Discover Japan from November 3 to 14, 2023 (12 days / 10 nights)
Experience a rejuvenating trip to Japan in a small group accompanied by Jean-Marie Lapointe and Catherine Agostini in the fall of 2023!
THIS JOURNEY IS GUIDED IN FRENCH
5,949.00$ – 6,218.00$
The light and the flamboyant colors of autumn will enchant you during this trip. The temples are then covered with green moss and surrounded by fluorescent leaves. Real paintings. Savor the art of living in this fascinating land of contrasts and experience the purest Japanese traditions. In search of the present time in the heart of sacred Japan, experience a “Shukubo” (temple) retreat at Mount Koya, the sacred mountain on the Kii Peninsula. Immerse yourself in Kyoto filled with world heritage sites and traditional arts. For your Zen philosophy teacher guide, Kyoto is her favorite for the dance of its beautiful geishas at nightfall, for the beauty of its sites, the sweetness of life. Meet Kidoh in his Fumonken temple where he will offer you the tea ceremony. Participate in wellness workshops including plants and Japanese, an age-old practice. Take the sacred Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, a thousand year old path, an opportunity to discover the mystical character and spirituality of the Japanese countryside. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Eurasian, at the crossroads between East and West, Catherine is a coach/lecturer, international meditation teacher and founder of Latitude Bien-Être. As an ethnotherapist, she has lived on five continents and has the art of uniting cultures and heritages from thousands of years. Passionate about human beings and spiritual traditions, she shares her vision of the spiritual and initiatory journey, both a quest and a pilgrimage, as a return to the essential, a bridge from oneself to the other, an odyssey as a sacred act. She is co-author of the book “Spiritual Journeys” Ulysses (2019) and author of “Making a Masterpiece out of Wounds”, “On the Shoulders of Giants”, “The Breath of the Wise”. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Jean-Marie is a comedian, animator, author, filmmaker, speaker and accomplished sportsman. For over 15 years, he has been one of the spokespersons for the AlterGo sports challenge for people with disabilities or limitations. He is also involved with the Maison l’Eclaircie, which helps people with eating disorders, and the Centres Le Grand Chemin for adolescents suffering from drug addiction. He also donates his time to young children and teens with terminal cancer, through the Sainte-Justine Hospital. Moreover, in March 2017, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented him with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in recognition of his commitment to multiple humanitarian and social causes. For the past three years, the series Face à la rue, which he hosts, has been a great success on the MOI&cie and TVA channels. The animation of this documentary series even earned him a Gemini Award in September 2018 in the category of Best Animation-Public Interest Magazine. This year, he is back on MOI&cie with the new docu-reality series ́Fin de mois, on the theme of poverty.
Departure from Montreal airport in the evening for a flight to Tokyo. Dinner on the plane.
Breakfast, dinner on the plane. Stopover in Tokyo, second flight to Osaka, dinner on the plane. Arrival in Osaka in the evening. Upon arrival, your private vehicle will be waiting for you at the international airport for a comfortable trip with your luggage to your hotel. Settle into your room at the Aston Plaza Kansai Airport Hotel (or similar) and enjoy a well-deserved night’s rest.
Breakfast at your hotel. Then put your bags in a coach and head to Mount Koyasan for the beginning of your temple immersion. Arrive in the late morning, free lunch (not included). Then visit the Danjo Garan complex; described as the center of Koyasan, as a secret place of worship and training of esoteric Buddhism. Then, visit the Konpon Daito pagoda, 49m high it is the most impressive. A workshop offered by Catherine will be held inside the Danjo Garan. Then appointment of the Shojinryori dinner served by your shukubo, sharing circle before or after the meal. Free evening. Overnight in your traditional Japanese room, Fugen-in Temple or similar.
Gongyo or morning service at 6:30 am, before breakfast, free participation in the main temple building. Breakfast will be served. Then free time or workshop offered by your teacher Catherine. Free dinner (not included). In the afternoon, visit of Kongobu-ji temple and its dry garden which is the largest stone garden in Japan. Shojinryori dinner served by your shukubo, followed by a walk to Eko-in temple following the path lined with purely Japanese buildings. Enjoy a night tour of Okuno-in and return to your shukubo by bus. Overnight in your sukubo temple Fugen-in or similar.
Gongyo or morning service at 6:30 am, before breakfast, free participation in the main temple building. Breakfast will be served. Then visit the Reihokan museum and its most precious art treasures of Koyasan. Free dinner (not included). In the afternoon, 20 minutes walk to Ichinohashi (the first bridge), entrance to Okuno-in. Walk along the Omotesando path to the Mausoleum of Grand Master Kobo Daishi, a path lined with tombs of ancient samurai and famous people, passing the Gobyo No Hashi Bridge, beyond which photography is prohibited as this area is considered the most sacred and intimate in Okuno-in. Visit the Mausoleum of Grand Master Kobo Daishi (Kukai Buddhist monk) through the beautiful Torodo Hall, known as the Lantern Hall. Return to your shukubo on foot (about 20min walk). Shojinryori dinner served by your shukubo, and overnight stay at Fugen-in temple or similar.
Breakfast in your shukubo, then departure by private minibus to Kumano Cho (about 2h15min drive). Reception of bentos for dinner in the shukubo before departure. Arrive at Kumano Kodo and make a pilgrimage along the centuries-old hiking trail to Kumano Hongu-taisha Shrine. Discover the picturesque path in the middle of a forest of hundred-year-old cedars, lunch bentos on the way. This hike is rather easy, about 7km, it takes 3 hours of walking and a positive difference in altitude of 250m. At the top, visit the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine which is one of the three famous shrines of the Kumano area, discover also the Oyunohara site and its imposing Torii. End of the tour and transfer by private minibus to your minshuku (Japanese inn). Dinner and night at the oomuraya inn or similar 3*.
Breakfast at your hostel, then departure by private minibus to Osaka. This morning, go for a last hike in Kumano Kodo, from Chukatsuyu Oji to Michinoeki Natahechi (1,5km, positive elevation gain of 47m, about 1h30 walk). Free dinner on the way (not included). Then transfer by minibus to your next destination: the magnificent shrine of Sumiyoshi Taisha (about 2h15 drive). Discover this 11th century shrine with a red walkway and a picturesque garden. Optional: Kagura Shinto ritual. Transfer back to your hotel in Osaka, dinner at leisure (not included) and overnight stay at Shin Osaka Washington Hotel or similar 3*.
Breakfast at your hotel. Then transfer by subway/city bus to Osaka Station to take a train to Kyoto. On the way, stop to visit Shorinji Temple which is part of the Japanese Tofukuji Temple (the largest and oldest temple complex in Japan), founded in 1236. Visit the temple and experience zazen with a Buddhist monk. Free dinner (not included). Continuation by train to Kyoto, and discovery of the Fushimi Inari shrine and its 1000 toriis. Last transfer to your hotel in Kyoto by train. Free dinner (not included) and night at The Pocket hotel or similar 3*.
Breakfast is included in a restaurant ticket at a cafe around the hotel. Then pick up your bentos (lunch boxes). Head to Kurama Station by local lines, then experience a day of nature and healing that begins with a visit to the Kurama Spiritual Temple, located at the top of Mount Kurama, the place of Reiki’s origins (cable car fee extra). Continue with a hike up the sacred mountain of Kurama passing several spiritual points. (4km approximately, count 2h negative elevation gain of 453m). Continue the adventure with the ascent of the mountain through its sacred forest and cedar trees! Lunch bentos on the way. Then discover the sanctuary of Kibune jinja and its 84 steps leading to the main building as well as its particular omikujis (small piece of paper that one draws in order to know one’s destiny) because the message is revealed only once it is soaked in water. Finally, walk in the picturesque village of Kibune to discover its sacred river (25 mins walk to Kibune station). Take the train back to your hotel in Kyoto, free dinner (not included) and overnight stay at The Pocket or similar 3* hotel.
Breakfast is included in a restaurant ticket at a cafe around the hotel, then transfer by subway and local bus to Sanjusangendo temple. Discover this temple with 1001 Kannon statues dating from the 13th century! Then a workshop will be offered by your speaker Catherine. Transfer to Sanjo station, free lunch on the way (not included), followed by the authentic tea ceremony in a purely Japanese setting while dressed in real kimonos. Free time to walk around the traditional streets around the tea house after the experience. Return to your hotel. Dinner and evening at leisure (not included). Overnight at The Pocket or similar 3* hotel.
Breakfast is included in a restaurant ticket in a café around the hotel and then direction Tokyo by train. Enjoy a pleasant trip by Shinkansen (high speed train) duration of the trip 2h20 approximately. Dinner en route (not included). Arrival in Tokyo, visit the Shoun-ji temple; witness magical moments of serenity while being in the heart of Tokyo, the busiest and most industrialized city in the world. Experience meditation and zazen and talk with a Buddhist monk. Then head to your hotel in the Tokyo prefecture area. Dinner and evening at leisure (not included). Overnight at The Kanzashi Tokyo Asakusa or similar hotel.
Breakfast at your hotel. Then enjoy a free day in the streets of Tokyo. Free dinner (not included). Transfer with your luggage in the afternoon from the hotel to the airport. Late afternoon flight to Montreal. ** Itinerary subject to change – Exclusive tour, all rights reserved **
* Spiritours offers the possibility of matching. If we are unable to match you, Spiritours will assume the additional costs for registrations made more than 60 days before departure, but reserves the right to match you during the trip if necessary.
* All prices are based on the exchange rate in effect on September 1, 2022.
THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES
THIS PACKAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE
Registration deadline: September 3, 2023 (60 days before departure or when the maximum number of passengers is reached). Possibility to register after this date, additional fees may apply. To register: you can register on our website (see top of the trip webpage, on the right) or download and fill out the PDF form and send it to us with your $750 deposit. Please register as soon as possible as space is limited. Please include a photocopy of your passport and proof of travel insurance with your registration. Travel insurance: for travel insurance, contact us to find out your rate.
Number of participants
Minimum 12 – Maximum 22 Documentation required: All Canadian travellers to Japan must have a valid passport for the duration of their stay. Tourist visa required for Canadian citizens.
For more information please contact
Claire Calsina (514) 374-7965, ext. 207
What is the Shukuo (temple stay) experience?
Shukubo are accommodations within temples and shrines that were originally used to house pilgrims on their way to holy places. Popular in Japan for the quieter, more spiritual lifestyle they symbolize, stays in shukubo, the local name for temple accommodations, are an excellent way for a foreign visitor to immerse themselves in Japanese spiritual culture. The rooms are Japanese and range from 15 to 22m2, and breakfast and dinner are included in the packages. Shared bathrooms and toilets. These traditional rooms are separated by sliding doors or fusuma, not by walls. Please note that most shukubos in Koyasan do not change the sheets daily for groups, but ask guests to do so if they wish (new towels and sheets are available daily at the front desk, which guests can pick up freely during their stay). During your stay at the temple some dishes may be the same but the authentic vegetarian cuisine will be a real immersion in the local flavors of Mount Koya.
What is the Zazen experience?
Zazen is where you least expect it. The practice of zazen consists in sitting on a small round cushion (the zafu) with the legs crossed in lotus or half-lotus. From the waist up, the back is completely straightened: the body is held straight. One pushes the earth with the knees and the sky “with the head”.
Who is this trip for?
People who are open to the spiritual realm and to a group experience. To anyone who wishes to live this experience, regardless of gender, age, race or religious beliefs.
How fit do I need to be for the walks?
The walks are considered easy, some of them have a difference in altitude of around 400m, but the aim of each walk is discovery and each person will be able to do them at their own pace.
How do we eat?
Many lunches are free in your program because it is easy to eat well in Japan. Many street restaurants will allow you to discover the variety and authenticity of Japanese food, it is part of the trip.
What is the option: Kagura dance in Shinto ritual?
What is the option: Kagura dance in Shinto ritual?
First of all, you can place your full confidence in Catherine who knows Japan very well, moreover you will evolve with a local guide who speaks Japanese which will facilitate enormously all your exchanges and finally the fact of leaving keys in hand with peace of mind
Travel insurance is undoubtedly a PEACE OF MIND that allows you to live and fully enjoy your trip. It allows you to deal with the unexpected without finding yourself with a financial burden. Travel insurance allows you to travel in complete SAFETY. Did you know that when you take a group trip with Spiritours, you automatically get a 10% discount on your insurance? Check with your agent for more information, or click below to shop for an individual insurance premium with Blue Cross.