Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan will open for tourists on October 11th, 2022. Be one of the first to visit!
Email for information.
Osaka, Kumomoto, Gokanosho, Unzen, Takeo Onsen, Arita, Tottori. Kyoto, and Shigaraki,
Indigo Dyeing with Master Ogata, learn Shodo Calligraphy, make Bamboo Art and enjoy Japanese Onsen (natural hot springs baths)
Potters & ceramic artists at work, Ceramics and other museums, temples, shrines, knife maker., wood fired kilns, gorgeous waterfall and landscapes. See urban and rural Japan!
Delicious meals with fresh trout caught on location footsteps away. Incredible meals in intimate settings that are a feast for the eyes and soul. "It's an experience, not just food!"
Me at the Yayoi Kusama Retrospective at the Contemporary Art Museum in Kumamoto.
We'll see art exhibitions (tba), viewing contemporary and traditional Japanese art.
$3,900 - (Does not included airfare)
Includes: All accommodations - including single rooms, 2 week Rail pass, all activities, local transportation, select meals - see itinerary, provided upon request.
Recommended for people with good mobility! There will be a lot of walking, hopping on and off trains, busses and subways,
November 8th - Travel to Japan.
November 9th - Arrive Osaka
November 10th - Tour of Osaka
November 11th & 12th - Kumamoto
November 13th & 14th - Gokanosho
November 15th & 16th - Unzen
November 17th & 18th - Takeo Onsen
November 19th - 22nd - Kyoto, Shigaraki
Return to US Nov. 22nd
Leave from your location on November 8th, making sure you'll arrive at KIX Airport in Osaka on November 9th, at least by 7:00pm. Due to the time change, 16 hours ahead, most flights from the US will arrive the next day. Pack light!
Arrive at KIX airport where Sheri Leigh will meet you. Check into the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. Depending on arrival time, enjoy shopping and great restaurants at the Kansai airport or nearby Rinku Town. We’ll meet in the lobby of the hotel at 7:30pm (local time) for a "Meet and Greet".
Yoriko, our tour guide, will take us by chartered bus to the Riyku Museum, where you’ll be introduced to the Japanese tea ceremony, and learn the history while sitting in a replica of the first tea house in Kyoto. See gorgeous historic chawan – tea bowls. Then we’ll go to a knife making studio and see the amazing process of creating their famous knives. Afterwards, we’ll tour the Art Museum.
If you’re jetlagged, you’ll have the opportunity to rest on the bullet train that will take us across Japan to Kyushu. You'll see a lot of Japan's countryside on the way. Ken, our guide, will meet us on arrival and see us to the hotel and show us around Kumamoto. Enjoy the shopping arcade, fantastic restaurants, and historic areas.
Ken will guide us to the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Craft Center, the Contemporary Art Museum, the Statue of Kato Kiyomasa, the Wakuwakuza History and Cultural Experience and the Sakuranokouji Shopping Arcade. We’ll see the reconstruction of the Kumamoto Castle, which was severely damaged during the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016.
We’ll travel by chartered bus to the remote mountain area of Gokanosho, where we’ll tour the historical sites and learn about the Heike clan who settled in this area centuries ago. There is an incredible waterfall, and suspended bridges overlooking the gorgeous mountain landscape. We’ll stay in the Heike-so or Sakura-so inns and enjoy an incredibly special dining experiences.
We’ll go to the local cultural center and do two workshops, one in Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), have a delicious bento boxed lunch, then a Mingei Workshop where you’ll create a bamboo piece of your choice, using freshly cut bamboo of all sizes and cut loose in their wood shop. Another awesome, delicious, fresh dinner in the scenic inns, wearing our cotton Yukatas, (house kimonos).
We’ll travel down from the mountains, to the city of Yatsushiro, where we’ll have the fun opportunity to get dressed in beautiful kimonos, and enjoy a short tea ceremony in a historic area. We’ll visit the Agano’s Kodayaki Pottery, and see the 14th generation demonstrate their porcelain slip inlay technique. Then we’ll travel by boat ferry to Shimabara, and take the bus to another beautiful mountain town, Unzen.
Walking tour of the Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark, also known as Unzen Hell! You’ll see boiling puddles and steam blow holes that are incredible. We’ll visit the Unzen Pottery, where they have developed a unique volcanic ash glaze that is gorgeous! The Vidro Ceramics and Glass museum houses beautiful historic pieces and has a great gift shop. Enjoy the natural onsens, Japanese hot springs. I love the toy museum (store) there!
We’ll visit Master Ogata in Takeo and take part in a fun indigo dyeing workshop, where you can design your own piece and die it in natural indigo die that Master Ogata grows and makes. He’ll demonstrate traditional Japanese pattern making. Then we’ll see Master Koga’s pottery studio and showroom with their unique, beautiful ware.
Visit the Kyushu Ceramics Museum in Arita, Japan’s porcelain capitol. See an amazing collection of Japanese pottery, and we'll visit the historic pottery town. We’ll also visit the Hasami Yakimono (pottery) Park, and visit nearby pottery studios and shops.
We’ll travel by bullet train across Japan to Kyoto. Then we’ll stretch our legs and tour the Raku Museum. The Raku Museum houses work from every generation of the Raku family, which developed their unique firing method, which differs greatly from American Raku. Then we'll go to the Kiyomizudera Temple, the Kyoto Ceramics Center, and a Ceramics Supply Shop. The area around the Temple is iconic, picturesque, and full of great shops, including pottery, souvenirs, and fabulous restaurants!
We’ll take a chartered bus with our tour guide Seita, on a tour of the pottery town, Shigaraki. We'll visit the private pottery studios with Shigaraki potters that have interesting wood kilns and unique styles, and the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park where we’ll tour their museum and internationally renowned studios.
We’ll tour Kyoto going to the amazing Golden Pavilion, (Kinkaku-ji), Nijo Castle, the Nishijin Textile Center, and if time allows, the Shibori Museum. Farewell group meeting after sightseeing.
Return to the KIX airport in Osaka, which is a little under two hours away by train. You’ll most likely arrive in the US the same day, maybe even before you left due to the time change!
November is beautiful time to visit Japan, with gorgeous fall color and pleasant weather ! Be one of the first tourists to visit Japan after opening on October 11th!
This carefully planned tour is action packed! We'll be hopping on and off trains, busses, subways, ferries and trams at times with our luggage. Not recommended for people with mobility issues.
All ages 20 and up are welcome! Maximum group size is 18.
Upon registration, you'll receive a lot of information about what to expect, pack, and prepare for while on the trip. Sheri is accessible and happy to answer all your questions and will provide a lot of "Japan Tips" that she's learned from all of the great trips she's taken to Japan! She's a professor emeritus, so she loves sharing information, and will provide all the necessary paperwork too.
Please sign up for my mailing list to get information about this and future trips.
I'm happy to set up a phone call, Zoom meeting, or in person meeting.