About Us

Spiritually Based Tourism

We like to think of you as “Pilgrims” instead of “Clients” or “Customers” because, to us, pilgrims mean much more than money. Our model is spiritually-based tourism, which means approaching this trip as a spiritual journey, over-coming obstacles, connecting heart-fully with our hosts, respecting the culture and traditions, and interacting with those you meet.

The aim of this trip is to give shakuhachi students the opportunity to connect back to the roots of the shakuhachi flute in the context of Japan’s unique cultural milieu. Learning shakuhachi is not just a mechanical learning of symbols on a page, but a whole cultural experience which entails physically and spiritually feeling the country of the shakuhachi’s origin: Japan.

You stay in various forms of lodging from Buddhist temples to modern business hotels; and meditate with monks and drink with the locals. You can partake in ancient ceremonies or you can wander the streets in search of hidden treasures. Our goal is to make bridges between the two worlds so that both guests and locals have a rich cultural experience. We make sure that you understand the culture and do not offend the people you will meet. A percentage of the money from the trips we organize helps support orphanages and the earthquake relief fund.

November is one of the best times to go to Japan as the plane fares are quite low and the weather is excellent, not to mention the spectacular color displays of autumn leaves’ colours. And of course the bamboo is ready for harvesting! It is encouraged that everyone stick together for group solidarity and support, especially for those first-time visitors to Japan. The maximum number of participants for this trip is 10, the minimum is 7, so please reserve your space soon!

Many of the most beautiful places in Japan can only be accessed by foot, therefore there will be  plenty of walking. Due to the physically demanding aspect of this trip, it is imperative that you be in excellent physical and mental shape. I cannot stress this enough. It is purely a practical matter as we move pretty fast through Japan, and the slowest person slows the whole group down.

But the thing I stress THE MOST is the ability to be culturally flexible. We will all be coming from differing cultures, so you will be faced with a culture (Japan) that is radically different than your own. I won’t tolerate cultural inflexiblity and constantly complaining persons who have a negative, sarcastic attitude to cultures different than one’s own. We are here to learn  and show our respect towards the culture we are visiting.

Futhermore, if you have the tendency to “do your own thing” and can’t function well in groups, this tour is not for you. We need to be helpful and supportive of each other on this journey and being self-centered, ethno-centric, and ego-centric, is not allowed for this trip to run smoothly.

I will be conducting face to face, Skype interviews for interested participants well in advance before we start the Pilgrimage. If you can’t do this initial Skype interview, I cannot accept you to come on the Trip. If I see that you meet the criteria for the Trip then you will be allowed to join.

It is highly recommended that you prepare yourself physically and purchase travel insurance before the excursion.

All level of players are welcome. If you are a beginner, please study the basic notation system (kinko or tozan) so that you can read and understand the shakuhachi music that we will be studying along the journey. If you are a high level player, show respect to the lower levels and please DO NOT condescend to anyone. On this trip we are all equal because everyone has something to teach and we are here to help each other along the Path.

This trip is NOT a typical sightseeing trip with your friends for fun (although it will be immensely enjoyable!) The focus is on deepening one’s shakuhachi practice and connecting with the Japanese culture in a substantial way.

Partners, wives, husbands of shakuhachi players are welcome to come. One of the best things to help the group out is by taking photos of the group while we play at the Sacred Places.

Learning the Japanese language is highly encouraged. Japan’s fabric of reality is mainly composed of a linguistic matrix, so the more Japanese language skill you have the easier it will be for you to function in the country.

If you have tattoos, you won’t be refused entrance, but it may affect your enjoyment of the experience to some extent (e.g. you may be asked to leave an onsen, hot spring resort.)


  • Health and Safety: Acclimatization—Your body needs time to adjust to the time difference. We understand the health issues and schedule periods of ample rest and relaxation.
  • Individual attention: We keep a handle on how every member of the group is doing.
  • Excellent knowledge of various areas: Years of building friendships and contacts in areas throughout Japan will benefit you.
  • Japan background: We have the cultural knowledge, ability with language and the connections so necessary for traveling in Japan.

We promise to give the ultimate in:

  • Unique, life-changing shakuhachi adventures
  • Meeting locals in their towns, homes, shrines, and monasteries
  • Safe, exciting travels

The cultural experience of a life time!

Contact Alcvin at: ryu.zen18@gmail.com to register.