Japan Now and Then: An Arts and Crafts Tour

This November, enjoy spectacular fall foliage while learning about the arts and culture of Japan on our new, premier, cultural journey to the heart of Japan.  Travel back in time, from the contemporary capital of Tokyo, down the Nakasendo Road, to the traditional and spiritual heart of Japan, Kyoto. This Japan Arts and Crafts tour will take you deep into the spirit that underlies the arts of Japan. 

Tokyo is vibrant, dynamic, exciting and cosmopolitan.  We will visit museums and galleries, explore career-defining architecture, sample fine cuisine and learn how the historical has been integrated into the modern life of Japan.  We then travel back through Japan’s history, heading to the Nakasendo Road; the well-traveled route taken by daimyo between their provinces and the capital of Edo (Tokyo).   We’ll visit the original castle in Matsumoto and explore the kura district before heading to our luxury ryokan for onsen baths and a multi-course Kaiseki meal.  The next day takes us to Narai, one of the post towns along the original Nakasendo Road to explore this historic reconstruction of one of the critical links in the economic and political life of pre-Edo Japan.  We end this travel day in Kyoto, alive with the blazing colors of autumn foliage, at our five-star hotel.  Kyoto, with its wide-range of arts, crafts, traditions, gardens and history will fill the remainder of our trip with its delights. We’ll learn firsthand the importance the Japanese put on the concept of mastery and meet some of the masters, or sensei, who carry forward Japan’s rich artistic heritage.  We will visit artists ranging from Nihonga to gold-leaf, textile, kumihomo and more. 

You may also decide to join us for a tour extension to see Benesse Art Site, located on the Inland Sea, while spending two nights at one of Benesse House’s Tadao Andoh designed hotels. In addition to visits to the museums on Naoshima Island, we will have a chance to also explore Teshima, another of the islands that now comprise this extensive site dedicated to contemporary and installation art.  This special two-night extension is contingent on a minimum number.

Tour Highlights:

  • Learn about the aesthetic of Japanese arts and fine crafts, from traditional to contemporary
  • Share thought-provoking introductions to Buddhism and Shintoism, through private meetings with priests and monks in their temples or shrines
  • Enter the studios of revered artists and craftsmen, the sensei who carry forward Japan’s rich artistic heritage
  • Meet masters of tea ceremony, calligraphy, textiles and more
  • Enjoy uniquely Japanese music, dance and theatrical performances
  • Visit selected galleries and museums
  • Tour one of Japan’s authentic castles
  • Spend time in exquisitely maintained gardens
  • Stroll through typical neighborhoods in Tokyo and Kyoto
  • Visit a restored post-town on the Nakasendo Road
  • Ride on Japan’s famous Shinkansen bullet train
  • Sample a variety of local, seasonal cuisine

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