Itinerary – Textiles of Japan

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Japan

Day 2: Tokyo

Arrive at Narita Airport. If you are on our guest flight, you will be met by your tour leader, who will assist with the transfer to our conveniently located Western-style hotel. You’ll have the evening is free to relax and rest up for tomorrow.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel

Day 3: Tokyo

After introductions and a brief orientation, our exploration of Tokyo begins with a visit to Shinto Meiji Shrine to learn firsthand about Japanese spirituality and the Shinto religion. While there, we’ll see a performance of the sacred kagura dance, performed in beautiful ceremonial costumes. Afterwards, we’ll tour the Omotesando-dori district and visit two textile galleries there. After returning to the hotel for a brief rest, we’ll rejoin and walk to dinner in the neighborhood.
Accommodations: Moderate Hotel (B, D)

Day 4: Tokyo

We’ll begin the day with a visit to an antique basket gallery. Afterwards, we’ll tour the fabulous food floor of Mitsukoshi Department Store, where we will purchase bento lunches. After lunch, we proceed to the private art gallery of a friend of Esprit, where we’ll learn about the history and components of the kimono through an interactive event. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B)

Day 5: Tokyo

Our day will start with a trip to the fabulous Tsukiji Fish Market, where you’ll likely see more kinds of fish than you’ve ever imagined, as well as seasonal vegetables, pottery and kitchen wares. From there, we’ll travel by subway to the Axis Building, in the exciting Roppongi district. We’ll visit Nuno, an internationally known gallery featuring innovative contemporary textiles, and meet some of the designers there. After lunch, we’ll visit Amy Katoh’s Blue and White shop for inspiration on how to use traditional Japanese fabrics. There will also be time to stroll around Azabu Juban before we return to the hotel.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, L)

Day 6: Tokyo to Kyoto

We board the Shinkansen (bullet train), then the local train, to arrive at Arimatsu, where the ancient shibori technique is still practiced in both traditional and cutting-edge styles. In the afternoon, we’ll continue by train to Kyoto and check into our hotel, which is conveniently located near downtown, and close to transportation and shopping.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, D)

Day 7: Kyoto

Our day will begin exploring the wealth of treasures, such as obis, old kimonos, textile fragments, pottery, and more on display at the Toji Temple flea market. After dropping our purchases off at the hotel, we’ll take a local train to Northern Kyoto, to visit to the studio of a contemporary yuzen dye artist, who will demonstrate for us the art of hand painting on kimono silk. After an enlightening time in the studio, we’ll take a late afternoon walk through the lively Nishiki food market on our way to dinner.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, D)

Day 8: Kyoto

We are treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of workshops in the Nishijin district, where Japan’s weaving traditions live on and one can see demonstrations of age-old techniques. After lunch, we’ll attend the Jidai Matsuri Festival and parade, that illustrates the history of Kyoto through costumes. You’ll have the evening to explore on your own and enjoy dinner in one of the many local restaurants.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, L)

Day 9: Kyoto

We’ll begin with a visit to one of Kyoto’s most peaceful gardens within the Nanzen-ji Temple complex. Afterward, we’ll stroll through a beautiful neighborhood to the workshop of a family of craftsmen who weave silk cord in the traditional way. After lunch we’ll visit the studio of a textile artist and have a chance to learn more about Japanese textile arts one-on-one. Afterwards, you’ll have free time to explore on your own the large fabric stores in the downtown area, other interesting textile-related shops, and galleries. Your tour leader will give you ideas, directions and tips to ensure you enjoy the time.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B)

Day 10: Kyoto

You’ll have the entire day free to pursue your own interests if you wish, or you may choose to join your tour leader for a visit to a dye and textile tool supply shop.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B)

Day 11: Kyoto

We begin the day at the Daitoku-ji Zen Monastery complex, where we’ll attend a private tea ceremony with Esprit’s good friend, a Zen master, at one of Kyoto’s most wonderful old temples within the serene complex. Then we’ll visit a beautiful temple garden and have a lunch of special Zen-style cuisine. You’ll have the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the Kitano Shrine Flea Market, a treasure trove of textiles, pottery, and more.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, L)

Day 12: Kyoto

A short train ride in the morning will take us to the home and studio of a family who dyes washi paper, thread and cloth with traditional Japanese indigo for the Katsura Imperial Villa. Then we’ll visit the studio of a contemporary basketry artist. Returning to Kyoto, we visit the city’s premier textile gallery, where we’ll have a guided tour of the best in contemporary fiber works.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B)

Day 13: Kyoto

We begin the day with a presentation about indigo and naturally dyed fiber textiles. Then you’ll have time on your own to explore Teramachi Street, to visit a local temple and shrine, visit a bamboo washi shop, see several antique shops, browse old bookstores, go to woodblock print galleries, and enjoy shops selling exquisite supplies for the tea ceremony and brush painting. In the evening, we’ll meet for a fabulous farewell dinner of Japanese fusion cuisine.
Accommodations: Moderate hotel (B, D)

Day 14: Depart for U.S.

You’ll have the morning is free to stroll through a Kyoto neighborhood, visit a gallery, enjoy a cup of tea, or relax in a temple garden one last time before departing Japan. We will take van taxis to Osaka Airport for the flight home. (B)

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