The Gardens and Art of Kyoto Japan 2018

Oct 24 Wednesday - Arrive at Narita Airport where you will be met by your guides and escorted to the Narita Nikko Hotel.

Oct 25 Thursday- Please bring your luggage to the lobby this morning. It will be forwarded to our Kyoto hotel. We’ll travel by train into Tokyo where a private coach will take us to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum located 1.5 hours east of Tokyo in the wooded hills on the north coast of Lake Kawagochiko in the Fuji Five Lakes region. Kubota is famous for reviving and modernizing a lost 15th-16thce shibori silk dyeing technique called Tsujinohama, used to decorate elaborate kimono. After exploring the fabulous museum and its extensive gardens that were partly designed by Kubota himself, we’ll have lunch in the area, then our private coach will take us to a train station to travel to Kyoto, arriving in the evening. We’ll lodge in the Daiwa Roynet Hachijoguchi Hotel, a four minute walk south of Kyoto Station.

Oct 26 Friday -Day 3 – A western/Japanese breakfast is provided each morning while in Japan. This morning we’ll taxi to Nijo Castle, a Unesco World Heritage site built in the early 17th century by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the last of the three shoguns who unified Japan from 1570 to 1600. Gorgeous paintings by the Kano School of Painters adorn the walls of the rooms. The Ninomaru Garden, known for its strong rock work was designed by aristocratic tea master and Japan’s first professional landscape architect, Kobori Enshu. Next, we’ll taxi to Higashiyama to have lunch then visit Entoku-in, a lovely temple with a famous 15th ce rock garden. Next, we’ll walk through the lovely streets of Ishibe Koji to Kennin-ji, Kyoto’s first Zen Temple, founded in 1210 by Priest Eisai, who brought tea seeds from China. Kennin-ji is an active monastery and home to famous gardens and a large body of art work. At this point you will find yourself in Gion and very close to Teramachi, Japan’s downtown shopping area. Don’t miss the chance to visit one of the Department store food floors or Nishiki Market.

Oct 27 Saturday – Today we’ll visit Ohara,a picturesque village in the mountains north of Kyoto to explore the gardens of Sanzen-in and Hosen-in. At Sanzen-in the sleeping hall (Shinden) and reception hall (Kyaku-den) were built from materials from the original Imperial Palace. The main hall (Hondo) called Paradise Hall was built in the year 985. Hosen-in is a small, intimate temple with attractive gardens. As you enter the temple grounds, there is a 700 year old pine tree pruned to the shape of Mount Fuji. As we sit upon the red carpet near the veranda you can gaze out at the garden framed beautifully by the posts of the temple while being served green tea and a sweet. (Stools are provided for those who can’t sit on the floor). Past the Mount Fuji shaped pine you can stroll through an unusual karesansui garden of rocks and sand representing the islands and mountains of Japan. We’ll have lunch at Wappado, an excellent organic restaurant in a restored farm house. Next, back to the city by bus to Ippo-do, a 400 year old purveyor of tea, in a neighborhood that has become more and more lively each year and is now home to many fine craft shops of washi (paper), lacquerware, fine indigo textiles and more.

Oct 28 Sunday - At 9:00am a private coach will take us to the Miho Museum located in a spectacular forest and mountain setting. Chinese American architect I.M. Pei, when asked to design the Miho Museum, studied Japanese culture visiting temples and shrines, engaging in meditation and tea ceremony. The building itself is made of glass and steel and built in the shape of a traditional Japanese farm house. The large glass windows give an expansive view of the landscape creating elements of contemporary architecture with an Asian sensibility. The museum was built by Shinji-Shumei-kai, a new religion that is an offshoot of Shinto. Their main tenet is that spiritual fulfillment lies in an appreciation of nature and art. The religion was developed by Koyama Mihoko, heiress to Toyobo, a textile manufacturer and the museum holds her personal collection of over 2,000 objects valued at over a billion dollars. At 12:00 pm we’ll gather in the Pine View Tea room for lunch. We’ll travel back to the city to Kawaii Kanjiro’s beautiful country style home, pottery studio and anagama (hill climbing wood fired kiln). Kawai was a leader in the mingei or folk art movement in the early 20th century. Mingei refers to common crafts having a human touch and spirit that was lost in everyday articles of use. The mingei artist sought to counteract the desire for cheap, mass produced products by bringing the work of ordinary craftsmen that spoke of the spiritual and practical needs of life to the attention of the public. We’ll visit the Kyoto Pottery Center shop and museum. The rest of your day is free to explore Kyoto’s most popular historic neighborhood on your own. It was established long ago to serve the pilgrims who came to pray at Kiyomizudera. Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka are famous lanes filled with many craft shops, restaurants and small museums. You will be provided with a walking map of the area that points out famous sites and recommended restaurants with reasonable prices. Dinner is on your own tonight.
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Oct 29 Monday- This is your free day and a chance to explore something of personal interest in Kyoto.

Oct 30 Tuesday - This morning we’ll taxi to Arashiyama, acclaimed for its rural beauty. It is nestled in the foothills of the western mountains of Kyoto, where the tree-studded gorge of the Hozu River enters the area. We’ll begin at Otagi Nembutsu, filled with an array of fascinating rakan, small figures representing Buddhist saints, each with its own personality. We’ll walk down the hill to the Torimoto area with its thatched roof huts then stop at indigo dyer, Tadashi Koji’s shop and studio. We continue on to Rakushi-sha, "Cottage of Fallen Persimmons" where haiku poet Basho himself spent time. Next, we’ll stroll through the famous bamboo forest to reach World Heritage site Tenryu-ji (Heavily Dragon temple). Established in 1339, the beautiful garden here was designed by its first head priest, Muso Soseki, one of Japan’s greatest landscape designers.
This is our last night in Kyoto and we have planned for a farewell kaiseki ryori dinner, a traditional Japanese haute cuisine made up of many small dishes artfully presented and made with the freshest of seasonal ingredients. It had its origins centuries ago as part of the tea ceremony (Chanoyu) and evolved in becoming popular in aristocratic circles.

Oct 31 Wednesday- We'll travel by train to Kanazawa this morning and check into Hotel Resol Trinity Kanazawa for two nights. We’ll have lunch at the Contemporary Museum of Art's Fusion 21 Cafe then visit Kenrokuen, considered one of the 3 most beautiful public stroll gardens in Japan. This was formerly a Daimyo's private garden and was developed from the 17ce to 19ce. The Karasaki pine is famous for being secured by large ropes each year to protect from the heavy snow. Other famous features are Kotoji-toro, a stone lantern with two legs, one on land and one in the water, Flying Crane Bridge, and the oldest fountain in all Japan operated by natural water pressure. Kenrokuen is a large, naturalistic Edo style stroll garden and is much like a pilgrimage circuit with a sequence of lovely scenes. No longer symbolic or mystic, it is a secular garden that borrows from and has elements of all former garden styles. Afterwards we return to our hotel to check in. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Nov 1 Thusday- At 8:30am this morning we'll board a Private Coach that will take us to Ogimachi Village in the beautiful mountainous Shirakawago area of Gifu prefecture. Here, at this Unesco World Heritage site is a collection of 250 year old Gassho-zukuri houses (thatched roof farm houses with triangular roofs constructed like hands in prayer). The roofs are made without nails and are built to withstand the weight of heavy snow. They have survived so long because of the custom of 'yui' in which villagers help each other re-thatch the roofs. This is a daunting task involving hundreds of workers and this cooperation is one of the reasons these villages received World Heritage status. We will have an opportunity to see how people lived long ago within these houses. We'll spend about 3 hours exploring the area. We should be back in Kanazawa by around 2:30pm. The rest of your day is free to wander through Omi-cho market (with great sushi restaurants) or visit one of the special museums in Kanazawa.

Nov 2 Friday - This morning we’ll visit the beautiful Nomura Samurai house and garden. Here, we can catch a glimpse of the life of a wealthy samurai family in the Edo period when Japan was still secluded from the outside world. Cypress, ebony, rosewood, persimmon and paulownia woods were used to construct and decorate this house. The small garden of this home is one of Japan’s loveliest. Afterwards, we return to our hotel to pick up our bags and take taxis to Kanazawa station. Purchase a sandwich or Bento at the station for lunch on the train as we travel back to Tokyo. We'll take taxis to the Asia Center of Japan Hotel located in a quiet, upscale Akasaka neighborhood to drop off our bags then walk to Roppongi to visit Nuno, internationally known fabric designer, Reiko Sudo’s shop and other contemporary shops and galleries in the Axis building.

Nov 3 Saturday- There is so much to do and see in Tokyo. Activities for this day will be decided upon once we have gathered our group and are more familiar with everyone’s interests. There will be a farewell dinner for the group tonight.

Nov 4 Sunday – The tour ends when you check out of our hotel this morning.
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   Cost of Tour

(there may be an adjustment to the price of the tour if the dollar falls below 100 yen per dollar) 

$4100.00 per person for queen bed or twin room (double occupancy) $4300.00per person for single room

 

Included in Tour:

6 nights in popular Daiwa Roynet Hachijoguchi Hotel, centrally located just a 5 minute walk outh of Kyoto Station

All breakfasts with choice of western and Japanese foods plus 5 lunches and 3 dinners at restaurants with fine cuisine

All transportation within country including taxis, trains, private coach.

All entry fees per itinerary                                                                                                                           

Two knowledgeable guides throughout the tour, fluent in both English and Japanese.                                              

A detailed daily itinerary and other information to prepare you for your travel in Japan

 

Not Included in Tour:

International airfare and trip insurance 

Personal expenses such as telephone calls and laundry