(17 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis) Tokyo, Mashiko, Fukuoka, Imari & Arita, Hagi, Kurashiki, Imbe, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Kaga Onsen
This private ceramics tour of Japan features an ideal combination of major cultural sites, interesting smaller towns, and important ceramics destinations. Visit studios and kilns, learn about different types of Japanese ceramics, meet local artists and browse upscale shops. The tour includes private cultural touring with your own guide and driver, accommodation in luxury hotels and ryokan (traditional inns), private airport transfers, internal flights and first-class train travel, luggage transfers, and access to a wide range of unique activities that engage you in real Japanese culture.
Begin in Tokyo, a dynamic city where tradition and modernity co-exist. With your private guide and driver, tour Tokyo’s top cultural attractions, museums and galleries, as well as interesting neighborhoods such as Ginza, Harajuku and Aoyama. One day, opt for a private excursion to the pottery town of Mashiko, or continue your Tokyo city touring.
Next, fly to Fukuoka, on the southern island of Kyushu. During flexible private touring in Saga Prefecture, visit some of the most notable ceramics towns in Japan, such as Arita and Imari, which are synonymous with fine export wares.
Continue by train to Hagi, a historic castle town and home of prized Hagi-yaki tea bowls. Tour the castle, walk the narrow backstreets among the former homes of samurai, stop by one of the town kilns and visit the tea bowl museum.
Next visit Kurashiki, an atmospheric town of willow tree-draped canals, traditional black-and-white architecture, and folk art museums and shops. Take an excursion to Imbe, where rustic Bizen-yaki ceramics is made in small kilns. Also, visit Okayama to see Korakuen Garden, one of Japan's most important gardens.
Next, travel by first-class shinkansen (bullet train) to enchanting Kyoto, Japan’s heart of culture and tradition. During touring with your private guide and driver, experience the best of this elegant city. Visit important temples and shrines. Gain access to imperial villas such as Katsura Rikyu. Enjoy an exclusive private tea ceremony. Stroll through a bamboo forest. Enjoy a Buddhist vegetarian lunch at a local temple. Tour traditional geisha districts such as Gion. Explore antiques districts, and browse our favorite shops for exquisite ceramics, lacquerware and other crafts. One day, enjoy a private excursion to Shiga Prefecture, the home of Shigaraki-yaki pottery. Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can also arrange a wide range of other unique activities in Kyoto, such as an exclusive private dinner accompanied by geisha and maiko, private Zen meditation in a local temple, meetings with local craftspeople, ikebana (flower arranging) lessons, a cooking class in a private home, or a visit to a machiya (traditional merchant house).
Continue to Kanazawa, a cultural gem. One of Japan’s wealthiest cities during the feudal era, Kanazawa is known for beautiful gardens, traditional architecture, acclaimed contemporary art and folk art museums, and fresh seafood from the nearby Sea of Japan. With your expert local guide, tour former samurai and geisha neighborhoods. Explore the renowned Kenrokuen Garden, one of the most famous gardens in Japan. Tour fascinating Myoryuji (the Ninja Temple), and visit museums such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and Ishikawa Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts. Visit a pottery kiln and shops specializing in Kanazawa’s celebrated silk, lacquer and gold-leaf products. Also tour the city’s enormous central food market, and experience Kanazawa’s excellent, refined cuisine at our favorite restaurants. One day, visit Kaga Onsen, a historic hot springs town that’s renowned for its excellent ceramic shops.
Return to Tokyo for last-minute shopping, dining, and free time to enjoy the city.
Private arrival transfer to hotel for 3 nights
Full-day private tour
Full-day private city tour or excursion to Mashiko
Tokyo – Fukuoka
Private transfer to airport and flight to Fukuoka. Private transfer to hotel for 2 nights. Private afternoon tour
Full-day private excursion to Arita and Imari
Fukuoka – Hagi
Private transfer to train station. Transfer by train and private car to ryokan for 2 nights, including kaiseki dinner. Private afternoon tour
Full-day private tour. Kaiseki dinner this evening
Hagi – Kurashiki
Private transfer to train station. First-class shinkansen (bullet train) to Kurashiki. Private arrival transfer to ryokan for 2 nights, including kaiseki dinner. Private afternoon tour
Private excursion to Imbe and Okayama. Kaiseki dinner this evening
Kurashiki – Kyoto
Private transfer to train station. First-class shinkansen train to Kyoto. Private transfer to hotel for 3 nights. Private afternoon city tour
Full-day private tour
Private excursion to Shiga and/or Kyoto city touring
Kyoto – Kanazawa
Private transfer to train station. First-class express train to Kanazawa. Private arrival transfer to hotel for 3 nights. Private afternoon city tour
Full-day private tour
Private excursion to Kaga Onsen and pottery shops
Kanazawa – Tokyo
Private transfer to train station. First-class express trains to Tokyo. Private arrival transfer to hotel for 1 night
Private transfer to airport
Park Hyatt Tokyo and The Peninsula Tokyo
Grand Hyatt Fukuoka
Hagi no Yado Tomoe Ryokan
Ritz Carlton Kyoto or Hyatt Regency Kyoto
Hotel Nikko Kanazawa
Per person (double occupancy)
The Artisans of Leisure Style of Travel:
Private touring with your own personal guides and drivers
Preferred rooms in the very best luxury hotels
Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our travel specialists
Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and schedule
Artisans of Leisure upgrades and amenities
A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, skipping lines during touring whenever possible, restaurant and spa reservations, performance tickets, private airport transfers, internal transportation, VIP and fast-track airport assistance in many destinations
Around-the-clock support in each destination during your trip
Unique, insider travel experiences and access to the Artisans of Leisure network of experts around the world
All Artisans of Leisure tours are private and depart daily.
Please Contact Us for more information regarding the above tour, or to begin customizing your own itinerary.