Frequently Asked Questions
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Shumi (pronounced shoe me) is a Japanese word that means “hobby”, “pastime’”or “interest”. Japanese are renowned for their passion for shumi. These include the traditional shumi like bonsai, ikebana and origami, or outdoor shumi like bird watching, wild flower viewing and hiking, or arts and crafts shumi like pottery, wood working and painting, or contemporary ones like photography, wine appreciation, and train watching. Most Japanese have at least one shumi that they enjoy sharing with their friends.
If you have been to Japan you will know that it is a fascinating place – the landscape, the culture, the cuisine, and most of all the people, make it a uniquely interesting and enjoyable place to visit. The usual way for foreigners to visit Japan is to tour around the main cities, such as Tokyo and Kyoto, in a few days. However, this doesn’t allow for the opportunity to meet and get to know the locals or to get a flavour for everyday life in Japan. Shumi Stay Japan is designed to provide foreigners with the unique opportunity to spend a leisurely time in Japan while interacting with the local people through their shumi.
One of the first questions Japanese ask when they meet a stranger is “what shumi do you do?” They expect everyone to have a shumi. No matter how obscure your shumi may be, there almost certainly be someone in Japan doing the same shumi – guaranteed! Moreover, having a common interest is one of the easiest and best ways to get to know new people. Doing your shumi together with similarly enthusiastic people can be fun and form the basis for lifetime friendships.
We believe that leisure time abroad can best be enjoyed in a group with people you have something in common with. Moreover, it can be more fun and interesting for groups from overseas to mingle and share with local Japanese groups who have the same interests. Also, traveling with a group is more time and cost effective especially for tour guiding and local transport.
More than likely, no matter how obscure, your shumi will be practiced in Japan. Our role at Shumi Stay Japan is to find out for you who practices your shumi and to arrange a program for your group to undertake your shumi in Japan. We will always do our best to find your shumi in Japan.
Shumi Stay Japan is about doing a hobby or leisure activity combined with tourism over an extended period, and does not cater for groups just wishing to watch, compete or engage in competitive sports. There are any number of organizations and travel companies that arrange for overseas tours for competitive sports and sports events, but Shumi Stay Japan caters for groups who want a leisurely stay in Japan to get to know the country and share their Shumi with the locals.
Good quality comfortable accommodation in Japan is plentiful and reasonably priced, especially outside the big cities. Most accommodation recommended by Shumi Stay Japan is in B&B, pension, or Japanese inns. We seek out the best locations to do your shumi in Japan and then we find the best reasonably priced accommodation in that area. Typically the accommodation would be in a single bed on a shared room basis, although in some locations the accommodation would be Japanese style, sleeping on futon on tatami floors.
Japan is like all developed countries – it caters for all budgets. You can have luxury 5 star accommodation and Michelin 3 star meals and pay dearly for them, or you can have standard B&B style accommodation and restaurant meals and get very good value for money. However, no matter what the price you pay, you can be sure in Japan that the quality and the standard of service will be second to none. For example, our recommended B&B accommodation is typically around Yen 8,000 (about A$90) per person per day for a shared room, and usually includes a delicious 4 course dinner and a fulsome breakfast to get you on your way.
Not really. Most Japanese understand some English (they are better at reading and writing than speaking English), and most major road and rail signs are in English. If you are stuck, Japanese will go out of their way to help foreigners to make sure you get to your destination, even if they have to take you there! However, we at Shumi Stay Japan will make sure that you will be able to undertake your stay by providing you with directions and instructions in English and Japanese. Moreover, we can provide a bi-lingual guide who will always be on call to assist you if you are stuck.
Yes, indeed there are many places in Japan that teach all kinds of shumi and who welcome groups from overseas. Whether you want to learn Japanese traditional arts and crafts or just extend your shumi to a new level, we will do our best to find a suitable place to learn.
This is really up to your group. We will ensure that you have as much time doing your shumi as you wish, balanced off with sightseeing, shopping, eating and other activities, as well as free time to do your own thing. Typically we would recommend that you spend roughly half the time doing your group shumi and the rest of the time doing a mixture of sightseeing and free time. Please see our sample programs to get an idea of what can be arranged. Please note that the programs will depend on the location, the time of year, and what is available nearby – each one will be different. We pride ourselves in being able to create an interesting program that will meet the needs of your group.
The 6-8 weeks lead time is to give us time to research where and when will be the best for your group to undertake their shumi stay, seek out local groups willing to meet/host your group, and then to put together a complete program that details everything you need to know from beginning to end of your shumi stay.
In order to plan your shumi stay we need to make enquiries as to the feasibility of undertaking your shumi and to find the best location and a suitable matching group. This research takes time and expense. Please note though that the deposit will be included in the final cost of your program.