Five hours south of Tokyo is Japan's ancient Nara Valley, the birthplace of Japanese culture as it's known today, ancestral home of emperors, spiritual home of Japanese religion and fountainhead of its written language.
Running through the Nara Valley is the Yamanobe Road, the oldest of all Japan's trade routes.
In the 7th century, the Yamanobe Road played an important role in establishing Japanese civilisation. The remains of the ancient route run 11 kilometres from the fringes of Nara to the rural town of Asuka.
Along the way people are friendly and the beautiful landscapes and towns allow you to step back in time. It is advisable to have a guide who can explain the things which could be overlooked if going it alone. You will discover a Japan that not many people get to see.
Each spring, around 100,000 Japanese converge on Yamanobe Road to enjoy the flowering cherry blossom trees. Colour explodes all over the countryside. While it lasts for just two weeks in April, it leaves a lasting impression on everyone who sees it.
The backroads of Japan.
World Expeditions has 15-day Backroads of Japan tours out of Tokyo. Tours are $4690 per person twin-share. Accommodation, meals, guide and transport are included. Tours run in April, May and October. Prices quoted are correct at September 28, 2006.
Level 5, 71 York Street,
Ph: 1300 720 000
Fax: (02) 9279 0566