Japanese arts are as distinct as they are refined, having long captivated and enchanted the world with unique aesthetics and profound cultural depth. From highly refined traditional forms such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints, calligraphy, pottery and ritual tea ceremonies to contemporary expressions in manga and anime, Japanese arts encompass a vast array of mediums, styles, and philosophies. Experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Japan in places, experiences, activities and complete trips. Learning traditional crafts in cobblestoned neighborhoods, with master craftsmen talking you through textiles and pottery, the classic and contemporary. Exploring contemporary galleries with the curators and meeting the artists in their studios. Canvasing the sublime designs of Kyoto, delving into the edgy originality of Tokyo, and finding the ancient customs and crafts that continue to dominate old-world towns and villages.
Marble printing in Kyoto
Kyoto is the location one of the world’s greatest concentrations of traditional craftsmen, but even in Japan, a country where craft is revered to deific proportions, domestic demand both to learn and buy traditional crafts is waning. However, there is a new, strong movement emerging from Kyoto, with a government-sponsored “Japan Handmade” initiative to support the exhibiting of six Kyoto multigenerational family crafts firms and their work internationally, and adapting their creations to the contemporary market. Some ancient crafts lost in time, such as silk marbling, have been rediscovered and being brought back. In Kyoto, explore movement and creations firsthand.
Encounter creators of woven bamboo, explore metal weaving in a small studio, discover many heritage examples of pottery, like those crafted by Asahiyaki since 1600. Spend an afternoon at a hands-on pottery experience or time your visit for one of the country's important pottery festivals. Art extends to fashion here as well, Kyoto the nationwide center of kimono design. Visit studios such as Chiso, founded in 1555, proud of taking many years just to perfect the dyeing technique of just one color, takeing between three to 18 months for them to create one of their hand-designed products.
Dignified temples and shrines, a massive castle, sublime landscaped gardens, and traditional crafts... These are all things that are striking for a visitor in Kyoto. However, Kyoto is also a place of new things and ideas and the city has long been a place of innovation in the arts and sciences.
And although modern art in Japan, along with almost everything else modern or new, is centered in Tokyo with contemporary Japanese artists eager to have their work shown and sold there, the art scene in Kyoto although always very small when compared to Tokyo nonetheless in the last few years there has been a rise in galleries and flourishing scene in Kyoto devoted to ''new'' Japanese art.
Several galleries have cropped up in the city, and in recent years, many young people and artists are discovering links to past, renovating machiya (traditional Kyoto merchant homes), converting them into stylish restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops. This has added a new face to the city landscape of ancient Kyoto.
Once an area of heavy industry, Naoshima proper has being reborn as a space of modern art museums with its architectural buildings and sculptures distributed all around its landscapes bringing worldwide renown. Throughout the island are scattered outdoor sculpture and installation art by world-renowned artists such as Kusama Yayoi. Indoors, impressive art collections can be found at several museums including the Benesse House Museum, itself part of a striking series of architectural strucutures including lodging designed by the world-renowned architect Tadao Ando. His art and accommodation spaces in reinforced concrete are striking backdrop to the various art installations. The harmonious design of the buildings also define spaces in unique ways that allow for constantly changing patterns of light and wind.
Every one of our private tours are individually designed, we may incorporate places and activities into any trip. In Kyoto and Tokyo, exploring the highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, arts, and architecture, visiting notable museums, installations, and meeting with artists and craftsmen working in a variety of mediums, including textiles and pottery, as well as designers in the capital city and Kyoto, witnessing the traditional handmade crafts movement’s to adapt and lend its ancient craftsmanship to contemporary applications.
Rooted in centuries of rich heritage and influenced by various artistic traditions, Japanese art embodies a harmonious blend of precision, simplicity, and profound attention to detail. Some traditional Japanese crafts have been nurtured for generations, like pottery, while others such as silk dyeing have only recently been rediscovered. This comprehensive arts tour explores the highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, traditional and modern art, performance and theater, and architecture that has defined a nation and influenced the world over centuries.
Explore the hallowed I.M Pei Miho museum, Mori museum, and Naoshima "Art Island" while meeting with artists and craftsman working in a variety of mediums, gain an insider's perspective on Japanese culture, and be immersed in the immense varieties and rituals of cuisine, from the serenity of a tea ceremony to famed sushi bars. In Tokyo, visit galleries hidden on back alleys and contemporary design located in warehouses.
Customize this tour takes you far off the beaten track, to incorporate a pottery festival, ceramic and porcelain towns, and more. It's completely customizable and can explore any of your niche interests.
Ceramics, pottery, and other traditional crafts distinguish this trip
For those who admire and passion is for Japanese art and crafts, we can plan exceptional itineraries capturing specific interests, such as varieties of pottery, including kiln visits and artist and craftsmen encounters, all off the beaten path. Enjoy this journey from Fukoaka along the "pottery trail," visiting Kyushu’s finest pottery towns and kilns, acclaimed Naoshima Art Island, explore Kyoto's ancient and modern crafts.
Japanese culture is centered on an unshakable self-possession and obsession with quality, something found in the incredible food, ancient inns, trains, and almost every aspect of local life. It's also something that discovered through old-world craftsmanship, exemplified by pottery and other refined crafts. During this custom-tailored journey, immerse into Japan's finest crafts. Explore the highest forms of traditional crafts, meeting with artisans and craftsmen who have helped to define contemporary Japanese style but remaining loyal to the past.
Kyoto is the location one of the world’s greatest concentrations of other traditional craftsmen, but even in Japan, a country where craft is revered to deific proportions, domestic demand both to learn and buy traditional crafts is waning. However, there is a new, strong movement emerging from Kyoto, with a government-sponsored “Japan Handmade” initiative to support the exhibiting of six Kyoto multigenerational family crafts firms and their work internationally, and adapting their creations to the contemporary market. Each of the six has created a new line of products, sensitive to the skills of their family’s craft but with an eye to new and modern markets. In Kyoto, we will witness this unprecedented movement and creations firsthand.
Onta pottery is one of the living treasures of Japan and is celebrated throughout a series of festivals in mountain villages around Hita which we may arrange your attendance. As you meander Japan's "Pottery Trail," discover the differences between Onta pottery and Karatsu stoneware, used in tea ceremonies, then contrast both with the elaborated glazes and decoration of porcelain from Imari and Arita. Explore the other exotic crafts produced in Nagasaki and the Bizen pottery of Kurashiki. Visit pottery and craftsmanship festivals throughout the country and learn how to make your own. We can provide an in-depth exploration of the pottery scene, taking you from classic to contemporary, mountain villages to modern cities.
Tokyo and Kyoto, such remarkable contrasts between the ancient capital and the futuristic icon. This custom Japan tour explores both, handpicking the destinations and experiences that best symbolize the contrasts. In Kyoto you wander through Zen gardens, hear monks chanting in World Heritage temples, discover the ancient tradition of tea ceremonies, and learn the secrets of Kaiseki cuisine. Beneath Tokyo's forest of neon you uncover vibrant subcultures, mesmeric modern design, the art of sushi and the contemporary allure of a rapidly changing art scene. These experiences are just the start as this one-week tour journeys through all the hidden sites that make these two capitals so special.
Start with four nights in Kyoto, then take the bullet train towards three nights in Tokyo. But that's just our suggestion for this tour. All our luxury Japan tours are completely tailored to your interests and can also include other ancient and modern attractions. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan doesn't hibernate through the winter. Falling snow accentuates the country's dramatic natural beauty, while plummeting temperatures lead to some extraordinary experiences. Huddle with the monks on Mount Koya, admire hundreds of astonishing ice sculptures at the Sapporo Snow Festival, then find Japanese snow monkeys bathing in natural thermal baths. Nights are spent beneath the stars, your muscles warmed by the soothing, steaming waters of outdoor onsen spas. You take a journey through the glaciers on an ice breaker cruise, travel into tradition in Japan's World Heritage villages, and follow the wintery footsteps of the Geishas.
Away from the unique winter wonderland, this Japan luxury tour also enables you to explore the world-famous sites without the crowds. You'll have temples all to yourself and find a country in its most relaxed state. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications, with unique experiences dependent on when you travel. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan has always done things a little differently. But it's sometimes a challenge to see this uniqueness, as famous names like Geisha and Samurai have become major tourist attractions. This exclusive private tour explores the most unique of Japan's customs and cultures, immersing you in a world that's as strange as it is sublime. Explore Islands of Art, get lost with cats, try the forest bathing practice of shinrin-yoku, forage for ingredients then help prepare a traditional kaiseki multi-course dinner. Meet the locals as you get guided around an art gallery by the creative director, spend an afternoon with an award-winning chef, and drink tea with a master of calligraphy. Taking you completely off the beaten track, this iconic tour unravels the pure authenticity of Japan.
All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications. We know hundreds of unique experiences that can help you uncover the depths of the country. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
A Zen garden hidden from the world, an ancient sanctuary that's blossomed without pause for many centuries. A lost temple in Kyoto, where the red robes of monks contrasts the elegant sloping roof of history. A castle from the time of the Samurai, imbued with legendary tales. Few countries have a heritage that can rival Japan's, where there's something wonderfully evocative about every piece of culture. This handcrafted two-week tour celebrates this heritage, exploring a wide range of national treasures. Kyoto is the centerpiece and we know some outstanding guides, narrators on 17 World Heritage Sites and more than 2000 temples and shrines. But this famous city is just the start as this unique Japan luxury tour explores the breadth of Japan's tradition.
Walks guided by monks and nuns, nights spent in historic temples, drinking tea with Geishas...our private Japan tours do more than just reveal the sights: they immerse you in tradition. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Spring ushers in Japan's most enchanting colors, a thousand red and pink nuances filling the avenues and parks. Cherry Blossom season is the most popular time to visit Japan and the phenomenon stretches from bustling cities to remote villages. Visit from late March to early May to witness the transformation, when adorable landscapes emanate delicate beauty and alluring serenity. We've intimately followed the bloom for over two decades and this tour connects a huge array of sites, from world-famous spaces to parks tucked away in forgotten villages. Cherry blossom provides the focus on this handcrafted tour, something to sit and admire each afternoon. You'll also discover Japan's iconic and unknown destinations, each day of exploration taking you deeper into a country that always surprises.
The cherry blossom doesn't bloom in a single city or region of Japan. This is a country-wide sensation and this cherry blossom tour can be intimately customized to your wishes and preferences. We like to keep you away from the major crowds that can impact on the enchantment of the colors. Like all our luxury Japan tours, we'll handcraft an itinerary just for you. Contact us to receive your full and personalized itinerary.
Oh how Japan loves to inspire, the exoticism of its culture exciting those of every age. This two-week tour provides something for everyone, along with shared adventures into the idiosyncrasy of Japan. Visit Manga cartoon stores and meet those who paint the comics. A master artisan shows you how to make a Japanese sword while a Samurai and Geisha reveal all about their culture. Spend a day at signature theme parks and relaxed evenings in traditional ryokans, sleeping on tatami mats and resting in onsen spas. Including cycling tours, bullet trains, meetings with monks and Japan's anime mecca, this private tour creates lasting memories from the most unique of countries.
Of all our Japan tours, it's trips with families that offer the greatest room for customization. There's so much that can be individualized; just let us know what you and the rest of your family are interested in. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan is defined by an unshakable self-possession and obsession with quality. It's pursuit for perfection is found in presentation, nature, aesthetics and the subtleties of all things. This unique tour explores the highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, along with the art and architecture that has defined a nation over the centuries. You'll meet artists and craftsman working in a variety of mediums, gain an insider's perspective on Japanese culture, and be immersed in the immense varieties and rituals of cuisine, from the serenity of a tea ceremony to famous sushi bars.
This tour takes you far off the beaten track, incorporating pottery festivals, ceramic and porcelain towns, art islands and a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art. It's completely customizable and can explore any of your niche interests. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary that responds to your preferences.
The giant Torii Gate seems to float on the sea, standing majestic besides Itsukushima Shrine on World Heritage Miyajima Island. It's a remarkable insight into tradition, complemented by a tea ceremony and an elaborate cha-kaiseki dinner at your ryokan. This unusual island is the starting point for this tour through Japanese highlights that cover al corners of the spectrum: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Heian Jingu Shinto Shrine, Tentyuji Temple, Nishiki Market, Asakusa and Akihabara. Spread over nine days, this luxury Japan tour goes in search of the different icons that define Japan.
It's not quite a best of tour, more a celebration of the country's most unique treasures, connecting everything from cuisine to culture to colorful neighborhoods. All our Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications, so the highlights on this tour are just a suggestion. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan doesn't have a single defining image. The icons come from across the centuries and this exclusive tour go in search of them. Sleeping on tatami mats in charming ryokans, deep in the mountains. Meeting Buddhist monks and finding temples hidden amongst bamboo forest. Getting lost in the flashing lights of the futuristic cities and the wooden lanes of heritage towns. During 12 days of luxury Japan travel you're yxploring the legacy of the Edo Period, speeding around on the Shinkansen, and uncovering regional gastronomy.
All the experiences on this tour feel completely different from the last. But they are not completely distinct. Over these 12 days you explore how the Japan of today is intrinsically energized by historical traditions and customs. And like all our Japan tours, the itinerary can be fully tailored to your interests, incorporating all the icons you want to explore. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary.
Japan family vacations can travel in so many directions. Everything is unique here and every day provides something different to explore. How about the legacies of the feudal system and the samurai warriors, colorful Harajuku girls, futuristic robots then world-famous animation? Or maybe make a visit to a private sumo stable where children can learn the ancient art, a Kyoto studio where children can train to be a ninja, or family cycling along the beautiful, remote northern coast where few travelers ever venture? Every moment is tailored to make the most from the country's originality.
With few exceptions, Japan is the most fascinating of all Asia's destinations for children. Japan with kids doesn't involve a standard itinerary with a few tailored activities thrown in. Instead, a Japan family vacation truly immerses you and your children in the cultures that most fascinate.
Japan has been redefining luxury for some time now. The classic definition is still cogent, experienced in a range of eye-catching five-star hotels and decadent restaurants. Japan can definitely be a state of extravagance, whenever you wish it to be.
Yet luxury is also in the experience here. Fine dining may be in a lavish city restaurant. It could easily mean sitting on the floor of a kaiseki restaurant, a waitress in kimono dress setting down 12 intricately designed dishes. Fabulous city hotels can be combined with small guesthouses hidden in the mountains, with onsen spas relieving the muscles after a day exploring. Luxury comes from the immersion in culture and the unending opportunity to go off the beaten track.
Make a stopover in Naoshima, the world's only Art Island staying at the exclusive Benesse House. Revive at the Gora Kadan in Kyoto, Japan's most sumptuous ryokan. Learn the art of calligraphy, spend a morning with monks, wander through thick bamboo forests, and experience the serene beauty of a Kyoto temple that prefers to forgo fame. Luxury can come from expertly guided tours of Tokyo's designer fashion scene, exploring a conceptual mash-up of styles and shows that follow a beat of their own. Or it can come from a day spent with Japan's animation directors, a beautiful Kabuki theater performance, or a tranquil moment of a monk hitting the gong in a Shinto shrine.
We like to explore the complete spectrum of Japan's definitions of luxury, from the classic Western ideals to the unique experiences that showcase a hidden side to the country. In this way, our luxury Japan vacations are all about going off the beaten track and finding the real Japan.
Nowhere is the mantra “food is culture” better celebrated than in Japan. But while ubiquitous Japanese cuisine has crossed the world – sushi, tempura, ramen – regional specialities can only be discovered when you're in the country. So journey into Japan's complex culinary tradition, opening all your senses to the gastronomic search for perfection. Food is an integral part of all our luxury Japan tours. Each day presents an opportunity to explore, an invite into a destination's particular cuisine. We provide you with personalized dining recommendations, book tables for Japan's ultimate culinary experiences, and take you further into a complex world of subtle tastes and dreamy aesthetics.
Tokyo brings sushi, tempura and soba, along with more Michelin stars than Paris and New York combined. Try nazezushi, a traditional form of fermented sushi. Encounter kyo-kaiseki, 11 seasonal courses in old-world Kyoto. Dine on hot pot-style sukiyaki and shabu shabu, sample Buddhist shojin ryori, then finish it off with a savory egg custard (chawanmushi). Guides show you where and chefs show you how as the best of culinary Japan is revealed.
The Japanese experience is found in the details. This is a country that rewards the explorer, a country that takes you far beyond notions of point and shoot the camera. There's a story behind each of the legends and luxury Japan travel centers on the experiential experience.
You can stroll past geishas in Gion; or you can spend an hour chatting with them, learning about their history and culture. Samurai warriors have such an eye-catching name; at old castles you can explore the dignity and design behind what it means to be samurai. Japanese tea ceremonies aren't just a one-off; they can become part of the daily rhythm and a chance to uncover regional specialities. The country's art scene has always innovated and on our luxury Japan tours you can tour galleries with creative directors, meet groundbreaking artists, and discuss architecture with those that plan it. That's similar with local crafts, our insider tours helping you go beyond the pretty facades.
Whether it's classic or contemporary Japan, this insider's perspective emphasizes the unique treasures and cultural traditions of each destination. With our escorted Japan tours we help you uncover all the special details, finding the stories that are found behind the iconic names.