Discover the essence of Japan—from Mt. Fuji, Kanazawa, and Kyoto to Tokyo—and discover a land of sublime art, unsurpassed natural beauty, and fascinating traditions as well as bustling modernity.

Starting at: $6,984 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto  Buddha at Todai-ji Temple  The iconic Mt. Fuji  Traditional kimonos  Entrance to Nijo Castle (detail), Kyoto  Nijo Castle Garden, Kyoto  Ryoan-ji Zen Garden, Kyoto  Todaiji Temple, Nara  The historic houses of Shirakawa-go  An artisan at work  Traditional sushi platter  Sushi-making lesson

Eternal Japan

13 days from $6,984 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Discover the essence of Japan—from Mt. Fuji, Kanazawa, and Kyoto to Tokyo—and discover a land of sublime art, unsurpassed natural beauty, and fascinating traditions as well as bustling modernity.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was a top quality tour! Fabulous rooms, and delicious meals. The best part though is the exceptional tour guides and experts that took us on this amazing journey through Japan. I learned so much and felt completely cared for from them as we traveled from one city to the next. I would recommend traveling with Smithsonian to all my friends and family without hesitation!

- Carol M.

This tour really gave us insights into the culture and language of Japan we couldn't have gotten any other way. 

- Nicky S.

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.

Eternal Japan is a fabulous overview of Japanese culture, with plenty of hands-on experiences and marvelous experts and guides from Smithsonian.

- Kathy, A.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Experts

Apr 1 - 13, 2020 Departure; Oct 24 - Nov 5, 2020 Departure
Lee Makela

Lee Makela

Lee Makela is Associate Professor of East Asian History, Emeritus, at Cleveland State University.  His academic interests include traditional urban architecture, garden design, and contemporary popular culture.  Beginning while a Fulbright Scholar in Japan in 1979, he amassed an extensive image collection which allowed him to develop a wide range of illustrated online educational materials.  His "Teaching and Learning About Japan" web site was honored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and he received an Excellence in Teaching Award from CSU in 2001.  Lee has served as study leader on numerous Smithsonian-sponsored Japan tours since 1980.
 

Apr 18 - 30, 2020 Departure
Robert Foster

Robert Foster

Robert W. Foster has been fascinated by Chinese culture since he first read a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching in high school. Since that early encounter with a strikingly unfamiliar worldview, he has spent his academic career developing a better understanding of the history of one of the world's great civilizations. After receiving a B.A. in History from Kenyon College in Ohio, Foster pursued graduate work at Harvard University, where he earned his Master's degree in East Asia Studies (1990) and his Ph.D. in Chinese History (1997), during which time he was an exchange student at Peking University (1990-1991). Since 1997, he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of History at Berea College, where he created the Asian Studies program. Although his courses at Berea focus on Chinese and Japanese history, Foster has also developed a broader understanding of the cultural interactions throughout East Asia and between China and Central Asia. Foster has been a participant in National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes on the Silk Road sponsored by the East-West Center in Hawaii and seminars on modern China at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. Foster has worked to make Chinese culture more accessible to a Western audience. He has translated key Classical Chinese texts, has written on China's relation to the Silk Road, on Confucian philosophy, and on the modern use of Confucian imagery in the PRC and Japan. Recognizing the value of directly engaging Asian cultures, he has taken student and faculty groups to the Peoples' Republic of China and Japan. He has served as Smithsonian Lecturer in China and has led workshops on Asia with organizations as diverse as the U.S. military and secondary school educators in Kentucky.

Apr 25 - May 7, 2020 Departure
John Freedman

John Freedman

Dr. John Freedman is an independent scholar and passionate world traveler who has explored over 160 countries on seven continents. He has been a featured lecturer and designated Asian Studies Expert on over 100 land, sea and river trips for Smithsonian Journeys and other prestigious educational travel programs. John is an ardent Japanophile with a wealth of knowledge that stems from endless study and innumerable trips to the Land of the Rising Sun. John’s presentations combine serious scholarship with an engaging presentation style and rich photojournalistic content gleaned from his own extensive photographic archives. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Medical School, John practiced medicine in California for 34 years before retiring from his clinical practice in 2014 to pursue his passion for travel and teaching full-time. When not exploring faraway lands, John resides in the Sonoma wine country of northern California with his wife, Tina, a wine educator. John looks forward to deepening your understanding and enjoyment of fascinating Japan - a uniquely intriguing land historically and culturally, and one of the world’s most emotionally involving destinations.

May 4 - 16, 2020 Departure
Louisa McDonald

Louisa McDonald

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.

May 11 - 23, 2020 Departure
Constantine Vaporis

Constantine Vaporis

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.

Aug 29 - Sep 10, 2020 Departure
Paula Swart

Paula Swart

Paula Swart is an art historian with expertise in Asian art, culture, and history, and has spent most of her professional life as a curator of Asian Studies. She is a lecturer in the Continuing Education Departments of the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria where she has taught a series of courses related to UNESCO World Heritage. Paula holds degrees in Sinology, Asian art history, Chinese history, and archaeology, having spent two years studying in China. She speaks five languages, including Mandarin, and has published several books and numerous articles on the art and architecture of Asian cultures. One of her recent articles “The Legacy of Cham Royal worship: The Danang Museum of Cham sculpture” published in the 2018 November-December issue of Arts of Asia, discusses the Cham culture of Central Vietnam.

Paula has enjoyed introducing visitors to Asian culture and history for more than 30 years, having participated in well over 50 expeditions by train, ship or private jet.

Sep 12 - 24, 2020 Departure
Jonathan Hall

Jonathan Hall

Jonathan M. Hall is a film researcher and curator in Media Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California. An expert in East Asian film cultures, Jonathan's research profile extends to avant-garde art and digital technologies. In 2004-2005, Jonathan co-curated “JPEX: Japanese Experimental Film, 1955-now,” the most extensive program of Japanese experimental film to tour outside Japan; he has also served as Festival Fellow for the Cinema/Pacific Festival where he curated a program on sound in recent Japanese cinema.  His published articles and forthcoming book include writing on kabuki dance, Japanese postwar photography, and mid-20th century avant-garde film.  Jonathan has previously 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.

Oct 3 - 15, 2020 Departure
Barry Till

Barry Till

Barry Till is a Curator Emeritus of Asian art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in Canada. With a wide-ranging knowledge of Asia's history, archaeology, and cultures, Barry has travelled extensively and lectured on numerous expeditions—including trips to China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar—for more than thirty years. He has published more than 100 exhibition catalogues (including The Buddhist Arts of Asia), books, and articles on various Asian art topics, and is an enthusiastic and engaging speaker. In 2008, Barry received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Museums Association. He speaks Chinese, holds degrees in Far Eastern Studies, and studied at Oxford and at Nanjing University in China.