The Basics


CITIES: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Kanazawa

ACTIVITIES: Textile/Pottery/Bonsai/Folk Crafts/Katana/Tea/Performance/Kodo/Ikebana/Calligraphy

about this trip

Covering everything from ceremonial arts to swordsmithing, this tour will focus on the traditional side of Japan’s art forms. We invite you to work alongside artisans and craftsmen in their own personal workshops and create your own masterpieces. Immerse yourself in the world of traditional Japanese performance, learn the very meaning of Japanese elegance through exclusive ceremonies of tea, fragrance, and flower arrangement, and discover with your own hands what lies in the mystique of Japanese arts and crafts.

why we're obsessed

  • Gain exclusive hands-on experience of crafting Japanese arts, including Kiriko glass and Wagashi sweets

  • Experience opportunities to witness and learn about the making of traditional masterpieces, such as swords crafted by renowned professionals

  • Explore towns in Kyoto and Kanazawa and experience a sample of life from centuries ago

Sample Itinerary to Get you Started

day 1-2 (Tokyo)

During the first two days in Japan, walk around and absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of Japanese traditions hidden throughout the grand city of Tokyo. Just a hop, skip, and jump away from the bustling shopping and business districts, one can find quiet and culturally rich attractions in the Ueno area. These include the Ueno Park, Toshogu Shrine and the Tokyo National Museum, which display artifacts as old as the 7th century. Switch gears and visit Asakusa and Nihonbashi, stepping into the shoes of shoppers in the Edo period. For a chance to put your feet up and relax, try the rickshaw, which will show you around the streets of Asakusa. For dinner, you can choose to celebrate your first night in Japan with geisha. Admire their years of intense training in the traditional arts of dancing, singing and instrumental performance.

day 3-4 (Tokyo)

From a myriad of museums and restaurants in Tokyo, we will select destinations and tailor an itinerary just for you based on your areas of interest. Find unique crafts from different parts of Japan at smaller museums including the Folk Museum, Nezu Museum, and Art Gallery 8. Enjoy restaurants where the chefs maintain a philosophy of excellent craftsmanship, superior ingredients, and stunning presentation.

Make your stay in Tokyo unparalleled and memorable with our exclusive tours. Meet the most skilled craftsmen with exclusive access to participate in hands-on experience, not available to other travelers. Try your hand at kiriko (Japanese cut glass), wagashi, or sushi under the instruction of masters in the field, or witness the making of a sword and feel the spirit of Japan.

DAY 5 (Kamakura)

Just an hour outside the heart of Tokyo is a small, quiet town with historic temples, hiking opportunities and beautiful beaches. While experiencing the tranquil sceneries, it will be hard to believe there was a century of blood shed in the old political capital of Japan around seven hundred years ago. Instead, you will see legacies of Buddhism that proliferated around the same time. Visiting the area's famous temples will awaken your zen spirit, but you cannot miss the breathtaking Great Buddha, a 13.35 meter (43.8 ft) bronze statue. Upon your request, we will take you to a former house of Japan’s most famous historical potter Kitaoji Rosanjin for pottery experience or private gallery, followed by a minka architecture talk.

DAY 6-9 (kyoto and nara)

Find yourself transported back in time as you explore Japan's beloved cultural treasure troves of Kyoto and Nara. With a myriad of world renowned historical relics, the two cities still prove their worth as the former glorious capitals of Japan. Discover old Japanese customs and traditions while strolling through the simple yet beautifully arranged gardens and museums. Visit gardens in Kyoto through our optional tour and visit our recommended antique shops to further investigate the nuances of Japanese aesthetics. Enjoy yourself as you are immersed in people’s lives from centuries gone by. You will have the opportunity to speak to temple monks and witness the making of kimono and ceramics. To get an even better sense of people’s everyday lives back then, speak to and share a meal with the residents of Imaicho in Nara, a historical town that preserves a traditional lifestyle. We also offer a hands-on experience of bamboo craft making. Learn techniques from the best and create your own original tea strainer, making for an unforgettable memento of your trip.

DAY 10-11 (kanazawa)

Only once you have visited Kanazawa, also known as little Kyoto, is your cultural immersion in Japan complete. Visit experts in Kutaniyaki (pottery with overglaze painting) and Yamanaka lacquerware through TOKI’s exclusive tours. Witness the making of Kutaniyaki and talk in person to find out the secrets that make Yamanaka lacquerware surprisingly sturdy, yet affordable.

Visit the Chayagai district, which is the only teahouse district in Japan designated as a national cultural asset, other than Kyoto’s Gion. Enjoy the luxurious combination of  freshly-brewed tea, seasonal wagashi and a geisha performance. For those who still want more, try the tea houses in Kenrokuen, known as one of Japan's three most beautiful landscape gardens. For a change of scene, take a few steps away from Kenrokuen for some contemporary art and interesting architecture at the 21st Century Museum. Interestingly, the building has no gate and no front or back, so guests will not walk into the museum only in one direction.

DAY 12 (tokyo)

Reflect on your stay and tell us what you have missed and places you would like to revisit. This is the chance for you to squeeze in some last-minute shopping and visits until the next time you visit Japan.