Masterpieces of Japan
Join Kathleen Fung, founder of Far Fung Places, on her signature trip to Japan, visiting places where traditional life is intact, and where time-honored handicrafts are still being produced as they were 300 years ago. We visit the main Japanese cities to get a sense of history, but leave them for journeys into rural Japan to focus on the natural beauty of the country.
We begin in Tokyo, a city of 13 million, seat of the Emperor, renowned for its modernity, efficiency, technical and financial prowess. Our special guide, a renowned cultural expert, shows us the cultural highlights of the city and some of her ‘secret’ out of the way places, like the burial place of the last Shogon. Leaving this stunning metropolitan capital, we journey by train and road to the rugged and wild Noto Peninsula on the Sea of Japan, formerly a vital trading port with Korea, a place of astonishing beauty. Not far are Kanazawa, with its feudal samurai houses, and Fukui, known for its 13th-century Eihei-ji Temple where 180 monks meditate, eat, and sleep on a small tatami mat measuring only three by six feet.
On the northwest coast of Japan lies Matsue impresses us with its intact 17th century castle, the Adachi gardens, rated as the best for 17 years by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, and the Izumo Grand Shrine, one of the three holiest Shinto shrines in Japan with its 4.5 ton sacred rope hung from a 150 year old cedar at the entrance, the Shimane Museum housing an ancient bronze collection of swords (the largest ever to be discovered at one site), and thirty- nine bronze bells.
Leaving Matsue we train to Kyushu island, Japan’s third largest island, center of early Japanese civilization, and not far from Nagasaki, on the East China Sea. the Nagasaki Islands are known for more than just the atomic explosion; in fact, Nagasaki was the only foreign port used for trade with the Portuguese and Dutch from 1641 to 1853. Its hidden Christian sites have been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Fukuoka, an attractive fusion of two cities on the northern shore of Kyushu, offers wonderful walking explorations to local temples, markets stocked with locally made products, and regional delights like ramen (noodle) dishes at one of the famous noodle restaurants. On a day’s trip outside Fukuoka, we meet a washi paper, butsudan (bronze family shrines) and textile artisan, who creates kurume kasuri, or double ikat, a skill so demanding that only a handful of weavers in three countries around the world are masters of this art form.
Guest speakers enhance your understanding of the Japanese culture. Ms. Elizabeth Andoh, a renowned expert, author, and speaker on Japanese cuisine, shares her knowledge and passion for the food culture of Japan, exploring its flavor, technique, and nutrition.
In the Noto Peninsula, we meet a master lacquerware artisan, who will enlighten us on this ancient craft at her mountain top studio.
Japan’s culinary delights will be explored on this journey. Enjoy special meals served in local restaurants, where we sample regional delicacies fresh from the sea, and sip award-winning sake, made in family owned breweries, or taste sushi where the artistry surrounding the culinary presentation will astound you.
Leaving Kyushu, we take a high-speed train to Kyoto, one of the greatest classical cities in the world. Aside from the castles, the city has over 400 Shinto shrines and 1,650 Buddhist temples scattered throughout its regions.
Each city, town, or village was chosen for its special contribution to the image we wanted to capture of the country. In succession they form a moving picture of Japan, each a masterpiece to be appreciated and enjoyed long after the visit.
We are delighted that Ms. Tomomi-Azumi will be joining us as national guide from Kanazawa to Fukuoka and to Kyoto, her hometown, for those on the extension. Tomomi’s sense of discovery makes every city and town reveal some intriguing secrets.
The trip is schedule in October and November when mountains and valleys will be bursting in fall hues. Temperatures will range from the 50s, 60s, and low 70s with just a small chance of precipitation.
Please inquire about our day-to-day itinerary for more details.
Land price per person: $11,575 based on two sharing a room. Includes deluxe accommodations, comprehensive sightseeing, meal program: breakfast daily, 12 lunches, and 5 dinners starting with October 29, special guest lecturers and activities, high-speed trains, ferry, group gratuities, airport taxes, baggage handling by private truck based on one bag, transportation by charter coach from Narita to Tokyo with the group, services of Kathleen Fung as tour director, and a national guide of Japan. Separate transfers can be arranged for those not flying with the group for the main program. Single supplement: $1175 per person. Minimum of eight to a maximum of twelve persons.
Prices based on the wire transfer exchange rate as of January 2020.
Far Fung Places can absorb a maximum price increase of 2 percent due to currency fluctuations. Japanese travel companies only quote in yen.
Plus international airfare on Japan Airlines or United: $1250 including taxes, approximate round-trip fare from West Coast to Narita.
Return to International Travel Programs 2021