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Art and Culture in Japan

Throughout the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan pays homage to its traditions while embracing the new and the cutting-edge. Shinto spirituality sits alongside avant-garde design, and the beauty of hand-crafted Kimono survives in the age of eccentric Harajuku dressing. Ever-present vending machines are at harmony with classic Japanese cuisine, and tech savvy mania is never at the expense of time-honoured social etiquette. Discover the multi-facetted art and culture of Japan and see the many sides of this dynamic island nation.

Artistic Immersion on the Seto Inland Sea

Bullet trains can reach speeds of up to 320km per hour, and after witnessing quaint towns and rice paddies whip by from the comfort of a first-class carriage, you will cruise across the Seto Inland Sea to Shikoku. Be pleasantly surprised by the tropical aura of the clear waters and picturesque islands before arriving at remarkable Naoshima

View of gate on Naoshima Island, Japan courtesy of Victor Lu

Art Island, as it is commonly known, is peppered with contemporary galleries and outdoor installations. Visit the Chichu Art Museum and explore its subterranean spaces, which are largely lit by natural light from the sky above. The museum’s permanent collection of Monet’s famous Water Lilies come to life in the adjacent Chichu Garden, where 200 kinds of flowers faithfully recreate the physical experience captured in Monet’s works. Afterwards, immerse yourself in nature, art, and architecture at Benesse House Museum before wandering through the Art House Project. 

Unique art formation on a pier overlooking the water in Naoshima

Gourmet Rituals and Authentic Encounters

The diverse flavours and regional delicacies of Japanese cuisine will nourish your palate and transfix your tastebuds. This is a land where routine dining is regularly elevated into a ceremonial experience. Take a sushi-making class in Tokyo, immerse yourself in a tea ceremony and kimono-wearing experience in Kyoto, and relish Hiroshima style okonomiyaki and fresh tempura. A private dinner and drinks in Kyoto will be hosted by a true maiko or geisha.  

View of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Japan

Impeccably Preserved Historic Landmarks

Excursions to impressive traditional sites will compliment contemporary cultural experiences throughout your journey. Visits to tranquil formal gardens, the charming Shirakawa-go Village, temples, shrines, and iconic castles will further illuminate the seamless beauty that is thoughtfully instilled in every corner of this magical archipelago.


Words by Alexander Simpson

Images Courtesy of TommL, Victor Lu