Art and Culture of Japan - with Sue Gardiner

19 May - 02 June 2025

 Join Sue Gardiner and ArtTravel on our sixth visit to Japan, with some old favourites and some new explorations.

This tour will encompass all things Japan including temples and shrines, pop culture, art, alleyways, architecture, landscapes and gardens, food, people and places.

Sue Gardiner says

Planning our return to Japan for another wonderful ArtTravel tour in 2025 brings memories and insights bubbling back to the surface. After a few years break, I am curious to once again encounter Japanese culture and all its complexities. From the traditional, deeply held ways of being, making and thinking, to the embrace of forward thinking technologies, art in Japan presents itself in extremes. New generations of artists boldly confront the past, or aim to navigate through a new world of fast changing global influences. Put that together with incidental encounters of daily life on tour, and it can feel as if we are in the legendary ‘ floating world ‘ of Japanese art itself…seeking new routes to a destination not yet quite understood. I hope you will be inspired to join Glen and I as we tour Japan and immerse ourselves in their world of art.

Is there an itinerary to review?

Yes you can view version one of the itinerary here.

What are the main locations we will visit?

We plan to spend 13 days in Japan, and cover the following areas:
Tokyo – at the beginning and the end of the tour, visiting local neighbourhoods, getting lost in alleyways, discovering amazing architecture, gardens and galleries.

Kanazawa – including the Museum of the 21st Century

Kyoto – a selection of galleries, temples and shrines

The Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima including Benesse House

Other locations I am considering would be Saitama, Hakone & Odawarra, Takamatsu, Kurashiki, Shigaraki & Shirakawa

What will we see?

Starting and finishing in Tokyo, we will have experienced a wide range of culture and landscapes. You will find contemporary art and craft, ceramics, shrines and temples. We will visit museums and galleries large and small, old and new.

Who will enjoy this tour?

This tour will be enjoyed by anyone interested in exploring Japan in a small group and looking forward to a wide range of cultural experiences.

How will we travel?

We may travel around Tokyo by subway and we will take local trains.
We may take a domestic flight, a Bullet train, and a coach and often a taxi.

Will we have a guide?

It is likely we will have a local guide for some or all of our time depending on mode of transport. If on a chartered coach a local guide will be required.

I travel as tour manager and part guide as required.
We may have an expert travel with us but this is not yet confirmed.

When will a final itinerary be available?

The final itinerary will be confirmed approx 3 months prior to departure. You can read version 1 here.

For a first-time and curious visitor to Japan I found the ArtTravel tour to be an outstanding travel experience and a great way to maximise time in a foreign country .
The inclusions offered a wonderful experience of the contrast between the ancient and the contemporary existing hand in hand in such a populous country.

Standouts were the Naoshima Island, Benesse Art sites, the Odawarra Art Foundation and Enoura Observatory, the Robert Yellin Gallery visits, Ginkaku-ji Silver Pavillion, Theaster Gates (Mori Museum), the craft sites – it was all wonderful.

The pace was perfect for me personally, accommodation more than adequate though sometimes on the smaller side however we were in Japan!! and is part of the charm. I loved the entire experience. 10/10 from me.

Wendy, May 2024 


When will a final itinerary be available?

The final itinerary will be confirmed approx 3 months prior to departure. You can read version 1 here.

What type of accommodation do we stay in?

Generally we stay in 4 star western style hotels, often nearby a train station for convenience. Note we forgo quality for size sometimes, and vice versa. Twin rooms are very common in Japan, Double rooms can not always be guaranteed.

What cost should I expect?

As at July 2024 with amended Benesse House costs the tour price is $12999.00 per person twin share

A single supplement is previously been around $2650.00

How many people will you take?

A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 guests

When will you require deposits?

A $500 deposit will hold your place until a final itinerary and cost is available in early November.
Once the full itinerary is confirmed an additional $1000 deposit will be required.
Full payment is usually 3 months prior.

What level of fitness do I need?

Japan is a destination often required to be explored on foot, and a moderate degree of fitness is required. Climbing stairs is often required at subway stations, and in some instances traversing an escalator with your suitcase may be required.

Will we stay at Benesse House on Naoshima?

Yes, we are now confirmed for two nights.

How do I register my interest?

Please click here to email your details including contact phone number.