Masterpieces of Japan
Join Kathleen Fung, founder of Far Fung Places, on her signature trip to Japan, to off the beaten path 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 start with the iconic city of Tokyo, and then make our way to the rugged and wild Noto Peninsula on the Sea of Japan, formerly a vital trading port with Korea. 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.
Next is Matsue, which boasts the Adachi Museum and Gardens, one of the top four gardens in Japan, and the Shimane Museum of Izumo with its stunning ancient bronzes.
Leaving the Japanese mainland, we ferry to the Oki Islands, a place of astonishing natural beauty, one that epitomizes old Japan with pastureland, cedar forests, and walking trails that lead to villages set back in time. The little-known inhabited volcanic islands are about 40 miles from the mainland, just tiny specks in a sea of blue water. Tourism is in its infancy stage here and the local people are our tour guides for our two night stay. Meet farmers, fishermen, and the women from the local women's association who educate us on the rituals of a tea ceremony.
We've included a stay in Nagasaki, known for more than just the atomic explosion; in fact, it was the only foreign port used for trade with the Portuguese and Dutch From 1641 to 1853, and its hidden Christian sites have been included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
We wrap up with Fukuoka, that boasts a multi-faceted personality: modern, but traditional with its 900 year old temples and festivals that preserve its cultural heritage, but with long history of crafts, made by hand.
You will meet guest speakers who will 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.
On a day's trip outside Fukuoka, we meet a textile artisan and his family 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. In the Noto Peninsula, we meet Susanne Ross, 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, as Kathleen has arranged special meals served in tiny ramen (noodle) shops and formal kaiseki restaurants where the artistry surrounding the culinary presentation will astound you.
The trip has an extension 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 May when mountains and valleys will be a lush green, and if lucky with weather, we may see with late-blooming cherry trees in the Noto Peninsula, Temperatures will range from the 60s to low 80s with just a small chance of precipitation.
Please inquire about our day-to-day itinerary for more details.
Land price $10,695 per person sharing a room includes deluxe accommodations except in Oki Islands where they are three star simple but clean. Single price: $1350 per person.
Kyoto extension: May 25 to 28. Land price $3375 per person, sharing a room; single supplement $500.
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