Opulent Journeys

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1300 219 885 (AU)

0800 456 219 (NZ)

Arrival in Tokyo. The day is spent at leisure. We meet in the evening for a welcome dinner.
(Meals: D)
Our exploration of Japanese gardens starts with the Edo Period stroll garden, Rikugien, also known as the ‘Six Poems Garden’ which contains 88 symbolic representations of scenes taken from Japanese literature. We then visit the Tokyo National Museum for an overview of Japanese arts and crafts. After lunch in the Ueno area, there’s time for a visit to the scholars’ shrine of Yushima Tenmangu.
(Meals: B)
After a tour of the Imperial Palace East Garden, we make our way to Asakusa to the Sensoji Temple and the Nakamise shopping street, where you can try some of the Tokyo food specialties. After lunch we step back in time and visit a garden created by a feudal lord, before visiting the Fukugawa Edo Museum.
(Meals: B)
Today we travel to the fashionable Aoyama district, where tradition meets high-end luxury and offers plenty of interesting places for lunch. We visit the Nezu Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Far Eastern Arts, and which sits within glorious landscaped gardens. In the afternoon we visit Ota Memorial Museum of Art to see the ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
(Meals: B)
Well-known landscapes are often “borrowed” by Japanese gardens. Today we drive to the Mt Fuji region to admire the views and spend time in Hakone visiting the Okada Art Museum and a garden. On the way to the hotel at Lake Kawaguchi, with its magnificent views of Mt Fuji, we will explore a number of historic sites.          
(Meals: B, D)
Itchiku Kubota was a textile and kimono artist. His stunning representations of landscapes on kimonos are displayed in his museum, and surrounding the museum there are also the small gardens he designed. On the way to catch the bullet train to Kyoto, we stop to admire some places of great scenic beauty.        
(Meals: B)
Originally the villa of a Shogun, Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) features unusual raked and sculpted gravel gardens set within larger woodland gardens. Just nearby is the very personal garden of a well-known artist, complete with tea houses and exhibitions of his work. The Raku family have been intimately involved with the tea ceremony since the late 16th century and continue to make ceramic wares for the tea ceremony even today. Following an afternoon visit to their museum, we will experience “The Way of the Tea” with a formal tea ceremony.
(Meals: B)
A day trip to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, where we first visit Byodoin Temple, a rare surviving example of a Paradise Garden, then the picturesque Isuien Garden, with its borrowed scenery. After lunch there is a visit to Todaiji Temple, with the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. There’s time to see the deer in Nara Park, before we visit the Kasuga Shrine with its own botanical garden.              
(Meals: B)
At your leisure in Kyoto. Time to pursue other interests, do a spot of shopping, or just catch your breath.
(Meals: B)
Kiyomizu Temple means ‘Pure Water’ Temple. From its dizzying heights we can enjoy the views of the surrounding parklands and Kyoto and wish for longevity when drinking from the waterfall. After a visit to the residence of the artist Kawai Kanjiro, and Nijo Castle with its several gardens, we take time to explore traditional shopping and leisure areas of Kyoto.            
(Meals: B)
Lake Biwa is often mentioned as the inspiration for garden design. We can admire the stunning lake views from the lofty heights of Hieizan Enryakuji Temple and its gardens. The historic town of Omi Hachiman is the next stop, with its merchant houses and canals and the opportunity to visit a town garden. Finally, we stop by the floating Torii in Lake Biwa before returning to Kyoto.
(Meals: B)
Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for the many hundreds of Torii along the paths leading up to the sacred Mount Inari. We stroll through the Torii and the woodlands, then pay a visit to the street market near the Shrine. In the afternoon Tofukuji Temple, a large Zen temple, offers us the opportunity to view autumn colours as well as admire a number of contrasting Zen gardens.              
(Meals: B)
We start the day in one of the most abstract Zen gardens, Ryoanji Temple, set within a much older remnant of a Paradise Garden. The ink landscapes within the Hojo provide inspiration for garden designers around the world. Next we visit perhaps Kyoto’s most famous temple, Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), which provides a stark contrast to the almost spartan design of the Zen temple. In the afternoon we stroll around the Kyoto Botanical Gardens, which includes a collection of bonsai and eight sections of native Japanese plants. We will enjoy a Japanese farewell dinner together.            
(Meals: B, D)
The tour ends after breakfast. Please make your own arrangements for departure.           
(Meals: B)

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