RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Japan’s natural galleries

12th May 2013 Print

Feast your eyes on Japan’s little-known visual arts scene and the natural aesthetic delights of her islands and mountains: the unique Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival and two new itineraries from specialist InsideJapan Tours - the self-guided Japan Arts Trail and the escorted Historic Mountains Trail – provide the perfect introduction.

Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival - this is the second Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival, held in the spring, summer and autumn, from 20 March-21 April, 20 July-1 September and 5 October-4 November 2013. Featuring 75 artists’ works across the multiple islands that dot the Seto Inland Sea, this unique and natural gallery exhibits an eclectic spectrum of art by mainly Japanese artists and a sprinkling of international talent, whilst simultaneously showcasing a lesser-visited part of Japan. Appreciate an audio-visual installation on the island of Awashima, famous for its green-glowing fireflies, or see colourful paintings on historical Honjima, with a population of just 490; see huge objects made from rice straw on Shodoshima, famous for soya sauce and somen noodles, or visit Ogijima, where the land is precipitous and works of art are scattered within the maze of narrow alleyways that traverse the island’s steep slopes.

Travel on a ten-night ‘Art Island’ self-guided package costing £1,439 pp (two sharing) including 10 nights’ accommodation, with three nights on the Seto Islands, all domestic transport, Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival Pass and private guide in Kyoto; excludes flights.*

Japan Arts Trail - for those who would like a broader experience of Japan’s art world, consider the new Japan Arts Trail, a tailored 15-night journey that’s full of surprises. Visit rural areas where art has regenerated tourism as well as impressive metropolitan museums and be privy to expert knowledge from specialist guides in Tokyo and Kyoto. From ancient antiques, bold contemporary works and outdoor exhibitions to beautiful gardens, Zen temples and samurai castles, this trip is a true treasure trove.

The Japan Arts Trail itinerary costs from £1,930 pp (two sharing) including 15 nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, four evening meals, airport meet & greet, domestic transfers, eight hours of specialist guiding in Tokyo and Kyoto, InsideJapan Tours info pack, plus more; excludes flights.

Historic Mountain Trails – be captivated by the natural beauty of Japan, found in the Japan Alps and in the form of the sacred Mt Fuji, a perfectly symmetrical cone. InsideJapan Tours’ new Historic Mountain Trails itinerary is a small group escorted tour (departing 7 July 2013) that includes a Mt Fuji climb, via the lesser-trodden Subashiri Trail, timed to summit at dawn. Experience yet more spectacular mountain scenery in the Kiso Valley, situated on an ancient trading route that linked Kyoto and Edo (modern-day Tokyo), and in Kamikochi, home to three mountains and one active volcano, where terrain varies from flat to more challenging. With this itinerary, follow in the footsteps of samurai and visit the villages where they would rest during long journeys; hike in and out of lush forests, across rivers, past pretty ponds and majestic waterfalls, and combine rural peaks and valleys with the backstreets of Kyoto and the neon brilliance of Tokyo. Accommodation is a mixture of Western and Japanese, the latter always offering hot spring baths to soothe muscles after a day of hiking.

The Historic Mountain Trails itinerary costs from £2,100 pp (two sharing) including 13 nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, seven evening meals, cycling tour of Kyoto, airport meet & greet, all transfers, some luggage forwarding and the full-time services of a tour leader.

*To book the ‘Art Island’ self-guided package, please call InsideJapan Tours, tel: 0117 370 9733

For further information about InsideJapanTours, go to