2014 Kyoto Autumn Garden Tour
Dates: November 16 – 24, 2014 ~ pricing to be announced shortly
Tour includes 8 nights, 5 fully guided days and 2 free days in Kyoto. Group size limited to 12 people.
Price: to be announced shortly
The focus of this tour will be the gardens, arts and culture of Kyoto, the former Imperial capital of Japan. Still very much Japan’s traditional cultural epicenter, the air is alive with aesthetic elegance, and no more so than within Kyoto’s superb gardens. As the fall color ascends we will explore 15 ~ 20 gardens and sites of scenic beauty in and around Kyoto, some of the finest examples of landscape and garden design in Japan. Allan Mandell, professional garden photographer and devotee of Kyoto’s gardens, has designed the itinerary in collaboration with Windows To Japan and Ayumi Ikushima. Allan will be the tour leader, and Ayumi will be our local guide.
Accommodations will be in the Japanese style (futons on tatami) in newly built rooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom, at a Zen temple on the grounds of Myoshinji, one of the oldest and most atmospheric group of Zen temples in Kyoto. Everyone in our 2013 tour loved staying here.
Our daily travel will be primarily by public transportation (taxi, train and subway). Participants should be prepared and in shape for daily walking through scenic neighborhoods, bustling city streets, and quiet garden paths.
Our own bi-lingual guide, Ayumi Ikushima, will accompany us each day. Ayumi is an expert in ikebana (floral design) and the gardens of Kyoto. We will start by meeting with Judith Clancy, author of many books on Kyoto and recently designated ‘Tourist Ambassador’ to the city, for our orientation. Later in the tour we will have an opportunity to dialogue with the President of Kato Zoen Garden Landscape Company to learn about the Kyoto style of garden maintenance.
During an afternoon our group of 12 participants will receive a hands-on lesson in Ikebana (the art of flower arranging) from Ayumi, which will include flower shopping in Kyoto’s colorful Nishiki Market. As a special treat we will meet with Ayumi’s garden teacher, Shigemori-sensei, the grandson of the designer of the famed gardens of Tofukuji, who is carrying his family’s legacy of inspired design into the modern era.
We will also enjoy a relaxing day trip by minibus to the famed Miho Museum designed by I.M. Pei located in a stunning country setting. On the way back, we will shop for handmade crafts in a traditional Shigaraki pottery village. This is the day to come home with your own treasure right from the artist’s studio.
And there will be surprises along the way - spontaneous garden visits, fun night-time garden LightUps, delicious and affordable local dining - in fact this year’s tour will include some special culinary tasting experiences, and we will learn to make dashi, the soup stock at the heart of Japanese cuisine.
Come with us and have a direct experience of the arts and the flavors of Japanese culture as the maple leaves deepen with the autumn season. Come with us into the gardens and experience the quiet and pure beauty that awaits you.
For a detailed itinerary or specific questions, please contact: Allan Mandell - email@example.com
To register for the tour: www.kyotogardentour.com
This tour is being coordinated through Windows to Japan, which is based in Kyoto.
UPDATE : The sold out 2013 Kyoto Autumn Garden Tour was a such a great time - we are all still raving about it – please contact me if you are interested in future Kyoto tours and I will put you on my mailing list - thank you, Allan
Guided Tours to the gardens of Kyoto, Japan
Please contact me if you are interested in a personal or group tour to visit the gardens of this lovely city (1 day to 2 weeks, photo mentoring provided upon request).
My tours are designed for those who love gardens and feel the lure of Japan, photographers and non-photographers alike. There will be time for quiet contemplation as we make our rounds, and time for fun events, too – such as shopping at a flea market or traditional craft shop, or taking a dip in an ‘onsen’ (hot springs). Kyoto is a city that is virtually crime free - a single woman alone is completely safe. The city is easy to navigate, the people are extremely hospitable and polite, and there is a reverence for cleanliness and for the changing seasons. To experience Kyoto is to surrender to the gentleness and elevated aesthetic that permeates the atmosphere.
I invite you to share this with me. Okini, Allan
Testimonials - real quotes from real people
“I want to thank you for arranging this incredible, once in a lifetime tour. The itinerary was stellar! Allan was the consummate guide.”
“Allan’s love of Japanese culture helped bring the group towards an understanding of the gardens we visited. I came away with a deeper appreciation for the history and the people of Kyoto.”
“What an incredible trip we had! It could not have been better prepared and organized, and we could not have packed much more in! The memories of the experiences and many century-old culture we were exposed to will stay with me forever. I am so very grateful to have been part of this tour. How much we saw and learned.”
“The most insightful garden tours I could hope for in a guide were given by Allan. He gave me insights into Buddhism as well as Japanese history and culture. My husband who generally has no interest in gardens accompanied us for two mornings and was captivated. Allan knew how to relate to his introductory questions and how to draw out my husband’s perception so that he too experienced the spirit of these magnificent and varied gardens.”
“Allan was perfect for this tour, embellishing our experience through his quiet reverence for the Japanese garden aesthetic.”
“We thank you for this life-changing, inspiring introduction to Japan and the gardens and culture of Kyoto. Inspiring does not begin to describe – this is an incredible place. You have done an amazing job putting this trip together. Your love and attention shows at every turn.”
“I couldn’t be happier with how the trip and tour unfolded. I appreciate all of your efforts, patience and expertise.”
“What a trip - amazing, calming, inspiring, delightful … I could go on and on.”
“This tour has been heaven to me. Thank you, Allan.”