From the Heian to the Edo periods, and through to the present, traditional Japanese culture has achieved a rare refinement. Temples and gardens, poetry, literature, calligraphy, woodblock printing, the way of tea: beauty infused nearly every aspect of life.
For the lover of art, Kyoto is a must-see destination, in a class with Florence or Paris. Our seven full days there give us an unparalleled opportunity to immerse ourselves in the ancient capital at a relaxed and convivial pace. From moss gardens to grand wooden temples to intricately carved netsuke, we will gain a deeper understanding of the arts of classical Japan. March is a lovely time to visit with plum trees blossoming and the city relatively uncrowded.
From Kyoto we travel to the iconic Benesse House, the contemporary art museum and resort hotel on Naoshima Island. Renowned for its innovative art projects, the remote and idyllic tiny island in the Setouchi Inland Sea has an almost Mediterranean climate. Contemporary art works are scattered across rice fields and set in ancient wooden houses and the resort itself, created by renowned architect Tadao Ando, is a museum where guests can sleep.
Our expert Japanese guides will give their insights on walking tours of Kyoto and explorations of the art on Naoshima Island. Melanie Blake’s presentations will explore themes of Japanese literature and culture as we read and discuss Japan’s greatest classical haiku poets—Basho, Buson, and Issa—and excerpts from The Tale of Genji, written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu in the 11th century, along with a selection of contemporary literature. Zen Buddhism is of course central for the arts of Japan, and we will read Zen stories and koans and take part in a traditional tea ceremony.
If have enjoyed Classical Pursuits’ European art tours, this is the journey for you. The beauty of Japan will change the way you see.
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To learn more or book your spot, email Ivan at email@example.com or call toll-free 1-800-387-1483.