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

Hard to top this trip! It was well planned and the opportunity to see smaller cities such as Takayama made this trip very special. There was no way could we have seen, experienced and learned so very much about this country on our own … especially over a limited number of days! Very good value. This was our second Smithsonian journey and, as we experienced with our first, excellent arrangements, enrichment program, and educational impact. This was simply an outstanding introduction to Japanese culture; it topped our expectations.

- Suzanne and Peter C.

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.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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Experts

Oct 3 - 15, 2020 Departure; May 22 - Jun 3, 2021 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.

Oct 24 - Nov 5, 2020 Departure; Apr 5 - 17, 2021 Departure; Oct 4 - 16, 2021 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 14 - 26, 2021 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 26 - May 8, 2021 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 10 - 22, 2021 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.

Aug 28 - Sep 9, 2021 Departure
Jonathan Hall

Jonathan Hall

Jonathan M. Hall is Visiting Assistant Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of California Riverside where he teaches courses in Japanese literature, history, film and aesthetics. His broad range of courses includes Classical Japanese Literature, Cultures of the Floating World, Japanese film history, and modern Japanese women’s literature. His published articles and book manuscript include writing on kabuki dance, Japanese postwar photography and performance, and twentieth-century Japanese film. Jonathan is also active as a film subtitler and occasional dramaturge for contemporary performance. Following graduate work pursued dually at the University of Tokyo and the University of California Santa Cruz, Jonathan has taught at the University of Chicago, the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, the University of Leeds (UK), and several University of California campuses.

Sep 11 - 23, 2021 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.

Oct 23 - Nov 4, 2021 Departure
Carol Morland

Carol Morland

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.