We’ve all dreamed of throwing the towel in and hitting the road.
A RECIPE FOR THE ULTIMATE YEAR AWAY
We’ve all dreamed of throwing the towel in and hitting the road. Increasingly, travelers in their 30s, 40s and 50s are taking extended career breaks to see more of the world, and those in retirement are traveling more than ever. But when it comes to determining the ideal itinerary for a round-the-world jaunt, where do you start? Right here. Follow our guide for the wildest 12 months of your life.
Start your epic adventure by flying into Mumbai, a hectic, exciting explosion of colors and smells.
Spend a few days in the city taking in the extraordinary colonial architecture and enjoying some of the country’s best street food, then head east on a day trip. Discover the palaces and gardens of Pune, where the imposing Sinhagad Fort lords over the city, or sail out to Elephanta Island to visit ancient cave temples.
An ancient pilgrimage trail winds through the mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula, a densely forested region south of Osaka and Kyoto. It is the Kumano Kodo, a sacred passage of immense natural beauty that has been in use since the 10th century and yet is remote enough that it stays off the beaten path.
That is one of the reasons the trek feels otherworldly—you might walk through the woods for an entire day without seeing another person. It is a stark contrast from the crowds of tourists hiking Mount Fuji, nearly 300 miles away.
It’s impossible to forget the Shinto origins of this route when every couple hundred yards is another crumbling stone deity or Oji shrine. From moss-covered stones forming makeshift stairs on the mountainside to wooden bridges smooth with decades of use, not much has changed on the trail. There are early recorded visits to this region by Emperor Uda (907) and Emperor Kazan (986 and 987) but the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage became more broadly popular in the 11th century.
Increasingly, travellers in their 30s, 40s and 50s are taking extended career breaks to see more of the world, and those in retirement are travelling more than ever.
A RECIPE FOR THE ULTIMATE YEAR ABROAD
We’ve all dreamed of throwing the towel in and hitting the road. Increasingly, travelers in their 30s, 40s and 50s are taking extended career breaks to see more of the world, and those in retirement are travelling more than ever. But when it comes to determining the ideal itinerary for a round the world jaunt, where do you start? Right here. Follow our guide for the wildest 12 months of your life.
Start the New Year by flying into Mumbai, a hectic, exciting explosion of colors and smells, and is a seriously adventurous way to begin a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Japan is one of those countries that always calls to me. I’m not sure if it’s the country’s strong culture, iconic cities or beautiful landscapes – I just can’t fully put my finger on it. Whatever the case, our first ever visit to Japan was everything I wanted it to be… and more!
Whether you’re looking to explore the incredible cities of; Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto or travel beyond the larger cities to explore the stunning landscapes that seem to be everywhere across Japan.
Whatever your plans, make sure to see some of these amazing places on your trip. It really is an incredible country to explore.
How to travel
Getting to Japan: Okay, we all get how you’re going to get to Japan. Arrive by plane, boat, multi-coloured unicorn, whatever way you choose, just get there!
“Your eyes should be neither open nor closed,” explained the monk at the front of the room. “They should be sort of sleepy — like a Buddha.” It was my first time meditating, and I was anxious about making some sort of conspicuous misstep. I squinted, then tried to relax my eyelids, but inadvertently began to focus on the bright orange cushion of the person in front of me. I closed my eyes with an inward sigh of exasperation at having such a difficult time following instructions. The monk leading the session told us cheerfully that it might help to rest our vision on the tips of our noses.
I was sitting in the carpeted meditation hall of an 1,100-year-old Buddhist temple in Koyasan, in a mountainous region of southeastern Japan.
A letter regarding Amy Chavez’s Japan Lite column “Blame for ‘bad tourists’ to Japan lies with the advice they never receive.”
I am writing regarding Amy Chavez’s Japan Lite column published online on Aug. 27 (in print Aug. 28) entitled “Blame for ‘bad tourists‘ to Japan lies with the advice they never receive.”
I am a licensed English-speaking guide for the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes of the Kii Mountain Range UNESCO World Heritage site, including Mount Koya and various communities in Wakayama Prefecture.
Let me first say that I agree almost entirely with the article Ms. Chavez wrote.
Have you ever seen those lists that are compiled with titles like “the 10 most popular tourist attractions around the world”? They seem to do the rounds online and in travel magazines or even newspapers – and there tend to be a few places that regularly make the cut for where people want to head to.
You might be wondering what this has to do with Japan – well, no matter if you’ve always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty or Niagara Falls, or maybe Big Ben or the Great Wall of China, you’ll find some pretty incredible alternatives here in Japan. Here are 10 of the world’s most popular tourist spots – with some Japanese counterparts that you might want to pay a visit!
One of Japan’s most remote and rewarding journeys, the Kumano Kodō hiking route weaves through the mountainous Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka. Once a sacred pilgrimage reserved for emperors and samurai, the ‘Kumano Old Road’ is today open to all modern-day seekers and wanderers.
From old road to World Heritage Site
Even before organised religion existed in Japan, locals worshipped nature in the mystical landscape of the Kii Peninsula. Towering trees, the nation’s tallest waterfall, and the mountains in between were themselves considered kami (gods), and a walk among them became a sacred act. Emperors and samurai kept detailed diaries of their pilgrimages here; one of the earliest was by Fujiwara-no-Munetada (1062–1141), an aristocrat who travelled to Kumano in 1109.
The boys club is very much alive, in case there was ever any doubt. Women travel all over the globe solo, in pairs, with a significant other, or a big group – however they want. Yet, there are still places that insist on maintaining a men-only policy. Here are six gorgeous places around the world that still ban women.
Mount Athos, Greece
Mount Athos, actually a mountainous peninsula, is inhabited by an Orthodox community. The Peninsula has a total of 20 monasteries. If you are a non-Orthodox man, you are welcome to visit, but you have your work cut out for you. Mount Athos only allows 10 non-Orthodox visitors per day. These visitors need to obtain a letter of recommendation and write a personal letter outlining their desire to come to Mount Athos in order to get a permit.
“Fleas and lice did bite / And I’d hear the horse pass water / Near my bed at night.” Not the most alluring slogan for a holiday destination, perhaps, but in Japan, this famous line pulls in an estimated 10,000 visitors a year. And the numbers are still growing. Among them can now be counted our group of 12 walkers and guide, Giorgio. We sit cross-legged on traditional tatami straw mats around a crackling wood fire. In front of us hangs a metal cooking pot in which a soupy broth (dashi) bubbles and steams beguilingly.
It was in this very house – in fact, in this very same ancient beamed gallery, if the horse in the corner is anything to go by – that these lines were written by the revered 17th-century haiku master Matsuo Basho.