JOIN PETER and JULIE COLLIS in Japan in May 2019 

“New Zealand pottery has been strongly influenced by the Anglo/Oriental movement of Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, both of whom visited and taught in NZ during the 60’s. Their work is reflected in the practise of such well known potters as Len Castle and Peter Stitchbury. An honest and immediate response to the material of clay, to fire and its effects, as opposed to the formal control of form and colour of the post modernist work of potters like John Parker who was more influenced by the work of Europeans like Lucie Rie. 

There is an interesting discussion on this phenomenon in Moyra Elliot’s ‘Conetendown, Studio Pottery in NZ 1945 – 80’.

My mentor, Neil Grant worked with Hamada, and his influence on my early work was marked by earthy stoneware glazes and oriental brushwork. I was trained in the Mashiko tradition, which survives in NZ to this day, in the work of renowned wood firer Chester Nealie, but also in the work of contemporary potter Aaron Scythe who has taken tradition and made his own personal exploration of it.

There is no doubt that the strength and breadth of the historical tradition of pottery in Japan draws us like moths to a flame.

I find the Japanese reverence to the potter and his pots admirable I will never forget one of my early tours of Japan whilst travelling on the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo I was introduced to a class of senior high school students as; ‘the pottery teacher of the group’ They all stood and clapped ‘the sensai’  in rspect and admiration of the art. I am still waiting for that influence to appear in New Zealand…”


 Your itinerary is subject to change. House of Travel Terms and Conditions apply KEY: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner

 To Tokyo (Wednesday, 8 May)

This morning depart to Tokyo on Air New Zealand. Arriving at 4.50pm, transfer to your hotel for the night in Shinjuku. Your hotel for the night is the Keio Plaza Hotel, located close to Shinjuku Station, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.

Overnight Tokyo.

 Tokyo (Thursday, 9 May)

Today discover Tokyo – we recommend following the trail that starts at the Nezu Museum and its  wonderful garden, wander around to the studio house of Taro Okamato for some complete contrast.

You are near the architectural highlights of Omotesando, such as the amazing Prada building. Duck up the alleyway opposite the Prada building to the Sunny Hills architectural wonder, where you hang a left and pass the café / aquarium / wall garden of landscape designer Kazuyuki Ishihara. Keep going

and come out on Aoyama Boulevard. Cross and enter another warren of alleyways, cafes and designer hairdressers – coming out eventually at Takeshita Street and Harajuku Station.

Evening Free. (B)

Overnight Tokyo.

 Tokyo to Takamatsu (Friday, 10 May)

Check out and be ready to depart by 7.00am (Your body clock will be ok with this). This morn we say farewell to Tokyo and transfer by coach to Haneda airport for the short flight to Takamatsu. On arrival our coach transfers us to a local mall for an early lunch, before a visit to the Isamu Noguchi Garden or Ritsurin Gardens. (B)

Overnight Takamatsu.

 Seto Inland Sea (Saturday, 11 May)

It is time to hit the ferry to Teshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea, and take the local bus to the Teshima Museum – a place of contemplation like no other. We suggest there might be time this

evening to pay a visit this evening to the annual Aloha Festival, where you can grab a cheap bite.(B)

Overnight Takamatsu.

 Takamatsu to Okayama (Sunday, 12 May)

This morning we leave Takamatsu for Kurashiki. Here we spend the day visiting the annual Field of Craft Festival, an annual two day craft festival on the edge of the restored warehouse district. At the other end of the canal  is the Ohara Museum of Art, which houses a collection of modern European works, an amazing collection of ceramics, and Japanese modern and contemporary art. We will arrive late afternoon at the Okayama hotel adjacent to the train station. (B)

Overnight Okayama.

 Kyoto (Monday, 13 May)

This morning we train to Kyoto, and the afternoon is free. (B)

Overnight Kyoto.

 Kyoto (Tuesday, 14 May)

Spend the day visiting some of Kyoto’s ceramic history. Start at the Museum of famed potter Kawai Kanjiro, then head across town to the Raku Museum and the Robert Yellin Gallery.  (B)

Overnight Kyoto.

 Shigaraki (Wednesday, 15 May)

Venture out of Kyoto by coach to the magnificent Miho Museum, buried deep in the hills of  Shigaraki. The pottery town of Shigaraki is nearby and has a well regarded Ceramic Museum as

well as a ceramic centre with resident artists. Previous residents have included Mark Mitchell. Spend the rest of the afternoon here, and visit the available studios. Take lunch at the café in the Exhibition centre. We recommend the ginger drink! (B)

Overnight Kyoto.

 Kyoto to Kanazawa (Thursday, 16 May)

Take a morning train to Kanazawa, a ceramic centre and home to the Museum of the 21st Century. Spend today in Kanazawa. (B)

Overnight Kanazawa.

 Kanazawa (Friday, 17 May)

A full day in Kanazawa with the chance to visit local studios. (B)

Overnight Kanazawa.

 Kanazawa to Tokyo (Saturday, 18 May)

This morning we return to Tokyo on the Bullet train. Take an overnight bag as our luggage arrives the next day. We arrive at Tokyo station, where we try not to get lost before heading to Roppongi and casing the area rich in gallery experiences. From here it is a direct metro back to our hotel in  Shinjuku. (B)

Overnight Tokyo.

 Tokyo (Sunday, 19 May)

Our last full day in Japan today will have us in Shibuya and Ginza before we finish with a group  dinner at a great restaurant atop a building adjacent to our hotel. (B, D)

Overnight Tokyo.

 Depart to Auckland (Monday, 20 May)

Please check out by 11am, feel free to catch some last minute shopping in Shinjuku before we head to the airport at 2pm.