For Charles' Family

August 2018.

An Art-Focused Journey

Dear Charles,

I have known you for a long time and we have created travel for you all over the world.  I know of your love of contemporary art and architecture and, for Japan, we have taken a different tack for you and focused quite narrowly on galleries, art installations and architecture.  Japan is one of my most favorite countries and we have an array of wonderful guides and experts with whom you will connect.  But I have also left you plenty of time on your own – facilitated by an extremely courteous driver and comfortable car – to pursue other interests on your own.  We have provided you with annotated lists of shops where you can find the clothing you are looking for, the purveyors of craft sake and interesting bookshops.  We will be available 24/7 by phone to finetune your itinerary as you go along as well as to answer any immediate questions you may have.  Enjoy yourself!



Day 1:  Arrival

On arrival in Narita, you will be met by an agent from Gilded Globe at the top of the jet bridge and escorted through customs to your private driver. The agent will be holding a sign with your name displayed on it. Meet your driver and transfer to your hotel, Aman Tokyo.


Dinner and Drinks:

If you want a light dinner tonight, you can settle in to the hotel’s quiet library situated off the soaring lobby.



Day 2. Morning, Omotesando Architecture Walk; Independent Afternoon to Visit the Yanaka Area and  SCAI The Bathhouse

Your guide, Yumi, will meet you this morning to accompany you to the Omotesando district for shopping.  You will have a guided walk through the Harajuku area with a local architect who is also the head of the future design institute.  End your morning with a visit to the Meiji shrine.


After lunch, your driver will take you to the Yanaka area, starting at SCAI The Bathhouse, a beautiful little gallery in a converted neighborhood bathhouse. The area, a delightful corner of old-Tokyo with a cozy community feeling, is also perfect for exploring on foot.


A list of recommendations will be provided. The driver will be fully briefed, and our team will be on call in the afternoon if you need in-person assistance.


Dinner and Drinks:

Sushi dinner (mostly limited to what you are comfy with, although the chef might try to challenge you to try new things while you’re here!) with one of our favorite chefs.



Day 3. Independent Morning in Daikanyama; Gallery Afternoon (Guided)

Rather than eating breakfast in the hotel again, head over to Daikanyama and enjoy an international breakfast selection at Ivy Place – eat al fresco on the terrace and people-watch in this very fashionable corner of Tokyo. Then explore the amazing Tsutaya bookshop – one of the best in the world – and follow up with coffee on the elevated terrace of Saturday’s Surf Café, overlooking the rooftops of Naka-Meguro. When the shops open at 11am, you’ll find all sorts of places to explore in the backstreets of this charming area.


An expert in Japanese Modern art will accompany you this afternoon to some of the galleries that have interesting exhibitions on at this time, possibly including Koyama Gallery, Taka Ishii, Mizuma Art Gallery, and Gallery Koyanagi. Whenever interesting for you, we will introduce you to the gallery owners or curators.


Dinner and Drinks:

Casual yakitori in a fantastic shop beloved by locals, with the option of going for cocktails in a nearby lounge after dinner.



Day 4. Morning:  Tokyo’s Violent History Walk (Guided); Independent Afternoon Fashion Shopping

This morning, take a casual walk with an American history expert who has spent decades unearthing fascinating stories from Tokyo’s turbulent history, combining both political violence and natural destruction.


Late morning we have secured tickets for Kusama exhibition.


In the afternoon you will have the driver at your disposal and a list of fashion stores that we recommend in areas such as Minami-Aoyama, Roppongi and Ginza.


A list of recommendations will be provided. The driver will be fully briefed, and our team will be on call in the afternoon if you need in-person assistance.


Dinner and Drinks:

An exciting meal of creative foods at a very up-and-coming restaurant by the Meguro River, before or after cocktails at a trendy bar nearby.



Day 5. Izu – Morning: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Enoura Observatory

Depart Tokyo early (8am) and drive 2 hours to the Enoura Observatory, an ocean-facing art destination conceived of by the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto and that directly references his works and tone.


Arrive at check-in time at your ryokan so that you will be able to enjoy this retreat, the pinnacle of Japanese hospitality, where your simple room will be the epitome of understated wabisabi style. Dinner at the ryokan will be a kaiseki meal but supplemented with shabu-shabu beef to balance out the other curious items on the menu.



Day 6. Kyoto; Afternoon Private Temple Visit (Guided)

Depart late from the ryokan and drive to the closest Bullet Train station (45 min).  Before boarding the train, stop at a massive footbridge suspended over one of the best locations for seeing Mt. Fuji (only if the weather is clear). Local lunch before boarding the train. The bullet train direct to Kyoto takes about 2 hours.  Check in to Ritz  Carlton


This afternoon, walk up the traditional shopping streets of Higashiyama to Kiyomizu temple where you will have a viewing of a private garden not open to the public and then have access to the larger temple area after the visitors have left. We will also get a chance to see and discuss with a traditional temple carpenter about the techniques they are currently using as they re-do the roof of this UNESCO site.


Dinner and Drinks:

A fun, casual meal at the intimate restaurant of a sake-loving chef.



Day 7.  Morning of Gardens (guided); Koehi Nawa’s Sandwich Gallery (Independent)

Your morning will be spent viewing several distinct gardens, among them places not open to the public, with a seasoned temple gardener and landscape architect.  Included will be Daitoku-ji, Kyoto’s most influential Zen temple for the arts and culture of the city, as well as Ryoanji, Japan`s most famous rock garden. We will also include the Bamboo Grove this morning.


This afternoon visit the Sandwich Gallery, an artists’ incubator in the Uji area south of Kyoto.


Dinner and  Drinks:

A teppanyaki steak dinner followed by drinks at a bar in Gion, the old Geisha district.



Day 8. Morning Visit to the Miho Musuem (Independent)

The Miho Museum is a stunning piece of architecture located in the hills east of Kyoto designed by IM Pei and built inside the top of a mountain so as not to disturb the local environment after construction. It houses a remarkable collection of antiquities and also rotating exhibitions. Lunch at the museum.


This afternoon we will provide you with a list of galleries, antique shops, cafes and fashion stores that you can explore independently, with the driver at disposal.


Dinner and Drinks:

Dinner of fine teppanyaki Kobe beef.



Day 9. Transfer to Naoshima (Accompanied)

Depart for Okayama by shinkansen (1 hour) mid-morning, then drive (1 hour) to Naoshima.


An attending guide with art knowledge will be available to you during your days on the art islands but he/she will only be with you to facilitate the logistics or when you request it, and hang back at other times.



With car at disposal, visit the main museums, especially the stunning Ando-designed Chichu Museum (Monet, Walter de Maria, James Turrell). Possible evening viewing of the Turrell depending on the day. Also, visit the Art House Projects, a series of installations inside former homes and other repurposed buildings in the local village.



Day 10. Inujima and Teshima Islands (Guided)

Today, a day trip by private boat will take you to Inujima and Teshima islands, which house two of the most remarkable sites in the Art Islands (each of them is about 20 to 30 minutes by boat from the other). Teshima Museum in particular is an unforgettable space. Lunch at a simple, casual spot overlooking the Inland Sea. The logistics are quite complicated, so your attending guide will accompany you.



Day 11. Transfer to Osaka

Return ferry to the mainland, drive back to Okayama (1 hour) and train (1 hour) to Osaka. Late lunch on arrival.


You will have a driver at your disposal today and we will provide you with a list of recommendations for shops and other sites to visit in Osaka.



Day 12. Departure

Transfer to Kansai Airport for flight home.