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Wright in Japan: The Architect’s Eastern Vision

May 10-21, 2019

Daily Itinerary (subject to change)

Friday, May 10: Depart

Travel from your gateway overnight to Tokyo.

Saturday, May 11: Arrive Tokyo

Upon arrival, transfer to the Imperial Hotel, located in the sophisticated Hibiya neighborhood, on the border of Ginza—Tokyo’s shopping and dining epicenter—and within walking distance of the Imperial Palace. Meet Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Travel Manager and tour director Risa Sekiguchi (a Japanese native) and join your fellow tour members for a welcome dinner and drinks at one of Ginza’s most exciting venues. Relax and enjoy the glamorous décor and contemporary Japanese fare—which incorporates ingredients and influences from the West—while getting to know one another. After dinner, stroll along Ginza’s neon-lit streets back to the hotel.
Imperial Tokyo D

Sunday, May 12: Tokyo

After breakfast, begin your exploration of Tokyo—a provocative mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. First, visit Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. This peaceful oasis of calm is just a few blocks from the epicenter of contemporary Japanese fashion and teenage culture: The trendy Harajuku neighborhood. After lunch, 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, arriving at the Nezu Museum, rebuilt in 2009 by Kengo Kuma. Enjoy the museum’s important collection of traditional Japanese art—as well as its exquisite Japanese garden—before returning to the hotel. The evening is at leisure.
Imperial Hotel B L

Monday, May 13: Tokyo

Continue your exploration of Tokyo. Learn about the history of the former Imperial Hotel, Wright’s most important Japanese project, including the atmospheric Old Imperial Bar, which features several significant pieces from the original structure. Then, board a bus for a lecture on Frank Lloyd Wright and his trusted Japanese apprentice, Arata Endo, followed by an in-depth tour of their joint project, the Jiyu Gakuen (Freedom School) complex. This post-Prairie design embodies Wright’s vision of progressive education. 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 design makes use of humble materials in ingenious ways. Savor lunch amid a glorious Japanese garden before continuing to the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, housed in a former Imperial villa in a delightful high Art Deco style that combines the best of French and Japanese motifs. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure to explore Tokyo’s world-class cuisine.
Imperial Hotel B L

Tuesday, May 14: Tokyo/Kamakura/Hayama/Hakone

After breakfast, travel overland to Kamakura, once the seat of the Shogunate from 1192-1333 and now a picturesque resort town by the sea. See the Kamakura Great Buddha, where Wright sat for a portrait in 1919. Next, travel to Hayama (another charming sea-side resort town) for an exclusive visit to the privately-owned Kachi Villa, built in 1928 by Arata Endo. The sprawling villa―which retains much of the original furnishings―is the architect’s most important existing residential building. Continue to Hakone, a hot spring resort area popularized by Japan’s first Western arrivals. Take a boat ride on Lake Ashi and climb aboard a cable car for a dramatic view (weather permitting) of iconic Mt. Fuji. Then, check in at a Japanese-style hotel known for its onsen (hot springs) baths—whose mineral-laden waters have numerous health benefits. Choose from several public baths that boast expansive views, or soak in your very own private onsen on your balcony. In the evening, enjoy an artful kaiseki (multi-course banquet meal).
Hotel Kowaki-en B L D

Wednesday, May 15: Hakone/Nagoya

After a traditional Japanese breakfast (and perhaps another onsen soak), travel to nearby Odawara station to board the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagoya, enjoying first-class comfort. Here, board a bus to 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. Return to Nagoya, where your evening is at leisure. Our 5-star hotel is located within the Nagoya station building, which features a wide array of shopping and dining choices.
Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel B

Thursday, May 16: Nagoya/Shigaraki/Kyoto

Travel overland through 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. After lunch, continue to Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japanese culture and our home for the next four nights. 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. After lunch in a traditional machiya (Kyoto townhouse), stroll along the Shirakawa canal. Then, enjoy a private tour of the Sumiya Motenashi Art Museum to see the “floating world” of the 18th century Ukiyo-e come alive in this well-preserved Edo-era ageya (banquet hall). After checking into our hotel for a well-deserved rest, venture out to explore Kyoto’s dining and nightlife located just steps from the hotel.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L

Friday, May 17: Kyoto

Wake early for a full day’s exploration of 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 classic Japanese architecture—are evident here. After a temple-style vegetarian lunch within Daitoku-ji’s grounds, 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 close ally of the Arts & Crafts movement. Your evening is at leisure.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L

Saturday, May 18: Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto

Travel by bus to Osaka for an exclusive tour of Arata Endo’s magnificent Koshien Hotel (1930). Here you can see influences from Wright’s Imperial Hotel and Midway Gardens. Then continue to Kobe to sample meltingly-soft Kobe beef, cooked tableside, before traveling to nearby Ashiya. Here, we 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. Now known as the Yodoko Guest House, the National Important Cultural Property will complete a two-year restoration in early 2019. Return to Kyoto for an evening at leisure.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L

Sunday, May 19: Kyoto/Uji/Nara/Oyamazaki/Kyoto

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 Todai-ji Temple’s main hall. Also see Chochikukyo, an eco-friendly house designed and built in 1928 by architect Koji Fujii for his own use. Fujii, who was influenced by C.R. Mackintosh as well as Wright, created a design that artfully blends traditional Japanese and modern elements. Return to Kyoto where your evening is at leisure.
Kyoto Hotel Okura B L

Monday, May 20: Kyoto/Hiroshima/Miyajima

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) for our final evening. Walk 10 minutes to the beach and shrine area for sunset views, soak in a riverside onsen, or simply relax in your yukata while enjoying views of Japanese maples from your tatami-mat room. Gather in the evening for a farewell dinner and toast the end of your great adventure over an artful kaiseki meal.
Iwaso Ryokan B L D

Tuesday, May 21: 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 by ferry and bus to the Hiroshima Airport.
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