It's a land of delicate art and bustling commerce, of rich traditions and dizzying modernity; a jumble of sights, sounds, and tastes that for visitors are truly foreign - and truly fascinating. This small group tour, limited to just 24 guests, features the highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto, engages us in local life, and takes us off the beaten path to the lovely historic cities of Takayama and Kanazawa. Our 13-day journey begins in Tokyo touring the Shinto Meiji Shrine and historic Imperial Palace. Visit Mt. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and view the imposing Mt. Fuji. Spend the night in Suwa at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, then travel to lovely Takayama and explore this historic town's ancient streets and houses. In the culturally rich Kanazawa, tour the famed Kenrokuen Garden and visit the Kutani Ceramics Museum. Conclude your journey in Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital, where you tour the city's highlights, attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and embark on a cycling tour through the grounds of the Imperial Palace and the Gion district. Discover Hiroshima, the city reborn from the atomic destruction of World War II, on an optional post-tour extension. Sightseeing here includes Itsukushima Shrine, touring by local "Hiroden" train, and visits to Peace Memorial Park and Museum and Japan Maritime Service School.
Day 1: Depart US for Tokyo, Japan
Day 2: Arrive Tokyo
Day 3: Tokyo
Day 4: Tokyo
Day 5: Tokyo /Mt. Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park / Hakone
Day 6: Hakone / Takayama
Day 7: Takayama / Shirakawago / Kanazawa
Day 8: Kanazawa
Day 9: Kanazawa / Kyoto
Day 10: Kyoto
Day 11: Kyoto
Day 12: Kyoto
Day 13: Depart Kyoto for U.S.
Optional two night Post-tour: Hiroshima, Japan
Dennis Washburn, a specialist in Japanese literature in the Comparative Literature Program, is the Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies. He is currently serving as chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program and is one of the new House Professors for the Living Learning Communities centered in the McLaughlin residential cluster. His scholarly work looks at how issues of social values and cultural identity are represented in Japanese forms of both modern and classical fiction. He is the author of "The Dilemma of the Modern in Japanese Fiction" and "Translating Mount Fuji: Modern Japanese Fiction and the Ethics of Identity". His edited volumes include: "Word and Image in Japanese Cinema; Converting Cultures: Religions, Ideology, and Transformations of Modernity"; and "The Affect of Difference: Representations of Race in East Asian Empire". In addition to his scholarly work he has translated numerous works of fiction, including Yokomitsu Riichi's "Shanghai", Mizukami Tsutomu's "The Temple of the Wild Geese", for which he was awarded the US-Japan Friendship Commission Prize, and Tsushima Yuko's "Laughing Wolf". His new translation of "The Tale of Genji" was published by W. W Norton in 2015.