Japan Adventure Tour2018-08-12T20:41:37+00:00

The Tour is Sold Out – New Applications will be put on the Wait List

March 20th – April 1st, 2019

(Japan time is usually a day ahead of the US, remember this when booking travel. Most travelers will depart on March 19th to arrive in Japan on March 20th)


Hiroshima – 4 nights

Arrive: March 20 – Check out: 24th
20 Wednesday – Travel Day
21 Thursday: Visit Miyajima Island (National Holiday)
22 Friday: Toho Bead Factory VIP Tour and Tulip Factory VIP Tour
23 Saturday: Indigo dying class in Sake Town
24 Sunday: Departure (private bus) Visit Himeji castle and lunch on the way to Kyoto

Kyoto – 9 nights

Arrive: March 24 – Check out April 1
24 Sunday Arrive late afternoon – free evening
25 Monday: Market morning – Sodoh lunch – Shinsaku’s walking tour of temples and gardens in Gion
26 Tues – Friday: Kumihimo Classes with Makiko Tada & Adrienne Gaskell at Kyoto Institute of Technology with Japanese Kumihimo Society
30 Saturday: Arashiyama (Bamboo Forest) tour
31 Sunday: Free Day

Tokyo Excursion- 4 nights
Arrive: April 1st – Check out April 5th

1 Monday: Depart Kyoto and travel via Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo. Afternoon guided tour of Tsukiji fish market
2 Tuesday: Day trip to Mt. Fuji via private bus, visit to Itchiku Kobata Art Museum
3 Wednesday: Roppongi Hills tour and exclusive visit to the Nuno shop in Roppongi
4 Thursday: Shinjuku tour (downtown Tokyo) with Makiko & Shinsaku Tada and farewell lunch
5 Friday: Depart


Japan Adventure Tour
$4200 Double
$4800 Single

Tokyo Excursion
$1600 Double
$1800 Single

Kim Tamarin, 503-753-4347, kim@tamashiidesigns.com
Adrienne Gaskell, 305-301-4976, agaskell@me.com

Important Things to Know Before You Go

Exclusive Tour: Our years of experience traveling in Japan, our Japanese friends that take us to exclusive ‘locals only’ places and guide us on VIP tours, combined with our passion to offer a small group experience make the Japan Adventure Tour a truly unique experience. Because we limit the group size, whenever practical, we can travel the way the locals do. This means we are often taking city buses, subways and local trains rather than securing private transport. Our goal is that you truly experience Japanese culture as a local and that you also fall in love with Japan.

Walking: There will be a great deal of walking on this tour and many of the streets and walkways are uneven. There will also be a lot of stairs and steps especially at the temples and shrines. At many of the subway and train stations we will use stairs as there may not be easy access to escalators or elevators. Students will be taking the subway to and from class with additional walking to the campus. Some buildings are very old and will only have stairs, and sometimes with no handrails. In addition to recommending comfortable shoes, this tour is NOT recommended for anyone with mobility issues. If you are unsure please don’t hesitate to contact Kim or Adrienne.

Air Conditioning:
Although all of our hotels have air conditioning, you will not be able to have your room at very cold temperatures like you can in the US. Japan is very energy conscious country and most thermostats have a limited range of adjustment.

Travel Inclusions: All travel to and from Japan and to the the start and end destinations are on your own. All in country travel, that is outlined in the tour itinerary, is included. Free day travel is not included.

Hiroshima & Kyoto – More Details

Hiroshima Hotel: Mitsui Garden Hotel

Day 1 – March 20th, Arrive in Hiroshima
Most travelers will arrive in the late afternoon or early evening.  Check in to your room and relax for the evening.  If you arrive earlier you may be able to check in but if not store your luggage and explore the local area. This hotel is very close to lots of shopping and dining options. We will start each morning with a complimentary breakfast buffet that includes both western and Japanese fare with an amazing view of Hiroshima from the 25th floor.
All meals on the day of travel are on your own.

Day 2 – Miyajima Island
After breakfast we will meet in the hotel lobby and walk a few blocks to catch the high speed ferry trip to Miyajima Island in the Seto Inland Sea. You will explore this beautiful World Heritage Site on your own or with others in the group. Today will be a national holiday so you will have many great photo ops for women in kimono as well as performers in costume on the island. You may take the tram up to the top of Mt. Misen for a spectacular view of the sea, walk through the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine and have lunch at one of the local eateries.  The island is inhabited by small deer that roam the area freely. We will meet back at the ferry in the early afternoon and head back. We will return to Hiroshima in the early afternoon and the ferry dock is just across the river from Peace Park. This would be an opportune time to visit the Peace Memorial Park.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner are on your own.

Day 3 – Toho Bead Factory VIP Tour & Tulip Needle Factory VIP Tour

After breakfast we will meet in the hotel lobby and take a private bus to the TOHO Bead Factory where we will meet Iwao Yamanaka, CEO of TOHO Bead Co. Iwao san and the factory managers will led us on a private VIP tour where we will get to see the tiny glass beads being made. This is where the finest Japanese seed beads are made.  We”ll depart the Toho Factory by private bus and have a group lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we will have a tour of the Tulip Needle Factory. We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 4 – Indigo Dying class in Sake Town
After breakfast we will meet in the hotel lobby and take a local train to Saijo, also called “Sake Town”. We will have a private guided tour of some of the Sake Breweries after which we will enjoy a group lunch before visiting an Indigo Dyeing facility.  Those who want to can take a class, others can browse the town or head back to Hiroshima.  The class participants will return to the hotel by local train in the late afternoon. You will have time for a short rest and then we will meet in the hotel lobby and walk to a local restaurant for a farewell dinner with the Toho Bead Company ‘family’.
All meals included.

Kyoto Hotel: Karasuma Kyoto Hotel

Day 5 – Travel to Kyoto with Visit to Himeji Castle

After breakfast meet in the lobby for our departure to Kyoto. We will travel by private bus and on our way will stop to visit Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It is comprised of 83 buildings. A major restoration was completed last year with all of the buildings were returned to their original, vibrant white finish. Arrive late afternoon in Kyoto & check in at the Karasuma Kyoto Hotel. We love this hotel for its fabulous location. Many shops, restaurants, subway and bus stops are all within easy walking distance. And there is a Starbucks in the lobby!
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 6 – Tenjin-san Flea Market & Shinsaku Tada’s Gion Temples & Gardens Walking Tour

After breakfast we will take the local bus to Tenjin-san Flea Market. Located on the grounds of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine this market has a over a hundred vendors selling kimonos, obis, art, chopsticks…. everything you can imagine and more. This is a favorite of the ladies for the clothing that is refashioned from kimono’s by Japanese designers, but the men also find interesting treasures that are truly unique to Japan. Meet at a designated place for the trip back to the hotel to drop off any purchases and catch a bus to Gion where we will meet Shinsaku and Makiko Tada for lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Lunch will be followed by ‘Shinsaku’s Old Streets and Walking Tour’ which takes us through ‘Old Gion’, home to some of the most spectacular temples and gardens in Kyoto. The narrow streets are lined with ancient wooden houses, many have been turned into shops. Gion is famous for geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentice) spotting. Don’t forget to wear very comfortable walking shoes! Since many people enjoy the shopping streets between Gion and the hotel, everyone will make their way back on their own, either by walking, bus or taxi. A favorite stop on the way is the Teramachi Shopping Arcade and Nishiki Market, a colorful narrow food market street known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”,
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 7 – Day 10 – Kumihimo Classes with Makiko Tada & Adrienne Gaskell

After breakfast each morning we will meet in the lobby and take the subway to Kyoto Institute of Technology. Two days of classes will focus on fiber braids with Sensei Makiko Tada and two days will be all about beaded braids with Adrienne. Marudai, tama, and some of the fiber & beads are provided.  Kits and Japanese fiber will also be available for purchase. Each day about 25 members of the (Japanese) Kumihimo Society will join us to learn about beaded braids. You will get to experience first hand the Japanese style of  group learning. A lunch allowance will be provided for and dining in the student cafeteria. After one of the class days we will visit the Adachi Kumihimo Gallery, which is also a Kumihimo Museum. No one speaks English so we are fortunate to be invited to be guests of Makiko Tada.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner is on your own.

Day 11 – Arashiyama (Bamboo Forest)

After breakfast meet in the lobby, we will take the local train for a visit to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, one of Kyoto’s top sights. When standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world. There is also a lot more to do here than walk among the bamboo. The  Tenryu-ji Temple has one of the best Japanese gardens in Kyoto. There’s just one main path through the grove, which leads slowly uphill. Once you get to the top of the hill, the entrance to the sublime Okochi-Sanso Villa is right in front of you (there is a small admission fee, but go in, you won’t regret it). There is so much more to explore and we suggest that we break up into smaller groups with similar interests. Some of the highlights: Wonderful shopping with some very special artist galleries, a romantic train ride (romantic = old, not what we think of romance), a river boat trip, and many food options with everything from an elegant lunch to street food.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 12 – Free Day

We like to save the last day for some free time so that everyone can visit special places they missed or take in more of the wonderful sites and shops of Kyoto. Prior to the start of the trip you will be provided with a list of many of Kim and Adrienne’s favorite places in Kyoto. Some of the highlights are: Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, the Kyoto Aquarium, the Kyoto Railway Museum, the Kyoto Tower and so much more. Osaka and many other places are an easy day trip. Kim and Adrienne will plan an interesting outing and anyone is welcome to join them.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 13 – Depart Kyoto, Tokyo Excursion Begins

Tokyo Excursion – April 1st Arrival – April 5th Departure (4 nights)

Day 1 – April 1st: Travel from Kyoto to Tokyo

Some of our Adventurers will depart for home while others will continue onto Tokyo, departing Kyoto early in the morning with Adrienne and husband Carl aboard the Shinkansen (bullet train). We will arrive in Tokyo before noon, check into our hotel, have lunch and then meet in the lobby for our afternoon tour. It is a short ride on the local train to Roppongi. We will split into two groups. Adrienne’s group will head to the Nuno Shop for a VIP shopping experience with Reiko Sudo, the owner & designer of Nuno’s famous contemporary clothing, purses, and scarfs. You will also be able to purchase Nuno fabrics by the meter.
Not interested in shopping? Travel with Carl’s group for a guided walking tour and see some of the interesting sites in Roppongi Hills:
• The Mori Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the city with one of Tokyo’s best observation decks. Also located on Mori Tower’s top floors is the Mori Art Museum and the Mori Garden
• Numerous shopping and dining options can be found all around the Mori complex
• The near by National Art Center is Japan’s largest art museum
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 2 – Mt. Fuji & the Itchiku Kubota Museum

After an early breakfast we will meet in the lobby and take a private bus to Mt. Fuji. First stop will be the Itchiku Kubota Museum where over 50 of Mr. Kubota’s amazaing Tsujigana Dyed Kimono are on display. Itchiku Kubota reinvented this forgotten, ancient Shibori technique after years of research and experimentation. The museum building is an amazing work of architectural interest and features a beautiful Japanese garden and tea room. We will have lunch at the local Japanese noodle restaurant. After lunch (weather permitting) we will take the Hakone Ropeway up the mountain. On clear, sunny days, the gondola ride offers spectacular views of the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Ashi, the rising volcanic fumes of Owakudani and the grandeur of Mount Fuji.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 3 – Tsukiji Fish Market & Ginza Guided Tour

Today’s guided tour will involve a lot of walking. But it looks like we may get lucky and be able to see the fish market in its original location. They have not announced the official move date yet, so keep your fingers crossed. But even if the inner market moves away the outer shopping area will remain and it is definitely worth a visit. It is full of hundreds of little food related shops as well as wonderful small restaurants. There are limited non-fish options, but this is your opportunity to experience the freshest sushi ever! ✷ The tuna auction is not part of the JAT Itinerary. Anyone can visit the tuna auction on their own, details will be provided upon request. After lunch the tour will continue to nearby Ginza, Tokyo’s premier, upscale shopping district. Nearly every leading international brand name fashion company has a presence here, as well as major electronics brands such as Sony and Apple. But Ginza is as much about the architecture and design as it is about the shopping. Many of the buildings are giant art pieces, featuring cutting edge architecture and lighting design. The tour will end in the late afternoon but everyone is free to stay and explore on their own and head home at their leisure. In advance to our outing, you will be provided with a list of stores, restaurants and places of interest. Ginza is known for its dramatic and sometimes bizarre department store window displays. Ginza is also one of the best places to see the neon lights of Tokyo. At night the area takes on a second life as an entertainment and theater district. It is fun to watch how Ginza is transformed when the lights come on. There is no place like it in the world.
Breakfast included. Lunch & dinner on your own.

Day 4 – Downtown Shinjuku
Since 1960 Shinjuku’s metropolis has grown exponentially, with every few years more skyscrapers being erected. We will enjoy a guided tour with Shinsaku and Makiko Tada to see of some of magnificent sky scrappers that boast the best views of the city. Shinjuku will give us a true glimpse of modern day Japanese culture while enjoying some interesting people watching. After all we have seen on our travels from Hiroshima to Tokyo, downtown Shinjuku accentuates the sharp contrasts of daily life for Japanese people. We have experienced buying food in the small outdoor shops in Kyoto, visited many ancient temples, shrines and gardens, taken high speed trains to far away destinations, and now we will see the modern life and state-of-the art high rise buildings. For our Farewell Lunch we will dine at one of our favorite ‘locals’ restaurant. A French bistro in a quiet residential area of Shinjuku. After lunch you will have the afternoon free to explore Shinjuku, or venture to another neighborhood. It is very easy to get to just about anywhere in Tokyo from here. In the afternoon we will head back to the hotel at our leisure, allowing time for departure preparations.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

April 5th – Tokyo Excursion Ends
Carl & Adrienne will say farewell to all the Adventurers. They will be available to give hugs and make sure that everyone gets off safely.
Breakfast included.