Gardens & Galleries
€6,800 / £5,700 / US$7,070 / AU$10,160 (Per Person sharing twin/double)
“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 best 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.
Day 1: Tokyo (2 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 Sightseeing
Today you will travel around Tokyo like locals with our expert local guide. Begin with a visit to Hamariyku Garden. 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 onto the Sumida Hokusai Museum (closed on Monday) and then as the sun sets, you’ll enjoy the dazzling lights of the stylish Ginza shopping and entertainment district.
Accommodation: Chinzanso 5* Hotel (or similar)
Day 3: Kamakura
Kamakura is a haven of tranquillity, home to many secluded temples and shrines.
Engakuji 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. Enjoy stunning views out over Kamakura Bay.
Sea breezes lift the air as you glance up to the tender smile of an enormous statue to the Great Buddha at Kotokuin Temple who sits in the sun since the 13th century. At 11.3 meters tall it is the second tallest bronze Buddha in Japan, complete with 1.8 meter long straw sandals.
Walk the wooden paths and lush grounds of Hasedera Temple home to an 11-headed wooden statue of Kannon. Make a wish at a shrine, view relics, texts, and places of prayer, then explore a cave filled with Buddhist scriptures.
Overnight in a luxurious marina hotel, located in Zushi, an area used by many of Tokyo’s elite to escape the craziness of the metropolitan city. Riviera Zushi can be described as Zen-on-the-sea. Dinner included over looking Enoshima Island and if you’re lucky, Mt Fuji views.
Accommodation: Riviera Marina Hotel Zushi (5* Boutique)
Day 4: Kyoto (3 nights)
Accommodation: Kyoto Kanra Hotel (Boutique 4*)
Day 5: Kyoto Sightseeing with our local guide
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.
Exploring Kyoto is wonderful at all times though some seasons bring out the best of particular places.
- In April, see Toji and Haradani gardens blooms with Sakura cherry blossoms.
- In May, Shoren-in-mon-ato is filled with Azelia and blue maple. April is also a time for special access to the interior of Toji Pagoda.
- In September Japanese bush clover can be seen at Nazenji and Keage incline.
- In mid-November Autumn colours blaze at Saimyoji and Takao.
- Forest Bathing (Shinrin Yoku) in the Bamboo Forest, Kyoto
Day 6: Kyoto Free day
Enjoy some time out to explore your Kyoto! You may chose to browse and shop around Nishiki Market, Teramachi street for lacquer ware, beautiful Japanese brushes and stationary, or some local world class Green Tea.
Self-guided day trip options (Pay locally):
1) Explore more of Kyoto’s Cultural Treasures (Kinkakuji Temple – Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple, Niji Castle, etc)
2) Himeji Castle & Koko-en Garden day trip
3) Day trip to historical Nara park
4) Day trip to Osaka city
Day 7: Train & Private Boat to Naoshima Island via Himeji Castle
Naoshima could easily be another pretty but forgotten island in the Seto Inland Sea scraping a living from fishing. However, a unique art project has given Naoshima its deserved global reputation. Naoshima is home to a large collection of contemporary art galleries, exhibits and installations which offer a tour de force of architectural expression integrating art and the natural environment. Two of the main galleries, the Chichu Art Museum and Benesse House, were designed by the world-famous architect Tadao Ando and feature works by Claude Monet, Walter de Maria, James Turrell, Andy Warhol, Richard Long and Bruce Nauman among others. Distances between the main art sites are small and the picturesque island can be explored on foot or by bike.
Accommodation: Benesse Art-Site (Boutique, One-of-a-kind)
Day 8: From Art Island to Historical Hiroshima
On the way to Hiroshima stop at the strolling garden on Okayama Kenrokuen Garden. This beautiful landscape garden, created around 300 years ago by the Ikeda family is regarded as one of the three Great Gardens of Japan. Arrive to Hiroshima at sunset on time to explore the cities many food markets and shopping districts.
Day 9: Magical Miyajima Island
At the “City of Water” Hiroshima has abundant historical sites with impressive architecture. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a moving tribute to the victims of the atomic bomb and a site dedicated to world peace.
Miyajima Island, located just off the coast of Hiroshima, is one of Japan’s most loved places with a charming rural atmosphere to match the beautiful surroundings. The island is perhaps best known for the red Torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine which appears to be floating in the sea.
Visit the celebrated Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Shukkeien Garden & Hiroshima Castle are optional & time permitting.
Day 10: 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 Sandankyo Gorge (20 min trail through the Gorge) & Izumo Taisha Shrine, one of the Shinto religion’s oldest and most sacred sites.
Other highlights include a delicious traditional kaiseki dinner at your ryokan and Lake Shinji’s fabulous sunsets.
Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)
Day 11: Matsue
On your guided day of Matsue, your will enjoy activities such as the Horikawa sightseeing boat around the moats of Matsue Castle and the canal network of the old-town area. 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. Note: You will not go inside the castle.
You will visit the stunning Adachi Museum of Art with its highly ranked and much celebrated Japanese Gardens in Yasugi.
In the evening you will enjoy another sumptuous kaiseki dinner at your ryokan.
Accommodation: Minamikan Ryokan (or similar)
Day 12: Tokyo (2 nights)
This morning you are in for a real treat. After your ryokan breakfast, 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.
In the afternoon you will travel to the airport for an internal flight back to Tokyo.
Accommodation: Park Hotel (Artist Room) (or similar)
Day 13: 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: Park Hotel (Artist Room) (or similar)
Day 14: 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.
Dates and Prices
Tour Starts:26 September 2023
Tour Ends:10 October 2023 (CLOSED) Book Now
Tour Starts:15 November 2023
Tour Ends:29 November 2023 (ALMOST FULL) Book Now
Tour Starts:Mar 27, 2024
Tour Ends:April 13, 2024 (Cherry Blossoms) Book Now
Tour Starts:15 May 2024
Tour Ends:29 May, 2024 (Peony & Water Iris) Book Now
Tour Starts:July 12, 2024
Tour Ends:July 25, 2024 Book Now
Tour Starts:11 September, 2024
Tour Ends:25 September, 2024 Book Now
Tour Starts:November 20, 2024
Tour Ends:December 04, 2024 Book Now
Two Nights with Welcome Dinner in their beautiful Garden restaurant
The hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool and water sports facilities, and guests can enjoy a meal at one of the 20 restaurants or a drink at one (or more) of the 6 bars/lounges.
Riviera Zushi Marina
Overnight in the magnificent marina hotel in what the Japanese call, the Beverley Hills area of Tokyo. Just 11 rooms in total you will feel very special at this unique property.
Hotel Kanra, Kyoto
Embrace beauty, wisdom, and the hospitality of Japan in KANRA. The name suggests you experience the spirit of this original location created incorporating traditional skills and techniques found in Kyoto. Natural materials are extensively displayed in a modern twist on the traditional “Machiya” style of woods, stone, iron , and pops of green.
Enjoy Wagyu beef with specially selected Sake from small breweries in Kyoto at TeppanHANAROKU restaurant, where local and seasonal ingredients found in each dish.
Or sample Pizza and some wine from a selection of 150 kinds to pair with food oven cooked in a 600℃ kiln at the Kanra Kitchen. In the Lounge take an afternoon Parfait, or shop for authentic goods from all over Japan.
Tranquility waits at SPA Sanctuary with ZEN ambience, enrich the five senses, and lead you to supreme relaxing experience of body and mind. Inspired by the practices of traditional Asian remedies and naturopathy to combat jet lag and return balance.
Benesse House Art-Site
in the famous Benesse Art Site on Naoshima Island.
The name is derived from the words to “Be well”. The guest rooms are in fact located inside and around the museum. This hotel allows you to stay closest to the artwork. Drawings, paintings, prints, and other works by the artists in our collection are on display in each of the four different styles of guest rooms. Some notable works displayed; Imi Knoebel Grace Kelly I, Sol LeWitt Forms Derived from a Cube in Color I/II, Josef Albers White Line Square X VII, I-Sh and Thomas Ruff Stern. The architecture is expansive and open, letting you feel nature all around you even indoors.
Hiroshima Sheraton Grand Hotel
Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is conveniently located next to JR Hiroshima Station with direct access to the bullet train and bus terminals. Stay in luxury as you explore Hiroshima’s historic sites and architecture.
Modern décor blends Western and Japanese elements to create a harmonious atmosphere. All guest rooms feature the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience and Premium Club Rooms are welcome at the Club Lounge, offering breakfast, soft drinks and cocktails. Restaurants feature the finest and freshest cuisine and the bar is a great place to gather with friends, both old and new. Relax and recharge your mind and body at Shine Spa. A pool and fitness centre are located in the hotel.
Matsue’s nicest ryokan in the heart of the city. Here you will get a real taste of Japan with kaiseki dinner and hot spring baths. Founded in 1888, Minamikan is a well-established ryokan located in Shimane Prefecture with 130 years of history behind it. It stands in a great location commanding a fine view of Lake Shinji.
Park Hotel Artist Room
Located near Ginza with superb connections to the local metro system, the Park Hotel is one of Tokyo’s quirky art hotels. You will find seasonal works from local and international artists all over the hotel. Some can even be purchased! Another reason for choosing this hotel is because of their unique and one-of-a-kind artist rooms. Each room will have a different canvas throughout inspired by Japanese contemporary artists. A nice way to finish our Gardens & Galleries adventure we feel!
|Accommodation||11 nights in Boutique & 5* Western-style hotels and 2 nights in a luxurious Japanese-style ryokan (with hot spring baths and kaiseki evening meals)|
|English Speaking tour leader/Garden Expert||When 6 or more are in 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||English speaking tour guides or garden experts in some places (Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Naoshima, Hiroshima, & Matsue)|
|Entrance Fees||Included into all sights listed on itinerary|
|Cultural Experiences||Tokyo city sightseeing, Ginza Department Store, World Heritage Temples in Kyoto, bullet-train journeys, multiple award-winning Japanese Garden visits, Authentic Tea Ceremony, Adachi Museum of Art, Izumo Taisha Shrine, Naoshima Art Island, Hiroshima & Miyajima World Heritage sites, and the coastal historic area of Kamakura.|
|Meals||Breakfast daily, 5 evening meals|
|This package does not include:|
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