Japan - Historical and Contemporary

3 - 13 Nov 2024
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Travel with Jason James OBE, the Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, on a tour through Japan's long history. The itinerary follows Japanese history from the earliest historical records and continues via the shoguns, the arrival of the black ships, the Meiji Restoration and the opening of Japan, to the modern day.

The tour includes a range of specialist visits and experiences in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hakone, the Izu Peninsula and Tokyo, which are illustrated by short talks throughout the tour.

Options include visiting a traditional onsen and walking the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Jason James

Jason James

Jason James OBE is Director General of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. Having been fascinated by Japan on a choir tour at the age of 13, he chose to read Japanese Studies at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a double scholar (academic and choral), graduating with a “starred first” (only the third time this accolade had ever been awarded by Cambridge’s Japanese Department) in 1987. Subsequently he worked in the financial industry, mostly specialising in Japanese equities, becoming Head of Research in the Tokyo office of HSBC Securities, and eventually Head of Global Equity Strategy at HSBC in London. From 2007-2011 Jason was Director of the British Council in Japan, during which time he also served as Chair of the European Union National Institutes of Culture Japan cluster, a Board Member of the Japan-British Society, and a Board Member of United World Colleges Japan. In London, in addition to his day job he was a Trustee of the Japan Society for six years, and a member of the Japan Season of Culture Action Committee. Jason is currently a member of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group and a Governor of King's College School, Cambridge.

Jason’s interest in Japan is broad, covering the economy, financial markets and tax, as well as Japanese literature, art and history, and the relationship between the UK and Japan. Publications range from 'The Political Economy of Japanese Financial Markets' (co-author, Macmillan 1999), to 'Edmund Blunden and Japan' (Asiatic Society, 2010).

Jason received an OBE for services to UK/Japan relations in The King’s Birthday Honours 2023.

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  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Osaka (Sun, 3 Nov) Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner at a restaurant with drinks.
  • Day 2: Osaka (Mon, 4 Nov) Travel to Mount Koya to visit Okunoin Temple, one of the most sacred places in Japan. Visit the cemetery containing important Japanese people through history and see some of the 100 temples on the mountain. Learn about the powerful 12th century samurai warrior Taira clan and hear a short talk by Jason James: “Capitals, culture and conflict.” Okonomiyaki dinner in Dotombori.
  • Day 3: Osaka / Kyoto (Tues, 5 Nov) Transfer to Yoshino, visit Kinpusen-ji Temple and walk up to the site of the Imperial Villa of Go-Daigo and the other Southern Court Emperors. Lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Nara, Japan’s 8th Century capital. Visit Todai-ji, one of the Seven Great Temples, which contains the world’s largest bronze Buddha. Visit the important Shinto shrine of Kasuga Taisha before continuing to Kyoto. Talk: ‘Kyoto art, culture and the imperial city. Check into the hotel.
  • Day 4: Kyoto (Wed, 6 Nov) Visit beautiful sixteenth-century Nijo Castle with its moat, huge stone walls, stunning gardens and rich art collection. Visit the Zen Golden Temple, whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf, and explore the famous geisha district of Gion. At leisure or option of walking the Philosopher’s Path. Shabu shabu dinner.
  • Day 5: Kyoto (Thurs, 7 Nov ) Visit Byodo-in Temple in Uji. Travel to Fushimi Inari, famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails. Take the Tofuku-ji Temple walk, visit Hojo rock garden and Tsutenkyo Bridge and gardens. Dinner at Tsuki No Kurabito with sake tastings.
  • Day 6: Kyoto / Mishima (Fri, 8 Nov) Transfer to Sekigahara for a tour of the site of the Battle of Sekigahara of 1600. Continue to Inuyama Castle for a talk on Oda Nobunaga and Japanese unification, then take the bullet train from Nagoya to Odawara. Transfer by local train to Fujisan Mishima Tokyu Hotel.. Talk: “Barbarians at the gate.” Dinner at local restaurant.
  • Day 7: Mishima / Hakone / Mishima (Sat, 9 Nov) Visit Shimoda, a pleasant coastal city significant for being one of the first ports opened to foreign vessels, and Ryosenji, where there is a small museum to Commodore Perry. View the Mikomoto Lighthouse. Return to the hotel via the Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces, a well-preserved iron smelting facility built in 1857 at the start of Japan’s industrial revolution.Option for onsen at hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 8: Mishima / Shimoda / Kamakura / Tokyo (Sun,10 Nov) Take a coach to the old Tokaido, the centuries-old route linking Tokyo with the former capital, Kyoto, and walk along its Cedar Avenue. Continue to Hakone and visit the superb Okada Museum of Art. Drive to Kamakura and see the great bronze Buddha, which was cast in 1252. Learn about Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun to effectively rule Japan. Drive to Tokyo and check into Mitsui Garden Ginza Gochome. Talk: “Edo – early Tokyo.” At leisure.
  • Day 9: Tokyo (Mon, 11 Nov) Visit Ueno Park, one of Japan's oldest, surrounded by galleries and museums. In Yokohama, learn of the Namamugi Incident and the 1863 Anglo-Satsuma War. See Yokohama Foreign Cemetery and British House. Talk: “Making modern Japan” before fresh fish izakaya dinner.
  • Day 10: Tokyo (Tues, 12 Nov) Take part in an art and architecture tour visiting the fashionable Harajuku area and see the intricate woodblock prints at the Ota Ukiyoe Woodblock Print Museum. Continue to the Nezu Museum to see its collection of Japanese and Asian pre-modern art and exquisite garden. Farewell Yakiniku barbecue dinner with views of Tokyo Bay.
  • Day 11: Tokyo (Wed, 13 Nov) Depart hotel after breakfast.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is US $5,772 person sharing. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is US $6,918. (Excluding international flights and transfers).

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