From historic castle towns to the dazzle of downtown Tokyo, experience the essence of Japan past and present, delving into art, cuisine, and spiritual traditions in great cities and stunning rural areas.

Starting at: $8,284 * Price includes special offer * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Higashiyama District in Kyoto
 Monk at Buddhist shrine in Kyoto
 Evening panorama of Tokyo
 The Tokyo-Edo Museum
 The Shinto Meiji Shrine, Tokyo
 Asakusa Kannon, or Sensoji Temple, Tokyo
 Tokyo's Ginza district
 Mt. Fuji and Ashi Lake
 The iconic Mt. Fuji
 Old Town, Takayama
 The historic houses of Shirakawa-go
 The art of gold leaf, Kanazawa. Credit: Courtesy Japan Tourism Bureau
 The art of calligraphy
 The art of the Japanese tea ceremony
 Traditional sushi platter
 Sushi-making lesson
 Traditional kimonos
 Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto
 Entrance to Nijo Castle (detail), Kyoto
 Nijo Castle Garden, Kyoto
 Ryoan-ji Zen Garden, Kyoto
 Kofuku-ji Temple, Nara
 Todai-ji Temple, Nara
 Buddha at Todai-ji Temple, Nara

Eternal Japan

13 days from $8,284 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

From historic castle towns to the dazzle of downtown Tokyo, experience the essence of Japan past and present, delving into art, cuisine, and spiritual traditions in great cities and stunning rural areas.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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.


See All Journeys Dispatches ››


Sep 13 - 25, 2023 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 2 - 14, 2023 Departure; Apr 20 - May 2, 2024 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.

Oct 25 - Nov 6, 2023 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.

May 4 - 16, 2024 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 JapanTour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo and the Culture of Early Modern JapanVoices of the Shogun's Age: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life in Tokugawa, Japan, 1603-1868 (2nd edition); Samurai. An Encyclopedia of Japan’s Cultured Warriors; and (pre-press) The Samurai in Fifteen Lives, he also remains fascinated by contemporary Japan. He has received numerous fellowships for research in Japanese history including a Fulbright Scholar's Award, an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers, an appointment as the 2013-2016 UMBC Presidential Research Professor, and an appointment as a Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. in 2020-21. 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. 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.

Sep 16 - 28, 2024 Departure; Oct 7 - 19, 2024 Departure
Geeta Mehta

Geeta Mehta

Geeta Mehta is an adjunct professor of architecture and urban design at Columbia University in New York. She has lived in Japan for 23 years with her family, where she taught Japanese Art History at Temple University’s Japan Campus and co-authored five books on Japan published by Tuttle Press. These include New Japan Architecture, Japan Gardens, Japan Living, Japan Houses and Japan Style. Geeta also served as the president of the American Institute of Architects’ Japan Chapter while in Tokyo. She received her education from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi and Columbia University, and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. Her experience of working in India, China and Korea and several countries in Europe, Africa and South America enables her to bring a global perspective to her teaching and speaking engagements. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Friends of University of Tokyo. Geeta was recognized as one of the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women’s eNews in 2015. She is fluent in spoken Japanese.

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