Sitting high on so many bucket lists, Japan is a country ripe for discovery. We’ve come for the fast-paced nature of its futuristic cities in the past but, today, it’s all about the slow, mesmeric rhythms of its ancient rituals. Filled with samurai swords and sumo stables, ancient tea ceremonies and glimpses of geishas, put the clock in rewind as you seemingly travel back in time to embrace some of Japan’s most intriguing customs and oldest traditions. Gaining unbeatable insight into Japanese culture, you’ll come out of this 12-night itinerary with an appreciation for this country strong enough to last a lifetime.
Samurais and Sumos
Having spent a day acclimatising to the energy of Tokyo, you’ll begin your education in Japanese culture learning all about the history of the Samurai on a privately-guided tour of the famous Japanese Sword Museum. You’ll leave having learnt plenty, and you’ll be raring to go for the next part of this trip as you gain insight on another traditional aspect of Japanese culture – Sumo. Pay 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 and also bag 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.
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Ride the world-famous bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto and continue your exploration of Japan’s unique traditions. With four nights to discover the very best of this ancient capital, we can guarantee that Kyoto will leave you truly enchanted. 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. So, 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 and well worth a visit. 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.
Twelve days later and there’s no doubt about it – you’ll be flying home with a wealth of knowledge, some incredible memories and an insatiable thirst for Japanese culture.