Sanshin Music and Snorkelling in Okinawa
Okinawa is an exotic part of Japan -- with its sub-tropical climate and its history as the independent Ryukyu Kingdom, it has its own original culture, including music. Sanshin is the origin of "Shamisen", a 3-stringed traditional music instrument known in mainland Japan, but the original Okinawan Sanshin has a different design and sound; the music played is quite different, too. Sanshin music is mainly light and cheerful; some of the melodies are extremely fun and engaging. On this tour, you will have a private Sanshin lesson by a Sanshin master, stay in a traditional Ishigaki-style house with a local cookery class, enjoy snorkelling in clear blue water and stay on beautiful, unspoiled Taketomi Island.
Accommodation booked and prepaid - Private Sanshin lesson - Snokelling - Taketomi Island sightseeing (rental bicycle for one afternoon after snokelling, one buffalo carriage ride, lunch) - 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts - local phone support
Day 1 - Private sanshin lesson and local food cookery
Your private sanshin lesson starts at 3pm in the Shiraho area in Ishigaki Island. You will learn one of the most well-known folk songs of this region in the traditional Ishigaki-style house, where you stay tonight. After the fun 2-hour lesson, you will learn how to cook local dishes for dinner. After dinner, the entire house is yours, so please relax and make yourself at home!
Day 2 - Private sanshin lesson and sightseeing in Ishigaki
Your next 1-hour private sanshin lesson starts at 10am. After the lesson, you can enjoy exploring Shiraho town, famous for preserving its beautiful coral reef, or you might explore Ishigaki. Central Ishigaki has many good restaurants so you won't be bored! In the evening, you might choose to dine at a restaurant with a live sanshin performance - you'll now appreciate the player's technique! You'll stay overnight in a western-style hotel in Ishigaki City, with breakfast included.
Day 3 - Snorkelling and exploring Taketomi Island
This morning you will be met at your hotel and delivered to the harbour. You board a boat to enjoy snorkelling in the beautiful clear water off Ishigaki Island. You will wear wetsuits so you can enjoy snorkelling all year round. After snorkelling, you will land on the small but beautiful Taketomi Island, where you will have lunch, enjoy a water-buffalo carriage ride and bicycle around the island. Most visitors to this island are day-visitors, so the island becomes very quiet and peaceful later in the afternoon. Stay overnight at a ryokan on Taketomi Island, with dinner and breakfast included.
Day 4 - Tour ends
Your tour ends after breakfast this morning. If you wake early, we recommend a walk before breakfast so that you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the island before day-visitors arrive!