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Travel Geeks online: exploring rural Japan — 23 March 2021

Beyond its cities, Japan is crammed with elemental drama: pristine forests and snowy peaks, crater lakes and remote hot springs. Join us for free from 19.00 to 20.00 on Tuesday 23 March.

Published 2 Mar 2021, 16:18 GMT, Updated 22 Mar 2021, 11:59 GMT
At our next online Travel Geeks event, we'll be discussing the adventures, culture, food and history ...

At our next online Travel Geeks event, we'll be discussing the adventures, culture, food and history to be found in rural Japan.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller

***This event has already taken place. Watch the recording on YouTube***

Join us from 19.00 to 20.00 on Tuesday 23 March to hear from a panel of experts who will be discussing the adventures, culture, food and history to be found in rural Japan. Moderated by a member of our National Geographic Traveller team, the conversation will explore how visitors can go beyond the classic ‘golden route’ and see how easy it is to spend a few days in the incredibly beautiful and wild Japanese countryside. We’ll focus on the extraordinary area of Tohoku, in the northeast of Japan.


Beyond its cities, Japan is crammed with elemental drama: pristine forests and snowy peaks, crater lakes and remote hot springs, as our panel will discuss. Thrill-seekers can try hiking and biking around volcanoes to witness smoking summits and ancient lava flows, not to mention canoeing across lakes or hitting the slopes at ski resorts.

If you love exploring culture and history on your travels, then there’s plenty to discover in Tohoku — we’ll have loads of handy hints and tips on how to find the very best the region has to offer. Whether it’s experiencing the delights of the Aomori Snow Light Festival and exploring the ancient shrines and temples of Iwate, or seeing the sights in cosmopolitan Sendai or learning the feudal history of Hiraizumi, there’s so much to find out from our experts.

Japan offers countless options for those who crave a wellness aspect to their getaway, whether that’s forest bathing in Towada-Hachimantai National Park, admiring the cherry blossom in Aomori’s stunning Hirosaki Park, or relaxing in the hot spring waters of Sukayu Onsen.

Just 90 minutes on the bullet train from the capital brings you to another world altogether. This part of Japan has experienced significant regeneration following an earthquake a decade ago, and is just waiting to be discovered by travellers. We’ll share advice for planning inspiring itineraries, and help immerse you in the beauty and atmosphere of rural Japan from home.


From left to right: Jamie Lafferty, Karan Yamada, Matthew Joslin, Paul Christie, Farida Zeynalova

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller

Jamie Lafferty
In the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Jamie was selected to take part in the Travel Volunteer Project, an initiative designed to encourage tourists to return to Japan. The project saw him visit all of Japan's 47 prefectures in just 100 days, blogging and taking photographs as he went. He has since returned to the country several times for a variety of projects, most recently with his brother whom he managed to narrowly avoid killing with a katana. 

Matthew Joslin
Matthew has been passionate about Japan ever since he started learning the language and immersing himself in the pop culture in his early teens. Having lived and studied in Tokyo, travelled the country from top to bottom and chewed off many an ear about the diverse wonders of off-the-beaten-track Japan, he currently leads on marketing and PR at the Japan National Tourism Organisation.

Karan Yamada
Karan was born in Tokyo and lived in rural Niigata until she was five years old. She maintained a close connection with Japan and went on to study Japanese at university with a year abroad in Tokyo. Growing up with two cultures and languages has given her a unique insight into the country and she now puts these skills to use at Into Japan Specialist Tours.

Paul Christie
Paul first came to Japan on a homestay in 1989 and subsequently lived and worked between Tokyo and London, until permanently settling down in Kunisaki in 2002 to fulfil his dream of leading a quiet rural life. Soon after, Paul took on the role of CEO for Walk Japan and established Walk Japan's Community Project; a wide-ranging endeavour to reverse the decline of rural communities and provide them with a sustainable and viable future. From his rural outpost, Paul continues to develop Walk Japan's series of acclaimed tours across the length and breadth of the country while nurturing the growth of the Community Project. 

Farida Zeynalova
Farida is assistant editor of National Geographic Traveller Food. Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, her passions include documentaries, foodie city breaks, Eurovision and Ricky Martin. She's also a big fan of Japanese cuisine and would love to travel around the country and eat all the tempura and sashimi she can get her hands on.

Travel Geeks is just an hour long; it offers you the chance to hear from our experts as well as join in the lively discussion. Register now to join us from 19.00 to 20.00 on Tuesday 23 March.


*External link. This event is organised by APL Media Limited, publishers of National Geographic Traveller (UK). Any personal data submitted will be processed in accordance with APL Media Limited's privacy policy, available here.

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