Eternal Japan: From Tokyo to Kyoto

Go off the beaten path and explore Japan in depth, learning about its rich traditions as you take part in a traditional tea ceremony, meet with a preeminent calligrapher, and stroll through Miyakawacho, a geisha neighborhood.

Starting at: $5,986 * Including airfare, airline taxes & departure fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Young Geishas offer a picturesque pose against sake barrels  Mt. Fuji  An artisan at work  Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Gate  Daibutsu or "Great Buddha" in Nara, Japan  Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion  Nara's Daibutsu Todai-ji  The historic houses of Shirakawa-go

Tour Details



This Smithsonian Journeys trip exceeded my expectations. The quality of leadership and their narratives, the hotels, and local guides make my trip rich beyond words. Thank you Smithsonian for a special life experience.

Cheryl B.


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Constantine Vaporis

Constantine Vaporis

May 13 - 25, 2015

Constantine N. Vaporis is a Professor of History and Founding Director of Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Though his research focuses on the Edo period, Professor Vaporis is deeply interested in the entire range of Japanese history and teaches his courses from an East Asian or comparative context. Author of Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan; Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern Japan; Voices of the Shogun's Age: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life in Tokugawa, Japan, 1603-1868 and (pre-press) Sword and Brush: Portraits of Samurai Life in Tokugawa Japan, he also remains fascinated by contemporary Japan. He has received numerous fellowships for research in Japanese history including a Fulbright Scholar's Award and an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers. Having received his Ph.D. from Princeton's East Asian Studies department, he began teaching at UMBC in 1989, has had visiting appointments at The Johns Hopkins University and University of Pennsylvania, and was recently appointed the 2013-2016 UMBC Presidential Research Professor. He frequently conducts workshops in Japanese history for teachers and museum docents as well as three-day courses on contemporary Japanese and Asian history for various U.S. government agencies. Vaporis first traveled to Japan in 1978, and has continued to travel there almost yearly. He has lived in a number of different cities across the country--Tokyo, Kyoto, Kochi, Hiroshima--for a total of roughly seven years.

Carol Morland

Carol Morland

Sep 16 - 28, 2015

Carol Morland is a Japanese art historian, with special expertise in the painting of the Edo period. She has taught courses in East and Southeast Asian art at the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, Nanzan University (Nagoya, Japan), Temple University Japan (Tokyo), and the University of Hawaii. In addition, Carol has been an editor for Orientations in Hong Kong and has translated Japanese articles for that magazine and other publications. Most recently, she was an assistant curator at the Honolulu Museum of Art, where she focused on the museum’s collection of ukiyo-e. Carol holds an M.A. in Japanese Studies and a Ph.D. in Japanese art history from the University of Michigan. She has two decades of experience living, working, and studying in Japan and China. Current research topics include the changing concepts of Japanese portraiture in the early modern period and the rise of amateur painting circles in the Nagoya area during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Louisa McDonald

Louisa McDonald

Sep 26 - Oct 8, 2015

Aya Louisa McDonald, is an Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of the Art Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas specializing in Japanese art . She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Art from Stanford University and did post-graduate studies in Japanese art history at Tokyo University. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the gender distinctions in medieval Japanese narrative scroll painting. After a post-doc at Harvard University, where she was an Associate in Research at the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, she taught in New England before joining the faculty at UNLV. Louisa’s scholarly interests range widely from French Japonisme to modern and contemporary Japanese art. Currently, her research is focused on the relationship between art and war, particularly the World War II war art of the Japanese artist Fujita Tsuguharu (1886-1968). She is co-editor of Art and War in Japan and its Empire: 1931-1960, an anthology of art historical essays, including her own, published in 2012 by Brill (Leiden) in the Japanese Visual Culture Series.

Jonathan Hall

Jonathan Hall

May 14 - 26, 2016

Jonathan M. Hall is a film researcher and curator in Media Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California. An expert in Japanese film culture, Jonathan's research profile extends to avant-garde art and digital technology on the one hand and to film's intersections with literature and history on the other. He is interested in how Japanese arts both express and question dominant culture. In the mid 1990s, Jonathan co-curated JPEX: Japanese Experimental Film, 1955-now, the most extensive program of Japanese experimental film to tour outside Japan. Jonathan has also taught at the University of Chicago, the University of California, and the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo. He pursued his graduate work simultaneously at the University of Tokyo and the University of California Santa Cruz.