Inside Travel Group, the parent company of tour operator brands InsideAsia Tours and InsideJapan Tours, has unveiled its latest product developments for 2024 travel. With visitor peak numbers to Japan and other Asian destinations expected to meet and surpass 2019 traveler numbers, 2024 is poised to break records for Inside Travel Group as tourism continues to make a post-pandemic comeback.
What’s New From InsideJapan Tours
New Tours: InsideJapan Tours has increased its Small Group Tour departures by 80 percent to suit traveler demand. In 2024, InsideJapan Tours is launching two new group tours. The 13-night "Autumn Elegance" group tour will focus Japan’s vibrant foliage colors, while the 14-night "Majestic Japan" tour includes high-end accommodations in Tokyo, Kanazawa and a stay at the Kinosaki Onsen, a village comprising rejuvenating hot springs.
Big Hotel Brands Opening in Japan: Aman’s Janu brand is due to open in the Azabudai area of Tokyo in 2024 near the famous Team Lab digital art gallery. In Kyoto, openings scheduled for 2024 include the likes of Shangri-La, Six Senses and Banyan Tree, bringing prominent international brands to the cultural capital. InsideJapan Tours will work with these new luxe openings for travelers looking to stay in Japan’s newest hotels while continuing to integrate accommodations in more intimate and culturally authentic venues such as ryokans.
How to ‘Kyoto’ Without Going to Kyoto: While Japan's mass appeal has led to concerns of over-tourism in Kyoto, numerous alternative destinations throughout the country exude the same enchanting 'Kyoto vibe,' maintaining a sense of tranquility. Just a brief Shinkansen (bullet train) ride west of Tokyo, Kanazawa beckons travelers with its samurai districts, teahouse enclaves and mysterious Geisha culture. In Kanazawa, the historical options are abundant as the city avoided bombardment during World War II, keeping its landmarks and heritage intact. InsideJapan Tours offers a variety of Kanazawa culinary and cultural offerings through Insider Experiences. From learning how to taiko drum and swordsmith to indulging in tea, sake, whiskey and Japan’s cuisine, the many customizable options will take travelers beyond just a few simple cooking classes.
Japan Welcomes a New Bullet Train Line: The new Hokuriku Shinkansen train line is due to open in Spring 2024. The 140-kilometer stretch starts in Kanazawa and continues to Fukui, opening up more cultural treats like the 13th-century temple complex of Eihei-ji and the traditional onsen hot spring town of Kaga Onsen. InsideJapan Tours is planning to include a new itinerary that encapsulates an experience on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line once it opens.
Rejuvenating Rural Japan: Joge, a little town, plays a discreet yet significant role in the brand-new "Hidden Japan" tour. InsideJapan Tours has a close partnership with this small community on the southern mainland, engaging with school students, Kendo groups and local artisans. Local authorities have recently acknowledged InsideJapan's pivotal role in the town's renaissance. Such collaborations extend to countless similar places across Japan, where InsideJapan is actively involved.
Explore the Top of Toyama Via New Routes: The Kurobe Alpine route is a comprehensive transportation network comprising trains, cable cars, funicular rail and buses that navigate the Northern Alps, providing seasonal vistas of Mt. Tateyama. Adding to its allure, the new 18-kilometer Unazuki Canyon route, initially constructed by a power company, is set to be accessible to the public in 2024. InsideJapan Tours will be happy to arrange excursions for any travelers looking to take the Kurobe Alpine route during their InsideJapan Tours itinerary.
For more information about InsideJapan Tours, visit www.insidejapantours.com.
What’s New From InsideAsia Tours
Michelin Guide Lands in Busan: In 2024, the Michelin Food Guide extends its culinary exploration to Busan, South Korea's vibrant second city. This relaxed coastal city has earned a reputation for its gastronomic delights, with a visit to Jagalchi Market—the largest fish market in South Korea—offering just a glimpse of its culinary treasures. InsideAsia Tours has included the eateries deemed worth a Michelin rating into upcoming South Korea itineraries.
Slow Travel — Enjoy South Korea & Japan By Boat: Having been shut down during the pandemic, the Beetle Ferry is back, traveling between Fukuoka in Japan and Busan in South Korea, taking just over three and a half hours to sail between the two countries. InsideJapan and InsideAsia come together to offer a "Taste of Japan & South Korea" cultural adventure, sampling the culinary differences and cultural experiences of these very different places. Additional highlights of this itinerary include a cycling tour through the wood-paneled streets of Takayama, street food sampling through the locally beloved Osaka, and a deep dive into 1,500-year-old observatories and fifth-century tombs at Tumuli Park in Gyeongju.
South Korea — Making K-Waves: The rise of K-pop, K-drama, and Korean culture is converting into the desire to explore this little-known, culturally mysterious country. InsideAsia has a new 12-night "South Korean Wave" cultural adventure combining hanok guest house stays in Jeonju, K-drama locations in Seoul, and a stay in the coastal city and location for the latest BTS album cover of "Gangneung." More highlights of this itinerary include an overnight stay in a frequently filmed-in K-drama house in Jeonju, immersion into K-pop star lifestyle through K-pop dance classes, and exploring South Korea’s largest immersive digital experience, the ARTE Museum.
South Korea: Mountains and Autumn Leaves: South Korea is a country of mountains—in fact, 70 percent of the country is mountainous, which means excellent walking and, in some cases, stunning autumn leaves. Seoraksan National Park and the 5,577-foot Mt. Seoraksan have impressive valleys, temples and a fortress, giving some of the best walking in the country. To hike various national park trails, the "Best of South Korea" itinerary will take one there for two of the 13 days. More highlights of this itinerary include staying in traditional wooden hanok houses in the southern Hahoe mountain village, seeing the UNESCO Heritage Bulguksa temple and Seokguram grotto sites, and ending by taking the 1,864-mile speed train to Seoul for food tours and local cuisine cooking classes.
Laos — A New Era of Travel: Landlocked Laos has generally been considered an add-on to the likes of Vietnam and Cambodia, but after introducing its first-ever passenger train in 2022, it has become its own destination. And, after a lengthy delay, the new Heritage Line luxury cruise finally set sail along the Upper Mekong in late August 2023. 2024 has also been declared "Laos Year of Tourism," promoting traditional regional festivals. The "Luxurious Laos" itinerary takes guests on a 12-day exploration of the country's big hits and hidden gems. Highlights include exploring local food markets and eating authentic sindat barbecue from Day 1, traversing the beautiful mountainscape to reach limestone caves filled with stalagmites and stalactites, and delving into the 120-year-old photography archive at the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center.
Bangkok — A Cleaner and Greener City: To make the city cleaner and greener, Bangkok launched a fleet of electric tuk-tuks earlier this year to accompany the solar-powered boats on the city's canal. InsideAsia has introduced city tours using the cleaner and greener iconic mode of transport.
For more information about InsideAsia Tours, visit www.insideasiatours.com.