Stride climate

Trip Type : Group Tour
Ancient and Cultural Temple of Kyoto, Japan

Discovering The Art And Culture Of Japan

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Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 12,930 $ 1,616 / day
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  • Explore Kanazawa: Travel by Bullet Train from Tokyo’s neon lights and sky-piercing architecture to the more traditional and much-less visited Kanazawa.
  • Visit Kyoto away from the beaten path
  • Experience Kyoto’s real treasures are its leafy parks with their tranquil temples and Zen gardens
  • Visit some of the city’s best museums and lesser-known gardens
  • Enjoy a charming private tea ceremony at a traditional home

Short Description

Japan is one of the most exciting yet enigmatic destinations in the world, but when accompanied by a true expert, the wonder of this country can be fully felt in every extraordinary experience and new discovery. On this small group trip, Sophie Richard, author of ‘The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums’ is the key to understanding the country’s cultural character. She will be your personal guide in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kanazawa, three of Japan’s main cultural centres and richly diverse and rewarding cities.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Tokyo
End City Tokyo

Trip Includes

  • All accommodation
  • All meals as specified
  • All road transfers as specified
  • Guiding and excursions as specified
  • Fees

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Day 1: Overnight Flight

Board your flight and begin your extraordinary journey to Japan

Day 2: Arrive In Tokyo

Upon arrival into Haneda airport you will be met by your private driver and taken to your hotel, The Palace. We have left the day free for you to rest after the flight (do let us know if you would like spa treatments arranged in advance).

This evening, there will be welcome drinks and a short presentation by Sophie Richard. Dinner this evening is under your own arrangements, and we can advise you on some renowned or more under-the-radar restaurants to visit.

Day 3: Tokyo

After a fantastic breakfast at The Palace, you will spend the day exploring the Japanese art scene with Sophie. The special access she can provide will take you under the skin of some extraordinary private collections and to the best galleries and museums in Tokyo such as the Horyuji Gallery at the Tokyo National Museum and Nezu Museum.

Dinner this evening will be at Yakumo Saryo, which is a beautiful and stylish private restaurant, where dinner is usually invite only.

Day 4: Tokyo

After breakfast at The Palace, Sophie will take you to visit the fascinating Meiji Shrine – dedicated to the late 19th-century emperor who opened Japan to the West –  for a private tour with a local priest.

After lunch, you will be taken to visit some more of her favourite art spaces in the city she knows so well. Depending on what is exhibiting, she has suggested the Teien Art Museum.

Later in the afternoon, Sophie has arranged a special meeting at an exclusive private collection in the Roppongi district. Dinner this evening is under your own arrangements and we can recommend and reserve tables at some of the city’s most incredible restaurants.

Day 5: Kanazawa

This morning you will be escorted by one of our representatives to Tokyo Station by taxi, where you will board the first class cabin of the Bullet Train to Kanazawa. We will provide a delicious Bento Box for lunch on the train. Your luggage will be taken by private courier and delivered straight to your hotel.

On arrival in Kanazawa, Sophie will take you to visit the 21st Century Art Museum and D.T. Suzuki Museum, which will help convey the importance and tranquility of Zen culture.

Later on, you will be driven to the traditional Takitei Ryokan, where you will spend two nights. A Ryokan offers the chance to experience the best of traditional Japanese culture, lifestyle and hospitality and Takitei’s peaceful guestrooms and delightful selection of local Kaga-style meals prepared with fine, fresh ingredients makes it our favourite place to stay in the city. Each room has its own private open-air hot bath and the Ryokan is surrounded by a crystal clear river, making it the perfect place to truly relax.

Day 6: Kanazawa

After a traditional breakfast, Sophie will take you to visit Kanazawa’s pretty and well-preserved old districts and neighbourhoods. After lunch (under your own arrangements), you will be taken to the Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s most beautiful landscaped gardens. Dinner this evening will be a traditional meal in your ryokan: a thrilling cultural experience.

Day 7: Kyoto

This morning you will take the short stroll to Kanazawa station, where you will board the express train to Kyoto – the most traditional of all Japan’s major cities. The city has a phenomenal collection of temples and shrines, dating back to its days as the capital city and before. There are about 2000 temples in total, many of which have national significance.

After lunch at Touzan in the Hyatt Regency which specialises in traditional Japanese cuisine using local ingredients, Sophie will take you to visit the Kyoto National Museum, one of Kyoto’s most important art spaces.

Later this afternoon, check into our favourite hotel in the city,  The Four Seasons Kyoto, which sits amidst the ancient temples of the historic quarter of Kyoto. The location is superb and you will be able to experience the spiritual essence of the old town which is right on your doorstep.

Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner is under your own arrangements, but we can secure reservations at Kyoto’s finest restaurants.

Day 8: Kyoto

Today will be spent exploring Kyoto’s highlights and undiscovered gems with Sophie. For those that would like to, in the morning, we have included an optional visit to the Ryoanji Zen Garden and Golden Temple.

After lunch under your own arrangements, you will be taken to visit the Raku Museum and Sagawa Museum. End the day with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony at Sumiya Ryokan Tea Room. This will be a very relaxed and, importantly, authentic experience, which will help you understand how central the ceremony is to Japanese culture


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Price From $ 12,930
Price Per Day: $ 1,616 per day
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Optional Activities

Here is an amazing opportunity for Trips Extensions

Naoshima Island

To continue delving into Japan’s art and culture, there is one extraordinary area we recommend. Naoshima Island is one of the world’s greatest art spaces with striking museums, open air sculpture parks and conceptual art at every turn. A completely immersive art experience, we recommend that you spend two or three days exploring Naoshima and its adjacent two islands, Teshima and Inujima, which are home to installations the size of football pitches and museums packed with works from the likes of Claude Monet through to Anish Kapoor.

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group


Palace Hotel

Right in the heart of the city with spectacular views over the Imperial Palace Gardens, the Palace Tokyo has one of the best locations in the city. The hotel’s stylish rooms are designed using modern Japanese colours and materials, with clean lines and some stunning artwork. It has a wide choice of top-class restaurants and there is an indoor swimming pool overlooking the city, a gym and a fantastic Evian spa.


Takitei Ryokan

A traditional ryokan located upstream of the Saigawa River in central Kanzawa, Takitei is surrounded by the crystal clear river and rich natural environment, allowing guests to truly relax in the peaceful guestrooms and private open-air baths. The ryokan is located just 15 minutes from the stunning Kenrokuen Gardens. The delicious Kaga-style meals are crafted from incredibly fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and the entire experience is a thrilling insight into Japanese culture.

Four Seasons Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto sits amidst the ancient temples of the historic quarter of Kyoto. The location is superb and you will be able to experience the spiritual essence of the old town which is on your doorstep. The luxurious rooms have double height windows which look out over an 800-year-old tranquil pond garden, while the service is simply impeccable. The hotel also has a fantastic spa, complete with a subterranean swimming pool, pine saunas, hot baths and a range of traditional treatments.


Sophie Richard

Sophie Richard is an art historian and translator. Born in Provence and educated at the Ecole du Louvre and at the Sorbonne in Paris, she worked in the art world in New York before moving to London, where she is now based. She has travelled to Japan frequently in the past decade. Passionate about Japanese arts and culture, she set out to explore the country’s many museums. In the course of her research she has interviewed museum Curators and Directors, visiting over 100 venues across the country. Her articles on Japanese museums have appeared in magazines in America and the UK. She has lectured for the Japan Society, the How To Academy and the Daiwa Foundation in London, as well as the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture in Norwich. Her celebrated book, ‘The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese museums’, was published in February 2014.

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Trip Excludes

  • International flights. Please call us to quote on these.
  • Travel insurance
  • Premium drinks
  • Tips
  • Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Any other extras

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