STROLL IN OLD JA­PAN

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - ASK THE EXPERT DOC HOLIDAY - KIM CULYER

We will be in Tokyo next year and want to travel to Osaka by train. Can you rec­om­mend any stops along the way?

DOC ®

Start by mak­ing your way, via Nagoya, to the vil­lage of Takayama, and spend a cou­ple of nights there. The jour­ney will take around five hours and cost about $150. For ac­com­mo­da­tion with an au­then­tic edge, try the Min­shuku Kuwataniya ho­tel (kuwataniya.com).

There are tra­di­tional rooms with fu­tons, tatami mat floors and shared fa­cil­i­ties for about $50, or western fash­ioned with pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties for about $75 a per­son.

The ho­tel has two hot spring baths and free rental bikes. Grab the bikes and head out to the Hida Min­zoku Mura Folk Vil­lage, a col­lec­tion of old farm­houses that were des­tined to be sub­merged af­ter the con­struc­tion of dams. They were moved and pre­served as liv­ing mu­se­ums.

At least 30 build­ings sit on a hill­side around a small pond and hand­i­craft tech­niques such as lac­quer ware, carv­ing and dye­ing are demon­strated.

Also in­clude the morn­ing mar­kets along the eastern bank of the Miya­gawa River plus the Yatai Kaikan. This mod­ern hall dis­plays floats used in the Takayama Fes­ti­val, con­sid­ered one of Ja­pan’s most spec­tac­u­lar.

The three main streets, KamiIchi­no­machi-dori, Kami-Ni­no­machi­dori and Kami-San­no­machi-dori, pre­serve the at­mos­phere of the Edo era.

You’ll find many in­ter­est­ing shops and the Takayama Jinja Palace dat­ing back to 1692, a good ex­am­ple of an of­fi­cial build­ing. A must see is the Kokubunji Tem­ple (the orig­i­nal burnt down in 746). Built in 1615, it fea­tures a huge ginkgo tree which is 1200 years old and now a na­tional mon­u­ment.

At your next stop, Kanazawa, the Ho­tel Nikko (okura-nikko.com) or the Kanazawa Tokyu Ho­tel (kanazawa.tokyuho­tels.com) are well lo­cated. Here, visit the Ken­rokuen Gar­dens (one of the most fa­mous in Ja­pan). Within the gar­dens is Seisonkaku, a stately home with a col­lec­tion of an­tiques in­clud­ing Ja­panese dolls.

From here it’s a short stroll to the samu­rai houses. Stop in at one of the lo­cally made pot­tery shops along the street. The area of Naga­machi was home to high-rank­ing Samu­rai dur­ing the Edo era and, here, sev­eral Samu­rai houses and tile-roofed mud walls along the nar­row street have been pre­served. You can see in­side one, the No­mura House. There’s also Kanazawa’s Kitchen, 200 small shops in tiny al­ley ways sell­ing food and other items.

Take a day trip by bus from here to the world her­itage re­gion of Shi­rakawa-go and the vil­lage of Ogi­machi. You may like to stay a night in this pic­turesque farm­ing vil­lage in one of the farm­houses or wan­der the streets, tem­ples and mu­se­ums be­fore mak­ing your way to Osaka. TRAVEL AGENT TIPS My part­ner and I want to travel to South Amer­ica to do all the touristy things such as an Ama­zon cruise and Machu Pic­chu.

Can you help with a rep­utable and reli­able travel agent who can look af­ter us oldies?

DOC ®

Sim­ply head down to your lo­cal shop­ping cen­tre, where you are bound to find a travel agency.

By sit­ting and chat­ting with a con­sul­tant, they will gain an un­der­stand­ing of your wish list, en­abling them to plan the per­fect hol­i­day to suit your in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments.

An agent should be a mem­ber of ATAS, the Travel Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Scheme ad­min­is­tered by AFTA (Aus­tralian Fed­er­a­tion of Travel Agents).

This will en­sure they are en­dorsed, have met strict fi­nan­cial and cus­tomer ser­vice cri­te­ria, are reli­able, well trained and pro­fes­sional busi­nesses. BEST OF BOS­TON We will be in Bos­ton for two days be­fore our bus tour to the east coast of the United States and Canada. What do you sug­gest we see? I like his­tory, art and mu­se­ums.

DOC ®

The Bos­ton Tea Party Ships and Mu­seum is a good place to start; you can still see one of the ac­tual tea chests.

Then head to Bos­ton’s old­est build­ing, Paul Re­vere House.

Make your way along the Free­dom Trail cov­er­ing more than 16 his­tor­i­cal sites rel­e­vant to the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War. You can take a guided tour or down­load the map and fol­low your own itin­er­ary.

A red brick or painted line serves as a guide and it can take any­where be­tween three hours to a full day to do.

Other walks you might con­sider are the Bos­ton Her­itage Trail and the JFK Trail.

The John F. Kennedy Li­brary and Mu­seum pro­vides a look into the for­mer pres­i­dent’s life and if you’d like to see Har­vard Univer­sity, stu­dent-led tours leave from the Har­vard In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre. EX­PLORE NZ WINER­IES We’re head­ing to a wed­ding on the north is­land of New Zealand near Napier and are keen to spend a cou­ple of days ex­plor­ing the winer­ies in the area. Any sugges­tions?

DOC ®

Lucky you, this re­gion has more than 100 winer­ies and is also re­ferred to as the Food Bowl of New Zealand.

Craggy Range in Have­lock North has an award-win­ning restau­rant spe­cial­is­ing in lo­cal pro­duce plus handy self-con­tained ac­com­mo­da­tion – in case of over-in­dul­gence.

The Ele­phant Hill Win­ery has stun­ning coastal views and Ngatarawa Win­ery is one of New Zealand’s old­est. Set in old sta­bles, it’s per­fect for a chardon­nay over­look­ing the pond.

Moana Park and Mis­sion Es­tate are also lovely. To down­load a map with a list­ing of all winer­ies, head to wine­hawkes­bay.co.nz.

While you’re there, pop into the Hawkes Bay Farm­ers’ mar­ket in Hast­ings or the Hast­ings City Night Mar­ket for lo­cal pro­duce and en­ter­tain­ment.

Also take a photo at Tau­matawhaka-tangi­hanga-koauau-oTa­matea-turi-pukaka-piki­maun­ga­horonuku-pokai-whenua-ki­tanatahu. It’s the long­est place name in the world, near Po­ran­ga­hau. CHRIST­MAS CRUISE Our fam­ily (two early teens) would like a hol­i­day over the Christ­mas/New Year pe­riod. Do you have any sugges­tions for an easy, re­lax­ing break?

DOC ®

A cruise could be per­fect for you. Car­ni­val Cruise Lines (car­ni­val.com.au) has a num­ber of de­par­tures over this pe­riod to the Pa­cific Is­lands.

A 10-night trip on the Car­ni­val Leg­end or Car­ni­val Spirit vis­it­ing Vila, the Isle of Pines and Noumea would be a great break for your fam­ily.

The Spirit fea­tures an amaz­ing wa­ter park, and the shore ex­cur­sions will give the kids an in­sight into the Pa­cific cul­ture.

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK, SUP­PLIED

Ja­panese geisha in the Naga­machi Street, Kanazawa, where high-rank­ing samu­rai lived dur­ing the Edo era. And (below, left to right) Paul Re­vere statue in Bos­ton and Car­ni­val Leg­end vis­its the Pa­cific Is­lands.

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