Japan - Historical and Contemporary

5 - 15 Nov 2023
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Travel with Jason James, 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 an onsen and an extension to Nagasaki after the tour.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Jason James

Jason James

Jason James 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).

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

  • Day 1: Osaka (Sun, 5 Nov) Arrive and transfer to the Swissotel Nankai Osakal. Short talk: “An overview and introduction to Osaka.” Welcome dinner at an izakaya with drinks.
  • Day 2: Osaka (Mon, 6 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, 7 Nov) Take the train 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. Visit 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 Intergate Hotel and enjoy a barbecue dinner at a traditional nagaya townhouse restaurant.
  • Day 4: Kyoto (Wed, 8 Nov) Visit sixteenth-century Nijo Castle, the Golden Temple and explore Gion. At leisure or optional introduction to Zen Buddhism and meditation in the Myoshin-ji Complex. Shojin cuisine dinner at Hanazono Kaikan.
  • Day 5: Kyoto (Thurs, 9 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. If time allows there is the option of walking the Philosopher’s Path. Dinner at Kizakura Kappa Country Restaurant with sake pairings and tastings.
  • Day 6: Kyoto / Mishima (Fri, 10 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. Option for onsen at hotel. Talk: “Barbarians at the gate.”
  • Day 7: Mishima / Hakone / Mishima (Sat, 11 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. Have lunch at the famous Fujiya Hotel. 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. Dinner at Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji with craft beer tasting.
  • Day 8: Mishima / Shimoda / Kamakura / Tokyo (Sun,12 Nov) Visit Shimoda and Ryosenji, where there is a small museum to Commodore Perry. View the Mikomoto Lighthouse. 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.” Fresh fish Izakaya dinner at Shin-Hinomoto Yurakucho.
  • Day 9: Tokyo (Mon, 13 Nov) Explore historical Tokyo by subway, including Zojo-ji Temple, Sangedatsu-mon Gate and the Tokugawa Mausoleum and Museum. Local lunch. 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 an evening at leisure.
  • Day 10: Tokyo (Tues, 14 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, 15 Nov) Depart for the airport or join Nagasaki extension.

Extension to Nagasaki: 15 – 18 Nov 2023

  • Day 11: Tokyo (Wed, 16 Nov) Fly from Tokyo to Nagasaki and check into Nagasaki ANA Crowne Plaza. Take a Gunkanjima cruise (subject to weather) and visit the Gunkanjima Digital Museum. Champon lunch at Shikairou.
  • Day 12: Nagasaki (Thurs, 16 Nov) Full day tour to visit part of Hirado, a Japanese city located on several islands near Nagasaki. Visit the Dutch Trading Post (now a museum) and Matsura Historical Museum, which displays artifacts in a former local clan mansion. Lunch at Irori Restaurant Ebisu-tei. Visit the striking green-and-white St. Francis Xavier Church and enjoy panoramic views from atop Hirado Castle.
  • Day 13: Nagasaki (Fri, 17 Nov) Explore the trading history of Nagasaki and learn about Scottish-born trader Thomas Blake Glover, the Scot who helped shape modern Japan. Visit Glover Garden, an open air museum that exhibits mansions of several of the city's former foreign residents, including the Glover residence. Visit Dejima. Lunch at a local restaurant. Visit the Atomic Bomb Museum.
  • Day 14: Nagasaki (Sat, 18 Nov) Depart for the airport.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is $5,772 per person sharing. The cost of the Nagasaki extension is £TBC per person sharing.

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