On-line Reservation 15% Discount

Japanese Cultural Tours by

Richard ‘Hawk’ Holomua

16 years in Japan & 17 years as a Professional Tour Guide.
Providing private & semi-private Interpretive Japanese Cultural Tours of the Kansai Region.


Ise Jingu & Futamigaura Stayover Tour
¥45,000 per person (tax included)
Day Trip Only
¥19,000 per person (tax included)
  • Two Day Tour
I will provide you the information to get to Ise Shi Station in Mie Prefecture. We need to meet there at 2:00pm. 2:15pm From there we will board a car to go to Futamigaura and stay at a local Japanese-style Inn that makes salt from the Ise inlet sea. The salt is rich in magnesium and the locals claim it cures every ailment! We will check in and walk the area where you will visit your first shrine, Futamiokitamajinja. 4:00pm These rocks are the symbol of marriage for the Shinto religion and are nicknamed ‘’the wedding rocks’’. The two rocks also represent the union of Izanagi and Izanami, the two Shinto gods responsible for the creation of the Islands of Japan. 5:00pm After that, we will head back to the Inn where you can go bathe in the salt baths, men and women are separate. The area is adorned with old Japanese homes and Inns and before dinner, if you would like to walk around and get a taste of old Japan, please do. 6:00pm We will set a time to meet in the lobby and head out to a Japanese dinner 6:00am The next morning, we will wake up early so we can watch the sunrise from the rock shrine. We will then head back for breakfast at the Inn. 8:00am We will then pack up and head to Ise Jingu. Ise Jingu is the most sacred and largest Shrine in Japan. It is split into two parts so we will spend about an hour and a half at the first spot (Geku) and then head to the second part of the Shrine (Naiku). Here I will explain all of the gods that live at the Shrine, stories and history as we walk around both Shrines. Expect to walk for about an hour and a half at each spot. 12:00pm After the second stop (Naiku) I will also take you to an amazing street in front of the Shrine filled with vendors, souveniers and best of all food!!! I will feed you and introduce you to special treats from these amazing vendors that line the road. You will have fish cake, a meat pie and we will stop at a local craft beer spot and have some beer and local fried oysters. Lastly, we will also stop at a local Japanese Sake bar and partake in Japan’s National Alcoholic Beverage! 2:00pm Done. We will then head back to the Train Station by car. Everything pretty much is included and you only need to bring a change of clothes and a few toiletries that you can carry in a backpack as we will not have a place to put luggage. You should be back to the station around 2:30pm but if you are making train reservation, I would make then closer to 3:00pm or even 3:30pm. Overnight stay in a Japanese Inn Visit one ocean-side shrine Visit the most famous, sacred and largest Shrine in Japan (4 ~ 4.5 hours) Partake in delicious food that I will introduce you to and explore the town of Oharaemachi (2 hours) STAYOVER INCLUDES: Interpretive Guide & Translation for 2 days 3 Shrine Tour: Futamiokitama, Geku and Naiku Shrines (+ smaller shrines as we make our way around each spot) Full transportation by car between all spots (no train or bus riding/takes too much time from the tour) One night stay in a Japanese Inn Japanese Dinner and Breakfast Lunch the next day and one beer and one (or two LOL) sakes DOES NOT INCLUDE: Train ticket to and from Ise Shi Station DAY TRIP INCLUDES: Interpretive Guide & Translation for 2 days 2 Shrine Tour: Geku and Naiku Shrines (+ smaller shrines as we make our way around each spot) Full transportation by car between all spots (no train or bus riding/takes too much time from the tour) Lunch and one beer and one (or two LOL) sakes DOES NOT INCLUDE: Train ticket to and from Ise Shi Station

Omiwa Shrine Day Hike (Original Ise Jingu) & Sake Tasting Tour
Most Popular

¥15,000 per person (tax included)

  • 8:00am ~ 6:00pm
  • Long Full Day Tour
I will give you information on how to get to Namba Station. We need to be there at 7:45am and then we will take the express train into the little town of Sakurai, where we will catch a cab to this historic shrine. We will walk the shrine grounds as I give you the history of this wonderful place. We will have already stopped and gotten our offerings and will stop at a few places before heading to the back shrine where the trailhead starts. I will get you set up with what you will need before the hike. I need to sign you in and you will need to follow the rules; no talking during the course of the hike until you return to the trailhead, no eating while you are on the hike and no pictures until you return out of respect to Omiwasan and this sacred mountain. The entire hike should take a moderate hiker two hours up and down. I will provide you with the protocols involved. Upon your return, we will visit the original Ise Jingu site. It is a 40-minute round trip walk. I have another Shrine I will be taking you to see. Once everyone is back, we will then leave the shrine and head to my friends Japanese Swimming Somen Noodle Restaurant. You will definitely enjoy this, it is almost one of a kind. After lunch, it will be time for a sake tasting at a local sake shop. Nara sakes are immensely delicious and we will taste a few at this little shop. You will also have the chance to buy a bottle to take home. We have to stop before we leave to take pics at the second tallest Torii Gate in Japan (over 30m high), and one more quick stop at another Shrine which has a deep history of the area and it’s off to the station for our return home. Itinerary: 7:45Namba 8:17Leave Tsuruhashi8:34 8:57Arrive Sakurai9:14 10:00Hike 12:15Return 12:30Go Hibara 1:30Somen 2:20Sake (Fin 2:50) 3:00Torii 3:10Ebisu Shrine 3:53Leave Sakurai4:09 4:33Arrive Tsuruhashi4:50 INCLUDES: Translation & Interpretive Guide for 10 hours to and from Namba Station Two-hour hike up and down sacred Miwa Mountain Visit the original historical Ise Jingu site and four other shrines All offerings I will prepare for you Japanese Swimming Somen Noodle Lunch Bottled water and snacks for hike Nara Sake Tasting Fee DOES NOT INCLUDE: Train ticket to Namba Station WHAT TO BRING: Coat if it is cold Hiking shoes Towel

Fushimi Inari Hike And Sake Tasting

¥16,000 per person (tax included)

  • 1:00pm ~ 7:00pm (approx.)
  • Full Day Tour
I pick you up at your Hotel at noon and we head for a day of hiking and exploring. We will first head to some beautiful Japanese Torii gates that make up a temple at the base of Mount Inari, that walk will take the better part of two hours. Dust off your hiking shoes because we will climb the 230-meter Mount Inari under the red Torii gates after we explore the Temple grounds and make an offering. Once we arrive, you will write your desire on a plank of wood which will then be offered to the shrine for the next mornings’ fire ceremony. We will then greet the enormous horse of the gods and make our way through some 10,000 Torii gates. Your guide will explain the history of the area as you walk up Mount Inari and explore the beautiful forest along the way. I am sure after you are done, you will be ready for some Japanese sake at the end of the hike. We will hit another Shrine along the way and then from there we head over to a Japanese Brewery where your guide will explain the sake process and how to choose a sake when you are ordering around town. Japanese temples accept sake as a gift and even on any day, especially New Years Day it is common to go to the shrines and have some long buckwheat noodles and some sake during the new year. This hike and sake tour will leave you impressed with beautiful Kyoto. INCLUDES: Translation & Interpretive Guide for 6 hours Fushimi Inari Shrine Tour and Hike Light Lunch Snacks and Bottled Water DOES NOT INCLUDE: Taxi Fare between spots

Kyoto Temple, Shrine, Geiko & Sake

¥18,000 per person (tax included)

  • 11:00am ~ 7:00pm
  • Full Day Tour
I pick you up at your Hotel at noon and we head to my favorite Zen Temple where I will take you through and up into the main SANMON gate. We will then walk through the Temple grounds, offer incense for loved ones passed on and then through an aqueduct to a secluded waterfall where people have practiced ‘Misogi’, a Japanese Shinto practice of ritual purification, for over 800 years. A National Historical Site. We then head to a famous 1,200 year old temple that shines in orange. We will meet the guardians at the gate and will enter a dark, underground passage to cut our ties to fears we have and offer prayer. Once we enter the main hall, you will ring bell to alert the gods you are there and offer prayer. We will walk the grounds and view Kyoto from the mountain. Great picture taking opportunities. I will introduce you to Jizo, the keeper of lost babies and children. We will end up at a small waterfall split into three cascades of Love, Health and Wisdom. You get to pick one to drink from. From there we walk to a beautiful 5 story pagoda but not after traversing a shopping street and then head on to the famous Geisha Gion District. Here I will give you time to explore Shoji Street which is filled with literally hundreds of shops, Yasui Shrine, Yasaka Shrine and then we will meet back and explore the Gion District during the early evening hours. We will also end the early evening by having a little sake to top the evening off. INCLUDES: Interpretive Guide & Translation for 8 hours 4 Temple/Shrine Tour: Nanzenji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple, Yasui and Yasaka Shrines Early Evening Gion District Tour All Fees for Temple and Shrine entrances, fees for making offerings, food tasting one item and bottled water. Transportation by vehicle between spots (no train or bus riding/takes too much time from the tour) Japanese Lunch (Up to ¥1,000 per person) Sake drink at end of tour

Koyasan Temple Stay

¥53,000 per person (tax included)

  • 12:45pm ~ 7:00pm Next Day
  • Two Day Tour
I will pick you up by micro bus from Osaka Station around 12:45pm on the designated day and will take you to Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture. Along the way, I will explain to you the history of the areas we will be driving through. I will also explain about Koyasan and teach you about Japanese culture and tradition along the way. The drive is approximately two hours. 3:00pm Once reaching the Temple, guests will be checked in and shown the amenities in their rooms. A tour of the Temple grounds will be given so that clients will learn their way around the Temple. 5:30pm A vegetarian dinner for about one hour, then we will prepare for our night time cemetery tour for about an hour and a half. 6:00am Meditation time will begin the next morning followed by an outside Fire Ceremony and then a vegetarian breakfast. 9:00am We will then tour the main temple grounds (Kongoubuji Temple). The tour of the huge cemetery and grounds and all of its buildings will last about three hours. Here clients will learn the history of the area, customs and traditions that are conducted here. 12:00pm Clients will be released for a few hours to visit the town and shop, eat lunch where they like and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful place. We will then depart the temple around 4:00pm. We should arrive back at Osaka Station around 7:00pm. INCLUDES: Translation & Interpretive Guide for 2 days Overnight stay in Temple Vegetarian Breakfast and Dinner Meditation and Fire Ceremony Time Night Cemetery Tour Transportation to and from Osaka to Wakayama DOES NOT INCLUDE: Lunch

Osaka Shrine And Temple Tour

¥8,800 per person (tax included)

  • 2:00pm ~ 7:00pm
  • Five Hour Tour
First I will meet you at Uehonmachi Station and we will walk to Ikutama Jinja, claimed by some to be the oldest Shrine in Osaka. I will teach you how to enter a Shrine in the correct manner and how to make an offering. After a short history lesson, we will talk through a few shrines with beautiful Japanese-style tile roofs, surrounded by Love Hotels, (LOL) and we will walk to Shitennoji Temple, which claims to be the oldest Buddhist Temple in all of Japan. We will visit three buildings here and offer prayers and then stop at a cemetery as we make our way to the train station. We take two quick transfers (about a 15 minute ride in all) to our next stop, Imamiya Ebisu Shrine. Here, you can pray for the success of your business, take pictures and make offerings. Then it will be time to eat. I will take you to the famous Tsutenkaku Tower where we will view Osaka from above and then hit a little place for some sake and food. This Interpretive Guide Tour INCLUDES: Train ticket fees the time you are on tour with me. Temple Fees associated with entering the temple Bottled water Tower Fee for entering Tsutenkaku Tower Appetizers and Sake Tasting at the end of the tour You will leave this tour with a more in-depth knowledge of not only the difference between Shrines and Temples but also the history of the sites we visit and the history of the area. You will learn a few fun facts about Japan on the way and get to sample Japanese sake and food.

Osaka Sake Time Tour

¥9,500 per person (tax included)

  • 6:00pm ~ 10:00pm
  • Four Hour Tour
We will meet just outside of Osaka at Ryokuchi-koen Station on the Midosuji Line. This is a quieter area where we will visit a couple of Tachinomiya—(Standing, local-style sake bars). We'll begin at our first local sake shop and taste three (03) sakes here. We'll also enjoy two homemade appetizers made by the owner's wife. After an hour, we will depart and catch the train to the next station. We will visit our second sake shop and taste one (01) special sake here. We will also try another appetizer, but we'll stay here for just a short time because we have dinner plans. We will then depart for the third and final stop, a local izakaya—a Japanese ‘gastropub’. I have selected a set-course menu here and we will have the chance to taste a variety of seven sakes, depending on what I have learned from you and what you're looking for in a sake. This is an all-you-can-drink event with a set-course menu until 10 PM, which includes sashimi and delicious Japanese food. I'll also teach you about sake protocol and manners when drinking sake. When done, not only will you be happy, but you will leave with a deeper understanding of how to order sake and its relationship to Japanese food. Seven (07) sakes to taste here! INCLUDES: Translation & Interpretive Guide for 4 hours First stop – 3 sakes & appetizer Second stop – 1 sake & appetizer Third stop – 7 sakes & Course set Japanese menu Train ticket between one stop DOES NOT INCLUDE: Train ticket to Ryokuchikoen station and back

Private Customized Tours And Backwoods Tours
  • Full Day Tours
PRIVATE PRICING: Didn’t find the temple you were looking for? There are 1,600 Temples and 675 Shrines in Kyoto alone! I will customize a package for you at the standard rate of ¥1,200 per hour per person. You pay the taxi fare. If you want me to add a car for your family only (usually what everyone does), the standard rate for the car up to four passengers is ¥45,000 per day for up to 3 people + me unless it is a bigger van you want at ¥60,000 per day for up to 8 persons + me. TRANS: Buses are slow and get caught in traffic wasting our time and the train system is not as complex as it is in Tokyo or Osaka. Some of the places are accessible but others will require a lot of walking time eating into our tour time. Taxi’s or private cars are the best means of transportation to get us where we need to go swiftly so your time at each destination is maximized. COMM: Fill out the form and let me know what you would like to see, what foods you might be interested in and any allergies or health issues I need to know about. BACKWOODS Want me to take you deeper into Japan? How about a fishing village in northern Kyoto? How about a Hot Springs mountain retreat? I will put together an ‘off the beaten path’ tour for you and guide you over the course of one to three days, take you into hidden towns, mountain areas and off the wall hot springs that you would not have gone to if you were not with me. I promise to stay in my own room (LOL) and guide you on an amazing journey into deep local territory to experience the ‘real’ Japan not touched by tourism. We will eat local fish and vegetables grown in their own gardens and rivers, fresh delicacies, super nice local people with a deep Japan feel. Come experience it with me. I will take care of you! ¥PRICE varies depending on length of tour Your room and board will vary depending on where I book. Meals not included except for Breakfasts and Dinners at the places we stay (most of the time) Contact form