This cultural exploration of Japan is a must for those with a passion for art and culture. Having taken advantage of a private transfer from the airport on your first day in Japan, your second day has you waking up in the ancient and beautiful city of Kyoto. This wondrous city served as the capital of Japan and residence to the emperor from 794 to 1868 and is the perfect backdrop to begin your exploration of art in Japan and tour its many historical cultural sites. Your morning on Day 2 is free to allow you to explore the area around your hotel at your leisure and to begin experiencing why Japan is country like no other in the world.
You begin your first afternoon in Kyoto with a hands-on lesson from experience craftsman in the intricate process of Roketsu Dyeing. This complex and traditional dyeing technique is a unique experience to Kyoto where using a brush, hot wax and other tools you create your own beautiful handmade souvenir of Kyoto.
For your third day you are in for a treat (literally) as you visit the house of a leading expert in traditional Japanese ceramics for tea and a friendly chat about the history of Japanese art. This first-hand exchange will leave you with a feeling of warmth and knowledge that very few have the chance to experience. Your afternoon is spent with you having the choice to pick your next activity from visiting the studio of a contemporary woodblock printer, touring through some of the galleries around town, exploring Nishiki Market and other Kyoto sightseeing spots such as Kinkakuji (Golden Temple), Ginkakuji Temple, Nijojo Castle, or Heian Shrine. Whatever your choice, you will be amazed and the historical traditions and architecture that abounds in Kyoto.
The fourth day has you experience the lush and gorgeous countryside of Japan as you board a train to Kanazawa, one of the most preserved cities from the Edo period (1603 to 1867) which was home to Japanese Lords, Samurai and Geishas. After checking into your accommodations you have the remainder of the day to explore at your leisure.
Your morning on the fifth day starts off with an architecture tour with two architects: one a specialist in traditional, the other a specialist in contemporary architecture. Learn about the history and future of Japan through the buildings that inhabit it. In the afternoon, you are provided with the opportunity to visit one of the many artists in our network for a private visit to their studio. Enjoy a personal and private encounter with an artist of any Japanese craft imaginable, from traditional maki-e and lacquerware, to contemporary ceramics and jewelry. In the evening, try your hand at maki-e with a maki-e craftsman.
Day six has you spending the day exploring the Unesco World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go, touring the thatched-roof houses and open air museum with your guide. For lunch, try the local specialties of tofu steak, hoba miso or mountain vegetables and soba noodles. Late in the afternoon you head to Takayama and settle in to your traditional Japanese Ryokan (hotel).
Day seven provides a chance to explore Takayama, which has maintained traditional feel like few others in Japan. Takayama is renowned for the expertise in carpentry by their people and the wonderful district known as “old town”. In old town you will explore and witness a beautifully preserved piece of history where entire streets of houses date back to the Edo Period. To view houses, shops and Sake Breweries that have been in business for centuries, a visit to Sannomachi Street is a must.
On your eighth day you are off to one of the most popular destinations in Japan, especially by the Japanese people themselves, Hakone. Located approximately 100 km from Tokyo, Hakone boasts a natural beauty and view of Mt Fuji over Lake Ashinoko that is second to none. Oh, and did we mention that Hakone is famous for its onsens (hot spring baths). You check into you luxury accommodations, whose facilities are an artwork in itself and relax in the soothing onsen bath.
In Hakone on day nine you will marvel at the galleries and sculptures found at the Open-Air Museum. As the name suggests, many pieces can be found outdoors on the spacious grounds allowing you to examine these sculptures with nature as a beautiful backdrop. There are indoor galleries as well, and here you will be surprised to find works belonging to Picasso and Henry Moore. Later, get adventurous as you can try your hand at glass blowing or pottery at Hakone Craft House located in stunning Gora Park. In the evening, you are back in your hotel in Hakone and enjoying another onsen.
On your tenth day you head to Tokyo where we will complete your art and cultural tour of Japan by custom tailoring your remaining day(s) in Japan’s largest and diverse city to meet your wishes. Whether it is visiting Tokyo’s many museums (Nezu Museum, Mori Museum, or Edo Museum, etc…), its historic locations such as the Imperial Palace and its gardens, touring the impressive and large Meiji Shrine, or switching gears and indulging in the modern wonders of Tokyo; we are sure to put together the perfect cap of your Japanese adventure.
This is just an outline. I would be happy to customise this tour to meet your specific preferences.
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Japan & Luxury Travel Specialist