An Art Lover’s Tour of Japan
14 days from £11,055 for 2023 per person
This itinerary is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Cultural Holidays.
We have long been fascinated with Japanese art. The Impressionists’ love of Japonisme is returned in kind, with some of the European masters’ paintings to be found amongst ancient and modern Japanese masterpieces on this tour.
Start in style with a guided stroll around the boutique stores and side-streets of the Daikanyama area, where discerning Tokyoites pick out the latest designs. After you’ve relaxed and freshened up in your specially designed room at the Park Hotel, explore Roppongi art triangle from the gallery at the top of Mori art tower to the national gallery and Suntory art museum. The nearby Nezu museum is a treasure trove of Japanese laquerware, housed in a stylish modern building designed by Kengo Kuma but with one of Tokyo's most charming traditional gardens alongside.
Head west on the bullet train then off the beaten track down to Naoshima island, devoted to modern art housed in the architecture of Tadao Ando, with sculptures and installations dotted all about the islands. Continue to the picturesque and historically rich old trading town of Kurashiki with its inspired Ohara museum of Western and 20th century Japanese art. There is more classic Japanese and impressionist art to be found in Hiroshima, which you can explore on a day trip from Kurashiki before heading back eastwards by bullet train to Kyoto. There is a wealth of temples and gardens to explore including a traditional townhouse and the chance to try on a kimono, as well as regular fine art exhibitions at the national museum. A private guide and a driver will be on hand one day to make the most of the time in this rich and rewarding cultural mecca.
You’ll then head to Hakone in the foothills of Mt Fuji where the novel and absorbing open-air sculpture museum deserves a couple of hours of your time. Complete the circuit around the national park by mountain railway, cable cars and a boat across the lake before a sumptuous kaiseki multi-course dinner at one of the area’s renowned traditional ryokan.
It's a short ride back to Tokyo from here where you have two more nights to delve into this vast and futuristic city. Two hours' drive but a world away from modernity lies Nikko, with its ornate Chinese-influenced shrines for the Tokugawa shoguns. It completes the full aesthetic experience of Japan and you can't say 'enough' until you've seen it, as an old Japanese saying goes.
This tour is purely a suggested itinerary: it can be booked as it is, or alternatively used as a starting point for creating your own ideal tailor-made tour of Japan. If you'd like to see some of our other favourite itineraries across Asia, take a look at the Ampersand Favourites and Epic Journeys collections.
14 days from £11,055 for 2023 per person
- Day 1 - The Artist Floor at Park Hotel - Tokyo
Arrive in Tokyo and transfer to hotel. Enjoy a private walking tour of Shinjuku and Daikanyama.
- Day 2 - The Artist Floor at Park Hotel - Tokyo
Full day private tour of Roppongi art triangle and the Nezu Museum.
- Day 3 - Benesse House - Naoshima
Trains and ferry to Naoshima then evening at leisure.
- Day 4 - Benesse House - Naoshima
At leisure to explore the art sites of Naoshima.
- Day 5 - Ryokan Kurashiki - Kurashiki
Train and taxi to Kurashiki then at leisure.
- Day 6 - Ryokan Kurashiki - Kurashiki
Take the train to Hiroshima for half day guiding.
- Day 7 - Kanra - Kyoto
Bullet train to Kyoto and half day private guiding.
- Day 8 - Kanra - Kyoto
Full day in Kyoto with private guide.
- Day 9 - Kanra - Kyoto
At leisure in Kyoto.
- Day 10 - Hyatt Regency Hakone - Hakone
Bullet train to Hakone then at leisure, including open air sculpture museum.
- Day 11 - Hyatt Regency Hakone - Hakone
At leisure in Hakone.
- Day 12 - Park Hyatt Tokyo - Tokyo
Train back to Tokyo then at leisure.
- Day 13 - Park Hyatt Tokyo - Tokyo
Full day excursion to Nikko with guide and driver.
- Day 14 - In transit.
Private transfer to the airport for your onward flight home.
The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
G. K. Chesterton
- Anonymous, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India