HONG KONG, Nov. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- In this episode of Next Big Trip, CNN visits Japan's two least populated prefectures, Tottori and Shimane. As the bullet train does not go to these regions, they are often overlooked by tourists. Senior International Correspondent Will Ripley travels in the slow lane to explore the breathtaking landscapes and unexpected treasures these regions have to offer. CNN also travels to Western Toyama which offers unique retreats amongst lakes and mountains and the some of the freshest seafood in Japan.
CNN's first stop is in Shimane, which is said to be an annual gathering place for the gods. Will Ripley visits one of the oldest shrines in Japan, the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. People make their pilgrimage to pray for one thing above all else – love. Shimane is also the birthplace of sake, and the Saka shrine is where the gods are said to gather to enjoy sake. Local brewmaster Toshiaki Imaoka visits the temple to pray for a good brewing season. Ripley visits his brewery to discover the traditional methods employed to make sake and have a taste of the brew. CNN also takes a dip in Kai Tamatsukuri run by Hoshino Resort, one of the most upscale ryokans in the region. The alkaline in the hot springs is believed to remove dirt and cleanse skin and the waters are even thought to improve conditions like rheumatism.
CNN travels onwards to Tottori to tackle the steep climb up Mount Mitoku, a cliff face so dangerous climbers are forbidden from ascending alone and must have footwear assessed for safety. Guide Toshi Mifune takes Ripley through the route to reach Nageiredo Hall, Japan's most dangerous National Treasure. Here, mountains are places to be revered and respected, and the spiritual energy of the climb has led pilgrims to tackle this perilous ascent for the past 1,300 years. CNN then explores the 10 miles of desert along Japan's coast, where Ripley goes paragliding over sand dunes that reach heights of 150 feet. However, this scenery is shrinking - a tree-planting project to prevent sandstorm damage has led to the dunes being just 12% the size they were 100 years ago.
Finally, CNN travels to Toyama to watch a lively auction of the bay's prized red snow crab in Shinminato fisherman's wharf on Toyama Bay. Chef Ito is here to sample white shrimp fresh off the boat for his seasonal menu. He invites Ripley to his posh restaurant 'Il Clima', located in a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse that was restored into a luxury hotel and art gallery. Born in Osaka and trained in Europe, Chef Ito serves Italian cuisine made with local ingredients. Later, Sari Hayashiguchi from the local tourism association takes CNN to a viewpoint overlooking the Tonami Plain. Known as a 'scattered village', traditional farmhouses dot the landscape next to vast rice fields where farmers have cultivated rice since the 8th century.
Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Sunday, 19th November at 4:00am and 1:30pm HKT
Monday, 20th November at 12:00pm HKT
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Contact: Bipasha Bhattacharya