InsideJapan Debuts “Hidden Zen” Itinerary Along Bullet Train Route

InsideJapan Tours has opened bookings for “Hidden Zen,” its newest cultural adventure. Offering travelers an insightful self-guided tour product made possible via the recently opened Hokuriku shinkansen line between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, the new itinerary also includes unique accommodations and experiences that have opened post-pandemic.

Over 14 nights, the itinerary for “Hidden Zen” stays in eight accommodations, ranging from independent hotels, a historic machiya rural townhouse, temple lodgings, a traditional ryokan and Rakudo-an, a newly opened luxury converted farmhouse.

“Hidden Zen” Itinerary Overview

Days 1-3 – Travelers begin their journey in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, enjoying skyline views from the metropolitan Hotel Groove by night while taking in Tokyo’s iconic highlights by day, including a visit to the teamLab digital art exhibition.

InsideJapan Tours_Kamakura_Giant Buddha Statue_Kotoku-in temple
Giant Buddha statue, Kotoku-in temple, Kamakura (InsideJapan Tours)

Days 4-7 – Travelers depart Tokyo via local train for Kamakura, renowned for its giant Buddha at Kotoku-in temple, serene bamboo forests at Hokokuji Temple, and local delicacies to savor on Komachi Street, with the added possibility of catching a glimpse of Mount Fuji on the horizon from the seaside. Departing Kamakura, travelers zip past Mount Fuji on the shinkansen to Kyoto to enjoy a private guide-led exploration of hidden city highlights and a home cooking session to taste the city’s obanzai cuisine.

Day 8 – Travelers depart Kyoto aboard the Hokuriku shinkansen bullet train bound for Fukui, the regional capital, before venturing to the outer reaches of the city to discover the historic Eiheiji temple, a center of the Sōtō school of Buddhism since the 13th century, offering accommodation near the complex for exploration and opportunities to experience Zen meditation and witness early morning prayers.

Day 9 – Following a tranquil retreat in Fukui’s countryside, travelers hop back on the shinkansen line to Kaga Onsen, serving as the entry point to a cluster of small onsen hot spring towns includng Yamanaka Onsen and Yamashiro Onsen, where they stay in traditional ryokan-style accommodations with evening kaiseki meals made from seasonal ingredients and unwind with a soak in the onsen hot springs with opportunities for leisurely walks and exploration of the area’s lacquerware craftsmanship.

InsideJapan Tours_Yamanaka Onsen
Yamanaka Onsen (InsideJapan Tours)

Days 10-11 – Continuing along the Hokuriku shinkansen, travelers arrive in Kanazawa, known as the “City of Golden Marshes” for its production of Japan’s gold leaf, infusing the city with an artistic flair evident in its use in various crafts and cuisine, including the gold leaf ice cream. With a rich history of geisha and feudal lords, Kanazawa is home to the Kenroku-en Gardens and offers a traditional machiya townhouse stay for an immersive local experience, complemented by a guided introduction to the city on a free day.

InsideJapan Tours Kanazawa_Kenrokuen Gardens
Kenroku-en Gardens (InsideJapan Tours)

Days 12-13 – Leaving behind the urban landscape, travelers embark on a unique journey to Rakudo-an, a meticulously restored 120-year-old farmhouse transformed into a boutique inn with just three guestrooms, nestled amid rice paddies and rural farms in Toyama Prefecture. Guests are welcomed with a traditional matcha tea ceremony upon check-in and can relax in rooms adorned with crafts from renowned Japanese artisans and spacious decks overlooking the countryside.

Days 14-15 – Concluding a retreat in Toyama Prefecture, travelers journey back to Tokyo aboard the bullet train’s unique Gran class carriage, indulging in first-class luxury before overnighting in the district of Asakusa, where they can explore Sensoji temple, savoring one last gastronomic adventure in Tokyo, whether in Michelin-starred establishments or hidden gems in the backstreets.

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