Experience Shogun Travel with InsideJapan Tours

Experience Shogun Travel with InsideJapan Tours
Image: Tadayoshi Mimaki/FB

In the coming weeks we will expect a remarkable surge of travelers to Japan, largely attributed to the captivating portrayal of FX's latest adaptation of James Clavell's novel, "Shōgun." This epic tale, set in the feudal era of samurai warriors and shogunate rule, has reignited interest in Japan's rich history and culture. The novel's vivid descriptions and the show's stunning visuals have inspired many to explore the land of the rising sun, seeking to experience its unique blend of tradition and modernity firsthand. 

From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, Japan offers a journey through time that fascinates and delights travelers from around the world.

InsideJapan’s Shogun site has been designed to capture some of that interest and help people create their own Shogun cultural adventure to discover Japan.  

Traverse Tohoku
Head to the Northern Honshu mainland and the Tohoku region and follow the footsteps of William Adams (aka. John Blackthorne) and Tokugawa Shogun before the Battle of Sekigahara depicted in the climax of Shogun. The rural Tohoku region is rich in feudal history and culture which can be seen throughout the rugged serene landscape. One such place where the samurai past is most obvious is the town of Kakunodate where the architecture has barely changed since it was founded in the early 1600’s.

The 7-night Rural Tohoku Trail stays in a restored samurai Kura storehouse in Kakunodate.

Samurai Culture of Kyushu
William Adams and his crew first arrived off the southern main island of Kyushu and Adams later returned to Nagasaki and the quiet island of Hirado. Today, Nagasaki city is arguably one of the country’s most attractive cities surrounded by a bay and mountains. This laid-back city has remnants of its historical past, with the reconstructed manmade island of Dejima being the most obvious – the only Japanese territory that opened to Westerners for over 220 years of isolation.

The 13-night Kyushu Adventure is a cultural adventure that explores the southern island and its culture.

Conquer a samurai castle
When William Adams arrived off the coast of Kyushu, the Shogun ordered the arrest of William Adams and his crew and had them imprisoned in Osaka Castle. A reconstructed castle stands today in a city that is better known for its food and dubbed, ‘Kansai’s kitchen’. Neighboring Kyoto is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nijo Castle which was built by the Tokugawa Shogun in 1603 full of secret rooms and built-in security for Shogun guards.

The Gastronomic Self-Guided Adventure includes the opportunity to visit both Osaka and Kyoto as well as visit one of Japan’s twelve original Edo period castles in Matsumoto and the Nagamachi samurai districts.

Experience Shogun Travel with InsideJapan Tours

Walk the way of samurai
The Nakasendo is a 332-mile route through central Japan dating back to the 17th century, traversed by Daimyo Lords and their Samurai stretching from Kyoto to Edo, or Tokyo as it is known today. The route today covers cobbled tree-lined paths and traditional villages and mountain towns through central mainland Honshu.

InsideJapan has a 14-night Honshu Hiking Self-Guided Cultural Adventure that walks some of the best preserved Nakasendo routes over two days between the castle town of Matsumoto and Kyoto.

Experience Shogun Travel with InsideJapan Tours

Channel Your Samurai with Kenbu
As depicted in the story of Shogun, samurai would hone their concentration and summon strength before a battle by engaging in a kenbu ritual, a dance with a katana sword and a fan. InsideJapan can arrange a two-hour kenbu class in Kyoto, where Instructors will teach a range of basic sword play techniques, fan dances, and samurai etiquette, before a kenbu demonstration from experienced practitioners.

A Kenbu experience can be tailored to any trip to the cultural capital of Kyoto.

Visit a Sword Master
There’s not much more samurai than a katana or Japanese sword. Not far from ultra-modern Tokyo, there’s an opportunity to visit one of Japan’s few remaining traditional swordsmiths at their workshop to see them fold steel in the traditional way as well as introduce you to some of their older blades – an incredible experience for any Shogun fan.

InsideJapan can tailor a swordsmith experience to any cultural adventure.

Experience Shogun Travel with InsideJapan Tours
Sword making in Arao Kumamoto

The Spirit of the Shogun
A few hours from Tokyo into the mountains of Tochigi is Nikko one of Japan’s grandest shrines dedicated to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Toshogu shrine is a memorial to Japan’s first Shogun with intricate wooden carvings full of gold leaf.  The impressive shrine complex stands in the forests of Nikko National Park surrounded by forests and sitting at the foot of Mount Nantai with crater lakes and waterfalls.

A stay two-night stay in Nikko and a visit to Toshogu are included in A Northern Soul small group tour.

For more information and travel itineraries around Japan, visit For Urban Women Japan travel blogs here

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