Japan through the Eyes of Frank Lloyd Wright
September 2-13, 2017
Daily Itinerary (subject to change)
Saturday, September 2: Depart
Travel from your gateway overnight to Tokyo.
Sunday, September 3: Arrive Tokyo
Upon arrival, transfer to the Imperial Hotel, located in the sophisticated Ginza neighborhood—Tokyo’s shopping and dining epicenter—located just minutes away from the Imperial Palace. Meet your Frank Lloyd Wright trip leaders and join your fellow tour members for cocktails and an illustrated talk on Wright’s debt to traditional Japanese art and architecture, followed by a welcome dinner.
Imperial Tokyo D
Monday, September 4: Tokyo/Nikko/Tokyo
Travel by motor coach to the mountain resort of Nikko, 100 miles north of Tokyo. Walk along pathways lined with 400-year-old cryptomeria trees to arrive at the elaborately decorated and lavishly carved Toshogu shrine, a mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Taiyu-in, the floor plan of which is thought to have influenced Wright’s Unity Temple. Next, ride up a steep series of curves to Lake Chuzenji to view the spectacular Kegon waterfall, which Wright photographed. Return to Tokyo for an evening at leisure.
Imperial Hotel B L
Tuesday, September 5: Tokyo
After breakfast, explore Tokyo—a provocative mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. Start with a tour of your hotel to learn about the history of the former Imperial Hotel, Wright’s most important Japanese project. Next, visit the Jiyu Gakuen (Freedom School) complex designed by Wright and his apprentice on the Imperial Hotel, Arata Endo. The school was founded in 1921 as a middle school for girls by Motoko and Yoshikazu Hani, whose dream it was to create a place where children could learn to think for themselves. To accommodate a limited budget, the beautiful post-Prairie design makes use of humble materials in ingenious ways. After lunch, experience an authentic tea ceremony amid a beautiful garden. Next, visit the Ota Ukiyo-e (Japanese print) Museum and learn about Wright’s career as an art dealer and his obsession with what was once a common art form. Stroll along architecturally-rich Omotesando and see important works by Toyo Ito, Tadao Ando and other Japanese and European architects. Return to the hotel, where the evening will be free.
Imperial Hotel B L
Wednesday, September 6: Tokyo/Nagoya/Ise-shima
After breakfast, transfer to Tokyo station to board the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya, enjoying first-class comfort. After driving through Nagoya, leave the city limits to see the preserved lobby portion of Wright’s Imperial Hotel at Meiji Village, a 250-acre open-air architectural museum of over 70 buildings, including homes, factories, businesses and churches. Learn how the lobby was saved and rebuilt here and how Wright’s innovative and radical design contrasted with the earlier Meiji style. You will have time to have lunch and explore the park on your own. Then, head southwest along the coast to Ise-shima, checking into your seaside resort hotel by evening.
Shima Kanko Hotel B D
Thursday, September 7: Ise/Shigaraki/Kyoto
Take an in-depth tour of Ise Jingu, Japan’s most important Shinto shrine and an example of early Japanese architecture. After lunch, drive past scenic rural vistas to the I.M. Pei-designed Miho Museum, hidden deep within a nature preserve in Shigaraki. The ambitious 1996 project was designed to assimilate the buildings—80% are located underground—to blend with nature. Then, head west to Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japanese culture. This elegant city was once home to the Imperial family and was Japan’s capital from 794-1869. Here, Wright absorbed traditional Japanese culture and aesthetics, which remained with him for the remainder of his career.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L
Friday, September 8: Kyoto
Wake early for a full day’s exploration of traditional temple gardens, Buddhism and more. Take in the Zen aesthetic of “less is more” at Ryoan-ji and Daitoku-ji temples, home to some of the most important karesunai (dry landscape) gardens and austere teahouses in Kyoto. Many of Wright’s spatial design principles—as well as tenets of classical Japanese architecture—are evident here. Lunch is shojin-ryori (vegetarian temple cuisine) within the Daitoku-ji temple complex. In the afternoon, visit Nishi-Honganji and Chion-in, two temples that Wright himself saw and was sufficiently impressed with to record in photographs. Your evening is at leisure.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L
Saturday, September 9: Kyoto
Start your day with an early morning visit to Kiyomizu Temple, and enjoy a spectacular view over Kyoto. Next, come face-to-face with the elaborately carved 1001 statues of Kannon (a Bodhisattva) at 12th century Sanjusangendo Temple. Also visit the Memorial Hall of Kawai Kanjiro, the home and studio of the potter who served as a central figure in the Mingei (folk craft) movement, a response to the Arts & Crafts movement in the West. The rest of the day is yours to see this marvelous city as you wish. Regroup and relax in the evening over yakitori and grilled vegetables at a rustic Kyoto machiya (townhouse.)
Kyoto Hotel Okura B D
Sunday, September 10: Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto
Travel to Osaka for an exclusive tour of Arata Endo’s Koshien Hotel (1930). Here you can see influences from Wright’s Imperial Hotel and Midway Gardens. Continue to Kobe to experience Wright’s Yamamura House, built into a hillside overlooking the port of Kobe. Designed by Wright in 1918 and constructed in 1924 by Endo after Wright left Japan, the sprawling, 4,000-square-foot, four-level house bears several similarities to Wright’s Hollyhock House, yet has many features that are distinctively Endo’s. We have special permission to visit the house during a two-year restoration period, when it is closed to the public. Return to Kyoto in the evening.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L
Monday, September 11: Kyoto/Nara/Awaji Island
Depart for a full-day excursion to Nara, Japan’s first capital. On the way, stop in Uji—a famous tea growing region—to see Byodo-in, first built as a rural villa in 998 and converted to a temple in 1052. Its exquisite Ho-o-do (Phoenix Hall) served as the model for the Ho-o-den Pavilion that enchanted Wright at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Continue to Nara for a stroll through Deer Park before seeing the early 8th-century Great Buddha at the temple of Todai-ji. Also see Yakushi-ji Pagoda, whose distinctive form may have influenced some of Wright’s unusual tower designs. Next, travel to Awaji Island to see Tadao Ando’s Water Temple, followed by his Yumebutai complex. After checking into your hotel, gather for a group dinner.
The Westin Awaji Island Resort & Conference Center B L D
Tuesday, September 12: Hiroshima
After breakfast, travel by bus and shinkansen to Hiroshima. After a visit to Hiroshima Peace Park, take a ferry to Miyajima island and check in at a venerable ryokan (Japanese style hotel) to sample the best of traditional Japanese-style living. Don a yukata (cotton kimono) to enjoy views of Japanese maples from your room, while appreciating the expert woodwork by shrine carpenters, or miya-daiku. Gather in the evening for a farewell dinner and toast the end of your great adventure over an artful kaiseki (multi-course banquet) meal.
Iwaso Ryokan B L D
Wednesday, September 13: Depart
After a lavish breakfast at the ryokan, walk to Itsukushima Shrine before the crowds arrive. Established in 593 and rebuilt in 1168, it is one of the most important (and picturesque) Shinto shrines in Japan. Built on piers over the water to appear as if it is floating on the sea, it leaves a magical impression as your final vision in Japan. Then, transfer to Hiroshima International Airport.