AJT Logo

All Japan Tours       337 N.Vineyard Ave Suite 215, Ontario, CA 91764
Toll Free: 1-855-325-2726 (US/CANADA) Tel: 1-909-988-8885
Fax: 1-909-349-1736 E-mail: info@alljapantours.com

Luxury Private Art & Architecture of Japan Tour

Tour Code: GTF4234595

Tour Information

Land cost: from USD $28298.00

Single supplement: USD $0.00

Tour duration: 15 days 14 nights

Destination:
Tokyo - Hakone - Kanazawa - Shigaraki - Kyoto - Himeji - Kurashiki - Naoshima - Marugame - Takamatsu - Awaji Island

Tour cost includes:
• 13 nights Western style and 1 night Japanese style accommodation
• Meet and greet upon arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport or Haneda Airport
• Private airport transfers on arrival and departure
• Private transfers between destinations in Japan
• First class Shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Kyoto to Himeji
• First class train ride from Kanazawa to Maibara
• Comprehensive escorted with AJT professional English speaking tour guide
• Luggage forwarding from Tokyo to Kanazawa
Meals
• Breakfast everyday
• 1 special dinner with geisha performance
• 1 kaiseki dinner at the ryokan
• 4 dinners at the hotel
Admission fees and activities
• All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! We will arrange your private transportation from the airport. Please look for the guide with the All Japan Tours sign.

Hotel Mandarin Oriental Tokyo or similar class

Day 2

Tokyo (Mori Art Museum / Suntory Museum of Art / The National Art Center)

Begin with the Mori Art Museum – displaying modern art from new artists around the world. Though modern art can sometimes be complex, the Mori museum aims to have exhibitions which are accessible to the everyday viewing public. Next, we will visit the Suntory Museum of Art with displays mainly focused on artwork in Japan including paintings, ceramics, glassware, and many traditional objects used in everyday life. Next, visit the National Art Center, a building with a stunning, futuristic design. Interestingly, this ‘empty’ museum is home to temporary exhibitions and has no permanent collections.

Breakfast

Hotel Mandarin Oriental Tokyo or similar class

Day 3

Tokyo (Meiji Shrine / Architecture tour with an architecture specialist guide in Omotesando and Aoyama / Nezu Museum)

Our first stop on this tour will be to enjoy the natural atmosphere of the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. An Architecture Specialist guide is available to take you through the neighborhoods of Omotesando and Aoyama. Omotesando is often described as the famous Harajuku district’s mature older sister. Meanwhile, Aoyama is somewhere between Omotesando and Shibuya: still mature but also forward thinking and exclusive. Finally, 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.

Breakfast

Hotel Mandarin Oriental Tokyo or similar class

Day 4

Hakone (Open Air Museum / Lake Ashi Cruise / Hakone Ropeway / Owakudani - Mt Fuji Viewing)

Travel to the land at the base of Mt. Fuji where points of interest include visiting the Hakone Open Air Museum which creates a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its grounds in combination with views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Then you can board a Lake Ashi Cruise where you can enjoy Hakone’s natural scenery, followed by a 20-minute ropeway ride from Togendai to Owakudani. Along the ropeway, weather permitting, there will be great views of Mt. Fuji in the distance. While in Owakudani, visitors will have the chance to see hot springs and sulfurous fumes along the trails of an active volcanic zone.

Breakfast

Hotel Mandarin Oriental Tokyo or similar class

Day 5

First Class Bullet Train to Kanazawa, Kanazawa (21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art / Nagamachi Samurai District / Kaga Yuzen Kimono Wearing Experience)

After breakfast, transfer to Tokyo Station and board the bullet train to Kanazawa (Green car train tickets included). While there, take a visit to one of Japan’s most popular museums: the 21st Century Museum. It showcases contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world. The museum was designed without a front or back in order to encourage viewers to approach the art from multiple angles. Then step back through time in the Nagamachi Samurai District where many old samurai residences remain at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle. One such house, the Nomura family residence, has been fully restored and filled with artifacts of the time period to reflect the samurai class. Then there is the Kaga Yuzen Kimono-Wearing Experience, that offers the chance to wear the traditional clothing of Japan. Kimono are still widely popular to wear for important and formal events.

Breakfast

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa or similar class

Note: We will ship your large luggage to your hotel in Kanazawa (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.

Day 6

Kanazawa (Kenrokuen Garden / Kanazawa Castle / Ninja Temple / Higashi Chaya District)

When in Kanazawa, you can visit Kenrokuen Garden, known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Stroll along the garden and enjoy the view of trees, stones, bridges and teahouses. Then visit the old Kanazawa Castle, which is currently in the process of being rebuilt. Like many of the castles and historic buildings in Japan, the original castle burned down several times throughout the years, most recently in 1881. Since then, only 2 towering storehouses and the Ishikawa-mon Gate remain. Though it is but a shell of its former self, the castle is still a grand sight to behold. Then there's the Ninja Temple, built as a military outpost, filled with many defense capabilities and many escape routes. Additionally, there is the Higashi Chaya District, a designated entertainment district in Kanazawa, known for its elegant teahouses.

Breakfast

Hotel Nikko Kanazawa or similar class

Day 7

First Class Train to Maibara, Shigaraki (Miho Museum), Kyoto (Visit to a Traditional Wooden Townhouse to learn about Origami, Calligraphy and the art of Ikebana)

In the morning, transfer to Maibara by JR express train (Green car train tickets included). Once there, you can visit the Miho Museum, which exhibits stunning architecture that accentuates the surrounding natural scenery while exhibiting a variety of items from ancient civilizations. It was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei, and is named after Koyama Mihoko, once one of the richest women in Japan and the founder of the museum. From there, travel to Kyoto to visit a Traditional Wooden Townhouse and take a fun and engaging lesson in Origami, Calligraphy, and Ikebana. Origami is the traditional art of paper-folding that has become almost as famous internationally as it is in Japan, and masters of this art can create an impressive array of designs. Calligraphy is a time-honored art that involves using a brush and black ink to draw meaningful Japanese kanji (characters) on thin, white washi paper. The rules and traditions that govern the angle, pressure, and movement of the brush, as well as the mindful determination of the artist, make Calligraphy an art as fascinating to watch as it is to perform. Finally, there is the art of Ikebana, or Flower-arranging, which is considered one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement. Ikebana composes flowers and other plants in ways that are meant to convey beauty, meaning, and emotion, often connected to the changing seasons. But it’s not an art just for the ladies; flower-arranging is a time-honored discipline that has been practiced by such historical figures as shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, samurai warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and tea master Sen-no-Rikyu.

Breakfast

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto or similar class

Day 8

Kyoto (Kyoto National Museum / Kiyomizu Temple / Kodaiji Temple - Zen Meditation & Green Tea Ceremony / Gion Geisha District - Kyoto Kaiseki Dinner with Geisha Performance)

First, we visit the Kyoto National Museum – one of the oldest and most distinguished in all of Japan. The museum’s permanent collection ranges widely from archeological relics, calligraphy, sculptures, paintings, and even costumes. We continue from there to Kiyomizu Temple, also known as the Temple of Pure Water, a celebrated landmark famed for its iconic three- story pagoda and large wooden stage which offers dramatic views of the city, bordered by gorgeous cherry and maple trees. The trio of streams pouring from the base of the main hall are each believed to offer a different blessing – a long life, fortune in love, and success with studies. While in the area, stop in a Kimono rental shop to experience trying on a stylish kimono, an item for which the city of Kyoto is famous, to immerse yourself more completely in the local traditional atmosphere. Then, we will travel to Kodaiji Temple, which is a lavish temple built in the memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Here, we can experience the time-honored Green Tea Ceremony, a ritual of hospitality once afforded only to nobility. We can also learn Zen meditation, or “zazen”: a discipline practiced by Zen Buddhist monks to gain clarity of mind and insight into the nature of existence. We will end our day in the Gion Geisha District, where its streets are lined with ochaya (teahouses) – exclusive establishments where guests are entertained by Geisha and Maiko. Here, we will enjoy traditional Kyoto Cuisine in the company of an elegant Geisha.

Breakfast / Dinner

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto or similar class

Day 9

Kyoto (Nijo Castle / Golden Pavilion / Garden of Fine Arts Kyoto / Shimogamo Shrine)

Continue to explore Kyoto, traveling to Nijo Castle, a designated UNESCO world heritage site and a perfect architectural example of castles from the feudal era of Japan. Next, we view one of Kyoto’s most coveted sights – the elegant Golden Pavilion. The temple’s shimmering golden walls can be seen reflected in the Mirror Pond below, but don’t miss the dainty phoenix ornament sitting on the roof! Next, you can visit the Garden of Fine Arts Kyoto, built by the famed Japanese architect Tadao Ando, it's unique design invites guests to contemplate famous works of art near the sounds of water. You will then visit the Shimogamo Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the time before Kyoto was established as Japan’s capital in 794. The shrine is surrounded by the Tadasu forest, inside which you can find trees dating back 600 years.

Breakfast

The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto or similar class

Day 10

First Class Bullet Train to Himeji, Himeji (Himeji Castle), Kurashiki (Canal Area / Ohara Museum of Art)

In the morning, Transfer to Himeji by bullet train (Green car train tickets included). Today, we will visit Himeji Castle, one of the original surviving twelve castles of Japan. It is known as "White Egret Castle" and "White Heron Castle" because of its brilliant white exterior, which resembles a bird taking flight. Then travel to the Canal Area in Kurashiki. This location was very important along the distribution route of rice during the Edo period. Today it is a scenic area where visitors can walk along the canal and see the old storage units, along with buildings from the Edo period. We will also visit the Ohara Museum of Art, which is considered the first museum of Western art in Japan. It is a private museum consisting of three adjacent buildings next to the canal.

Breakfast / Dinner

Kurashiki Ryokan or similar class

Day 11

Naoshima (Art House Project / Ando Museum / I Love Yu)

Today, you will explore the island of Naoshima with your guide via public transportation. Your first stop will be the Art House Project, where artists renovate old houses, turning the house and the space inside into a new "work of art." Nearby, you may visit the Ando Museum – dedicated to and designed by the famous Japanese architect for whom it is named: Tadao Ando. The museum resides inside an old, traditional Japanese building. However, once inside you will see that Mr. Ando has indeed left his mark. You will also see many displays on his activities throughout the island and throughout Japan. Your last stop of the day will be the very non-traditional bath house “I Love Yu”, a play on words with “Yu” being the Japanese word for hot water. Here, you will see many more art installations during your bathing experience.

Breakfast / Dinner

Benesse House or similar class

Day 12

Naoshima (Chichu Art Museum / Lee Ufan Museum / Benesse House)

Considered to be one of the world’s best museums for contemporary art, Chichu Art Museum, designed by Tadao Ando and nestled deep underground on the island of Naoshima, is both an intimate environment and a world-class institution. We explore Chichu’s collections and investigate what makes this Japanese museum so special. Lee Ufan Museum features works by the Korean contemporary artist Lee Ufan, who was born in Korea but has been working and teaching in Japan. On display are large installations made of stone, concrete, and huge slabs of iron, as well as a number of paintings from earlier in his career. The Benesse House Museum was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and displays works from many different artists, both from Japan and abroad. About 20 of these works reside on the lawns and beaches that surround the museum, including the famous pumpkin.

Breakfast / Dinner

Benesse House or similar class

Day 13

Marugame (Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art), Takamatsu (Ritsurin Koen)

Begin by going to the Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art in Marugame, where you can see a selection of works from the abstract artist Inokuma Genichiro. Next, visit Ritsurin Garden, a traditional Japanese garden regarded as one of the most famous historical gardens of Japan. The features of the garden include the rest houses, tea houses, bridges, historic trees, and ponds.

Breakfast / Dinner

Yumesenkei Besso Amahara or similar class

Day 14

Awaji Island (Miracle Planet Botanical Museum and the 100 Stepped Garden at Yumebutai / Water Temple)

After breakfast, you can visit the Miracle Planet Botanical Museum to enter a bright and verdant greenhouse filled with a wide variety of sweet-smelling flowers. Among the most impressive architectural gems of this area are Yumebutai's 100-stepped flower garden and the Honpukuji Water temple, which were both designed by Tadao Ando. From April to September, on Friday and Sunday, An additional option can be arranged to include a Firefly Night Tour, to watch millions of tiny glowbugs hovering like luminous blue fairies in the night sky.

Breakfast / Dinner

Yumesenkei Besso Amahara or similar class

Day 15

Tour Ends

After check-out, private transfer to Osaka Kansai Airport for your departure flight.

Breakfast