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Sustainable Travel Experiences in JAPAN
Japan’s Food Culture
Japan’s Food Culture
The Japanese archipelago is fertile, rich and diverse, and this precious combination supports many fruits, vegetables, spices and other unique ingredients. Against this outstanding culinary backdrop, many local cuisines using regional ingredients have existed for generations, fostering a food culture that you’ll find deeply rooted in the daily lives of Japanese people—wherever you are in the country. Participate in hand-picking tea leaves and enjoy regional plates prepared using fresh, seasonal ingredients like local seafood and vegetables. Of course, you can pair your meal with a glass of sake, Japan’s most revered beverage, and also participate in the sake brewing process. Japanese cuisine is a complex patchwork of flavors, cooking methods and cultures. To experience a regional specialty is to truly connect with the people it represents.
Step into Japan’s green tea epicenter
Discover sustainable farming techniques with a view of Mt. Fuji
Green tea is one of Japan’s most celebrated exports, and for a good reason. Well known for its health benefits, it has been grown in the fertile soils of Shizuoka Prefecture for nearly 1,000 years. To witness the traditional, sustainable methods of green tea production is to experience a custom that has remained unchanged across the centuries. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recognizes green tea production in multiple areas of Shizuoka as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System. Today, on an overnight stay, you can learn the intricacies of Chagusaba farming, a unique, sustainable method of agriculture that protects the tea fields and preserves biodiversity. Depending on when you visit, you can get involved with picking the delicate tea leaves, see an active production facility, or assist in preparing the land for the next crop. Your accommodation is a renovated farmhouse inn where you can enjoy an authentic Japanese tea farm experience in a traditional setting.
Discover the secrets of authentic, sustainable sake
Learn unique brewing techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries
Deep in the enchanting countryside two hours northwest from Tokyo, the Saku area in Nagano is a famous production region for Japanese sake. Here, you’ll discover Kitsukura Shuzo, a traditional sake brewery that has been producing the iconic drink using the same small-batch, sustainable methods for more than 300 years. On the Kurabito Stay (“kurabito” meaning sake brewer), you can join Kitsukura Shuzo’s master brewers and, over three memorable days, don the brewer’s outfit and learn how to produce traditional sake. Beyond the brewing lessons, you’ll experience authentic regional dishes made with local ingredients at your lodgings, Sakagura Hotel, a former on-site building where the brewers once lived. Away from the brewery complex, you’ll have the chance to explore the area, home to a total of 13 sake breweries, and enjoy meals at local restaurants.