Unfamiliar Japan Tours .com

Started in June 2016, Unfamiliar Japan Tours.com, or UJT, is an attempt to introduce Japan from an unconventional perspective. Rather than take time presenting the most popular places to visit in Japan, we strive to show would-be international travelers the nation’s off-the-beaten paths and forgotten aspects. We want to introduce you to everything you won’t find in typical Japan travel itinerary. Although we are also offering you a tour-guiding service and can talk with you about customized guided tours in Japan (see our Rates/Contact page if you are interested.), it is just a secondary side to our primary aim: to reveal as many lesser-known, secret places and obscure aspects of the country as possible, hoping to finally conjure up something, something like a glimpse of real Japan, in the eyes of the international people.

Old map of Japan

The intention of UJT is two-fold: 1) To introduce Japan’s hidden gems and unique aspects, 2) To introduce them in a way that is not stereotypical, and not influenced by the context of modern-day tourism. We know that, when Bruno Taut talks about Katsura Imperial Villa, for example, he pays attention to the things which may be commonly regarded as on the periphery, like an bamboo gutter on a nondescript building, a wave-like oval window on the side wall of an alcove, or small creatures native to Japan, such as a tree frog, a grass lizard or a pond turtle, living in a compound. And he talks about them with the same passion and sincerity as he does about the villa’s renowned Japanese garden. On the contrary, looking at Japan’s tourist industry today, sometimes it seems that everything is, by and large, strictly governed by efficiency, profits and safety. The situation is like this for good reason. However, if details happen to be overlooked, we want to focus on them and bring them to light.

Traditional building of Japan
©Tetsu Sawamura

Ota Shrine in Kyoto, JapanOta Shrine in Kamigamo