The World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go. // © 2012 Thinkstock
From fine arts to historic villages, clients who want to get to know the treasures of Japan can discover the country’s hidden gems on a two different tours.
Japanese Antique Lovers Tour of Kyoto
Kyoto, known as the ancient capital of Japan, offers a treasure trove of Japanese fine arts and antiques. In the city’s quaint shops, visitors can find beautiful art collections, as well as antique tableware and furniture which have been collected from throughout Japan. The Hotel Granvia Kyoto offers three, English-language tours of Japanese art for antique Lovers, including “The Art of the Samurai.” Participants will visit Kyoto’s Antique Street for treasure hunting, with a stop at a martial arts shop, where they can investigate swords, armor, and other Samurai-related products. The tour concludes with a Japanese Tea Ceremony at Murin-an, a traditional Japanese garden. This exclusive antique program starts at $285 per person (based on two people) and includes seven hours of sightseeing, lunch and a private car with an English-speaking driver. Tours depart from the Hotel Granvia Kyoto at 10 a.m. and can be customized based on client’s preference. www.granviakyoto.com
Backroads of Japan
Clients can discover the fabulous attractions of the Hokuriku region located along the Sea of Japan. The tour, which departs Oct. 30 to take advantage of the season’s breathtaking colors, includes a visit to the historic village of Shirakawa-go, with farmhouses dating back some 300 years. Nearby Takayama, coveted for its artisan carpentry, remained isolated from much of Japan for centuries because of its high altitude and remote location, and today enjoys a unique and distinct culture. The tour will also include a visit to Kenroku-En, one of Japan’s most famous gardens, especially charming in fall. Clients will also enjoy a journey along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route, a 22.9-mile long route that requires five different modes of transport: funicular, bus, trolley, aerial tramway and walking. The route was carefully built to not disturb the natural environment, and includes a stop at the 610-foot Kurobe Dam, the largest dam in Japan. The eight-day tour starts at $2,998, land only. www.iace-asia.com