This tour touches on a wide spectrum of material culture: ceramics, architecture, sculpture, woodworking, block prints, paper making, landscaping, sumi ink craft, food, nature, and more. For over 400 years, art has been an essential, daily part of Japanese culture. So, it turns out, a good art tour is by definition a solid introduction to Japan. Professional artist David Orth, has studied Japanese aesthetics and philosophy for decades. He is excited to take you to a satisfying variety of top locations vetted for their artistic content, authenticity, and deep appeal.
At least three hands on craft experiences are included in each tour. Don’t worry. They are fairly simple experiences, and if you don’t feel like participating, just take a break.
Among the crafts we draw from are paper making, pottery, woodblock printing, calligraphy, and Sumi ink stick making. Each trip can be a little different, but you will have the opportunity to experience at least three of these.
Japanese landscaping is a sculpture you can walk right into. This tour includes at least three of Japan’s most celebrated 300-year old gardens. Some are vast in size, others like small Zen diamonds - each very different. We are intrigued by the ingenuity shown in the landscaping, types of bridges, stones, water features, and the integrated Edo Period architecture. There is nothing quite so wonderful as finding yourself a little bit lost in a Japanese garden.
We’ll get you there. You go get lost.
Good Food & Drink
We like to eat and we do it well. Except for arrival and departure days, two meals are included every day. Have a wonderful breakfast at your hotel and lunch or dinner in one of many Japanese dining traditions. A third meal is up to you, but we can point you in some good directions.
GETTING AROUND JAPAN
We enjoy quintessential Japanese modes of transportation and immersion in the vibrant street life. No big tour buses. We’ll use bullet trains, local buses, sometimes packed subways, boats, taxis, and your own two feet. Be in shape for some long walks. You will travel to more than 8 cities, towns, and districts - a few of them remote. You’ll cover a large area of Japan ranging from Mashiko north of Tokyo down to Takamatsu on Shikoku. You’ll cross the Inland Sea by boat and explore the renowned island of Naoshima.
David & Steve are quietly passionate about Japanese perspectives nurtured in Zen Buddhism and Shinto. Non-duality, ikigai, and wabi sabi are deep cultural values with inseparable aesthetic & spiritual dimensions. We can trace the unique Japanese approach to art & craft back to centuries old Japanese monastic life. For those interested, these attitudes are still relevant to our everyday, modern life.