Everyday Beauty: Arts of Japan


From the Heian to Edo periods, Japanese culture achieved a rare refinement. Beauty infused nearly every aspect of life: Zen gardens, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, poetry, calligraphy, woodblock prints, and dress (kimonos and netsuke). The division between art and craft is less marked in Japan than in the West, and ‘everyday beauty’ can be experienced in gardens, temples, ceramics and textiles, and the remarkable aesthetic of the country’s cuisine. Together we will seek the connections between calligraphy and garden design, Zen and haiku poetry, Japanese woodblock prints and French Impressionism.

Sean Forester’s presentations will explore themes of Japanese art and culture. We will read Japan’s greatest Haiku poets: Basho, Buson, and Issa. These poems are filled with humor, compassion, and insight; even in English translation, three distinct personalities emerge.

Together we will explore Japan’s cultural capitals: Kyoto and Tokyo. For the lover of art, Kyoto is a must-see destination, as important as Florence or Paris. Our seven full days of exploration in Kyoto allow us an unparalleled opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in the ancient capital at a relaxed and convivial pace. We travel by bullet train to Tokyo and plunge into the modern with ultra-buildings standing beside ancient shrines. We’ll make a day trip to Mt. Fuji and to the ancient city of Nara. November is perhaps the best time of year to visit, with brilliant autumn colour — deep red and gold of Japanese maple.

If you love art and have enjoyed Classical Pursuits’ European tours, this is the journey for you. The beauty of Japan will change how you see.



Get a detailed itinerary

Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan

2024 DATES
March 3–13, 2024

2024 COST
Single supplement: US$1200

Noku Kyoto, Kyoto; AoAwo Naruto Resort, Naruto; Benesse House

12 to 16 participants

Sean Forester is an artist and lecturer from the San Francisco Bay Area. He has led Classical Pursuits tours to Italy, France and Russia. Sean studied at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, Cambridge University and the Florence Academy of Art.

The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets), by Robert Hass; Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki
How to Look at Japanese Art, by Stephen Addiss
The Art of the Japanese Garden, by Michiko Young

Cost includes guides, readings, accommodation in double occupancy, two meals a day, discussions, ground transportation, walking tours, talks, excursions, admissions, and taxes and gratuities.

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