012 (Thursday) Matsue, Izumo and Yunotsu, Shimane
Enjoy the beautiful city on your own or join the optional tour to one more sake brewery, Toyo noAki. In addition to nihonshu, they brew local traditional cooking ingredients, jidenshu, or sweetcooking sake with a super dose of umami, and prized mirin. Then,wander the Izumo Grand Shrine, one of Japan's most ancient andimportant shrines. A visit to the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumoto browse through the stunning collection of historical discoveriesgives you insight into the prehistoric myth, religion, and history of this ancient crossroads. In the evening, stay at the quaint, tinycoastal onsen town of Yunotsu and enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening.Banquet style dinner and sake are served at the ryokan.
Hotel: Kiunso (Japanese style inn at the heart of Yunotsu Onsen)Meals: Breakfast, banquet style dinner
March 16, 2012 (Friday) ) Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Shimane and Hiroshima
At leisure, explore the town of Yunotsu on foot and tramp alonga rocky coastal beach or visit a pottery studio where you cansee a traditional kiln. Then, visit UNESCO World Heritage Site,Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, where you explore the old miningtown accessible only on foot at leisurely pace. Enjoy a verysimple local home style lunch with the film taken during therestoration work of the 230 year old samurai residence, Abe-ke.A private car takes you JR Hiroshima Station to continue your trip on your own.
Meal: Breakfast, lunch