These tours are great for first time visitors to Japan looking for comfortable accommodation with all entrance fees and most meals included. Our Japan Deluxe Tours are accomodated with professional tour guides, fluent in both Japanese and English, to ensure an educational and valuable visit. Air-conditoned, private coaches are also included, so you can enjoy a comfortable and hassle-free time in Japan. Our tours range from 7 to 21 days, to various regions of Japan.
These tours combine enrichment, enjoyment, and education with time to truly absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Our Deluxe-Plus small group tours are created to cater to those who are interested in having a deeper understanding of Japan's culture. You will have the opportunity to participate in culturally rich activities and visit destinations only locals may know. Experience luxurious hotels and travel at a leisurely pace when you book a Deluxe-Plus small group tour.
Explore the must-see sights and enjoy the hassle-free trip to Japan at an affordable price. Our most cost-effective way to see the highlights of Japan while staying in budget-friendly accommodations. If you would like to have a quick stop to sample the must-see sights of Japan, or plan to explore Japan on your own but would like to take a short trip to learn about Japan before your self-guided journeys. These are the tours for you.
Explore Japan off the beaten path via Japanese public transportation, walking, hiking, cycling and more. Take more time to enjoy local experiences and picturesque landscape. Our Active Small Group Tours combine the best of cultural destinations with off-the-beaten-path via Japanese public transportation, Discover the country of Japan the way the locals do and see Japan from a different angle. A focus on getting away from the crowds and into the real Japan, see the diversity of Japan’s countryside unfold before your eyes.
The price is per person, based on twin or triple room occupancy
For single travelers, this tour has a single supplement. This guarantees a single room throughout the tour
Prices are excluding international flights
Single room types are rooms for
single room occupants.
One person will be occupying the hotel room throughout the tour.
Twin room types are rooms set for two people who will occupy one room, but will have two separate beds.
A double room is a room that has one bed for two people to share.
A triple room is one room where three people may share the same room. It has three separate beds.
Japanese Style Room
A Japanese-style room traditionally does not have a western-style bed, it is a tatami floor room with futon bedding. However, if you prefer a western-style bed, you may request one though we cannot guarantee it.
Please note: If you would like to request neighboring rooms next to your traveling companions, you and your traveling companions must have the same room types in order to be next to each other. For example, if you have requested a double room, but your traveling companions have requested a twin, or triple room, then neighboring rooms cannot be accommodated. However, if both you and your traveling companions match in room type, then neighboring rooms will likely be arranged for your convenience.
Take an immersive tour into the artistic genius of Japan
during our Japan Pottery and Art Tour, with Tokyo
Extension! As a perfect blend of sights and experiences
related to Japanese ceramics, art, and architecture, this
one-of-a-kind Japan tour creates the perfect opportunity
study in-depth the country's artistic and creative history
and culture - revealing a different side of Japan missed
more general tours of the country.
Our 17-day extended Japan Pottery and Art Tour i... View More
Take an immersive tour into the artistic genius of Japan
during our Japan Pottery and Art Tour, with Tokyo
Extension! As a perfect blend of sights and experiences
related to Japanese ceramics, art, and architecture, this
one-of-a-kind Japan tour creates the perfect opportunity
study in-depth the country's artistic and creative history
and culture - revealing a different side of Japan missed
more general tours of the country.
Our 17-day extended Japan Pottery and Art Tour includes our original 14-day Pottery and Art Tour, which starts on the island of Kyushu. This gorgeous island is well known for its traditional Japanese ceramics - with a history going back over 400 years. Our tour features Japanese pottery villages in Karatsu, Imari and Arita (the birthplace of Japanese ceramics), Sasebo, and Hasami - each with their own regional pottery traditions and techniques. Our tours of these villages are native-level experiences, and include visits to private ceramics workshops such as Kyozan-gama in Karatsu, where you will meet with Japanese potters and artisans. They offer our guests an intimate persepctive on local Japanese pottery-making customs and history. We also include tours of private pottery studios at Arita, Bizen, and Kyoto. Near Imari, we visit Okawachiyama Village - called the "Village of the Secret Kilns", which first made porcelain for Japanese feudal nobility. And at Arita, we study the history of Japanese pottery at the Kyushu Ceramics Museum, the Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field, and the Uchiyama District. We also study the local ceramics at Sasebo and Hasami before visiting art museums and galleries at Okayama and Naoshima Art Island, plus a visit to Takamatsu and gorgeous Ritsurin Garden. We visit the old Imbe Bizen Pottery Village for an introduction to the Bizen- ware pottery style before continuing to Himeji Castle and the city of Osaka, where we experience an Architecture Tour of Japan's second-largest metropolis.
Our exploration of the world of Japanese pottery continues in Kyoto, where we examine the rich local pottery known as Kiyomizu-ware (or simply, "Kyo-ware"). We include tours of memorial museums for famous ceramics artists Kondo Yuzo and Kawai Kanjiro, plus a chance to find your own favorite pottery at the Shinmonzen and Furumonzen Antique Streets. We include many more of Kyoto's most famous destinations. You can't visit Kyoto without seeing some of its UNESCO Heritage Temples, and we include the Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple, Kodaiji Temple, and Tenryuji Temple, plus a quick trip over to Nara to see Horyu-ji Temple. We also look into the Geisha sub- culture, including an enchanting Night Walking Tour through the Gion Geisha District.
As a tour made expressly for travelers who can't get enough of Japanese pottery and art, this special itinerary features four extra days, starting with a bullet-train ride to the Mount Fuji region. We explore beautiful arts locations around Lake Kawaguchiko - the Kawaguchiko Muse Museum featuring dolls made by Yuki Atae, and the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, which displays Kubota's spectacular Fuji-inspired kimono silk-dyeing art. We even stop at Oishi Park for a chance to see Mount Fuji if the weather is clear. From there, we head into Tokyo, renowned center of modern Japanese art, yet with a traditional heart that still beats strongly. We will visit ceramics galleries in the upscale Ginza district, browse the traditional art collection at the Nezu Museum and the modern collections at Roppongi Hills' Mori Art Museum. We include time for tranquil relaxation at the gardens of Hamarikyu, the New Otani Hotel, and the Imperial Palace, as well as discover the history and heritage of Tokyo at Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Meiji Shrine.
Our dining and accommodation also reflect the tour's Pottery and Art theme, with such experiences as a night at hotel / art gallery Benesse House, a lunch at Yasuna (a Japanese restaurant using traditional Arita-ware pottery), a special meal of Kyoto cuisine accompanied by Maiko entertainment, and a couple nights at an onsen ryokan offering a traditional Kaiseki dinner. Transport for the tour is facilitated by our comfortable private coach, and you travel in the company of one of our knowledgeable and friendly bilingual guides, who are on hand to help you navigate any Japanese language, and who share a passion for Japanese traditional pottery and art.
The historic wonders of Japan Pottery and Art are yours to discover on this special itinerary that starts in Kyushu's pottery villages, and journeys through Takamatsu, Osaka, Naoshima Art Island, Kyoto, and Nara, plus our special extension through Mount Fuji and Tokyo. Browse our detailed itinerary for additional information.
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All prices are per person, based on twin (double on request) or triple occupancy.
International flights are not included on our tours - this allows you the flexibility to choose your own departure and get the best value for your money!
We can arrange international flights for US customers if needed, please ask for details.
We require US$200 deposit per person to hold the space at time of booking and the final payment is due 2 month prior to departure.
Travel by air conditioned, luxury private coach, baggage handling free.
For arrivals at Fukuoka Airport (FUK), this tour starts in Fukuoka and ends in Tokyo, with departures at Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND).
Vegetarian or special meals can be arranged.
Please note that the meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
Welcome to Fukuoka! We will pick you up from the airport and take to the hotel.
NOTE 1: The meet and greet and airport transfer to the first hotel is ONLY available on the first day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights before the start of the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 2: If you wish to stay extra nights before the tour starts, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Begin the day's tour in Karatsu, with a visit to Kyozan- gama. Here you will be able to meet a ceramics artist of the Kyozan-gama Atelier and be introduced the local style of pottery known as "Karatsu-ware" - a traditional form of porcelain produced in Japan since the 16th century. After, we tour galleries around Karatsu Station, where you will be able to really get a feel for the local pottery style. The tour proceeds from there to Okawachiyama Village in Imari, which was one of the first places to produce porcelain after kaolin clay was found in the nearby mountains. You will see dozens of little pottery makers and shops which are an essential part of the local area's culture. It has even become known as the "Village of the Secret Kilns"! After, enjoy a dip in a relaxing onsen followed by a dinner of traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine at a local ryokan accommodation.
After breakfast, take a tour of Arita - part of Japan's traditional pottery heartland, starting with a tour of a local artist's studio, where you will be introduced to the local pottery style, called "Arita-ware". Next, visit the Kyushu Ceramic Museum, which is devoted to preserving the original ceramics styles and traditions associated with the Kyushu region. Then, at the Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field, which could be considered the birthplace of Japanese ceramics - where Korean potters discovered clay suitable for firing into porcelain. After, we enjoy a lunch at Yasuna, a local Japanese restaurant that serves their food on locally produced Arita-ware. Then enjoy a Pottery Walking Tour of the Uchiyama District, which was an area developed with Arita pottery and was once known as the "thousand houses of Arita". The residences are a unique mix of architectural styles from the Edo, Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras. Next, in the Tonbai Wall Alleys, you will traverse the back alleys where the potters of old hid their secrets from their rivals. Then we tour Fukagawa Seiji, which tells the story of one of Arita's major pottery kilns through two stories of porcelain displays. Next, we visit Koransha, which holds the recognized title of the oldest producer of Arita-ware ceramics. Then, at the Imaemon-gama & Ceramics Art Museum, we see pottery using the "colored Nabeshima" technique. Finally, we return to the Onsen, for another delicious kaiseki dinner and relaxing onsen bath.
The day's tour begins after breakfast with a trip to Sasebo
and a tour of the local style of pottery known as
"Mikawachi-ware", which is known for its simple yet
elegant blue-dyed ceramics. Then we visit Hasami for a
tour of "Hasami-ware" which features a mix of high-class
porcelain and everyday tableware. We stop for lunch at an
Italian restaurant before finally making our way to Hakata
Station and a trip to Okayama via one of Japan's speedy,
sleek bullet trains.
Note: We will courier your big baggage to your hotel in Okayama (Included for up to one piece of baggage per person). Please pack your essentials for 1 night in a small bag to carry with you.
Today we travel from Okayama to Yasugi for a look at the Adachi Museum of Art. The outer landscape garden – a masterpiece established by museum founder Adachi Zenko – has been repeatedly heralded as the Best Garden in Japan by the “Journal of Japanese Gardening”. Then we return to Okayama for a relaxing evening at your hotel.
In the morning, we will start the day with a tour of Kurashiki's Canal Area, also called the Bikan Historical Quarter, which is a gorgeous waterway bordered by willow trees and old-fashioned storehouses built in the Edo-era style. Then we tour the Ohara Museum of Art - one of the first museums of Western art in Japan. The museum features a main building constructed in the style of a Greek temple, with famous artworks from Picasso, Pollock, Rodin, and many others. There are also galleries for Craft Arts and Asiatic Arts, plus an Annex of oil paintings and sculptures. drive across the Seto-ohashi Bridge to Shikoku. Seto-ohashi, or “Great Seto Bridge” is actually a 13-kilometer long network of smaller bridges linking Honshu with Shikoku across the Seto Inland Sea. This incredible bridge system uses smaller islands to transition from one link to the next, in a clever combination of different modes of engineering, to make one of the longest bridges in the world. Making our way into Takamatsu, our first stop is a local bonsai farm. This private farm offers an exclusive look into the world of bonsai - where trees are trimmed and shaped into elegant and thought-provoking works of art. Continue to Ritsurin Garden, a traditional Japanese garden regarded as one of the top gardens of Japan. The garden features peaceful walking paths beneath dense clouds of pastel pink cherry blossoms, a large grove of cunningly trimmed box pines, and 400-year-old Kikugetsu-tei teahouse, sitting next to a large pond full of koi fish.
Today, take a ferry to Naoshima Art Island for a day of inspiration, full of buildings designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. We start with the Benesse House, a combination of modern museum and deluxe hotel, with myriad works of artists from all over the world. These include a series of outdoor sculptures set up on the park and shoreline, including the famed giant yellow pumpkin. Next, we will visit the Chichu Art Museum. Built into a hill on the southern coast, Chichu Art Museum’s underground display rooms use natural light to showcase works from a limited selection of artists including Claude Monet and James Turrell. Finally, you head over to the Art House Project, where artists renovate old houses, turning the house and the space inside into a new work of art. Tonight, you will stay in the Benesse House, which is equal parts hotel and art gallery, for a relaxing evening of artistic immersion.
Today, we take the ferry back to Okayama, and travel from there to Bizen, which is a region known for its distinctive style of "Bizen-ware" ceramics. Begin by meeting an artist at their studio for an introduction to the Bizen-ware style, followed by a visit to Imbe Bizen Pottery Village which is the center of the Bizen style of pottery-making. Around the village you can see the workshops, kilns, and shops that preserve this time-honored craft. After, we will visit Himeji Castle, the largest castle in Japan and one of the surviving twelve original castles. The six-story castle keep is iconic; it’s dazzling white coating and walls that seem to spread from the tower like wings lend Himeji Castle the nickname “White Heron” (or White Egret) Castle.
In the morning, we begin by enjoying a view from Harukas 300 Observatory - Japan's tallest skyscraper. Next, we visit Shitennoji Temple, which was one of the first Buddhist temples ever built by the imperial family, We take a quick stopover at Nara for a tour of Horyuji Temple - home to some of the most ancient wooden buildings in the world. Then explore the diverse collection of structures in the city with an Osaka Architecture Walking Tour. We will see the Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji, designed by architect Jun Aoiki with architecture that looks like billowing sails. Then we travel to the Galleria Akka which was designed by Tadao Ando. We will also visit the Daimaru Shinsaibashi, which features a blend of art-deco and neo-gothic design by architect William Merrel Vories. We will visit other iconic buildings around the city as well before we enjoy a delicious Wagyu Beef Dinner. Wagyu has become world-famous as a richly-textured, high- quality beef that is so tender it practically melts in your mouth, and tonight you will be able to savor for yourself the mouthwatering taste of this prized meat.
In the morning, a short drive takes you to the ancient capital city of Kyoto, where our first attraction of the day is Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Japan’s feudal era, and palatial former residence of the Tokugawa shogun. The gilded buildings and elegant interior are well preserved – the foremost example of Edo-era castle architecture. Next, we pay a visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. This was the former residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868, during which the capital moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. Then you will have time to find your own lunch at Nishiki Market. This narrow shopping street, commonly referred to as 'Kyoto's Kitchen,' is filled with more than 100 restaurants and shops showcasing Kyoto specialties such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, and sushi. Then enjoy exclusive access to a local private garden in Kyoto that is next to the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum. Namikawa Yasuyuki was a Japanese cloisonne artist known for his naturalistic style and transparent black enamel, and this museum houses some of his most famous works. After, we go to the Heian Shrine, which was built to honor the foundation of Kyoto (once known as Heian) over a thousand years ago. The shrine itself is known for its enormous torii gate and spacious inner courtyard. Behind the main building are the Shin-en Gardens - a series of five gardens with various ponds, traditional buildings, and plants. Finally, enjoy a Kimono Wearing experience where you will be able to try on a colorful kimono, and take pictures while in the traditional Japanese attire.
The tour of Kyoto continues with a Kintsugi Experience. Kintsugi is also known as "Japanese broken pottery". Broken pottery pieces are put back together with a lacquer made of precious metals like gold., leaving a shining lines running throughout the pottery. Then meet two artists at their studio for an introduction to the local "Kiyomizu-ware" pottery. Enjoy a meal of Kyoto Cuisine in the company of a Maiko (a Geisha apprentice). Then enjoy an enchanting Night Walk through the Gion Geisha District, an old- fashioned district full of traditional wooden shops, restaurants and teahouses. While walking past the old wooden buildings, you may see geisha or maiko on their way to entertain guests with classical Japanese refinement.
In the morning, we will tour Kiyomizu-dera, a famous temple in Japan that is best known for its large wooden stage that overlooks a hillside of gorgeous natural scenery. On the path below Kiyomizu Temple is Kondo Yuzo Memorial Hall, which houses famous ceramics created in the native style. Savor a Tempura Lunch at Yasaka Endo before we visit Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Hall, where you can see folk art created by ceramics master Kawai Kanjiro at his former studio. Then we tour the Shinmonzen and Furumonzen Antique Streets for a chance to browse Kyoto's most famous antique districts.
After breakfast, we will travel to Kodaiji Temple, which is a lavish temple built in the memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Here, we can experience Zen meditation and Green Tea Ceremony. Then we will tour the Arashiyama district. First is a visit to see Tenryuji Temple where you can catch a glimpse of the traditional landscape garden design. Then we walk through a dense grove of towering bamboo trees before our visit to Ryoanji Temple. Ryoanji is home to a world-famous rock garden, or "karesansui". While the exact meaning of the garden is a mystery, one can't help but feel a sense of peace and tranquility from its simple, elegant design. Next, we visit the Golden Pavilion, which is perhaps Kyoto's most renowned landmark. The three- story temple is covered in shining gold-leaf and topped with a representation of a phoenix. We finish the tour with a delicious Yakitori Farewell Dinner as you enjoy your last night in Japan.
We begin with a trip on a smooth and speedy bullet train to the gorgeous Mount Fuji region. Disembark at Shin- Fuji Station near Lake Kawaguchi to visit the Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, featuring charming dolls made by renowned artist Yuki Atae. Continue around the lake to the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, located on the other side. This art museum is devoted to the works of silk-dyeing artist Kubota Itchiku, who devoted his life to recreating elaborate kimonos using the lost art of silk- dyeing. Then take a stroll around Oishi Park, which sits on the shores of Lake Kawaguchiko and offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji when it's sunny.
After breakfast, we will make our way to the garden of the hotel we are currently staying at. This beautiful garden with a dynamic waterfall is steeped in 400 years of samurai lord history and possesses a peaceful ambience while nestled in the heart of Tokyo. Next, we will go to enjoy the natural atmosphere of the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Then, at the Nezu Museum, you can enjoy a collection of pre- modern Japanese and East Asian art that Nezu Kaichiro put together. After bombing in World War II destroyed some of the collection, Nezu Kaichiro’s son continued to add to it to ensure that his father’s collection remained impressive. Stroll the trendy and modern Omotesando Street in search of your own lunch, then visit the Imperial Palace East Garden, which, in addition to its meticulously manicured landscape, retains some old fortifications from when Edo Castle stood there. Finally, visit some local pottery galleries in Ginza. These include Kuroda Toen, which features a range of ancient and modern ceramic teaware, and Gallery Pousse, which features a fine collection of various pottery works. We will visit as many as we have time for before returning to the hotel for a relaxing evening.
The second day of Tokyo sightseeing begins with a visit to Asakusa Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple with Kaminarimon gate - a gate hung with an enormous paper lantern in the midst of old areas of Tokyo. Next, board a Sumida River Cruise, where you can enjoy urban scenery of the city on your way to Hama Rikyu Garden, a huge traditional landscape garden next to the sea surrounded by Tokyo's skyscrapers. Visit the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, home to tasty and fresh sushi, and have lunch on your own. After, we tour Roppongi Hills, a modern urban development project that has become a sort of "city inside a city" with residential apartments, offices, shops, restaurants, an observation deck...all centered around Mori Tower, which is one of Tokyo's tallest skyscrapers. Finally, we tour the Mori Art Museum – displaying modern art from new artists around the world. Though modern art can sometimes be complex, the Mori Art Museum aims to have exhibitions which are accessible to the everyday viewing public.
After breakfast, our tour officially ends.
Checkout time is 11 am.
Transfer to Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport by private car.
NOTE 3: The departure airport transfer is ONLY available on the last day of the tour. If you plan to stay extra nights after the tour, please contact us for the transfer if needed.
NOTE 4: If you would like to stay longer in Japan, please contact us to book hotel accommodations.
Karatsu is a port city in Saga prefecture on the island of Kyushu. The city was once a point of transit for ships connecting Japan with Korea and China, being one of the nearest cities to the Korean Peninsula and mainland Asia. The major attraction of the city is its local pottery called Karatsu-ware, which is a simple style of pottery that has historically been fired in climbing kilns. There are still many kilns and ruins of kilns in the area that tell the story of Karatsu-ware, as well as museums that preserve its history. Another point of interest is its festival, which has occurred every year for a hundreds of years in November, when fourteen massive floats take to the streets, drawn by families living in the fourteen heritage neighborhoods of Karatsu. A prominent feature of Karatsu is its hill castle, which is a reconstruction of a castle built during the early Edo period, and now houses a museum displaying the history of the castle and Karatsu pottery. The region near Karatsu also holds Nagoya castle, which was used by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to launch his unsuccessful invasion of Korea.
Karatsu-ware is a traditional style of Japanese pottery from the Karatsu area, valued especially for use in Japanese tea ceremonies.
Karatsu-ware (or "Karatsu-yaki") is the name for the style of porcelain native to Karatsu, Japan. Karatsu-ware has been produced since the 16th century. The craftsmanship is similar to Bizen-ware in its unassuming style and tones, created with a lack of ornate or intricate designs, favoring simple glaze painted artistry and light accents. The clay used in Karatsu-ware is a high-iron clay, resulting in ruddy, earthen tones. The pottery style's acceptance of imperfection and change over time well expresses the Japanese "wabi-sabi" aesthetic, and is highly sought after for use in Japanese tea ceremonies. It even found its way into a Japanese traditional proverb expressing which tea sets are most valued for tea ceremony: "First Raku, Second Hagi, Third Karatsu". Various styles of Karatsu include "Brush-painted Karatsu" which involve hand-painted images of birds, plants, and mythological creatures, and "Korean Karatsu", which was brought over to the region from Korea.
Kyozan-gama is a pottery atelier producing Karatsu-ware pottery in a traditional climbing kiln.
Kyozan-gama is a pottery studio in Karatsu city. An internationally-renowned producer of Karatsu-ware since the 16th century, the Kyozan-gama atelier produces a wide variety of ceramic pieces, including utensils, plates, teacups, and much more. They also create specific Japanese items used in traditional tea ceremony. Many of their wares are beautifully made for everyday use, with elegant, if simple, patterns. The pottery at Kyozan-gama is still made using a traditional chambered climbing kiln. And unlike some other pottery studios where the firing, glazing, and decoration of pottery may be delegated to different artists, Kyozan-gama's artists take pride in having their hands in the complete process from start to finish. Although, it is a local saying that "it takes 80% to create Karatsu-ware, but it isn't complete until the last 20% is spent using it." They sell their works at the studio and take orders for souvenirs or gifts that are handmade by the Kyozan-gama ceramics artists.
Visit Ceramic Galleries located around Karatsu Station, which details the history of the local.
Karatsu-ware is a beautiful style of Japanese pottery has been crafted since the 14th century, known for its humble, unassuming style in line with the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. It is favored by practitioners of Japanese tea ceremony for this reason, as expressed in the old proverb "First Raku (ware), Second Hagi, Third Karatsu". And around Karatsu station, traditional kilns have been converted into galleries that preserve their craftsmanship. The Nakano Toshi Kiln was one of the first kilns opened for the Karatsu Domain and made pottery for the area including a statue in front of the station. Aya Kiln Gallery celebrates the work of Karatsu's first female kiln owner. The Nakazoto Toraemon Tobo is a gallery that preserves 13 generations of Nakazoto- crafted pottery. The Ocha-gai Kiln Ruins were built in the 1700s and have various tea-ware preserved in good condition within an old climbing kiln. The Osugi Saraya kiln is a gallery containing teaware that had been delicately painted in gentle colors. There are many other ceramic galleries around Karatsu station that display the simple beauty of the region's pottery.
This small town located in the western part of Saga
prefecture is famous throughout Japan for its Arita yaki,
which means Arita porcelain. It is said that the history of
Arita porcelain goes back to the Sengoku period when
Toyotomi Hideyoshi brought back skilled Korean
craftsmen, who later found the kaolin material used to
make porcelain in Arita. During that time Arita became
the first place in Japan to produce porcelain. Travelers
visiting Arita can find many of the town’s attractions
heavily related to porcelain making, including museums,
archaeological sites, local shops and even shrines
located in Arita.
Some of the popular tourist attractions located here includes Tozan Shrine, The Kyushu Ceramic Museum and Arita Porcelain Park. Tozan Shrine was dedicated to the most influential Korean potter who helped making porcelain in Arita. Porcelain is used in making the torii gates and the guardian dogs of the shrine, making it a unique shrine in Japan. The Kyushu Ceramic Museum houses historical artifacts also providing information on the history of porcelain, which is regarded as one of the best museums in Kyushu. Lastly, the Arita Porcelain Park is a large open air theme park with a large palace, museum and a porcelain workshop for visitors to explore.
Arita-ware is a traditional form of Japanese pottery from the Arita region, known for bright colors and intricate painted designs.
Arita-ware is a term for Japanese porcelain from the Arita region of Kyushu Island. Because the region was once called Hizen, the pottery is also called "Hizen-ware". This type of porcelain was especially identified with export porcelain, which was often known for its smooth white surface with a blue underglaze. The original Arita-ware focused on the simple white and blue patterns, but later versions of the craft incorporated red, gold, and black. After it was exported, Arita-ware porcelain was often called Imari-ware, for the port city of Imari where the ceramics were shipped for trade in Western markets. Some of the first kinds of Arita-ware were called "Nabeshima-ware" after the lords of the region who first gathered potters to the area to begin production of porcelain. Travelers looking to study this traditional art start with the town of Arita, where outdoor decor, galleries, and shops celebrate the local style.
The Kyushu Ceramic Museum celebrates the famous pottery styles of Kyushu, especially those of former Hizen province, such as Karatsu-ware, Arita-ware, and Imari-ware.
The Kyushu Ceramic Museum was opened in 1980 with the purpose of collecting and preserving the history and traditions of pottery from the Kyushu region. The museum is supported by Saga prefecture, aiming to celebrate the local ceramics and pottery culture of the area. Kyushu has such a rich history related to ceramics, with such time-honored styles as Karatsu-ware, Arita- ware, and Imari-ware, which are still crafted and sold by master artisans in the region today. The museum features extensive collections of ceramic works, which includes the Kanbara Collection of Imari-ware ceramics once exported to Europe, and the Shibata Collection of Arita-ware pottery that was crafted during the Edo period. Their exhibits aim to make Kyushu ceramics accessible to visitors, and many contain the work of modern ceramists as well as the more traditional works.
The Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field was where clay was first discovered suitable for making into porcelain, starting the Japanese ceramics industry.
Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field, also called the Izumiyama Quarry, was where clay was first mined to make the first Arita-ware porcelain back during the early Edo period. The clay for porcelain had to be of a high quality, and so the discovery of kaolin clay at Izumiyama was important to begin producing finer-quality ceramics. Ceramics artisans were gathered to the area (including a good number of Korean potters) by the Nabeshima family, who were lords of the region. Their goal was to make porcelain for the Imperial court, shoguns, and noble samurai families. Izumiyama Quarry contains a shrine that has a monument dedicated to Yi Sam- pyeong, who they recognize as the Korean potter who first fired the clay of the quarry into fine porcelain. Today, little digging goes on the area, and it serves mainly as a tourist attraction.
The Uchiyama District Pottery Walking Tour is a sightseeing tour of heritage pottery locations in the town of Arita.
Take a Pottery Walking Tour through the Uchiyama District, where the pottery craftspeople produced the local style of porcelain that came to be known as "Arita-ware". The tour includes a walk through the Tonbai Wall Alleys, where the potters of the town lived. The alley is characterized by high walls which were built to hide their pottery techniques from their rivals, which were made including pieces of discarded pottery. See Fukagawa Seiji, which produces pottery according to the traditions of first- generation Japanese potter Chuji Fukagawa, with displays that show their history and traditions. Discover Koransha, which has been producing pottery since 1689, focused on making ceramics suited for overseas export, and taking pride in having the same artist do every stage of the production process, from firing to decoration. We then visit Imaemon-gama and Ceramics Art Museum, which preserves the "colored Nabeshima" style of ceramics, and features ceramics made by different generations of the Imaemon family.
The city of Sasebo started as a fishing village up until the Meiji period, when the town was selected by the Japanese Imperial Navy as the site of a new naval base. The city became a major naval shipyard and repair port up to the modern era. A local style of pottery, called "Mikawachi- ware", has been produced in the region for around 400 years. This pottery style is elegant yet simple, with blue pictures painted over a smooth white surface. While touring Sasebo, you can see pottery workshops that display the techniques used in Mikawachi-ware production. Also in the area is Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch- themed amusement park. The theme park depicts a Dutch city and landscape, with large windmills, gorgeous flower gardens, and classical European architecture. The park also holds festivals to celebrate seasonal flowers.
Mikawachi-ware is an elegant style of pottery from Sasebo city, known for having a white base decorated with simple blue designs.
Mikawachi-ware is a kind of porcelain crafted in Sasebo, in Nagasaki prefecture. It is thought that Mikawachi-ware comes from Korean potters that were brought to Sasebo during the Imjin War, and these potters produced a sleek white porcelain with delicate pictures painted in blue. MIkawachi-ware is not mass-produced, but hand-crafted with grate care a single piece at a time. The porcelain became used throughout the country and abroad, even as far as Europe. The modern city of Sasebo still preserves this traditional craft with kilns and shops that sell works by contemporary Mikawachi-ware ceramists. There is also the Mikawachi-ware Museum of Art, which works to promote this traditional art by exhibiting masterpieces of Mikawachi-ware produced around 400 years ago.
Hasami is a town in Nagasaki prefecture in Japan which is primarily known for its production of "Hasami-ware" pottery. This style of ceramics is around 400 years old, and was brought to the town by the same Korean potter who developed Arita-ware. The most important historic places in Hasami are its old ceramic kiln ruins. The town has five old kiln ruins (plus two other ceramic-related ruins) that have been designated by Japan as national historic sites. These include the Hatanohara kiln ruins which offers a look at the start of porcelain production, Mimata Kiln site and Nagatayama Kiln ruins which both produced celadon pottery, and Nakanoe Noboru Kiln ruins which was one of the largest kilns in the world at 160 meters. You can also walk around Hasami Yakimono Park, which features the "World's Kiln Plaza", that presents different kilns throughout history. Additionally, the town hosts an annual Hasami Spring Festival as well as a Hasami Ceramics Festival.
Hasami-ware is the term for traditional Japanese pottery from the town of Hasami, with around 400 years of history.
Hasami-ware is one of the most popular types of porcelain in Japan, popularizing ceramics from the Nagasaki region - especially when it comes to everyday dishware. The history of Hasami-ware dates all the way back to the late Sengoku period, and in the pottery town of Hasami, at least seventeen major kilns still practice this time-honored art today. The original Hasami-ware were what potters call "slipware", and while porcelain was a luxury for most Japanese people of the Edo period, a moderately successful household would find Hasami-ware to be reasonably priced - especially the little serving dishes called "kurawanaka bowls". Many modern Hasami-ware products are what Western minds imagine when they think of Japanese ceramics - a simple, smooth white base and delicately painted indigo designs - but some makers have included red, green, gold, and other bright colors to add more variety. And although Hasami-ware can be delicate and refined like many other types of Japanese porcelain, they also are said to have originated the reinforced porcelain that schools across the country use for school lunches.
Japan's main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido are served by a network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country's major cities. Japan's high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen and are operated by Japan Railways (JR). The shinkansen network consists of multiple lines, among which the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular. All shinkansen lines (except the Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen) run on tracks that are exclusively built for and used by shinkansen trains. Most lines are served by multiple train categories, ranging from the fastest category that stops only at major stations to the slowest category that stops at every station along the way.
High-speed railway at speeds up to 300 km/hr.
The shinkansen (or Japan’s bullet train) is a high speed train that travel between most of the major cities in Japan. Travelers can reserve seats on either ordinary or green car seats for an added cost. The shinkansen can run up to 320 kilometers per hour (close to 200 miles per hour), and are known to always be on time, comfortable and safe.
Yasugi is a city at the eastern end of Shimane Prefecture. Directly to the west is the town of Higashi Izumo and then Matsue city. Directly to the east is the city of Yonago (Tottori Prefecture). On October 1, 2004, the towns of Hakuta and Hirose merged with the city of Yasugi. It used to be important for its steel production. It is best known for the comedic yasugibushi dance and as the home to the Adachi Museum of Art.
Art museum with a spectacular garden.
The Adachi Museum of Art is another one of Matsue’s most popular museums and destination. This museum is best known for its award winning garden and art exhibits. Guests are able to enjoy one of the best gardens in Japan and view over more than one thousand pieces of art. One of the most popular exhibits is the museum’s ceramics exhibit.
Located near Okayama City in the Okayama Prefecture is the city of Kurashiki, which is known for its well preserved Edo Period canal area. Guests can visit one of the most beautifully canal areas in Japan, where many of the buildings that were once storehouses have been turned into modern attractions. The Ohara Museum of Art is also a great museum for tourist to visit while exploring Kurashiki. Other popular destinations include the Ohashi House, Ivy Square, and many museums.
Canal lined by willows and old storehouses.
Kurashiki’s canal area is one of Japan’s most beautifully preserved canals that date back as far to the Edo Period. The canals were once used to transport rice into the storehouses where they would be shipped to cities such as Osaka and Tokyo (was known as Edo during those times). Now this historic area is the most popular destination for tourist visiting Kurashiki. Many of the historic storehouses have been turned into shops, cafes, restaurants, and museums for guests to enjoy.
The oldest Western art museum in Japan.
Located in Kurashiki’s historic canal area is the Ohara Museum of Art was Japan’s first museum of Western Art. This museum was the first museum built for western art in all of Japan and holds many displays of western art. There are many masterpieces of art on display from famous artist, such as Picasso, Pollock, Modigliani, and many more. There are three buildings that visitors can visit, the main gallery, annex, and the Kojima Museum. Each building features different displays of western art, Japanese art, sculptures, and other forms of art.
The city of Takamatsu is the capital of the small Kagawa Prefecture. It is the home of one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens and is famous for its udon. There is plenty for visitors to explore and experience in this city. One of the most popular attractions is the Ritsurin Koen Park, which is one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens. There are also many museums available, like the popular Shikoku Mura Village and the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. Other attractions and activities include tasting the famous Sanuki Udon, hiking, bike riding, shopping arcades, and many more.
Outstanding Japanese style landscape garden (Place of Scenic Beauty).
Ritsurin Koen Park is one of Japan’s most beautiful landscape garden located in the city of Takamastu. Many consider this garden to belong on the list of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. This spacious and beautiful park features many ponds, hills, trees, bridges, and pavilions. There are a number of walking routes throughout the park and provides views that would leave any guest satisfied.
The centerpiece of Ritsurin Garden, Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse is an ancient pavilion still serving fresh matcha tea to visitors near a peaceful pond.
Kikugetsu-tei, or "Moon-scooping Pavilion" was placed in the garden by one of the Takamatsu lords who ruled the area in the mid-1600s, and it has been serving tea to the park's visitors ever since. This ancient teahouse is constructed of plain wood darkened with age, and is sparsely adorned. But it maintains an air of elegant charm with nothing more than the refreshing sight of verdant surroundings, the playful splash of koi fish in the nearby pond, and the taste of freshly whisked matcha tea served in an exquisite, though plain-patterned, ceramic teacup. While on the veranda overlooking Ritsurin Park, sitting in the same spot once occupied by noble samurai, visitors to Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse truly feel transported back to feudal Japan.
Located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan is the Naoshima Island. This island is best known for its modern art, museums, architecture, and sculptures. The most popular attraction in Naoshima Island is the Benesse House, which is a modern art museum and hotel. There are plenty of museums to visit for guests at this destination. The most popular museums include the Chichu Museum, Lee Ufan Museum, Ando Museum, and other various attractions with unique artwork.
Art scattered around a small port town.
A collection of abandoned structures renovated into special venues dedicated towards contemporary art in Naoshima Island, Japan
A traditional residence with an unusual interior.
The Ando Museum is a work of modern architectural beauty designed by and dedicated towards Tadao Ando, also known as one of the most famous modern architects of Japan. Located by the Honmura Port as one of the featured buildings of the Art House Projects on Naoshima Island, visitors are greeted by the perfect fusion of traditional and modern traits featured at this museum. The Ando Museum infuses new life in the century year old traditional wooden house of Honmura by adding the signature use of concrete to the overall design. The contrasts between the elements of past and the present with traditional aspects of wood intertwined by the harmony of concrete fused together to form the atmosphere created by Tadao Ando, attracting thousands of visitors to travel to Naoshima Island every year. Travelers can learn the history of art on Naoshima through varies photographs and models, along with Ando’s architectural work which consists of most venues on the island. The gift shop in the museum has gained popularity for selling items related to Ando including post cards with the Chichu Art Museum and personally autographed by Tadao Ando himself, a perfect souvenir for friends of all ages.
One of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea.
The Chichu Art Museum is one of the most popular museums located on Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. The museum itself is a combination of art and architecture, even though most of the building is underground, it uses natural light to brighten up the artwork. Only a few people are allowed in at a time for the museum because appreciating the artwork in the museum is best viewed with as few people around as possible. There is a small café and waiting area, and it is also advised for guests to arrive early because the crowds will get rather large.
Combination of art museum and hotel.
The Benesse House is the most popular destination for guests visiting Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. This building is both a modern art museum and a resort hotel. The main attraction is building is the modern art museum, where different works of art are displayed from both Japan and all over the world. Visitors staying at the hotel have twenty-four hour access to the museum and there is also restaurants, cafes, shops, and a spa. Visitor do not have to stay at the hotel to have access to all the amazing facilities at the Benesse House.
Bizen is a town located in Okayama Prefecture. The town is home to one of Japan's most distinctive pottery styles, which is called Bizen-ware after the town. This particular style is as old as the 6th century, and is made by firing clay without using a glaze, and commonly has reddish, earthy hues. You can see examples of the famous pottery style all around Bizen and pottery workshops in the Imbe- Bizen Pottery Village produce ceramics using age-old traditions. The town also has a museum that celebrates traditional and contemporary examples of Bizen-ware. The town of Bizen is also famous for being the location of Japan's first public school. Shizutani School was built in 1670 as the first school open to the general public, and now features learning opportunities for children of the area. The grounds are pretty in spring and fall, when the cherry or maple trees bring seasonal color.
Bizen-ware refers to the highly-prized pottery from Japan's Bizen region, with an ancient history as far back as the 6th century.
Bizen-ware traditionally comes from the Bizen region - specifically from the village of Imbe, located in what is now Okayama prefecture - but the roots of Bizen-ware can be seen in the Sue-ware produced during the 6th century Heian period. Known as one of Japan's "Six Ancient Kilns", the pottery produced in Bizen was known for its rustic, earthen tones, and was a popular set of dishware for use in Japanese tea ceremony. Bizen-ware pottery is usually fired in a type of kiln called a "wood-fired kiln", and the works that are created are often unpretentious and simple. The style is also notable in that it doesn't use glaze, giving it a rough, almost unfinished appearance, in keeping with the Japanese aesthetic of "wabi-sabi", which emphasizes natural beauty and a state of transience. Bizen-ware was supposedly the type of tableware favored by samurai warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and by famed tea master Sen no Rikyu, and many contemporary Bizen artisans have been designated by the government as Living National Treasures for their work.
The Imbe Bizen Pottery Village offers guests a look at a style of local pottery centuries old.
The Imbe Bizen Pottery Village is a town in the Bizen area that is home to the traditional pottery-making artform called "Bizen-ware". Bizen-ware is an artform going back over 1000 years, with some of the workshops and guilds in the village being kept in the same family for many generations. There are even ruins of ancient kilns from as far back as the 16th century. The clay is locally sourced and has a high iron content, leading to its distinctive earthen colors. There are examples of Bizen-ware pottery decorating the entire village, and there are even special shrines where the potters go to pray. The village hosts the Bizen Pottery Festival in October, where many locally- made ceramics are sold at discount, and there are even workshops where visitors can try making Bizen-ware for themselves. The village also has the Bizen Pottery Traditional and Contemporary Art Museum, which celebrates Bizen-ware past and present.
They city of Himeji is located in western Kansai and is known for one of Japan’s most beautiful and finest castles. This is a popular destination or side-trip for tourist visiting Kyoto or Osaka. Himeji is famously known for the beautiful Himeji castle, which is both a national treasure castle and listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of shops, food, and sight-seeing spots available for tourist visiting Himeji.
Japan's best preserved feudal castle (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Himeji Castle is located in the city of Himeji and is only a five minute bus ride away from Himeji Station. Himeji Castle the most popular and visited castle in Japan, it is also listed both as one of Japan’s national treasure castles and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This castle is also one of Japan’s twelve original castles, which means it was never destroyed in its history and has been standing since it was originally completed in the year 1609. The surrounding area is also one of Japan’s most popular cherry blossom destinations during the spring.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japan in terms of size located not too far from Kyoto. This city is one of the top three destinations for tourist visiting Japan after Tokyo and Kyoto. Osaka is the location of the popular Universal Studios Japan, Osaka castle, and Namba. There is plenty to experience in Osaka, from shopping to visiting temples and shrines, Osaka has plenty of destinations to experience Japan.
Harukas 300 Observatory is the top three floors of the Abeno Harukas skyscraper - the tallest building in Japan.
Abeno Harukas is a skyscraper in the city of Osaka, and the tallest building in Japan (not counting the towers). Standing at 300 meters tall, the building contains 60 stories, with a department store, art museum, hotel, and observation deck housed inside. The top three floors comprise the observation deck, and are called "Harukas 300". This observation deck is accessed via an exciting elevator ride from the 16th floor. Every wall Harukas 300 consists of large glass panels offering a spectacular view of the city of Osaka. Floor 60 is especially popular for its 360-degree panoramas of the impressive cityscape. Looking down on the city, you can see a mix of both traditional and contemporary buildings, painting a picture of Osaka in the past and present. On clear days, you can see as far as Kyoto, Kobe, and the Rokko mountains. The view is especially thrilling at night when the city below becomes a dazzling scene with millions of lights. The 58th floor of the observation deck offers a cafe and beautiful inner court area, and many seasonal events are celebrated in the skyscraper.
Shitennoji Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country, with buildings constructed in a style from the 6th century.
Shitennoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located in the city of Osaka. The temple was originally built in the 6th century, making it one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, and the first to be officially founded by a member of the imperial family. Although some of the temple buildings were destroyed by fire over the centuries, they were always rebuilt to match the original architectural style. The temple is named for the "shitenno" - four heavenly kings in Buddhism who protect the world from evil. Walking through the Gokurakumon (the Paradise Gate), the temple has several noteworthy buildings including the Chushin Garan, or "inner temple complex", which has a main hall, lecture hall, five-story pagoda, and three gates. The Gokuraku-Jodo Garden is a gorgeous Japanese garden based on the Buddhist concept of paradise and is a tranquil place to relax and meditate. The temple also has a Treasure House that houses important items connected to the temple. Within the Treasure house, displayed in reverent style, are various scriptures, paintings, and other important temple items.
The Osaka Architecture Walking Tour explores the modern landscape of Osaka with buildings designed by some of the country's foremost architects.
Take an Osaka Architecture Walking Tour for an informed look at some of the most fascinating modern buildings you can see in Osaka. View the Louis Vuitton Maison Osaka Midosuji, a flagship store for the famous fashion chain designed by architect Jun Aoki to create the impression of billowing sails. It's an appropriate expression of Osaka, which is a city of rivers and canals. Discover the symmetrical stone design of the Galleria Akka, a trendy local fashion shop which was designed by famed Japaense architect Tadao Ando. This architect is known for his shapely stone designs and has designed many significant buildings in Japan and throughout the world. You can also view the Daimaru Shinsaibashi, which in one of the most significant buildings in the Shinsaibashi area. Daimaru is a prominent Japanese shopping district, and the original Daimaru Shinsaibashi was built in 1933 by American-born architect William Merrell Vories, and preserved by the city of Osaka as an example of Taisho-era architecture. In addition, the Osaka Architecture Walking Tour includes other priminent buildings in the city.
There are many restaurants located within Kobe that serve Japanese or international cuisine, but there are many places that offer Kobe beef. Kobe is known around the world for its famous Kobe beef, which is beautifully marbled, delicious, and very expensive beef. The most popular way to enjoy Kobe beef is in a restaurant where the chef grills the meat in front of the guests. Eating Kobe beef is a popular activity for tourist visiting Kobe and can provide a delicious and unforgettable experience.
The city of Nara was once known as the first capital established in Japan. Nara is located only less than an hour away from both Kyoto and Osaka. Nara is home to some of Japan’s oldest, largest, and historic temples. The landmark and symbol of Nara is the Todaiji Temple, which was built in the 7th century. One the most popular attractions is Nara Park where visitors come every day to see the wild deer that roam free throughout the park.
Horyuji Temple is a Buddhist temple in Nara, and is one of Japan's most ancient temples, with some of the oldest surviving wooden buildings.
Horyuji Temple, founded in Nara by Prince Shotoku in 607, is one of Japan's oldest temples. The temple grounds are full of fascinating locations, including the world's longest- standing wooden structures. The temple's Main Hall, or "Kondo" is one of these buildings, and features dragon- themed decor and architecture from Japan's Asuka period. Such an important building also contains some of Horyuji's most important relics - such as bronze images of venerable Buddhas, and wooden statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. Another of the temple's ancient structures is its five-story pagoda, which also houses some of the temple's treasures, and offers a sense of grandeur as you look at these incredible historic wonders. These buildings and more are housed in Horyuji's Western Precinct, but there is also an Eastern Precinct (which holds the fantastic "Hall of Visions"), as well as a Gallery of Temple Treasures, located between the two precincts, which displays various Buddhist statues, paintings, and other historic artifacts. Horyuji Temple was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Kyoto was once the old capital of Japan and is filled with historic temples, shrines, buildings, and other structures. Kyoto is filled with many temples and shrines such as the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavilion. It is also home of the Gion Festival, which is the most famous festival in Japan. Kyoto is the number two destination for tourist bound for Japan, and is the number one destination for tourist looking for a full Japanese cultural experience.
Former Kyoto residence of the shogun (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
In the northern part of central Kyoto is Nijo Castle, where it was once the former Kyoto residence of the shogun. This area is also listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This area was once home to the shogun when he would visit Kyoto. This place serves as the best examples of castle palace architecture from Japan’s feudal era because most of the buildings here survived since they were originally built.
Large Kyoto park complex, and the Imperial Seat of Japan's former capital.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace was the former residence of the Emperor until the capital city was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo in 1868. Located in the Imperial Park complex behind a broad earthen wall with a slanted roof, the Palace itself is surrounded by gravel paths, some excellent gardens, and groves of tall trees. Many of the buildings had been destroyed by fire over the years, but each time the Palace was scrupulously rebuilt. In the same Park enclosure is Sento Palace, a former imperial retirement home.
Longstanding food market of old Kyoto - often referred to as "Kyoto's Pantry".
Nishiki Market is the longest traditional food market in Kyoto. It specializes in locally grown and prepared foods of superior quality. Displayed so as to tempt the senses and make passing mouths water, such savory delights as chicken skewers, dried fish, pickled vegetables, tofu, tea, and many others are found in stall after stall. Additionally, specialty kitchen utensils from high-quality makers, including hand-crafted kitchen knives and engraved chopsticks, make Nishiki Market worthy to be called "Kyoto's Pantry".
Tour the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum to see the artist's famous cloissone artworks, and view the museum's private garden.
While in the city of Kyoto, tour the Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum, including the museum's Private Garden. Namikawa Yasuyuki was a famous master artist of cloisonne - which is the art of adorning metal objects with enamel, or melted, colored glass. Namikawa Yasuyuki, along with other artists of the time, began a golden age of Japanese enamel art, with his work winning prizes at national exhibitions and world's fairs. Famed for a naturalistic kind of decoration featuring smooth, transparent black glaze, his works are often known for intricately detailed designs featuring nature motifs, involving such elements as plants and birds. The museum itself is housed in Namikawa's old house and workshop. Outside the museum is a private garden maintained in a traditional style, with bushes and trees bordering a small pond. This intimate garden is decorated with stone lanterns and offers a spot of tranquil reflection while you view Yasuyuki's cloisonne artworks.
Modeled after the ancient Imperial Palace
The Heian-Jingu Shrine is located in eastern Kyoto, only thirty minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station. This shrine has a short history compared to other shrines in Kyoto since it was only built and completed in the year 1895. The main area is large with a spacious wide open court. For a fee, visitors can stroll the gardens behind the main building.
Garden in Heian Shrine with many weeping cherry trees
This beautiful garden circles behind the main building of the Heian-Jingu Shrine. Visitors can find the entrance on the northwestern side of the spacious courtyard and exit on the northeastern side. This beautiful garden features a variety of plants and ponds. Guests can see the koi fish or even turtles that swim in ponds and lucky guests can even see a crane which is said to bring good luck. During cherry blossom season, many people come here to view the beautiful weeping cherry trees in bloom.
Continue exploring Japan, but wearing a kimono for a more traditional flavor.
Japan is a very unique cultural experience because much of Japan’s history is still preserved, protected, and celebrated. One of the best ways to experience a visit to Japan would be to explore it while wearing a kimono. The kimono is one of Japan’s most oldest and traditional pieces of clothing. There are many places available in Japan to rent a kimono to wear and explore this beautiful country.
Kintsugi is the beautiful Japanese art of mending broken pottery with patterns of golden lacquer, reflecting the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi.
Kintsugi is a Japanese word meaning "golden joinery", which is the art of putting pieces of shattered pottery back together again with a lacquer that has been dusted or mixed with powdered gold. Silver or even platinum may also be mixed with the lacquer for use in Kintsugi. This unique method of repair is similar to maki-e, which uses lacquer to draw patterns on lacquerware before dusting them with gold. Kintsugi is a reflection of the Japanese philosophy of "wabi-sabi", which finds value in simplicity, imperfections and flaws - embracing them as a part of the pottery's character and history rather than just something that needs to be fixed. It has also been compared to the Zen meditative principle of Mushin, or "no mind", which is all about non-attachment and accepting what changes fate brings. The scars in the pottery are not hidden, one might expect, but brought out to the forefront for all to see. The most common items mended with the Kintsugi technique are ceramics used in Japanese tea ceremony.
Kiyomizu-ware are a type of ceramics from Kyoto, but it especially refers to pottery created in workshops around Kiyomizu Temple.
Kiyomizu-ware (also called simply, "Kyo-ware") is a kind of pottery created in Kyoto. Originally, Kiyomizu-ware specifically referred to the pottery that came from the artisans who live along the road leading to Kiyomizu Temple, but now Kyo-ware is a more broad term, taking in various styles of ceramics produced in the city of Kyoto. Kyo-ware was first produced as early as the 700s, and became popular with the development of the Japanese tea ceremony. Kyo-ware is considered a highly individualistic form of Japanese pottery because of the freedom involved in choosing the materials and techniques in their creation. A similarity common to traditional Kyomizu-ware is that they are often sophisticated in design and elegantly decorated, as befitting the pottery of Japan's ancient imperial capital. Being a city that prizes tradition, many of the time-honored techniques used in producing Kiyomizu- ware are still used by the city's artisans, and their workshops are found in historic commerce centers like the Higashiyama district.
A Gion Geisha District Night Walk Tour brings alive the magic of one of Kyoto's most historic areas, where visitors may still see Geisha walking the streets.
Gion is a historic district in the ancient city of Kyoto. It's full of old-fashioned wooden ochaya (teahouses), as well as a host of other tight-packed traditional shops built in the style of the Edo period, and because geisha and their apprentices (known as "maiko") frequent the area and can be seen walking about on their way to entertain guests, the area is also called the Gion Geisha District. The Gion Geisha District Night Walk Tour explores this gorgeous area at its most enchanting time, when the little lights of lamps and paper lanterns along the stone-paved streets cast a warm and inviting glow on the old wooden buildings. The narrow alleyways of Gion might be a bit easy to lose oneself in, but with a knowledgeable guide by your side, guests on this tour will be able to easily understand the Japanese language used around them. Plus while on this Night Walk Tour, you will be able to enjoy a local-level knowledge of the Gion district and its history, as well as an inside look at the world of Geisha and Maiko.
Temple famous for its large wooden terrace (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is located only 15 minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station to the eastern side of Kyoto. This temple is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto and is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple features a large wooden terrace that offers a fantastic view of the cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn colors during the fall season with the city of Kyoto in the background.
The Kondo Yuzo Memorial Hall is a museum that celebrates the works of ceramics artist Kondo Yuzo, who transformed the ceramic arts with his blue and white designs.
Kondo Yuzo Memorial Hall is dedicated to preserving the works of ceramics master artist Kondo Yuzo. A Kyoto native, Kondo Yuzo practiced a ceramic technique called "sometsuke", which is a well-known blue and white porcelain style, in a workshop near Kiyomizu Temple which has now become the Memorial Hall. In a career spanning around 70 years, Kondo became known for his bold and dynamic art style which was much more expressive than most of his contemporaries, while still keeping to traditional materials. This museum displays works which showcase his unique designs, with exhibits that include tea plates and bowls, plus larger-than-life vessels he painted during his life. In addition to ceramic displays, the studio from his home has been duplicated to how it was when he was alive, including some of the actual tools he used. In addition to Kondo Yuzo's incredible works, the works of his eldest son, youngest son, and grandson are also on display, keeping alive Kondo Yuzo's legacy.
Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Hall is a museum dedicated to the pottery of Kawai Kanjiro, who was a key figure of the
Kawai Kanjiro was a potter in Kyoto who built his own climbing kiln outside his workshop, where he produced a variety of unsigned ceramics that reflected his simple aesthetic sense. He became well known for his use of glazes such as cobalt, chrome, iron, and copper. The museum now occupies what was once Kanjiro's home and studio, not only collecting his works but showing how he lived and what he treasured. He was, in fact, a multitalented artist, and although his pottery is what he is most known for, he left behind a collection of other works that include calligraphy, wood-carving, and hand-drawn art designs, which were collected by the memorial hall. Moreover, he had a love of poorer artists and their work, and collected their artworks, which influenced his own philosophy. A tour through the Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Hall offers a chance to study the aesthetics of this simple, yet profound ceramicist, which included the disdain he felt for honors during his lifetime, preferring only to be known through his work.
The Shinmonzen and Furumonzen Antique Streets are home to Kyoto's antique district, especially if you are looking for Japanese handcrafted pottery.
A definite must-visit for lovers (and collectors) of Japanese pottery, the Shinmonzen and Furumonzen Antique Streets are a grouping of the finest traditional antique stores and old-fashioned art galleries in the city of Kyoto. As a pair of streets behind the more famous Gion Geisha District, Shinmonzen (the New Street in front of the Sate) and Furumonzen (the Old Street in front of the Gate), go unnoticed my many tourists to Kyoto. But for those fortunate enough to find this lesser-known selection of shops, a treasure trove of antiques await to be browsed. As mentioned, this is a go-to place to find traditional hand- crafted Japanese porcelain - and not only the pottery of Kyoto, but Kutani-ware, Arita-ware, and more. But shops in these antique streets aren't limited only to ceramics: Kimono, woodblock prints (ukiyo-e), incense, lacquerware, screens, and more. Those not looking to do some antiquing can still enjoy the magic of these streets, constructed in a traditional style, and even find a teahouse to enjoy a time-honored Japanese tea ceremony.
Built in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Kodaiji Temple is located in eastern Kyoto in the Higashiyama district and is only fifteen minutes away by bus from Kyoto Station. This beautiful temple is one of Kyoto’s most popular temples during the autumn colors season. Visitors can enter the main hall of the temple and also view the beautiful gardens that surround the temple as well.
Zazen is a type of meditation unique to Zen Buddhism that functions at the heart of the practice.
Zen meditation is unique and is central in Zen Buddhism. This form of meditation calms both the body, mind, and to also gain enlightenment by seeking insight into the nature of existence. There are lessons and classes available for visitors where a Zen priest guides guests to practice Zen meditation and teaches the significance of Zen as part of the Japanese culture.
Traditional way of preparing and drinking tea.
Green tea has a rich history in Japan and has been the most popular non-alcoholic beverage for years. A green tea ceremony is the ceremonial way of preparing and drinking green tea that has been practiced for hundreds of years. The ceremony is full of many rituals and has a strong Zen Buddhism influence. The tea is prepared by the host for the guests and is usually green tea made from powdered tea leaves.
Pleasant district at the outskirts of Kyoto.
Arashiyama is located on the western outskirts of Kyoto and is a well-known destination for both the cherry blossoms and fall colors seasons. North of the famous Togetsukyo Bridge is Sagano, and together they make this place a nice little getaway from temples and shrines to enjoy nature. Popular destinations include the Togetsukyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama.
Zen Temple in the Arashiyama district (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Located in the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, the Tenryu- Ji Temple is Arashiyama’s most popular temple. The temple is listed as one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The original buildings of Tenryu-Ji Temple was lost many times throughout its history, except for Tenryu-Ji’s garden. The Tenryu-Ji Temple Zen Garden that visitors see today is the original garden and landscape.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors in Arashiyama.
One of the most popular and well-known spots for visitors is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. A nice walking path takes visitors through the groves of bamboos. The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is also one of the most famous and photographed places in all of Kyoto and brings many visitors every year during the autumn color season.
Zen Temple with famous rock garden.
The Ryoan-Ji Rock Garden is located only one mile down the road from the famous Kinkaku-Ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) in northern Kyoto. It is the location of Japan’s most famous rock garden and attracts hundreds of visitors every day throughout the year. The surrounding area features a beautiful pond with a nice walking trail that circles the area.
Temple building covered in gold (National Special Historic Site).
The famous Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple is located in northern Kyoto and is most known for the building covered in gold leaf. This famous building is the number one most popular destination for tourist visiting Kyoto. The Golden Pavilion sits overlooking a large pond and various small attractions and shops are available for visitors.
The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many artists have been captivated by the diverse expressions shown by this mountain depending on the season, or depending on the time of the day, whether in the morning or early evening. It is widely believed that Mt. Fuji is unparalleled worldwide as a mountain that has so frequently been narrated, sung in verse, and drawn.
The Kawaguchiko Muse Museum displays the cute cloth dolls of Yuki Atae, as well as a charming flower garden.
The Kawaguchiko Muse Museum is a museum located on the edge of Lake Kawaguchi near the iconic Mount Fuji, and is considered a branch of the Kawaguchiko Museum of Art. Named after the Greek goddesses of the Arts, the Muse museum features a rotating series of exhibits displaying the cute and expressive dolls designed by renowned Japanese dollmaker Yuki Atae. These dolls are made of simple cotton cloth, yet have delicate and life-like features. The museum also has a outdoor garden that adds to the atmosphere of whimsical fantasy, which includes lavender blooms, roses, and other flowers in all colors.
Excellent museum about the kimono artist.
The Kubota Itchiku Art Museum is located on the north coast of Lake Kawaguchiko near Mount Fuji. This museum showcases the works of the late Kubota Itchiku, a famous Japanese kimono artist. This museum showcases several of Kubota Itchiku’s kimono art, which are based on themes of nature, the seasons, and the cosmos.
Lake Kawaguchi is the most famous of the Fuji Five Lakes, with breathtaking landscape scenery in the spring and autumn seasons.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of Mount Fuji's Five Lakes, and is by far the most famous, attracting visitors to the hotels that dot its shoreline throughout the year. It is arguably the most picturesque, being displayed prominently below the iconic mountain on postcards for the region. The landscape around the long lake is dramatic and stunning in every season, especially during spring cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Despite the lake's proximity to Mount Fuji, the mountain is not always visible from the lake due to the cloud cover, with the early morning and late afternoon being the best time to get a good glimpse. A number of other attractions sit around the lake, including the Kubota Itchiku Museum, Kawaguchiko Muse Museum, FujiQ Highland amusement park, and a number of hot spring bath resorts.
Tokyo is the number one destination for tourist bound for Japan. It is the number one most populated, the biggest city, and is the capital of Japan. From shopping to sightseeing, this city offers everything that tourist want to see. There are a number of places to see the entire city, tourist can visit the Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower to get a breathtaking view of the city. For shopping, visitors can head to the most popular areas such as Ginza, Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City, or Shinjuku. There are also many museums available such as the Edo Tokyo Museum or the Tokyo National Museum. This modern city still has many parks, temples, and shines for anyone interested in a cultural experience.
Luxurious Tokyo Hotel with 400-year old samurai garden.
The New Otani Hotel has been around since the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964, but the Japanese garden near it is far older, having been the former private garden of various samurai officials for the past 400 years. This tranquil little garden is characterized by narrow strolling walks bordered by dense hedges and other foliage, a broad variety of flowers, charming little scarlet bridges, and small ponds with bright koi swimming through their shallows.
A shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort.
The Meiji Shrine is located next to Harajuku Station and next to Yoyogi Park. The shrine is located within a small forest with large trees and the entrance is designated by a large torii gate. This is also one of Tokyo’s most popular shrines, with more than a million visitors after New Year’s Day.
Old-fashioned museum with impressive display of traditional and Buddhist artwork.
This modern museum was built to house the collection of traditional and Asian artworks amassed by businessman and avid collector Kaichiro Nezu, being founded and opened to the public by Nezu's sonafter his father's passing. The museum includes a permanent collection of traditional paintings, sculptures, ceramics, handicrafts, and more, with an especial focus on Buddhist artworks, and a more prominent exhibit that rotates every month or so.
Main residence of the Imperial Family.
The Imperial Palace is located in the center of Tokyo, only a short walk away from Tokyo station. The palace is home to the current Imperial Family. The inner grounds of the palace is not open to the public, except on January 2nd and December 23rd where guests are able to enter and see the current members of the Imperial Family from a balcony. Visitors can view the Nijubashi, two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds. The stone bridge in front is called Meganebashi (Eyeglass Bridge) for its looks. The bridge in the back was formerly a wooden bridge with two levels, from which the name Nijubashi (Double Bridge) is derived.
Discover the Pottery Galleries in Ginza, a little-known treasure trove of ancient and modern Japan ceramic art.
Our tour of the Pottery Galleries in Ginza offers Japan pottery enthusiasts the chance to examine contemporary ceramics crafted in a wide range of styles. Ceramics galleries can be found all around Japan. And while Ginza is known among tourists and locals alike as an upscale shopping district, who would have guessed there was, hidden among the trendy shops, a nuumber of quality ceramics galleries? By far the best is Kuroda Toen, which, in addition to its gallery, hosts pottery exhibitions featuring specific styles like Karatsu and Bizen. The gallery is managed by the Kuroda family, who also have a gallery in Shibuya. Gallery Kogei Murata has a small shop that showcases quality ceramics sourced from specific individual potters, and, being in Ginza, features some fairly pricey porcelain. Other galleries include Gallery Ima and Gallery Pousse, which offers exhibitions from current artists.
Buddhist temple with souvenir shopping street, an atmosphere of old Tokyo.
The Sensoji Temple located in Asakusa is one of the most popular Buddhist temples to visit. The temple was built and completed in the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest temple. The surrounding area offers shopping for souvenirs and food. The Sanja Festival is one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals and is held every May at Asakusa Temple.
Leisurely cruise down Tokyo's Sumida River with picturesque city and nature views.
The Sumida suijo-bus (or "water bus"), while not as quick as the trains, is the best way to see Sumida River and Tokyo Bay up close, as well as scenic views of Tokyo. The leisurely boat travels between 12 locations on its voyage, including Asakusa, Hamarikyu Garden, Odaiba Seaside Park, and Tokyo Big Sight. It offers travelers a perfect opportunity to relax, breath in fresh sea air, and enjoy Tokyo from a different perspective.
Former Imperial detached palace and landscape garden near Tokyo Bay.
Hama Rikyu Garden is a landscape garden just beside Tokyo Bay along the Sumida River. The garden includes flower gardens and trees that can be enjoyed year-round. In addition are numerous traditional buildings, including a teahouse, that hearken back to the days when this garden was part of a detached palace for the Imperial family. One of the most impressive features of Hama Rikyu are the garden saltwater ponds, which change level along with the tides. The peaceful atmosphere found in the garden is a refreshing break from the bustling cityscape visible just across the bay.
Visit a famous Japanese market filled with fresh fish and agricultural products, plus delicious dishes.
The outer Tsukiji Fish Market offers a variety of freshly prepared food products and ingredients. Travel in between the different stores and taste a few of their dishes, freshly prepared with some of the best ingredients.
Roppongi Hills is an enormous urban development project - a
Roppongi Hills is an urban development project located in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, and is centered around Mori Tower. The work of various architects and designers from all over the world, this "city within a city" includes space for residences, restaurants, business offices, the Mori Arts Center which includes an art museum, arts center gallery, observation deck, membership club, and academy, plus a hotel, cinema, TV station, and even a Japanese landscape garden. The goal of the developers was to make Roppongi Hills a new cultural center of Tokyo, so the facility gives prominence to arts and design. One of the biggest features of Roppongi HIlls is the Mori Art Museum - a celebration of modern art and artists. Also worth mentioning is the Mori Arts Center Gallery which offers myriad special exhibitions including famous art collections from around the world, fashion, design - even anime and manga! The observation deck is definitely worth a visit as well, offering guests a dynamic 360-degree view of Tokyo's impressive urban sprawl.
Fukuoka (Day 1)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Nikko Fukuoka is a prestigious world class hotel located in front of Hakata Station, the entrance gate of Kyushu. It is conveniently located only two subway stations away from Fukuoka Airport and 3 minutes walk from JR Hakata City (Hakata Station). It has 360 guest rooms all with a relaxing atmosphere and of various styles including authentic Imperial Suite Room and rooms with an atmosphere of a classy study room. You can visit any of the 8 authentic restaurants residing in the hotel and enjoy a variety of dishes made by skillful cooks with seasonal ingredients. This hotel run by the flag carrier company promises you a refined and comfortable time with its great hospitality.
Ureshino Onsen (Day 2 & Day 3)
Japanese Style Accommodation
This is a hotel surrounded by nature along the river at the foot of Mt. Shiiba, in Saga of Kyushu. The sound of rapids and winds blowing in the valley. You can see wild nature here as far as the eye can see. Please enjoy your "luxurious time with no duty" in the nature.
Okayama (Day 4, Day 5 & Day 6)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Granvia Okayama is the landmark located in front of JR Okayama Station and serves as the gateway to the entire Seto Inland Sea area for both business travelers and tourists. With its advanced facilities and sophisticated services, the hotel provides the space and time of the relaxation. It invites the guest in the full warmth of hospitality and all the luxuries the hotel has to offer.
Naoshima Island (Day 7)
Western Style Accommodation
The Benesse House is a place on Naoshima Island that is part art gallery / part hotel. Guests who stay there for the night can immerse themselves completely in nature and art. The hotel has four different accommodation types available. The first is the Museum accommodation, where guests can stay within a modern art museum setting. Spacious rooms are tastefully decorated with various artworks, and offering gorgeous views of the surrounding woods and sea. Then we have the "Oval" accommodation, which sits on a hill and features a sweeping view of the Seto Inland Sea and walls decorated by tasteful drawings. Then we have the "Park" accommodation, which features nearby open-air artwork agains the beautiful backdrop of Setouchi. And Finally, there is the "Beach" accommodation, which sits right on the shore and makes the guest feel like they are floating over the sea. The gentle sound of the waves lapping against the shore. Each accommodation was designed by famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando, giving each building a unique character. The hotel is also near other museums and galleries on Naoshima Island, providing the excellent opportunity to view all the island has to offer.
Osaka (Day 8 & Day 9)
Western Style Accommodation
Hotel Nikko Osaka is a deluxe hotel located in a prime area of central Osaka. The hotel faces the famous tree- lined Mido-suji Avenue, the city’s main boulevard and home to the headquarters of major corporations and the city’s main shopping and leisure district.. The hotel offers numerous room accommodations to choose from and an array of international cuisine.
Kyoto (Day 10, Day 11, Day 12 & Day 13)
Western Style Accommodation
Cross Hotel Kyoto offers a great location, putting you within just a 10-minute walk of Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market. For a bite to eat, guests can check out KIHARU Brasserie, which serves Mediterranean cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Nice touches like deep soaking tubs, premium bedding, and slippers are offered up in all rooms. The helpful staff and central location get great marks from fellow travelers. Public transportation is just a short walk: Sanjo Keihan Station is 5 minutes and Shiyakusho-mae Station is 5 minutes.
Tokyo (Day 14, Day 15 & Day 16)
Western Style Accommodation
Surrounded by a gorgeous ten-acre Japanese garden, with the bright lights of Tokyo glimmering nearby, the Hotel New Otani Tokyo has achieved a zen-like balance between traditional beauty and stylish modernity. Each room is appointed with plush linens, the most modern technological accessories, and floor-to-ceiling windows which provide you with breathtaking views of the lush grounds.
PLEASE NOTE: These are the hotels All Japan Tours generally uses on the touring styles and regions shown. There is no guarantee that you will stay in the lodgings listed on the website. We encourage you to check your travel documentation for confirmation of the exact accommodation you will be staying in.