Japan Travels

I speak and read Japanese and have been making frequent and, sometimes, prolonged visits to Japan for research and study since 1977. During my first stay in 1977-78, I lived in a (then) largely rural suburb north of Osaka during a hiatus between my master’s and PhD studies. In 1980-81 I studied at Tohoku University in Sendai, and subsequent to that, for postdoc research, I lived in Tokyo, Osaka again (affiliated with Kansai University), and Kyoto. During these stays and on other shorter trips, I have traveled extensively throughout the country, from southern Kyushu to northern Honshu.

JAPAN TRAVEL PLANNING

In the past I have organized and led many tours for student and adult groups, focusing on art, architecture and gardens, religious sites, scenic sites, and rural communities where organic agriculture flourishes. I have also advised individuals traveling to Japan by themselves on tour itineraries.

My tours have taken visitors to both famous places and those off the beaten path. My tours have introduced visitors to the varied, subtle flavors and beauty of Japanese regional and seasonal cuisine and ways traditional culture continues to thrive in modern Japan, through emphasis on crafts, architecture, and lifestyle practices such as the integration of organic agriculture into the economies and cultural life of local communities.

These tours  have lasted from ten days to three weeks , with each being different, because I have tailored them to specific group’s interests, physical ability, and budget. For logistical ease, I have found it best to travel with a group of around 8-15 people.  Sometimes I have worked directly with Japanese tour agencies, which make the detailed arrangements for my trips, and sometimes I have done all the planning myself.  For reasons of client safety and comfort I have never led trips alone, and, depending on the group’s budget and purpose, I have have licensed Japanese tour guides and/or representatives of host organizations accompany me.

Sample Themed Tours
Organic Farming and Japan’s Seasonal Cuisine
Gardens and Temples of Central Japan
Art and Natural Beauty Along the Inland Sea
Buddhism in Urban Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto
From Castle Towns to Farming Villages: Samurai and Peasant Life in Old Japan
Art and Design in Japan, from Handmade to High Tech
Japanese Architecture Old and New

Please contact me to discuss planning a special tour of Japan for your group or family.

SOME FAVORITE DESTINATIONS

NORTHERN JAPAN

Hiraizumi, Hirosaki, Kakunodate, Sendai, Omoshiroiyama, Yamadera, Genbike, Futakuchi, Narugo, Matsushima

EASTERN AND CENTRAL JAPAN

Kamakura, Kamikochi (national park with radiant autumn foliage), Kanazawa, Hakusan (Mt. Haku and Natadera temple), Gokayama Ainokura village (UNESCO World Heritage Site in Toyama Prefecture), Nagano City, The Nakasendo Post Road in Nagano Prefecture (especially Magome, Tsumago, and Narai), Matsumoto (great historic castle), Nikko, Takayama (like stepping in to old Japan), Ogawamachi (a center for organic agriculture), Kamakura, Enoshima, Ise, Kumano (magnificent waterfall at Nachi and splendid scenery), Mt. Takao (watch out for mobs during autumn foliage season)

TOKYO NEIGHBORHOODS

the old Tokyo Shitamachi commoners districts of Sugamo, Ryogoku, Ueno, and Yanaka; the fashion, shopping and nightlife districts of Omotesando, Odaiba, Ginza, and Roppongi; the western suburbs of Setagaya (especially its wonderful old temples and art museums)

WESTERN AND SOUTHERN JAPAN

Hagi (great place to rent a bicycle), Matsue, Hiroshima (visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum is a somber, moving experience that words cannot adequatelty describe), Itsukushima, Kurashiki (stepping into the heart of old Japan), Kyoto City (and its outlying areas of Arashiyama, Mt. Hiei and Kuramadera (majestic and isolated temple complexes), Ohara, Sagano, and Uji), Chikubushima (an island in Lake Biwa), Osaka, Himeji, Mt. Koya (a magical, spiritual place where visitors stay at temple lodgings), Nagasaki (quaint and charming getting around using streetcars), Naoshima Island and Benesse House Museum (Ando Tadao museums and great art in a magnificent natural setting), Nara (and its outlying temples in the mountains, especially Hasedera and Muroji), Kawachi Nagano (south of Osaka, with magnificent old temples), Shigaraki (wonderful pottery town), Takamatsu

PHOTOS OF JAPAN

For the past thirty years, often together with my husband, architect David Dunfield, I have been taking photographs of Japanese temples, gardens, people, plants, urban streetscapes, buildings old and new, and exquisite tasting and beautifully presented food.  A sample of our professional-quality photographs is presented in albums on this web page. Most of the photos below are  more recently taken ones, created using a digital camera. I am slowly sorting through and  scanning my thousands of older 35mm slides, selections of which I will post here in the future.  All our photos are available for purchase in low and high resolution size. We do not allow free use of any of our photos in any way without our permission. For inquiry on availability of specific subjects and prices, please contact me.

click on “View All Galleries” — below at right — to see additional photo albums