Join Asian Religions professor Livia Kohn for an in-depth, in-country experience of the history, culture, and presence of the religions of Asia as seen through the temples, palaces, museums, and holy mountains of China or Japan. Gain a new level of understanding of Asian culture by immersing yourself in the local lifestyle to learn first-hand about the unfolding of its religions in history. Have a great time hiking around scenic spots, participating in cultural activities, relishing the local cuisine, and making new friends among your fellow travelers.

About Your Guide

Livia Kohn earned her Ph. D. in 1980. After six years at Kyoto University in Japan, she joined Boston University as Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies in 1988, then returned to Kyoto twice more for 2-year stays. After starting her Kyoto Hike tours in 2004, she retired from active teaching in 2006 and now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Her specialty is the study of the Daoist religion and Chinese long life practices, but having lived in Kyoto for close to 10 years, she is also an expert in Japanese religions. She has written and edited 35 books and over 100 articles, as well as translated works from the German, French, Chinese, and Japanese. Today, she serves as the executive editor of the Journal of Daoist Studies, manages Three Pines Press, the Western voice of Daoism (www.threepinespress.com), and organizes the International Conference on Daoist Studies (www.daoistconference.info).

In terms of self-cultivation, she began practicing Taiji quan in the 1970s and dedicated herself to Vipassana Meditation for 20 years, beginning in 1981. She is also a certified instructor of Kripalu Yoga, Qigong, and Scottish Country Dancing. Friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter (@liviakohn).

Kyoto Hike

23 October – 4 November, 2018

Join this engaging and enjoyable tour to experience Japanese life, culture, and religion from the inside. Stay at a traditional inn or in a Western room with private bath, eat all kinds of special Japanese food, hike around the mountains, and learn about the beliefs and practices of Shinto, Buddhism, and the new religions. Relax in a hot tub after a long day of fun and explore shopping alleys and restaurants at your leisure. Bring Japan into your life!


Days 1-2     Depart from home to reach Osaka.

Days 3-4     Kyoto sites: Yasaka Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, Silver Pavilion, Nanzenji.

Days 5-6     Heian culture: Imperial Palace, textile production, temples of Mt. Hiei.

Day 7          Uji: tea culture, Byodoin, Fushimi Inari

Day 8          FREE: explore on your own or rest up.

Days 8-9      Hiking: Western and northern mountains, Arashiyama and Kurama.

Days 10-11  Nara: Todaiji, Kasuga Shrine; also Tenri, Yamanobe no michi, and Hasedera.

Day 12        Departure.

Price: $1550 per person, including hotel, two meals daily, transfers, bus/train fares, and entrance fees. Single supplement: $150.

Daoist Pilgrimage

25-31 May 2018

Join us to experience a Daoist pilgrimage while learning about Daoism and deepen your understanding then go hiking around the Great Wall. Follow all this up by attending the 12th International Conference on Daoist Studies, held immediately afterwards in Beijing (June 1-4) (www.daoistconference.info), 


May 25         Arrival in Beijing, stay overnight in the city

May 26-28    Miaofeng shan:  Pilgrimage to the Daoist Goddess of the Morning Clouds

May 29-30    Hike around the Great Wall.

May 31         Return to Beijing. Then possiblyattend the Daoist Conference.

Price: US$ 650, including hotels, two meals daily, transfers, entrance fees

Religions of Japan

7-21 June 2018

This tour is a focused academic class with hands-on experience, following the emergence of different religious dimensions in Japanese history. Each day begins with a one-hour lecture, followed by an exploration of historical and religious sites. A textbook is recommended, as are websites and further study opportunities. In addition, the tour offers various immersion experiences, from dressing up in a kimono through taking a martial-arts lesson and joining a tea ceremony to staying in a temple and participating in religious services.  Learn and enjoy, expand your world!


Days 1-2      Depart from home; arrive in Osaka.

Days 2-3      Shine and Imperial Shinto: Yasaka and Inari Shrines, Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle

Days 4-5      Sect Shinto and Energy Awareness: Oomoto in Kameoka, river rafting, cooking class

Days 6-8      Buddhism: Tendai (Mt. Hiei), Zen (Kenninji, Ginkakuji), Pure Land (Chionin, Honganji)

Day 9           Mountain Worship: Mount Kurama, open-air hot tub

Days 10-11   Retreat: Temple stay on Mt. Koya, chanting, meditating, sightseeing, hiking

Days 12-13   Modernity: Osaka Castle, National Museum of Ethnology

Day 14         Departure

Price: US $1850, per person, double occupancy. Covers hotel, all meals, transfers, bus/train fars, and entrance fees. Single supplement $100.

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