Monkey See, Monkey Do
Fri 5th to Thu 18th,
14 days / 13 nights Minimum 4 people Maximum 8 people
This Tour was postponed to FEB 2024 due to COVID
Fee includes ALL accommodation, ALL breakfasts * and dinners, transport on the tour, admissions and hires.
You pay for your own international airfare, rail pass, airport transfer, drinks and souvenirs. * except breakfast on the run.
Single supplement about $ 500 where available.
A combination of :
Monkeys: Snow monkeys we "discovered" dipping in the hot spa in early 1980s. Struth. One of the world's biggest monkey parks.
Art: Roppongi gallery hopping. Borderless. Taro Okamoto. Arty stroll in the arty suburbs of Tokyo. Arty Kanazawa. Reversible destiny.
Dinner: Variety is the spice of life, that is our dinner theme. We will never make you bored with dinner. Our selection include a vinyl spinning Southeast Asian style, world cuisines, amazing Yakitori and home cooking, Izakaya food, all at its best.
You will never be disappointed. Or hungry. Extraordinary selection, a culinary journey on its own, like no other.
Accom: From an assuming heritage listed guesthouse, built in the arty 1930s, miraculously survived the destruction of the war in 1940s, retro modern, to the real Edo period ryokan, which is an architectural marvel as well.
In between, we have western style hotels, and all sorts of strangeness.
Day -1 (THU MAR 4 )
Pre Tour, we arrive in Tokyo, and gather in Akasaka. Dinner and accom NOT included, but can be arranged for keen beans.
Day 1 (FRI MAR 5 )Tokyo
Tour kicks off around 10am after breakfast when we are assembled. The overnight flyers arriving early morning join at the hotel.
We will do the Roppongi Art Lobrow Septangle. After lunch we will head towards Shibuya, via the house and workspace of Taro Okamoto. In Shibuya, we see a giant mural by Taro Okamoto, recently recovered and restored, and the railway station designed by Tadao Ando. Art and design hidden in plain view. It’s an arty strolling day.
Dinner at a good hearty Japanese style restaurant. Where else?
Day 2 (SAT MAR 6 ) Tokyo
After breakfast in the hotel, we will move to a pre-war ryokan in the suburbs.
We will study the arcane arcades of incidental art, for the first chew on Chuo Line . We will move by foot and rail to visit various suburbs along the line and maybe Arty Tachikawa, where we will play "I Spy" the art, as well as an outdoor sculpture park,
and then some stop in Nakano. Dinner will be at a funky Thai bar / restaurant with spinning vinyl and enjoy watching the guy
find your request from the piles of 20,000+ vinyls. We will take advance musical requests if you have one.
Day 3 (SUN MAR 7 ) Tokyo
After breakfast we go to Borderless where we see the outstanding and unique latest offerings from the Team Lab. Then to an art factory for the taste of the art imitating rubbish. Literally. Time and weather permitting, we may go further to a Taro Okamoto museum nearby. Dinner? a “world cuisine”. You can keep guessing what you get.
Day 4 (MON MAR 8 ) Tokyo to the Japanese Alps
After breakfast and a short train ride, we take a bullet train, and a local train and then we arrive at our Onsen, where we have been welcomed for the last 30 plus years! Old school Japanese style. Afternoon at leisure. Strolling around the old hot spa village in the traditional garb, and taking in the Nine baths of Hardship, public hot springs, to wash away your hardship,
and then we will have the dinner of a lifetime at our ryokan.
Day 5 (TUE MAR 9 ) First Monkeys
After breakfast (easily the biggest and the best Japanese style you would say), we visit the Monkeys in the snow, having hot spa,
maybe joining in and then stroll back down the mountain for the second dinner of a lifetime,
same place, same time as the evening before but different. Have another round of bathing and walk, it’s a blissful place.
Day 6 (WED MAR 10), Nagano
Leaving the Onsen after breakfast, we head to Nagano. We explore Nagano's famed buddhist temple, Zenkoji or the forgotten Underground Secret City that will blow your mind, before heading back to the Best Hotel (literally) in Nagano.
Dinner will be one of the local alley / drinking / eating establishments, within strolling distance,
so many to choose from, but research has been done, and we have chosen!
DAY 7 (THU MAR 11) Kanazawa
After breakfast in the Best Hotel, we take a Shinkansen to Kanazawa, and go strolling down to the 21st century gallery,
to see the award winning building itself, which houses Leandro Erlich’s swimming pool, James Turrell’s Blue Planet Sky
as well as other arty delights in the art pearl of the West Coast.
In the afternoon, we visit a museum dedicated to the karakuri works, mechanical puppets and automata from the Edo period.
The museum building, designed by Syozo Uchii, is well worth the look. Dinner is a choice Kanazawa cuisine.
DAY 8 (FRI MAR 12) Kyoto
After breakfast, we travel to Kyoto on the "Thunderbird" train. Through the Japanese Alps mountains, this is a Great Train Ride.
We drop the stuff at our new ryokan, and then have an afternoon around Kyoto, including the sensational samurai Nijo Castle
and the informative and exciting eye candy of the Manga Museum, or Oyamazaki Sanso gallery.
Dinner in Kyoto, local and appropriate.
DAY 9 (SAT MAR 13) Kyoto
After breakfast we go out exploring the Arashiyama area on old tram, visiting the samurai film theme park, and you can visit
as many shrines and temples as you like! More monkeys are on parade at a fine monkey park.
Dinner, as always, will be somewhere interesting, stay tuned.
DAY 10 (SUN MAR 14) Osaka
After breakfast, we head to Osaka, check in to our Western style digs, and head to see the arty sights
inc the ultimate arty rubbish moment at the world’s largest garbage incinerator, and its sister sewage treatment plant.
It’s art, not shit, and was agreed to be the highlight of past tours.
We will trammit, stroll it, be shaken, and check out parks, \ have an earthquake experience, and stroll the area where kitsch is king.
Dinner will be Japanese in a gawdy former old school brothel in the red light area.
DAY 11 (MON MAR 15) Osaka
Today we will do a day trip for art exploration at the Tadanori Yokoo museum, and check out the world’s largest Gigantor.
Perhaps a trip thru Osaka history, ancient (really old) or recent (funky arcades and markets ).
To cap it all, we will take in a secret steampunk bar for a beer,
then a local Japanese izakaya where we can bring our own music if we want !
DAY 12 (TUE MAR 16) Ise
We will head to Ise, the spiritual capital of the nation.
Our accommodation is the amazing centuries old former brothel on the ancient pilgrimage road.
Most likely we will have the whole joint to ourselves.
Dinner will be walking distance at a local izakaya, where the fish is said to be the best in Japan, by the Professor!
Carnivores and vegetarians catered for too.
Day 13 (WED MAR 17 ) Ise
Following breakfast, we will explore Ise and its vicinity, indulging in the time warp theme park village
with all sorts of ninja nonsense and samurai action, and scary arty stuff. Optional, if you want to see the real grand shrines,
we will walk down the old pilgrim road to the grand shrines of Ise. For our last night together, and to celebrate the end of a journey, we will have a grand farewell private slap up dinner in our ryokan.
Day 14 (THU MAR 18 )
Following our final breakfast, we will head back by bullet train to Tokyo (with lunch on the go), either to the airport,
or perhaps some stay on in Tokyo. Whichever, we will assist you to get to your destination. Domo Arigato Sayonara!!