An example of a past itinerary for our 10- and 13-Day Textile and Culture Adventure.
Fully guided tours are offered during the Spring and Autumn. Alternatively, should you wish a bespoke tour this is at any time of the year.
Embark on a delightful 10-day journey, where we make a cozy hotel, just minutes from the station, our home base. Our itinerary is carefully curated to immerse you in the essence of Japan’s vibrant culture and textile heritage.
We begin by exploring a selection of remarkable temples, ranging from the impressive Heian Jingu with its grand torii gate, to the iconic Byodo-in, famously depicted on the 10 yen coin. Each temple is chosen for its distinctive architectural style. Along the way to these sacred sites, we’ll visit specialist shops and explore charming temple markets. Of course, no visit to Kyoto would be complete without a stop at the historic Nijo Castle.
In the Nishijin area, renowned for producing Japan’s finest woven textiles, we delve into a weaving museum, attend a captivating kimono show, and step inside a traditional Machiya (merchant’s house) with its classic high beams and tatami mat flooring.
Our journey takes us west to the Kyomizudera area, known for its breathtaking views of Kyoto, pottery shops brimming with exquisite wares, and the opportunity to partake in a traditional tea ceremony or tea-making class, all while adorned in elegant kimonos. For anime enthusiasts, we’ll visit the Studio Ghibli shop and explore Yasaka pagoda, Yasaka shrine precinct, and, time permitting, take a leisurely stroll through Maruyama Park.
Indigo dyeing, maki-e lacquer, sushi making, and papermaking are just a glimpse of the diverse classes you can try your hand at during our adventure.
Our cultural exploration extends to world-class embroidery museums, meetings with fourth generation shibori artists, visits to one of the last woodblock printing artisans, and even an encounter with a postcard painter nestled within a bamboo grove.
As we savour the local flavours, we dine at a variety of eateries, from street food markets to traditional Izakaya pubs and indulgent all-you-can-eat Kaiseki buffets. We are attentive to dietary preferences and provide pre-printed cards in Japanese detailing common allergies, ensuring a safe and enjoyable culinary experience.
Throughout our journey, we rely on local transportation, including buses, trams, trains, subways, taxis, and even the renowned bullet train. For those seeking a thrill, we offer a two-hour excursion down the Hozugawa River.
Kyoto’s rich cultural tapestry wouldn’t be complete without the enchanting world of geisha. We embark on a captivating geisha walk, venturing to Shimbashi, the famous bridge from “Memoirs of a Geisha.” We also explore a lesser known but more impressive geisha district, unveiling the fascinating world of geisha culture. Thanks to our longstanding relationships, we have the privilege of meeting a maiko or geiko during our stay. For an exceptional experience, we offer a private Ozashiki party at our hotel, a rare and cherished event.
Our adventure extends beyond Kyoto to Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, where we discover a wonderful antique store offering treasures ranging from 50p to £50,000. Here, we encounter the iconic bowing deer and Japan’s largest Buddha statue.
In Kyoto’s bustling Nishiki Market, often called “Kyoto’s kitchen,” and the vibrant Terramachi district, we explore a fusion of new and old shops. We enjoy lunch at a traditional izakaya pub, visit a remarkable handmade knife shop, and, upon request, can explore a renowned handmade needle shop nearby. Lastly, we venture into a three-story fabric store, a paradise for textile enthusiasts that you may find difficult to leave.
Uji, renowned as the home of green tea in Japan, is our final stop. After a private tour of a small yet captivating museum, we have the opportunity to procure high-quality tea supplies and meet Kanbayashi-san, the 13th generation tea master.
When you opt for our extended 13-day tour, we enhance your already jam-packed itinerary with even more unforgettable experiences. As we embark on this extended adventure, another exhilarating journey aboard the bullet train whisks us away to the enchanting city of Izumo.
To break up the journey, we make a delightful stop at the renowned Adachi Art Museum, which has held the title of the best garden in Japan for four consecutive years. From there, we continue to our comfortable hotel in Izumo, where you can unwind and rejuvenate in the soothing hot spring facilities.
Our first destination in Izumo is the awe-inspiring Izumo Taisha shrine. Following this, we embark on a private bus excursion to the Izumo Quilt Museum, a unique establishment dedicated entirely to quilts. Whenever possible, we arrange for you to meet the talented quilt artist herself, adding a personal touch to your experience. The quilts on display are nothing short of spectacular, and you may find the museum shop to be a delightful temptation.
As our journey unfolds, we visit Yasaka Jinja and Kiyomizudera, two iconic venues in Kyoto. Along the way, you’ll encounter a vibrant marketplace featuring over 150 shops offering a diverse array of treasures, from knives to kimonos, creating a captivating finale to our tour while providing breathtaking views of Kyoto.
During the extended 13-day tour, our home base remains conveniently situated just minutes from the station in Kyoto. Even during our overnight stay in Izumo, rest assured that your room in Kyoto is securely reserved, eliminating the need for constant packing and unpacking.
As an additional option with this extended tour, we offer a day excursion to Hiroshima and Miyajima Island. Hiroshima is a place of profound emotions, blending both joy and sadness. It’s a day not to be missed. However, if you prefer an alternative, you can opt to ring the peace bell and contemplate the sculptures along the riverside, fostering a sense of hope for the future. The afternoon is dedicated to the enchanting Miyajima Island, known for its seaside charm and a plethora of activities to enjoy.
The Hiroshima/Miyajima option is designed to be self-guided, yet it includes a comprehensive itinerary with train schedules and all the essential information you might require. Simply select the day that suits your preference, and we will handle all the arrangements for you, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience.