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Gardens & Galleries


“A deluxe tour steeped in horticultural richness, spiritual zen, and culture preserved at various UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Museums, with visits to the best Japanese gardens and award-winning art galleries”

Gardens & Galleries of Japan is a once in a lifetime tour taking you to the nest Japanese Gardens and Award Winning Art Galleries. You will experience not only the incredible beauty of these gardens but also the stunning natural landscapes that inform their design. Our Japanese garden experts will accompany you throughout explaining the concepts and execution of the different styles of Japanese Gardens.

Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Route: Tokyo & Kamakura (3) ➞ Kanazawa (1) ➞ Kyoto (3) (day trip to Nara, Hiroshima & Miyajima Island) ➞ Matsue (2) ➞ Tokyo (2)

Prices and Inclusions

Accommodation9 nights in 4-star & 5-star Western-style hotels and 2 nights in luxurious Japanese-style ryokans (with hot spring baths and kaiseki evening meals)
English Speaking tour leader/Garden Expert When 6 or more are on the group you will be escorted by our English speaking tour leader. If your group is less than 6 people, you will be doing the tour on a semi-escorted basis (Met in each area by our local assistants and guides).
Airport Transfers Arrival & departure airport transfers included to & from Tokyo hotel
Private Tour Guides Local English speaking tour guides in some places (Tokyo, Kamakura, Kanazawa, Matsue, and Kyoto)
Entrance Fees
 Included into all sights listed on itinerary
Cultural ExperiencesTokyo city sightseeing, Izakaya Dining Out with local tour leader, ‘21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art’ in Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden, World Heritage Temples and Shrines in Kyoto, bullet-train journeys, multiple award-winning Japanese Garden visits, Samurai Castle & Authentic Tea Ceremony in Matsue, Adachi Museum of Art, Izumo Taisha Shrine, Ikebana ‘flower arranging’ Workshop, calligraphy or meditation (optional) at Saihoji.
Meals Breakfast daily, 3 evening meals
Other Inclusions:
  • Comprehensive Travel Pack
  • Local Emergency Contact
  • All Taxes & Accommodation Surcharges
  • Fixed Price Policy
  • Minimum 6 / maximum 16 people
  • No hidden Costs!!
This package does not include:
  • International Flights [Arrange own flights into and out of Tokyo’s Haneda or Narita Airports – Always check the arrival date on your flight e.g. if flying from Europe/US, you will arrive into Tokyo the following day (depending on airline you use)]
  • Meals other than those specified in itinerary. Generally, you can expect to pay 1,000yen for lunches and anything from 2,500yen for your evening meals.
  • Beverages consumed at any meal (Water served freely)
  • Baggage Handling (You are requested to carry your own bags so be careful when packing! Your tour leader will help you arrange luggage forwarding on some journeys by the reliable ‘Takkyubin Service’)
  • Tour Leader Or Driver Gratuity – can be arranged among your group (Optional)


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Gardens & Galleries of Japan - Small Group Tour
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Dates: 2019: September 24 - October 05, November 12 - 23
2020: March 27 - Apr 07, May 10 - 21, Sept 23 - Oct, Nov 12 - 23
Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Starts: Tokyo
Ends: Tokyo
Route: Tokyo & Kamakura (3) ➞ Kanazawa (1) ➞ Kyoto (3) (day trip to Nara, Hiroshima & Miyajima Island) ➞ Matsue (2) ➞ Tokyo (2)
Tour Type: Fully Escorted (6 or more people) or Semi-Escorted (less than 6 people)
Prices from:
€4,600 / £4,200 / US$5,400 / AU$7,500 (Per Person sharing twin/double)
€6,150 / £5,600 / US$7,200 / AU$10,150 (Single Room Throughout)
Accommodation Category: Superior & Deluxe

Tour Highlights

Kenroku-en Garden

Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. The name Kenroku-en means “garden combining six characteristics” and is rooted in the idea that it serves the six aspects most important in creating the ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness. Kenroku-en is designed as a walking garden, to be enjoyed in its different aspects by the visitor strolling through. Different sections of the garden use gardening techniques from different periods and incorporate various features to create a unique “flow” throughout. Each pond, hillock and stream has special symbolic resonance based in a cultural aesthetic derived from classical literature and art. The Kotoji-toro stone lantern is one such example, designed to resemble the bridge of a koto, a stringed musical instrument that is the national instrument of Japan. With roughly 8,750 trees, and 183 species of plants in total, Kenroku-en is every garden enthusiast’s dream.

Saihou-ji Temple & Moss Garden

Saihō-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple famed for its moss garden. Indeed Saiho-ji is acclaimed by many as Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”. The moss garden takes the form of a circular promenade based around a central pond, which is shaped like the Chinese character for ‘heart’ and contains three small islands. Over 100 varieties of moss cover the area surrounding the pond. The gardens of Saihō-ji are collectively considered to be both a historical landmark and a “special place of scenic beauty” in Japan. Our Japanese Garden Expert will take you through Saiho-ji explaining the significance of the garden’s features and how it exemplifies the zen style of Japanese gardening.

Arashiyama & Nanzenji Illumination

To the west, Arashiyama is famous for its mountain views, and offers a fantastic opportunity to view autumn foliage in particular. The landscape here heavily influences the design of Japanese gardens, and visiting Arashiyama and riding the Torokko Sightseeing Train through such beautiful natural scenery can only help deepen your appreciation of the gardens that we visit.

Nanzenji Temple holds spectacular evening light-up events for a limited time in autumn, allowing visitors a unique perspective of the stunning seasonal hues.

Yuushien Garden

On Daikonshima Island east of Matsue is the beautiful Yuushien garden. A traditional walk-through garden with carp-filled ponds, streams, and waterfalls, Yushien is most famous for its 250 types of peony flower. In spring, early-flowering peonies are painstakingly transplanted by hand into the large central pond, transforming the heart of the garden into one gigantic garland of cascading colours. In autumn, Yuushien holds magical evening illuminations that turn the streams and ponds into reflecting pools that capture and magnify the vibrant colours of Japan’s spectacular autumn foliage. Be one of the lucky few to visit these amazing illuminations.


Adachi Museum of Art Japanese Gardens

The Adachi Museum of Art’s Japanese Garden has been ranked the number one garden in Japan for twelve consecutive years by the Journal for Japanese Gardening. The museum and its garden are located in the small town of Yasugi in beautiful rural Shimane. Adachi is actually home to six different types of Japanese garden, which surround the Museum building. These include a Dry Landscape Garden, Moss Garden, Garden of Juryu-an, White Gravel & Pine Garden, Pond Garden, and Kikaku Waterfall Garden. One of the keys to the beauty of these gardens is how well they sit within and compliment the stunning natural scenery that surrounds them.

The museum exhibits are also of exceptional quality, lending to Adachi Art Museum & Garden’s reputation as an aesthetic paradise.

Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine

Japan’s oldest shrine is located outside the picturesque town of Taisha-machi. Pass under the massive torii gate that marks the shrine’s entrance and follow the central pine-lined path to reach the Main Hall, the tallest shrine building in Japan. Continue on to the Worship Hall where you will be greeted by the sight of Japan’s largest shimenawa – a huge sacred straw rope 13.5 meters in length and weighing over 5 tons – hanging from its ceiling. Take your time to savour this special experience before you bidding farewell to Shimane and returning to Tokyo by air.


Day 1: Tokyo (3 nights)

Arrive in one of Tokyo’s International Airports (Haneda or Narita). Met by transfer staff on arrival and taken to your Tokyo hotel. You will have free time in Tokyo until tour orientation that evening, where you will meet your tour leader and the rest of the group. Enjoy a welcome dinner at local izakaya-style Japanese casual restaurant.

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: Tokyo Full-day private sightseeing tour

Today you will travel around Tokyo like locals with our expert local guide. Begin with a visit to Hamariyku Garden and the famous Tsukiji fish market where you can explore the market and surrounds and sample some of the freshest sashimi imaginable. Next you will visit Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most important temple. Located in Tokyo’s  Asakusa district, it offers a real taste of the old city’s traditional side.

From Asakusa, continue on after lunch to one of the most popular shrines in all of Japan, Meiji Jingu. Close to Yoyogi and Harajuku, Meiji Shrine is an oasis of calm, cloistered away at the center of an evergreen forest of 120,000 trees of 365 different species. Finish up at Shibuya’s iconic ‘Scramble Crossing’, where you can watch the waves of people passing through this famous junction, or join in the throng yourself!

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Kamakura (Day Trip)

Kamakura is located one hour from Tokyo Station on the JR Yokosuka Line. This charming coastal town was capital of Japan between 1185 and 1333, a turbulent and bloody time in Japan’s history. Today Kamakura is a haven of tranquillity and home to many secluded temples and shrines which, once you leave the main tourist trail, you will often have to yourself.

Engaku-ji is one of the leading Zen temples in Japan and the second most important of Kamakura’s five great Zen temples. Built into the slopes of Kita-Kamakura’s forested hills and surrounded by maple trees, Engaku-ji is set in stunning surrounds. There is a lovely walk through the hills from Kita-Kamakura to the famous Big Buddha at Kotokuin Temple. Along the way you can visit the money washing shrine, Zeniarai-benten, where money washed in the sacred waters is said to double its value! You will also visit Hasedera Temple home to an 11-headed wooden statue of Kannon, hand-carved by the monks of the temple. Enjoy stunning views out over Kamakura Bay and be sure to explore the amazing underground cave-temple. In the evening we’ll return to Tokyo and enjoy some free time in the capital.

Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Kanazawa (1 Night)

You will start using your Japan Rail Pass today to transfer to Kanazawa, a lovely small city close to the Japan Sea coast. Until the turn of the century Kanazawa was the 4th biggest city in Japan. However, its wealth was built on rice production and traditional crafts such as weaving and gold leaf and with the full scale industrialisation of the country Kanazawa was somewhat left behind. Today the city is flourishing again and still maintains all of its old charm. There are several small geisha districts and one where you can go inside an old tea house and see where the clients were entertained and even take tea yourself (sadly no longer served by geisha!). There are also samurai houses, a ninja temple and the city’s most famous sight, the beautiful Kenroku-en garden rated as one of the three best promenade gardens in the whole of Japan.

In Kanazawa you will visit the nostalgic Higashi Chaya district which is not unlike the old streets of Kyoto, but a little more preserved: almost pristine, in fact. Then move to Kenroku-en garden beside Kanazawa Castle for a relaxing stroll around. In the evening you can use your free time to visit Kanazawa’s incredible 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.

Accommodation: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa (or similar)

Day 5: Kyoto (3 Nights)

Today you will transfer to Kyoto by train using your Japan Rail Pass.

Flowing with tradition, Kyoto is the ultimate destination for anybody who wants to soak up time-honoured Japanese culture. Home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, over 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, this ancient city showcases the heart and soul of traditional Japan. Kyoto boasts an array of world-class gardens, majestic festivals and delicate cuisine, all of which make much of the rhythms of nature and the changing of the seasons. On first glance however, visitors will see that like any large Japanese city, grid-like Kyoto has its fair share of neon and concrete. But the discerning eye will soon pick out Kyoto’s treasures: sacred shrines tucked in among shopping arcades, timeless teahouses nestling among modern businesses and mysterious geisha rustling down backstreets among the tourists and souvenirs. Kyoto’s charm lies in these details and whether you’re here for three days or three years, the closer you look, the more you’ll discover.

Your tour leader will guide through your introduction to Kyoto which includes: Saihouji Temple & Garden (subject to availability), Arashiyama scenic sightseeing, Torokko Train Ride and Nanzenji Evening Light-Up (Optional).

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 6: Kyoto Full Day Private Tour

Prepare to be blown away today by Kyoto’s most spectacular sights: Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion), Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion District famous for the geisha who live and work there. Our local guide really brings to life the history and culture of Japan’s ancient capital, providing great insight into special the character of this unique city.

Some highlights:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Temple of the Golden Pavilion
  • Ryoanji Temple
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Kiyomizudera Temple
  • Gion District (Geisha district) Walk

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 7: Free day in Kyoto / Optional day-trip to Nara OR Hiroshima & Miyajima Island

Today you can have a full day off from touring. Take a break from it all, or go see the sights in Kyoto that inspire you the most. Your tour leader will be available in the morning to help you orientate your day. Some suggestions will also be in your travel pack. There is the option of participating in an Ikebana workshop (Japanese flower arrangement) for those would like to try their hand at this elegant and refined art form.

Still full of energy and keen for more sightseeing? We recommend an optional day-trip to either Nara or Hiroshima & Miyajima Island.

Accommodation: Okura Hotel Kyoto (or similar)

Day 8: Matsue (2 nights)

Matsue, located in rural Shimane, is Japan’s best kept secret. So much so, in fact, that popular cartoon character Yoshida-kun frequently quips that no one in Japan can find Shimane on a map, even though the area is known as the birthplace of Japan and the home of the gods.

En route to Matsue, you will visit the stunning number one ranked Adachi Museum of Art Japanese Gardens in Yasugi. Here at Adachi you will have the chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony in the magical environs of the Juryu-an Garden Tea House. Other highlights include a delicious traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan and Lake Shinji’s fabulous sunsets.

Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)

Day 9: Matsue

On your guided day of Matsue, you will visit Yuushi-en garden on Daikonshima island, a traditional walk-through garden with carp-filled ponds, streams and waterfalls. In springtime you can expect to see the famous peonies. Then the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat offers a fascinating and unique perspective of Matsue Castle and the old-town area through its moat and canal network. Get a real sense of the atmosphere of this old castle town by walking along Shiomi Nawate street parallel to the moat. And you won’t want to miss the finely preserved buke yashiki or samurai residence. There are only twelve original castle structures remaining in Japan and Matsue Castle is one of the finest examples of these Edo Period feudal strongholds, having survived for over 400 years. In the evening you will enjoy another sumptuous kaiseki dinner at your ryokan.

Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)

Day 10: Tokyo (2 nights)

This morning you are in for a real treat. After your ryokan breakfast, you will be taken to one of the most sacred Shinto sites in Japan: Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine. In the afternoon you will travel to the airport for an internal flight back to Tokyo.

Accommodation: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Day 11: Tokyo

Have a final day of leisure in Tokyo now to spend in the city as you like. Of course, you can discuss options and sample day itineraries with our travel consultants before departure and our group tour leader during your trip. As Tokyo has literally something for everyone, the challenge will not be finding something to do, but rather choosing between the many great options.

Accommodation: Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (or similar)

Day 12: Sayonara

The tour comes to an end after breakfast today and you will be provided with an airport transfer service from your hotel. If you would like to stay longer in Tokyo, you can discuss various post-tour options with your travel consultant.

How to Book

Step 1: Pay booking deposit 250 Euro (or equivalent)

By paying your deposit today, we secure your place on this chosen small group tour. You will be sent a receipt of payment on the following business day (Mon-Fri). All online deposits are refundable up to 7 days after payment has been made through this website.

[Booking Terms and Conditions]


Step 2: Book Your Flight

Once you have secured your place on our tour, you should book your flight to Japan from your home country. To find the best available routes and flights, check out skyscanner.com.



Step 3: Manage your Booking

Once deposit is paid, log into your secure Unique Japan Tours Travel Portal. Check your documents and fill out as much information as possible, to ensure we give you the best service possible (dietary requirements, passport info, flight details, and so on). This travel portal can also be used to make payments towards your tour (installments are permitted).


Step 4: Receive your Essential Travel Pack

All of our clients receive an Essential Travel Pack which is sent to your home address (worldwide) 2-3 weeks before your departure date. If your starting date is less than 2 weeks, you will receive it on arrival in Japan. All documents will be sent via email in advance also.


Step 4: See you on Day 1 in Japan!

Got a Question?

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Total price of this tour

4,600 per person

13 in stock

Pay a deposit of 250 per item
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