Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or just curious about Japanese culture, this 12 night itinerary of sumo and samurai, capital cities and rural escapes, is sure to pique your interest. From Tokyo to Kyoto, we’ll offer you an insight into some of the country’s most iconic traditions and have you staying in the most luxurious properties these locations have to offer.
Having spent a day acclimatising to the energy of Tokyo, you’ll begin your education in Japanese culture with the former curator of the British Museums’ Japanese sword collection at your side. That’s an impressive background, right? And you’ll be even more impressed when he begins teaching you all about the history of the Samurai and effectively opens the door into this mysterious world. With your guide by your side, Tokyo’s famous Japanese Sword Museum will feel that much more accessible and digestible. You’ll leave having learnt plenty, and you’ll be raring to go for the next part of this trip – a day forging your own blade. Having been transported to a local sword smith, you’ll enjoy a completely personalised experience that results in a sword you’ll have created using the same techniques as with a traditional katana. Just try not to get too excited and start waving it around. Japanese blades are infamously sharp.
Next on your Tokyo itinerary is a visit to one of Tokyo’s Sumo stables where you’ll watch the professionals in their morning training sessions. Once the sessions are complete, spend time chatting to the wrestlers for a rare insight into the life of a Sumo. You’ll be accompanied throughout by one of the world’s top Sumo wrestling experts, so any questions you may have will be immediately answered. You’ll also be provided with some incredible seats at one of the main ‘Grand Sumo’ tournaments.
Having dipped into the traditional sporting world of Japan, use the remainder of your time in Tokyo with your private driver to visit temples and try local cuisine.
Ride the world-famous bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto and continue your exploration of Japan’s unique traditions. A place renowned for its tea ceremonies and charming architecture, Kyoto is often referred to as the heart of Japanese culture. With four nights to discover the very best of this ancient capital, we can guarantee that Kyoto will leave you truly enchanted.Read more
Buddhist Temples, Shinto Shrines, glorious architecture, pristine gardens and the occasional glimpse of a real Geisha scurrying to her next appointment; this is the Japan you’ve often dreamed of. The Japan that exists beyond the bright lights and high rise buildings of Tokyo.
Allow us to arrange a private tea ceremony at one of the most authentic tea houses in Kyoto before taking you on an in-depth tour. With a private driver to hand, you’ll be able to cover off much of the area during your stay, but it is the moments you lose yourself down narrow lanes and past traditional wooden buildings that you will treasure most.
And now for the last leg of your trip, which will see you transported to the isolated beauty of Naoshima Island. Modern art is an important part of Japanese culture, and this off-shore delight is home to an abundance of galleries and installations. The Art House Project in Honmura is particularly intriguing. An area where a number of traditional houses have been offered to modern artists to use as a creative space; you’ll be able to wander between each of the houses and contemplate anything from sculptures and glass staircases to underground chambers.
There’s no doubt about it – you’ll be flying home with a wealth of knowledge, some incredible memories and a real Japanese sword. That’s not bad for a 12 day trip.