DAY 1 Monday 16 November 2020 Departure
Today we board our overnight flights to Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo is the political, economic and cultural capital of Japan. There are over twelve million people living in Tokyo and many millions more living within a radius of fifty kilometres.
DAY 2 Tuesday 17 November 2020 Tokyo, Japan
This morning we arrive in Tokyo. On arrival we will have a city tour of this exciting city. We see the famous Ginza area and visit the Imperial Palace East Garden, which is still part of the Royal Residence. It is a superb example of traditional Japanese landscape design. We continue with a visit to Asakusa, the heart of traditional Japan. The main attraction is Sensoji, an ancient Buddhist temple built in the 7th century. We will have time to walk along Nakamisedori, the bustling market area, where we are able to buy souvenirs and food. Later we are transferred to our city hotel. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner to meet Phil Dudman and other tour members.
DAY 3 Wednesday 18 November 2020 Tokyo, Japan
Today we visit the beautiful Omiya Museum, the most outstanding centre for bonsai in Japan. Opened in 2010, it has a collection of over 100 bonsai masterpieces. In addition, we will see bonsai pots, miniature landscapes, books and woodblock prints. We continue our day with a visit to the Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien garden. The landscape garden will display gorgeous autumn colours. It features seawater ponds which change level with the tides and gorgeous views of lakes and hills.
DAY 4 Thursday 19 November 2020 Tokyo, Japan
This morning we visit Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens swathed in autumn colour. Built in 1629, it is one of the oldest and best gardens in Japan and is named after a poem. In the afternoon we will have free time to explore Tokyo.
DAY 5 Friday 20 November 2020 Embarkation
This morning we travel to Yokohama to visit the incredible Sankeien Garden. The sight of red spider lilies combined with the brilliant autumn colour of Japanese maples and gingko trees is simply breathtaking. The garden also features many important cultural buildings which have been relocated from around the country. Following the visit, we are transferred to the port of Yokohama to board the Diamond Princess for our cruise around Japan.
DAY 6 Saturday 21 November 2020 Toba, Japan
After docking in Toba we will visit Hinjitsukan, a reception house for honoured guests, where we will see traditional architecture from the Meiji era. We continue with a visit to the Ise Jingu Shrine Naiku, which is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sun. We’ll go to the nearby shopping street, created in the style of a marketplace from the Meiji era, where tour members will enjoy the unique atmosphere. Following this, we will have an early afternoon return to the ship.
DAY 7 Sunday 22 November 2020 Takamatsu, Japan
Today we arrive at the stunning city of Takamatsu on Shikoku, the smallest of the four main Japanese Islands. On our tour today we travel over the Seto-Ohashi Bridge and visit Kinashi Bonsai Village where they have been growing bonsai for sale for over 250 years and there are over 100 specialised nurseries. Later we visit Ritsurin Park, a 350-year-old garden, famous for its magnificent autumn colours, koi pond and landscaped hills. It also includes the Chrysanthemum Moon Pavilion.
DAY 8 Monday 23 November 2020 Kochi, Japan
This morning we dock in Kochi, the capital of Kochi Prefecture on the southern coast of Shikoku where we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. We visit Kochi Castle, one of just 12 Japanese castles to have survived the fires, wars and other catastrophes of the post feudal age. The castle used to be the seat of the Yamauchi lords, who ruled over the surrounding region, then known as Tosa, during the Edo Period. The castle buildings have since been designated ‘important cultural properties’, and now house local treasures and historical objects. We visit Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden, which has many native plants of the local region and gorgeous views over the city of Kochi. We continue with a visit to the museum dedicated to Tomitaro Makino a celebrated botanist and botanical illustrator.
DAY 9 Tuesday 24 November 2020 Matsuyama, Japan
On our tour today we visit Ninomaru Historical Garden located in the foothills of Mount Katsuyama in the restored Matsuyama Castle. We will have a wonderful bird’s eye view of Matsuyama and the Seto Inland Sea. We also visit Koshin-an Historical garden. Located in the garden is the humble cottage of poet Hurita Chodo, built in 1800 and beautifully restored.
DAY 10 Wednesday 25 November 2020 At sea
A day at sea is the perfect opportunity to explore the fabulous facilities of this magnificent ship. Perhaps visit the Spa for a relaxing massage. Late morning join us for an interesting talk by Phil about his life in gardening and the media.
DAY 11 Thursday 26 November 2020 Busan, South Korea
We call in to the port of Busan, South Korea, where we will travel to the ancient Silla capital, Gyeong-Ju, a place UNESCO designated as one of the world’s top 10 historic sites. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city including the 8thcentury Bulguksa Temple, located on the slopes of Mount Tohan.
DAY 12 Friday 27 November 2020 At sea
A day at sea is the perfect opportunity to explore the fabulous facilities of this magnificent ship. This afternoon you are invited to join Phil Dudman for a game of Gardening Trivia.
DAY 13 Saturday 28 November 2020 Shimizu, Japan
Today we arrive at Shimizu at the base of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain and the focal point of the sprawling Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. This morning we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of this very special area, named for the Buddhist fire goddess Fuchi, which is sacred to the Shinto goddess Sengen- Sama, whose shrine can be found at the summit. Mount Fuji is the holiest of Japan’s ‘Three Holy Mountains’. We travel through the Owakudani Valley and enjoy a ride on the Hakone Ropeway’s aerial cable car. This offers amazing views of nearby Hakone National Park, where the trees should be in full autumn colour. We will then enjoy a cruise on beautiful Lake Ashi.
DAY 14 Sunday 29 November 2020 Kyoto, Japan
This morning we arrive in Yokohama. After disembarking we will travel by the Bullet Train to Kyoto, which will be our home for three nights. On arrival we will have a panoramic tour of Kyoto to see the main sights. We will visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, completed in 1855 and home of the Imperial household from that date until the Meiji Restoration, when they moved to Tokyo. There is an attractive garden surrounding the Palace. This evening we will visit the Kodai-ji temple, which has a fantastic light show in autumn to highlight the spectacular autumn colours of the trees surrounding the temple and the rock garden.
DAY 15 Monday 30 November 2020 Kyoto, Japan
This morning we visit the gorgeous garden of Saihoji, known as the Moss Temple. Within a walled garden, a unique and fragile landscape of mosses unfolds around a central pond. It is the most famous moss garden in the world with more than 100 species. We continue with a visit to Fushimi Inari, the most famous shrine dedicated to the Shinto god of rice. It is most famed for its thousands of red torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings, offering amazing photographic opportunities. The afternoon will be free for individual activities.
DAY 16 Tuesday 1 December 2020 Kyoto, Japan
Today we visit the Kinkakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. It was built in the late 14th century with three stories topped with gold leaf. It extends over a pond, which reflects the building and is surrounded by a beautiful landscaped garden. We also visit the Silver Pavilion and the nearby picturesque Philosopher’s Path, which extends along the river under cherry trees. In the afternoon we will visit the Ryoanji Temple, and its famous rock garden. Attributed to the artist Soami, it was created in the 16th century in a space of 30 by 10 metres. Following the waterless stream style, the garden is composed of 15 rocks set into raked white gravel. The arrangement of rocks in the Zen garden represents mountains, and the sparse vegetation is symbolic of an individual’s journey through life. We will enjoy a dinner tonight to say farewell to Phil and other group members.
DAY 17 Wednesday 2 December 2020 Departure
This morning is free for independent sightseeing. Later we are transferred to the airport for our flight back to Australia
DAY 18 Thursday 3 December, 2020 Arrival Australia
This morning we arrive back in Australia and tour activities conclude.