25th March (Arrival 24th March) – 3rd April 2020 £1,400 10 day tour
Click here to download the booking form.
25th March (Arrival 24th March) – 3rd April 2021 £1,475 10 day tour
Click here to download the booking form.
This itinerary gives you details of the places we will visit. Depending on the weather etc. we may change days. For example, if we are having a picnic and its raining on the day, we simply move days around so that we can enjoy the day at another time during the trip without getting wet. Everything on the itiner ary will be done to the best of our ability.
Occasionally we will change a visit. This sometimes happens when, for example, I hear of a market or special event that I feel is important. You can attend all or none of the excursions. We hope you join us on all! Should you wish to take time out at any stage just let me know.
We do visit temples, museums, etc. these visits are chosen to enhance the tour so that we see culture as well as textiles. As we start at 9.30am on the first day we suggest arriving the day before as we start, so as not to miss anything!
After arriving at KANSAI (KIX) airport in Osaka, we can arrange a taxi transfer to collect you from the airport if required. The taxi will drive you directly to Kyoto with one brief toilet break. Time from airport to the hotel is 85 minutes. You will be dropped off at the hotel where we will meet you. Give you a tea or coffee and show you to your room. At approx. 6 pm we will give you a brief trip around the vicinity of the hotel. This is to get you accustomed to the general store and major landmarks such as the convenience store and cashpoint.
You can, of course, arrange your own transport or take a bus or train.
Please note that our final itinerary is not completed until very close to the tour start. This basic itinerary for the 10-day tours for reference only.
Our tours are bespoke, they are only ever finalised once I have all of my guests’ details and details of what each person may want to see. For example as well as the usual interests you might have a passion for clocks or a fascination for archaeology. The more info my guests give me the better the itinerary. So, we get to see things not on package tours and because it’s our tour we can add as we want. This gives you a rundown of the basics.
During the 10-day trip, we are based in one hotel, minutes from the station.
The basic itinerary will usually include a selection of amazing temples. From Heian Jingu with the boast of the largest torii gate in Japan to Byodo-in the tem ple on the 10 yen coin. Each one is chosen for its unique style. On the way to these temples, we add in specialist shops and where possible small and large temple markets. And no trip is complete without a visit to Nijo Castle.
The Nishijin area is famous for producing Japans finest woven textiles. If it’s good enough for the imperial family we should be in good company. Here we visit a weaving museum, kimono show and traditional Machiya (merchants house) with its high beams and tatami matting.
In the west, we visit the Kyomizudera area with its fabulous views of Kyoto, shops brimming with pottery and other wares. Let’s have a tea ceremony, tea making class and should you want to all while dressed in kimono. For those who have friends and family with a love of anime, we can call into the Studio Ghibli shop and see then Yasaka pagoda before entering the Yasaka shrine precinct and time permitting a walk through Maruyama Park.
Indigo dyeing, maki-e lacquer, sushi making, and papermaking are just a few of the dozen or so classes we can try our hands at.
We visit a world-class embroidery museum, 4th generation shibori artists, one of the last woodblock printers and a postcard painter in a bamboo grove.
During the trip, we try to eat at a wide range of food establishments from street food at markets, traditional Izakaya (pub) and all you can Kaiseki buffet. We make sure we look after those with any allergies etc. You even get a pre-printed card in Japanese detailing basic allergies as well as bee stings, penicillin and many more. We eat where the locals eat!
We travel on local transport. Using buses, trams, trains, subways, and taxis as well as the world-renowned bullet train**. We even take a 3 hour trip down the Hozugawa-River and ride a few rapids if you would like to.
New for 2020
Kyoto is synonymous with geisha. On our geisha walk and talk to Shimbashi, see the famous bridge from Memoirs of a Geisha. We will then go off the beaten track and walk back through a lesser known, much more impressive geisha district. You will hear the details of the area and learn all about geisha. Having spent many years building close relationships, we have the chance to meet a maiko or geiko during our stay. We offer an Ozashiki at our hotel, this is a private party. To have a geisha come to your own venue is still to this day an extremely special event.
Nara, the old Japanese capital of Nara has so much to offer. We visit a wonderful antique store with goods from 50p to £50,000. And of course, it’s the home of the iconic bowing deer and Japans largest Buddha.
Nishiki Market, also known as Kyoto’s kitchen and Terramachi. Shops new and old nestle together in these amazing streets. Lunch at a traditional izakaya pub. We visit a handmade knife shop whose scissors are to die for, and can if required visit a famous hand made needle shop in the same area. Finally, a 3 story fabric store I have to drag people out of!
Uji is the home of green tea in Japan and after a private tour of a small, but very interesting museum, here’s the place to buy your tea supplies. We will meet Kanbayashi san, the 13th generation tea master.