Now Joanna’s travels take her to Japan
From the icy Siberian seas of the north to the subtropical islands of the south, Japan’s 6,800 mystical islands are places full of endless discovery.
Following on from the success of her last travel- based series, Joanna Lumley’s Trans-Siberian Adventures, in which the actress, model and activist journeyed from her childhood home city of Hong Kong all the way to Moscow, here is another probing, insightful and beautiful travel documentary (Joanna Lumley’s Japan, Friday, ITV, 9pm).
The three-part series will follow Joanna as she travels to the far reaches of Japan, taking viewers on an adventure exploring some of the most uncharted corners of the country.
Joanna will journey over 2000 miles travelling across Japan by boat, train, plane and foot.
From rustic mountains to sprawling metropolitan super cities, she discovers a beautiful, yet oftenperplex- ing, country of extremes and gives viewers a unique insight into the people who make up these enchanting islands and their rich culture.
And the whole adventure was an eye-opening experience for Lumley.
She says: “Isn’t it odd, we feel we are so familiar with Japan, with sushi and Toshiba, kimonos and Hello Kitty, tsunamis and sake... and yet when we travelled around that spectacular country I couldn’t even guess at the unknown wonders that were in store for us.
“Every moment was thrilling, fascinating and often very moving. With my hand on my heart I can say: please come with me to Japan!”
The Absolutely Fabulous star starts tonight in Japan’s ‘wild north’, in Hokkaido - one of the four main islands, where she meets one of the most important animals in Japanese culture, the red-crowned cranes.
Leaving the countryside behind her, she heads to Sapporo her first Japanese city.
She arrives during the middle of the annual Snow Festival, and meets members of the local indigenous community, the Ainu.
Travelling south, Joanna visits a brewery that has been making sake since 1689 and walks to see one of the oldest Pagodas in Japan, dating back to the 10th century and constructed entirely out of wood with no nails.
Next she travels into the Fukushima exclusion zone, where a huge tsunami devastated the nuclear power plant in 2011, and visits Jigokudani Ons en which is not full of people, but Japanese Macaques or snow monkeys.
Over 150 of them come down from the frozen mountains every morning and spend most of the day enjoying the steaming hot waters.
Like many tourists, Joanna takes a Shinkansen (bull et train) from Nagano to Tokyo, the capital of Japan and world’s largest metropolis; where it’s time to embrace Japan’s post war economic boom.