Private Ceramics Group

Custom Independent Tour Sample Itinerary

This private group itinerary was created for a group of ceramics enthusiasts who travel together to learn about ceramics and pottery traditions and art around the world.  Their introduction to Japanese ceramics included a combination of museums, private studios and private collections around Kyoto and in Western Japan.

Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1940)

The beginning of art
Deep in the country -
A rice planting song.

Daily Itinerary

Depart for Japan on your individually arranged flight.

Arrive Osaka Kansai or Osaka Itami airport. Transfer will be by shared shuttle service to your downtown Kyoto hotel.

 

Accommodations:  Western-style hotel
Meals: None

Start today with a slide introduction to Japanese porcelain and stoneware ceramics, tracing its historical development, including Chinese and Korean influence. Afterwards, spend the rest of the morning at Daitokuji Zen monastery, for a private experience of the Way of Tea with the abbot of Zuihoin sub-temple, an introduction to their extensive tea bowl collection and a discussion of how the ceramic history of Japan is so closely tied to the tea ceremony. Following lunch, proceed to a stop at the gallery of Rob Yellin, one of the foremost experts on Japanese ceramics.

Accommodations: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Travel by private bus to the town of Tamba to start the exploration of ceramics with a visit to the studio and kilns of some local ceramic artists, with ceramics lecture by Robert Yellin, en route. Tamba ware originated about 800 years ago, and was historically a style used for storage jars, vases and sake bottles. For the past 450 years, Tamba has also produced fine ware for the tea ceremony and serving food. Rob Yellin will put the artists you are visiting in context so that you will have a deeper appreciation of this type of yakishime, high-fired unglazed stoneware. Some of the artists have introduced glazed work into their pallets. After our return to Kyoto we will have a group dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On today’s out-of-town excursion by private bus to Shiga prefecture with Rob, we will visit Sagawa Museum of Art, a beautiful contemporary architectural site which has devoted a special underground wing to the spectacular work of 15th generation raku potter, Raku Kichizaemon IV. We’ll enjoy a Japanese bento lunch en route and will visit the studios and kilns of a selection of ceramic artists with commentary provided by Rob. End the day at the stunning mountainside Miho Museum, designed by I.M. Pei. Return to Kyoto by early evening.

Accommodations: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday is a free day.  Those who are interested can go with their guide on a day trip to nearby Osaka for a visit to the Osaka Museum of Oriental Ceramics. You may also want to stay in Kyoto this day to enjoy local sights to prepare to the following travel days.

 

Accomodations: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday we head to the stoneware kilns of Hagi by Shinkansen (bullet) train. After arrival at Shin-Yamaguchi, we board our coach and head out for some visits. Hagiware is known for both tea ware and functional ware for food service. It was founded by Korean potters over 400 years ago and the ceramics made here are prized for the warmth and refinement of its colors, ranging from pale shades of loquat, subtle peach, bluish grey to white. In addition to a local museum visit, we will have visits with local artists in a wide range of styles over our two days in Hagi. Our hotel is a simple business-style hotel located along the beachfront.

Accommodations: Western/Japanese-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupVisit to the Hagi Uragami Museum before continuing to explore with visits to ceramics artists in the area as well as a walk through the charming remains of the old town district.

 

Accommodations: Western/Japanese-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday we travel by bus and train to Karatsu. The origins of what later developed into what is now Karatsu ware were also introduced to Japan by potters brought back from Korea. Like Hagi ware, Karatsu ware tea utensils have been used by many tea masters from olden times up through the present day, and its contemporary ware for food service can be seen in fine restaurants throughout Japan. This is stoneware that is distinguished by a warmth akin to earthenware and consists of about 7 or 8 distinctive styles. After arrival we will visit several artists in the area. Our hotel for the next two nights will be a Japanese-style ryokan where we will enjoy a traditional Japanese kaiseki meal served on local ceramics. (A nearby western-style hotel is also available for those unable to sleep on the floor.)

Accommodations: Traditional Japanese ryokan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday we head out by bus to another part of the Saga Pottery area. In the late 1500’s. a Korean potter brought back to Japan discovered a fine quality kaolin clay deposits suitable for white porcelain production. Arita ware got its start when he fired the first white porcelain items in Japan. It was here that we see the strong Chinese and Korean influence with the introduction of cobalt underglaze and then later, of brightly colored overglaze enamels. In addition to a visit to the Kyushu Ceramic Museum, we will visit some artists who have ventured beyond the traditional into contemporary glazing and interpretations.

Accommodations: Traditional Japanese ryokan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday we depart by bus for two additional ceramics areas on Kyushu Island. Founded in 1705, as part of Koishiwara-yaki, Onta ware still uses water wheels driven by a natural brook for clay preparation, and it remains as a fully functioning traditional folk kiln. The work is entirely cottage-industry-style, inexpensive folk ware which can be seen in authentic noodle shops throughout Japan. There are 10 kilns in located within a short walk in this charming village as well as the Onta Pottery Hall boasting fine historic examples of this simple, beloved folk form. From there, we head to Tohomura to learn about Takatori-yaki, a Korean-influenced style of stoneware that has been prized since the early 1600’s for its tea wares. We end the day in Fukuoka.
Accommodationst: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Japan Custom Travel Sample - Ceramics GroupToday we head out early by train to Bizen where we will visit the largest anagama kiln in the world to be followed immediately by an introduction to one or two artists working with the 800-year old Bizen-style, yakishime, unglazed ware, featuring a half-dozen warm and vibrant distinctive styles that are all achieved without application of glaze. We end the day in Osaka with a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: Western-style hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer by Airport Limousine Bus service to Osaka Kansai Airport or transfer on your own to Kyoto or Tokyo for onward travel.

Meals: Breakfast

Note: The itinerary(s) will be finalized approximately 30 days prior to departure.  Artist visits are subject to availability and the schedules of our Japanese colleagues.  A final itinerary will be sent to you about two weeks prior to departure.   The itinerary and visits are subject to change at any time.

Sample Itinerary Destinations and Visits

Pricing

For more information about current pricing for an itinerary like this, please contact us directly.

During an initial phone call or exchange by email we try to get a feel for what kind of trip and services you are looking for, your dates, your style of travel, your budget and any special needs and interests which we can accommodate. Based on that initial information, we give you a Sketch Itinerary outlining a route, types of accommodations, and other services we can provide. After getting your feedback, the Sketch Itinerary is revised if necessary and we are now able to give you a ballpark price.

The estimated price that you will be quoted will include the actual cost of the services: hotels, transportation, guides, tours etc, plus a tour planning fee. This fee includes all the expenses involved in making the arrangements (e.g., phone, fax, FedEx and currency transfer fees) and our time in making your arrangements. Please note that all trips are quoted and sold a package basis. We cannot provide detailed cost breakdowns.

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