Inspiring Gardens & Landscapes
Our travelers saw iconic vistas, experienced gardens that captured the essence of Japanese culture, witnessed rare and exclusive cultural events, marveled at bonsai masterpieces, saw 1,000-year-old trees, and got an insight into the intricate landscape and design philosophies of this ancient culture.
Our AHS hosts were Holly and Osamu Shimizu. Holly recently retired from her position as Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. Osamu is an accomplished landscape architect who spent the early years of his career in Japan. Both have traveled extensively, visiting gardens around the world.
Frances Roxburgh, a founding partner of Specialtours, was our tour leader. She worked closely with Holly and Osamu over a year to craft an exceptional itinerary exclusively for this AHS tour.
- Explored Tokyo's Imperial Palace Gardens.
- Admired living masterpieces in the Shunka-en bonsai garden and museum.
- Beheld the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha.
- Experienced Kenroku-en, one of Japan's finest landscape gardens.
- Entertained by geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto -- a rare opportunity.
- Learned about traditional Japanese philosophies and landscape design sensibilities.
Our accommodations ranged from highly-rated hotels like the Ana Intercontinental Hotel in Tokyo, the Nikko Hotel in Kanazawa, the Hyatt Hotel in Kyoto, the Swissotel in Osaka, and the Benesse House Hotel in Naoshima, to distinctive ryokan inns in Hakone and Takayama, where we had the opportunity to relax and enjoy traditional Japanese hospitality and culture.