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Folk Craft, Bullet Trains & Good Food

Japanese garden path Our tour concept began as an in-depth look at Japan’s Arts & Crafts Movement (traditional mingei) - and the new handwork inspired by it (kogei).  We imagined a tour with fewer shrines and lots of good food.  This original vision remains.  But we could not ignore the paradox of Japan’s modern vigor and innovation.  The surface disparities between old and new unfold from the same, uniquely Japanese chemistry between nature, spirituality, and the practical needs of island life.  So, in addition to traditional craft and architecture, we added: two of Japan’s three Great Gardens, the haunting, post-modern architecture of Tadao Ando, celebrated Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s remote studio, and more.


“We” are sculptor/philosopher David Orth, and veteran tour guide Steve Adelsman.  We invite you to join us in a search for Japanese craft, architecture, and the core sensitivities that have energized both old and new.  David comes, not as an historian, but as a practicing American artist, long-influenced by Japanese philosophy and art.  Steve (leading tours in Japan since 2002) is a genius with Japan’s complex transit system, understands Japanese culture and history, and knows how to find good food and lodging to keep us fed, rested, and happy.

Our destinations will include traditional architectural and craft districts, hands-on participation in at least three arts & crafts, great museums, shops, gardens, and a Japanese art supply house.  Many of these are hard to find and rarely seen by tourists.  Our travel will range widely from Mashiko north of Tokyo to Takamatsu in the south - putting us on three islands and in many towns.  This is not a bus tour.  We will walk and rub shoulders with local folk, catch ferries and taxis, trains and city buses, and generally have all kinds of real Japanese experiences.

Tour Includes:

Japanese Bridge
  • 14 Day Fully Escorted, Land-only Tour
  • Lodging (Double or Twin Occupancy, mainly 4-star Hotels) for 13 nights, including breakfast
  • All transportation as required for our itinerary in Japan, including Two-week Rail Passes, allowing us to ride on the famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
  • Daily Included Lunch or Dinner (outstanding quality and variety), with the exception of departure day 
  • Entrance fees for all included attractions, craft experiences, and costs of local guides/artisans
  • Full-time services of Steve Adelsman, Logistics & Cultural Guide, and David Orth, Thematic Guide
  • Good FoodDestinations include Kanazawa, Kyoto, the island of Naoshima, Takamatsu, Kurashiki, Kawasaki, Tokyo & more.  We specifically include Yanagi's seminal Folk Craft Museum; the Mashiko pottery district (where Hamada worked); and a wide range of metalworking; print-making; bamboo craft; woodworking; stonework, sculpture; 2 of the 3 Great Gardens; and several museum complexes by the post-modernist Tadao Ando.  As previously mentioned, 3 or more hands-on art & craft experiences are also included.

For more information about David Orth and his background please visit his website:

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The Folk Craft, Bullet Trains & Good Food Tour is offered on the following dates:
(Note: participants coming from the Americas must depart one day earlier)

  • November 6-19, 2018
  • March 5-18, 2019
  • May 7-20, 2019

Other tour dates may be offered based on interest.  Tours will be guaranteed with eight commitments. The maximum group size will be ten.

Price: $8,395 per person, Double or Twin Occupancy, subject to hotel availability and Yen/USD exchange rate.  For anyone willing to stay in less fancy hotels for many of the nights the cost will be $1,400 less per person.  For deluxe lodging Single Supplement is $1150.

Register now:

Register Online
Download Registration Form Here (Acrobat PDF file). Please print out the registration form, fill out the information and mail it to Adventures In Japan.


*Please note: this is a Land-only tour; you are responsible for getting to and from Japan.  Steve (or one of his associates) will meet you as you emerge from Customs at Narita Airport in Tokyo on the Tour Commencement Date.  Flights from North America always depart a day earlier, since you "lose a day" crossing the International Date Line.

If you are considering arriving at Haneda Airport, or have other plans for arriving in Tokyo, please discuss this with Steve as early as possible.  Some flights into Haneda arrive at very inconvenient times (which is probably one reason they are usually cheaper)