• Gain a comprehensive and well-rounded understanding of historical and contemporary Japanese art and culture on this brand new tour
• Visit fascinating temples, including Yashima-ji and Zentsu-ji, both on the 88-temple Shikoku pilgrimage, and Horyu-ji, the oldest surviving temple in Japan, containing important early Buddhist art treasures
• Discover beautiful Japanese garden design, with visits to an array of sites including Okayama’s Koraku-en Garden, one of Japan’s best landscape gardens, and experience the country’s breath-taking natural scenery
lecturer in art history and architecture
Depart London Heathrow 1530 on British Airways.
Arrive Tokyo 1055 and transfer to Asakusa for three nights. Afternoon walking tour of Asakusa followed by optional visit by train to Meiji Shrine.
Full day of visits in Tokyo: Edo Castle ruins and Imperial Palace (including gardens), Hama-rikyu Garden, Tokyo National Museum, Ueno Park, Tosho-gu Shrine and Asakusa Kannon Temple.
Whole day excursion to Nikko: Tosho-gu Grand Shrine (contrasts of deep forests and sophisticated architecture), Chuzenji Lake and Kegon waterfalls. Free evening.
Transfer to Kamakura (first shogun capital and home of Japanese Zen) for visits to Engaku-ji Temple, Kencho-ji Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine and Daibutsu (large bronze Buddha sculpture). Continue to Hakone, close to Mount Fuji, for overnight stay.
By coach and bullet train to Inuyama (oldest surviving castle in Japan). Continue to Shirakawa-go (mountain village with vernacular architecture) for overnight stay at a UNESCO-listed traditional house (subject to confirmation).
Morning walking tour of Shirakawa-go and visit to Gasshozukuri Minkaen open-air museum. Continue to Toyama for visit to Zuiryu-ji (Edo-period Zen temple). Afternoon transfer to Kanazawa for two nights.
Full day of visits in Kanazawa: Kutani Kosen kiln, Ninja-dera, Samurai district (Shinise Kinenkan Memorial Hall – partially reconstructed merchant’s house and Nomura House), Kenroku-en Garden, optional walk around Kanazawa Castle site and Higashi Chaya ‘Geisha area’ with visit to Shima Geisha establishment and gold leaf workshop. Free evening.
Transfer by bullet train to Kurashiki via Himeji (castle) for two nights in Kurashiki. Evening lecture.
Cross over the Inland Sea to island of Shikoku. Visit to Shikoku-mura (open-air museum with traditional buildings, moved here from various locations on the island for preservation), Takamatsu, followed by Yashima-ji (no 84 on the 88-temple Shikoku pilgrimage, with view to site of famous 12th century sea battle between Minamoto and Taira clans), Ritsurin Garden (one of the most famous historical strolling gardens in Japan, with tea houses scattered around the grounds) and Zentsu-ji (no 75 on the pilgrimage, most monumental temple in Shikoku). Return to Kurashiki.
Full day of visits in Nara: Kofuku-ji Temple (including treasure hall), Kasuga Taisha, Nara National Museum, Todai-ji (Great Buddha Hall). Optional further visits to Hokke-do (Nara-period building with sculptures) and Shin Yakushi-ji (relocated Nara-period palace hall with sculptures, walk through forest past smaller shrines). Free evening.
Morning temple visits: Yakushi-ji, Toshodai-ji, Horyu-ji (oldest surviving temple in Japan with important early Buddhist art treasures). Afternoon: Uji Byodo-in (Phoenix Hall). Continue to Kyoto for three nights.
Full day of visits in Kyoto: Nijo Castle and garden (Tokugawa Shogun’s residence in Kyoto), Kyoto-gosho, Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion), Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji. Free evening.
Excursion to Mount Hiei (scenery, temple complex) followed by Ohara for Sanzen-in (imperial temple with moss garden) and tea-drinking at the sub-temple of Hosen-in. Return to Kyoto via Shisen-do (Edo-period villa of a scholar) for scenic walk through Kyoto suburbs to Manshu-in (exquisite imperial temple and residence with garden).
Some free time in Kyoto for optional independent visits. Bullet train to Tokyo for overnight stay at airport hotel.
Depart Tokyo 1235, arriving Heathrow 1610.
18 Oct — 3 Nov 2022
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“I have never encountered a tour guide as knowledgeable as Dr Koller in all my (many) years of art tours”
- ACE customer on a previous tour with Alex Koller
FITNESS / PRACTICALITIES
This is a comprehensive tour and will require a good level of fitness. Participants should be prepared for a moderate amount of walking and standing. Many of the visits, including most of the gardens, are easy to navigate, although some sites require walking uphill and up narrow steps (including at Tosho-gu Shrine).
The tour features several hotel changes and some long coach journeys of up to 3 hours in duration, so a good level of stamina is required. Please note that we will make use of local trains and the Shinkansen (bullet train) high-speed rail network. Our visits in Kanazawa will also be made using public transport (buses), an efficient way to travel around the city.
We hope to include a special opportunity on this tour to stay overnight at a UNESCO-listed traditional house in the mountain village of Shirakawa-go. The group would be split between two houses, with one group accompanied by the Tour Director and the other by our local guide. The stay would involve sharing Japanese-style rooms with futons, split by gender, with 3-4 people per room. The facilities comprise shared bathrooms and toilets, separated by gender. This authentic and immersive experience will offer participants the opportunity to see Shirakawa-go without the crowds, and enjoy dinner prepared by the hosts and served at the houses in Japanese style. This accommodation will be confirmed nearer to the departure.
For customers who wish to make their own travel arrangements, ACE is pleased to be able to offer a flight reduction of £650.
Cost of £6495 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room (except overnight stay in Shirakawa-go), breakfast, six lunches, eleven dinners with water & tea/coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, single room supplement (except overnight stay in Shirakawa-go) £695.