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An Art Lover's Tour of Japan

15 days from £6,495 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 refreshed at one of Tokyo’s leading hotels, 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. Make a stop in 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, against the backdrop of the Peace Park with its sombre wartime history.

There is time to see the charming nearby island of Miyajima with its iconic ‘floating’ red gate in the water 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.


Itinerary details

15 days from £6,495 per person

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Susan Heller

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So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
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Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
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Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
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We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
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