International Garden Tours - Private luxury travel

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Luxury Garden Tours

Culture, Crafts & Gardens of Japan
(12 Days)
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Yamanaka Onsen, Kyoto, Hakone

Garden Tour of Portugal
(9 Days)
Porto & Douro Valley, Sintra & Cascais, Lisbon

Garden Tour of Italy
(10 Days)
Lake Como, Florence & Tuscany, Rome & Tivoli

Garden Tour of England
(6 Days)
Cotswolds, London

Garden Tour of France
(8 Days)
Versailles, Loire Valley, Paris

Garden Tour of Sicily
(8 Days)
Palermo, Taormina & environs

Gardens of the Netherlands
(7 days)
Groningen, Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft, Gelderland

Culture, Crafts & Gardens of Japan

(12 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Yamanaka Onsen, Kyoto, Hakone

This private Japan tour features some of the best destinations for experiencing Japanese gardens, traditional crafts and folk art. It includes private cultural touring with your own guide and driver, accommodation in Japan’s best luxury hotels and a local ryokan (traditional inn), private airport transfers, first-class travel by shinkansen (bullet train), luggage transfers, and access to a wide range of unique activities that engage you in real Japanese culture.

Begin in Tokyo, a dynamic city where tradition and modernity co-exist. During touring with your private guide and driver, explore the Mingeikan (Japan Folk Crafts Museum), local galleries, and folk art shops. Browse flea markets for Japanese antiques, textiles, ceramics, lacquerware and more. Tour Tokyo’s most interesting neighborhoods, such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Aoyama and Ginza. See Meiji Jingu Shrine, Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, the Imperial Palace and other important historical sites. Depending on timing and interests, perhaps also visit some of the city’s best museums according to your interests, such as the Nezu Museum and Tokyo National Museum. If desired, also experience Japanese pop culture, and explore one of the world’s most exciting culinary scenes. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can arrange additional touring according to your interests, such as meeting with a bonsai master, visiting the Bonsai Museum, watching sumo wrestlers practice at a sumo stable, meetings with culinary and sake experts, and visits to additional gardens throughout the city. Artisans of Leisure can also make Tokyo dining reservations at our favorite local restaurants and at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world.

Continue by first-class shinkansen to Kanazawa, a cultural gem. One of Japan’s wealthiest cities during the feudal era, Kanazawa is known for beautiful gardens, traditional architecture, acclaimed contemporary art and folk art museums, and fresh seafood from the nearby Sea of Japan. With your expert local guide, tour former samurai and geisha neighborhoods. Explore the renowned Kenrokuen Garden, one of the most famous gardens in Japan. Tour fascinating Myoryuji (the Ninja Temple), and visit museums such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and Ishikawa Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts. Visit a pottery kiln and shops specializing in Kanazawa’s celebrated silk, lacquer and gold leaf products. Also tour the city’s central food market, and experience Kanazawa’s excellent, refined cuisine at our favorite restaurants. Artisans of Leisure can also arrange private meetings with Living National Treasures, craftspeople who have attained the highest skill levels and are considered the preservers of important intangible cultural properties. One day, Artisans of Leisure will arrange an exclusive private visit and culinary experience at a traditional Japanese farm in the local countryside.

Continue to Yamanaka Onsen, a resort town known for hot springs, fine culinary and craft traditions, and scenic Kakusenkei Gorge. Stay at one of Japan’s finest luxury ryokan inns, enjoy exquisite kaiseki ryori (seasonal tasting menu) dinners, and relax in your private open-air bath. During private touring, visit local workshops where artisans craft ceramics, washi paper and lacquered wood, and perhaps walk through the gorge. If desired, additional touring can also be arranged, such as visiting nearby Yamashiro Onsen to explore the traditional town and ceramics boutiques. Also visit spectacular Nata-dera Temple, an ancient Buddhist complex of buildings perched on cliffs and tucked into caves.

Next, travel by first-class express train to enchanting Kyoto, the heart of Japanese culture and tradition. During touring with your private guide and driver, experience the best of this elegant city. Visit important temples and shrines. Gain access to imperial villas and private gardens such as Katsura Rikyu and Saihoji (the Moss Temple). Meet privately with a top ceramics expert. Enjoy an exclusive private tea or incense ceremony. Stroll through a bamboo forest. Enjoy a Buddhist vegetarian lunch at a local temple. Tour traditional geisha districts such as Gion. Visit markets and food purveyors to sample Kyoto’s culinary specialties, considered the most refined in Japan. Explore antiques districts, and browse our favorite shops for exquisite ceramics, lacquerware and other crafts. One day, enjoy an excursion to the I.M. Pei-designed Miho Museum; to ancient Nara, the birthplace of Buddhism in Japan; or to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Park and Museum and nearby Miyajima with its iconic torii (Shinto gate) that seems to float on the water. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can also arrange a wide range of other unique activities in and around Kyoto, such as an exclusive private dinner accompanied by geisha and maiko entertainment, private Zen meditation in a local Buddhist temple, meetings with local craftspeople, ikebana (flower arranging) lessons, visiting a master swordsmith, meeting with ceramics experts, tea tastings and tea plantation visits, attending a sumo tournament, manga drawing lessons, a visit to a private machiya (traditional merchant house), hiking to temples in the hills surrounding the city and private Japanese cooking classes.

Continue by first-class shinkansen and private transfer to Hakone, a volcanic national park renowned for hot springs and views of nearby Mount Fuji. Stay at one of Japan’s most luxurious and renowned ryokan inns, where you can soak in your own private outdoor hot spring bath and enjoy a gourmet kaiseki ryori dinner. During private touring, explore Hakone’s geothermal areas, forested mountains and historical sites. Also enjoy a private boat ride on Lake Ashinoko for views of Mount Fuji. Perhaps also visit one of Hakone’s best art museums. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can incorporate hiking or a drive up the base of Mount Fuji.

Return to Tokyo for last-minute shopping, dining and free time to enjoy the city.

Itinerary Overview
Day 1 Arrive Tokyo

Private arrival transfer to hotel for 2 nights

Day 2 Tokyo

Full-day private city tour

Day 3 Tokyo – Kanazawa

Private transfer to train station for first-class shinkansen (bullet train). Private arrival transfer to hotel for 2 nights. Afternoon private tour

Day 4 Kanazawa

Full-day private tour, including afternoon cooking class at farm in rural village

Day 5 Kanazawa – Yamanaka Onsen

Private touring en route to luxury ryokan inn for 2 nights, including kaiseki ryori dinner

Day 6 Yamanaka Onsen

Private visits to artisan workshops and kaiseki ryori dinner

Day 7 Yamanaka Onsen – Kyoto

Private transfer to train station for first-class express train. Private arrival transfer to hotel for 3 nights. Afternoon private tour

Day 8 Kyoto

Full-day private tour, including private tea ceremony and vegetarian lunch at a temple

Day 9 Kyoto & environs

Private city tour, or private excursion to Miho Museum or Nara, or privately guided excursion to Hiroshima and Miyajima

Day 10 Kyoto – Hakone

Private transfer to train station and first-class shinkansen. Afternoon private tour and transfer to luxury hot springs ryokan inn for 1 night, including kaiseki ryori dinner

Day 11 Hakone – Tokyo

Private transfer to train station for bullet train to Tokyo. Private arrival transfer to hotel for 1 night

Day 12 Depart Tokyo

Private airport transfer


Hotels
Tokyo: Aman Tokyo, Peninsula Tokyo or Park Hyatt Tokyo
Kanazawa: Hotel Nikko Kanazawa
Yamanaka Onsen: Kayotei Ryokan
Kyoto: Ritz Carlton Kyoto, Four Seasons Kyoto, Tawaraya Ryokan and/or Hiiragiya Ryokan
Hakone: Gora Kadan Ryokan

Cost
$22,520 Per person (double occupancy)