Due to the extraordinary requests for Journeys to Japan, we have resourced additional exclusives, besides the superb experiences we always offer! This summer and fall is particularly busy in Japan, so plan accordingly.
Here are some dates to keep in mind: Rugby World Cup: September 20 – November 2 (various locations). Setouchi Triennale 2019: September 28 – November 4 (Setouchi region). Tokyo Motor Show: October 24 – November 4. (Tokyo)Autumn Leaves: Late September – Early December (best dates depend on region). Imperial Enthronement Ceremony: October 22. The above events in particular, and especially since they all fall together this year, have put availability for many services at a premium as said availability dwindles.
Fine Dining & Theater Underground Tokyo
Waiting an eager audience’s arrival, a luxurious space has been crafted, hidden away under one of Tokyo’s more luxurious business districts, and fine tuned from the dishes served to the decor to the nightly performers. Serving up some of Tokyo’s best sushi along with hand-crafted cocktails just name a few items from the menu, here guests are also treated to traditional performances of noh or geisha song and dance in an intimate but unassuming setting of finely selected grandeur, making it an excellent space to reserve in its entirety for a private event.
Home of a Master Noh Performer Kyoto
A VIP experience awaits fans of traditional theatrical performance. A master of noh, an ancient performing art known for its fantastical masks and flowing robes, has created a contemporary and well-designed space dedicated to the craft. A private theater in the master’s own home is the venue where discerning travelers fascinated by performance arts can be treated to the viewing of treasured costumes, the trying on of hand-carved masks, and of course, a performance of noh.
Michelin Dinner with a Geisha Kyoto
Movies and books strive to capture the essence of geisha, yet only by speaking with one can one understand the dedication, the talent, the people that make up all that is beautiful about Japan’s geisha. Over a Michelin-starred meal, be treated to a performance that has been refined through years of schooling and apprenticeship. Our personally-selected geisha and guides make this private evening even more memorable as they remove communication and cultural barriers, inviting participation in a few of the geisha games of old, and encouraging conversation about the geisha lifestyle and culture.
Calligraphy in the Modern Age Kyoto
Kanji, the Chinese characters that make up part of the Japanese written language, are intensely versatile. The characters can change a word’s meaning, as well as the atmosphere in a given room depending on the artist. Be introduced via private meeting to an artist who can convey the meaning and philosophy that lies between and inside of each brush stroke as its laid to paper. Through the artist’s efforts, see meanings beyond the set definitions for each character written, and discover the zen influence incorporated into the art’s balance.
Sumo Through the Eyes of a Fighter Tokyo
Sumo tournament season is an exciting time for wrestlers and spectators alike, and we make it more so by making it possible for guests to attend a tournament with an experienced, former professional wrestler who knows the sumo world like no other. Watching the bouts one by one, the wrestler will explain the calls, dress, ceremony, history and more. During the off-season, guests can be taken on a tour inside one of Japan’s sumo stables where they can witness the training, living quarters and lifestyle of Japan’s famous fighters. As the wrestler makes his way through the stable offering advice and sometimes even admonishments to his juniors, guests will get a truly in-depth feel for what daily life can be like for Japan’s historical rock stars
Gardening with a Master Designer Kyoto
With a keen eye for detail, even though the blossoms and trees are more likely to catch visitors’ eyes, the keepers of Japan’s gardens take care to maintain the poses of the barest branches and the placement of the simplest stones. We invite guests into Kyoto’s famed and little-known gardens with a master garden designer who comes from a centuries’ long lineage of acclaimed gardeners, and is currently entrusted with numerous palace and temple gardens in Kyoto. Guests will see how the master and apprentices work to keep gardens accurately intact for future generations to enjoy, and also have time to create a miniature garden, making a bowl of authentic Japanese beauty of their own using techniques explained during garden walks.
Shigaraki Pottery with a Specialist Kyoto & Shigaraki, Koka
Meet and travel to the area of Shigaraki with an avid collector, well-connected with potters of note and well established kilns. Learning about the development of different types of pottery, enjoy in-depth discussions about this prominent art directly influenced by Japanese Zen, tea ceremony traditions, and strongly connected to Japanese wabisabi aesthetics. Visits to local workshops and kilns, entering the studios of artists, followed by a summary and conclusion at the specialist’s own collection provides a well-rounded day of travel, learning, and art.
Japanese Fusion Jazz Performance Kyoto
Enjoy a performance of unique jazz sounds as traditional Japanese instruments combine with the genre’s sound. Led by a well-beloved band of musicians who have traveled the world, including an award-winning Japanese music composer and performer, this performance will be held just for guests and their fellow travelers alone at a privatized performance venue. If done while staying in Kyoto, we can reserve the Miho Museum, with its amazing architecture by I.M. Pei as the stage for the performance.
Moments with a Zen Monk Kyoto
This is a chance to look deeply into the world of Zen Buddhism through the eyes of a revered monk who will open windows into the way of thinking, practice, and day-to-day life of Zen practitioners in one of the most significant Zen monasteries in Japan. This experience offers fascinating insights to Zen Buddhism, its art, as well as to a life and mind of a person who has devoted his existence to the practice of Zen Buddhism, making it his mission to introduce this path of enlightenment to others.
River Views, Art & Poetry Kyoto
Overlooking the Katsuragawa River in the most picturesque district of Arashiyama Kyoto is a space well designed dedicated to Japan’s historic art and poetry. With the museum made private just for your visit, an enthusiastic director looks forward to personally leading you, regaling the stories and history of and around Japan’s famed collection of 100 poems, and how this collection started an era of artistic style and education that continues to reverberate. Offering an event space 100 tatami in size, with large windows that look out upon the sparkling Katsuragawa River, this fine establishment can also be arranged for private events, allowing for such as unplugged music, performance, and even viewing of the ukai cormorant fishing, which is a traditional event held in Japan’s sultry summer months. Should the wish arrive to delve deeper into the traditions surrounding the 100 poems of note, a private lesson of the karuta card taking game, which still has vibrant competitions held today, can also be arranged.
Wine & Private Collection of Baccarat Kyoto
Opening their studio and private collection of antique Baccarat crystal glassware, vases and more just for you, enjoy a welcome, mid-trip, or farewell party of wine and light fare using glasses from the collector’s unique, if not only, stash of its kind in Japan. While taking part in decadent delights as you walk through your host’s private museum, the collector will likely inform his esteemed guests about how Japan’s traditional cut glass from the Edo Era (1603-1868) inspired the art of Baccarat crystal. Truly an event for those into the finer things in life.
Walk with a Living Buddha Otsu
A private meeting with a saintly personage, a living Buddha awaits you in this rare experience. Your host, a practicing monk of the sacred mountain temple complex of Enryakuji, has been one of the few to go through the rite of kaihogyo and survive to obtain his current high status. Kaihogyo requires one to walk roughy forty-thousand kilometers of mountain terrain, stopping to pray at specific sites, within seven years. The pace starts at thirty kilometers each day, moving to sixty kilometers each day in the seventh and last year of practicing the rite, with a string of nine days of no food, drink, or sleep in between, dedicated only to prayer. Your host today will take you for a comparatively much shorter walk (about five kilometers) along sacred trails, sit with you over a lunch of shojinryori Buddhist fare, and lead chants of empowerment before parting ways. Truly a once in a lifetime experience..
Dining & Performance at a Historic Estate Kyoto
A historic residence awaits you and yours to be a superb private venue for a grand afternoon or evening. Our connection has allowed us to offer her ancestor’s abode, turned high-end restaurant, as a place of fine wining and dining, with options to include performance by musicians, geisha, or even samurai and ninja performers. Located in the Fushimi district of Kyoto, complete with a magnificent landscape garden and teahouse, this venue makes for an excellent mid-day retreat, or evening finish after exploring Fushimi’s grand Inari Shrine and its lesser travelled sake district.
An Evening of Time Travel & Spectacle Kyoto
Enjoy a private evening in Kyoto and enter a world where professional actors and actresses bring the Edo era of Japan to life. In a privately chartered film studio park, over 100 professional actors, actresses and stunt performers will put on a private show, traveling through time back to when the Shogunate ruled Japan in the 1600s. Dress in era-appropriate garb, take up the challenge of a bit of sword training, meet geisha, ninja, and samurai. Enjoy the performances, pyrotechnics, and a dinner fit for royalty in a hall decorated in traditional Japanese festival style, with taiko drum music and more. A film team will capture the evening’s best moments, and edit them all into a real historical drama, making a truly unique gift to show at home.