Ise-Shima National Park
Why we can't wait to go back again: It's the perfect detox destination. Just under two hours's drive from Kyoto by car, this luscious landscape pours into the Pacific like a chartreuse-coloured oil spill. While this wild environment might look like God's own work, it's actually bound by a web of tight rules designed to protect it from exploitation. Sustainability is the keyword here. Check out the ama divers, a contingent of women who spend their days free-diving down to the seabed where they help to preserve the aquatic ecosystem by hand. We'll leave that to the experts and grab a sea kayak instead. You'll find us wiggling around the Ago Bay Islands before slurping a well-earned pint of local ale.
Where we're staying: Amanemu
Before you go: Read this feature on Ise-Shima's unique cuisine, and for a little insight into the history of the ama divers or "sea mermaids".