October 18th – November 3rd, 2020
16-day Tour with 16 nights accommodations

ITINERARY

Oct. 18th Sunday – Travel day, arrive Tokyo (Hotel Monterey Ginza)
Oct. 19th, Monday: Day trip to the remote town of Nikko
Oct. 20th, Tuesday: Shinjuku walking tour with Welcome Lunch
Oct. 21st, Wednesday: Day trip to Mt. Fuji 5 Lakes area to visit the Itchiku Kubota Shibori Art Museum
Oct. 22nd, Thursday: Kabuki-za Theatre & Ginza walking tour, transfer from Tokyo to Kanazawa (ANA Holiday Inn Kanazawa)
Oct. 23rd, Friday: Kanazawa tour of historic, cultural and craft sites
Oct. 24th, Saturday: Kenrokuen Garden and other sites
, transfer to from Kanazawa to Kyoto (Karasuma Kyoto Hotel)
Oct. 25th, Sunday: Tenjin-san Flea Market
Oct. 26th, Monday: Day trip to Himeji Castle with lunch in the Kokoen Garden
Oct 27th – 30th, Tuesday – Friday: Kumihimo classes with Makiko Tada, Adrienne Gaskell and members of the Kumihimo Society (Japan).
Oct. 31st, Saturday: Day trip to Miho Museum and Byodoin Temple
Nov. 1st, Sunday: Free Day in Kyoto
Nov. 2nd, Monday: Gion walking tour and Farewell Lunch
Nov. 3rd, Tuesday: Tour ends, departure Kyoto
See detailed itinerary below for more information

PRICING

Japan Adventure Tour
$5,500 USD Double
$1,000 USD Single Supplement
The tour cost is based on two people in a shared room. Single rooms require the additional single supplement charge. Single rooms may be limited and will be considered based on the date registration is received. JAT will make every effort to grant single room requests and will advise participants of availability at the time of registration.

TOUR LEADERS
Kim Tamarin, 503-753-4347, kimtamarin61@gmail.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 with Japanese friends that have shown us ‘locals only’ places combined with our passion to offer a small group experience all make the Japan Adventure Tour a truly unique travel adventure. We limit our group to 12 students, our small group size, whenever practical, allows us to travel with the locals on subways, local trains and city buses rather than always securing private transport.

Walking: To best experience Japan we will do a great deal of walking and take public transportation as needed.  Participants will need to be comfortable walking one mile in 25 minutes or less and be able to go up and down flights of stairs without difficulty. Buses will have stairs and trains require a quick entry.  There will also be a lot of stairs and steps especially at the temples and shrines. At some of the subway and train stations we will need to use stairs as there is not always convenient access to escalators or elevators. The walking tour of Gion will require several hours of walking, although it will be at a leisurely pace with many stops, it could exceed 5 miles. Students will be taking the subway to and from class. This tour is NOT recommended for anyone with mobility issues. If you are unsure, please contact Kim or Adrienne.

More Details

Tokyo – 4 nights – Arrive: October 18th – Check out October 24th

Day 1 – October 18th, Sunday – Arrival and travel day
Depart the US on Saturday, October 17th to arrive in Tokyo: Sunday, October 18th
Most travelers will arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. If you arrive earlier you may be able to check into the Hotel Monterey Ginza, but if not, the hotel will store your luggage and you can then explore the wonderful nearby shopping area. Ginza is often compared to the 5th Avenue area ing New York City. There are many wonderful shopping and dining options in and around the hotel and you will receive a detailed list prior to arrival. Let us know your expected time of arrival so that Kim or Adrienne can greet you at the hotel.  Anyone who wants to arrive a day early should advise JAT asap, we will try to arrange an extra day at the hotel for you at our group rate, but we can not guarantee extra room nights. As soon as we receive confirmation you will be advised of the additional charge and it will be added to your May 1st payment.
We will start each morning with a very extensive complimentary breakfast buffet at our hotels.
All meals on the day of travel are on your own.

Day 2 – October 19th, Monday –  Day Trip to the ancient town of Nikko
Morning departure with approximately 1 hour travel to Nikko. We will return to hotel early evening.
 Nikko’s most famous world heritage site is Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine, restoration of the famous Yomeimon Gate was completed in 2017. There are many spiritual and historical landscapes and attractions in Nikko, such as the three main temples: Toshogu, Rinnoji, and Futarasan, the Shinkyō Bridge, the Takino-o Shrine, the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, the Tamozawa Imperial Villa Memorial Park and the very popular Nikko Botanical Garden. Our visit will hopefully coincide with the start of the autumn colors which we should see as we pass through various towns and gorgeous mountain scenery, we may even get a glimpse of some active volcanoes. Nikko is off the beaten track for most foreign tourists.
Breakfast included, Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 3 – October 2oth, Tuesday – Shinjuku walking tour and optional afternoon tours
Shinjuku walking tour with lunch at Trattoria Quarto Nishi, a French restaurant.
Afternoon tour choices:
1. DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: Team Lab Borderless with Carl & Kim (3,200 yen admission not included, reserved tickets required at least a week in advance)
2. Adrienne & Makiko will be our guides for an exclusive visit to Nuno Works Warehouse with world renowned Japanese fashion designer, Reiko Sudo. She will offer advice while helping us to choose some of the tantalizing offering of exquisite clothing, scarfs and purses. Afterward we will visit to the Nezu Museum (1,300 yen admission not included).
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 4 – October 21st, Wednesday – Private Bus Trip to Mt. Fuji 5 Lakes area to visit the Itchiku Kubota Shibori Art Museum
Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) was the artist who revived the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing, used to decorate elaborate kimono during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573)  In his early twenties he was so inspired by a fragment of Tsujigahana textile at the Tokyo National Museum, that he devoted the rest of his life to recreating and mastering the labor-intensive silk dyeing technique. Itchiku Kubota built this intriguing museum in the wooded hills along the northern coast of Lake Kawaguchiko to house his kimono collection. Kubota’s grand scheme was a series of kimonos, called Symphony of Light, that would depict the “grandeur of the universe”. An exhibit presenting part of the “grandeur of the universe” was shown in the Smithsonian Museum for 6 months in 1995 – the first time the Smithsonian presented an exhibit of a living artist. At the time of his death, he had completed 40 of his projected 80 kimono in the series. His vision for this series was a decorative landscape design that flowed from kimono to kimono, resulting in a panorama of seasons and views, see photo. Lunch will at the delicious and entertaining Hoto-Fudo noodle restaurant.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 5 – October 22nd, Thursday – Kabuki-za Theatre & Ginza walking tour
We will meet our Japanese guide in the morning at the Kabuki-za Theatre. First we will visit the Kabuki-za gallery, which explains all things Kabuki,  then our guide will help those interested in purchasing tickets for the 11:00 hitomaku-mi (single act) performance. The hitomaku-mi ticket cost depends on the act, but the average is around 1,000 to 1,800 yen (not included). Those not wishing to see the hitomaku-mi can purchase a ticket to get a very short birds eye view of a performance through a back curtain. A single act is about 30 to 45 minutes.
The group will meet up after lunch for our Ginza walking tour, or, the shoppers can elect to use the time to visit some of the iconic stores.
Go back to the hotel late afternoon for departure to Kanazawa, about 3 hours by bullet train. We will pick up bento boxes for dinner before boarding the train,
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.
NOTE: We will arrange for everyone to ship their their luggage to Kyoto before departing Tokyo. Kim and Adrienne will advise when this needs to be done and will help with the logistics. You should bring a small bag or backpack that can hold two days clothes and necessities.


Kanazawa – 2 nights – Arrive: October 22nd – Check out October 24th

Day 6 – October 23rd, Friday – Kanazawa
There is much to see and do in Kanazawa. In 2009 it  was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Craft and Folk Art. During World War II Kanazawa was Japan’s second largest city (after Kyoto) to escape destruction by air raids. Consequently, parts of the old castle town,  such as the Nagamachi samurai district and chaya entertainment districts, have survived in very good condition. Although Samurai were abolished in the late 19th century much of their world remains in Kanazawa. The Kanazawa Station’s wooden hand-drum-shaped Tsuzumi Gate and glass umbrella-shaped Motenashi Dome were controversial because they clashed with the traditional architecture of this old castle town but its sleek modern design is now very appreciated by those who see it.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 7 – October 24th, Saturday – Kenrokuen Garden & Travel to Kyoto

AM – We will enjoy a morning stroll through Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa’s unchallenged main attraction. It is considered one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens” and by many it is considered the most beautiful of them all. The spacious grounds used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle and were constructed by the ruling Maeda family over a period of nearly two centuries. Opened to the public in 1871, Kenrokuen features a variety of flowering trees which provide the garden with a different look for each season. On our visit we hope to see the start of the fall colors which are mainly provided by the cherry and maple trees.

PM – You will have an early lunch in Kanazawa or pick up a bento box for the 3 hour train ride to Kyoto. 
We will arrive at our hotel, Karasuma Kyoto Hotel, in the late afternoon. Youwill be the option of having the afternoon and evening to explore Kyoto on your own, or join Adrienne on a short tour of some of her favorites: afternoon visit to Bunzaburo shibori shop and Gallery of Kyoto Traditional Arts & Crafts, and a possible stop at a store that carries traditional Japanese wood block prints.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

 

 

Kyoto – 10 nights – Arrive: October 24th – Check out November 3rd

Day 8 – October 25th, Sunday –  Tenjin-san Flea Market

We will be head to the market early, right after breakfast. This outdoor Market at Kitano-tenmangu shrine is held on the 25th of every month. This is the larger of the two monthly markets in Kyoto where you can find kimono, obi, fashion clothing, wood block prints, antiques, artisan wares, fabric, food, and so much more. There are many outdoor food stalls and small restaurants, plan to have lunch here for a truly Japanese experience.
The afternoon offers free time to visit many of the other sites in Kyoto, or you can join Adrienne for a visit to the Nishi Hongan-ji Temples & Shoseien Garden. This is a very important temple and UNESCO world heritage site just minutes from our hotel. This is a large complex with two Buddhist temples and a exquisite garden. Nishi Honganji is the head temple of the Honganji faction of the Jodo-Shin sect with over 10,000 sub-temples across the country and 200 temples overseas. The small garden will have just have reopened after a long renovation and should be in full autumn color. We will start at the garden as it closes a 1/2 hour before the temples.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 9 – October 26th, Monday –  Day trip to Himeji Castle
After breakfast we will meet in the lobby and travel by train to visit Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The castle is comprised of 83 buildings. A major restoration was completed just two years ago with all of the buildings returned to their original, vibrant white finish. This castle is both a national treasure and a World Heritage Site and is widely considered Japan’s most spectacular castle for its imposing size, beauty and its well preserved castle grounds. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country’s twelve original castles. After visiting the castle we will have lunch in the nearby Kokoen Garden at Kassui-ken Japanese Restaurant.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 10, 11, 12, & 13 – October 27th – 30th, Tuesday through Friday –  Kumihimo Classes
Kumihimo classes with Makiko Tada, Adrienne Gaskell and members of the Kumihimo Society (of Japan). We will take the subway to class which will be held from 9am to 4pm each day. Marudai will be provided. Students will work for two days with Makiko Tada learning some of her innovations to traditional fiber braids. Then you will have two days of classes with Adrienne working on beaded braids or her innovations with Oimatsu and embellished Oimatsu. You will have your evenings free to explore Kyoto or treat yourself to a massage.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 14 – October 31st, Saturday –  Private Bus to the Miho Museum & Byodo-in Temple

The Miho Museum stands deep in a forested hill and was designed by the renowned architect, I. M. Pei. To get a glimpse of the museum architecture look up ‘Miho Museum Louis Vuitton fashion show’ on YouTube. After lunch we will stop at the Byodoin Temple which is a striking example of Buddhist Pure Land (Jodo) architecture. The main hall of Byodo-in Temple was built to emulate Buddha’s palace in paradise, and the temple is indeed otherworldly. Its graceful lines and warm colors give the building the appearance of a majestic bird spreading its wings. It is popularly known as the “Phoenix Hall,” and when seen with its reflection on the large pond in front, it almost appears to be gliding above the earth. This view is one of the most famous scenes in Japan, and is replicated on back of the 10 yen coin.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Day 15 – November 1st, Sunday –  Free Day
We like to give you some free time so that you can revisit special places or take in more of the wonderful sites 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: Arashiyama (bamboo forest), Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Nijō Castle (Nightingale Floors), Philosopher’s Path, Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion tori gates, the Kyoto Aquarium, the Kyoto Railway Museum, and the Kyoto Tower.  Osaka, Nara and many other places are an easy day trip. If you have other interests, notify us in advance and we will be able to help you with your specific plans. We may also be able to arrange guides for you. Free day transportation, admission costs and other expenses are not included.
Breakfast included. Lunch & Dinner on your own.

Day 16 – November 2nd, Monday –  Walking tour of Historic Gion
We will take a walking tour of the ancient Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ockaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain. As you walk the streets of Gion you will be transported back to in time, with cobblestone streets and traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. Gion has a high concentration of the important temples and shrines of Kyoto. We will have our Farewell Lunch at The Sodoh Italian Restaurant, nestled inside a traditional Japanese garden, which offers a nice retreat from the busy tourist streets.
 The tour will end mid-afternoon allowing for everyone to return to the hotel, which is about 1.5 miles from Gion, as they wish, walking, by bus or taxi. Or, you have the option to take a leisurely walk back to the hotel with Adrienne. She will take you through some of the iconic shopping streets of Kyoto; Terramachi, Nishiki, a depachika and more. Along they way we will visit a Cremia stand and try the famous Japanese soft serve ice cream that foreigners crave and everyone raves about.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner on your own.

Departure – November 3rd, Tuesday
Kim & Adrienne will say farewell to all the Adventurers on Monday evening as we will both be departing for Hiroshima.
Breakfast included. All other meals are on your own.

This schedule is subject to change, Kim & Adrienne may discover other exciting opportunities or schedule necessities.
All of the activities listed in the above itinerary will be included but may take place on alternate days or times.