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Having been interested in Japan since I was a child, I took the plunge and decided to move there. I was placed on Naoshima, Japan’s renowned art island in the Seto Inland Sea, where I lived for two years. Living and working with local people every day gave me an appreciation of culture and life in Japan, an understanding that broadened as I ventured around the country.

Using the island as a base, I learned how to use Japan’s somewhat tricky transport systems which allowed me to kayak in the hidden gorges of Takachiho, visit the famed fire festivals of Natchi, and climb the heights of Mount Fuji.

Being completely immersed in Japanese life and experiencing the richness of what the country has to offer has left me with the desire to share its wonders with others, especially the unique and hidden experiences that have left me with many wonderful memories.

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Audley Travel specialist Matthew

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I'll never forget when…

It took me two four-hour train journeys to reach the town of Natchi. It’s a small place with very limited access, and with little English spoken locally, it was difficult to reach. The long trip paid off however as I reached the base of the shrine and gazed up at Japan’s largest waterfall. It was quite mystical, but then, I turned around to see hundreds of Japanese men carrying huge wooden torches roaring with fire in the town’s annual fire festival. I will never forget the sight and the feeling of traditional, mythical splendour that is unique to Japan.

Photos of Matthew

Matthew at Asakusa Shrine, Japan Matthew at Asakusa Shrine, Japan
Matthew visiting Genbudo Cave, Japan Matthew visiting Genbudo Cave, Japan
Matthew in Hakone National Park, Japan Matthew in Hakone National Park, Japan
Matthew at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Japan Matthew at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Japan

Photos taken by Matthew

Miyajima Island, Miyajima Island Miyajima Island, Miyajima Island
Naoshima, Naoshima Naoshima, Naoshima
Naoshima, Naoshima Naoshima, Naoshima
Himeji, Himeji Himeji, Himeji
Sightseeing suggestion: Nachi falls and Nachi Taisha, Kii-Katsuura Sightseeing suggestion: Nachi falls and Nachi Taisha, Kii-Katsuura
Shirakawa-go, Shirakawa-go Shirakawa-go, Shirakawa-go