Art, History and Gardens in Okayama (2 nights)

KOB 300-201
Highlights
  • Enjoy one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan
  • Travel back in time when strolling through the streets of Kurashiki
  • Fully immerse yourself in modern art on Naoshima Island 
  • Ride the exciting bullet train
Program Overview
Country: Japan
Depart: 01/25/2017 0930
Return: 01/27/2017 1810
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Capacity: Min. 10 / Max. 30
Program Fee
$1253 (early booking: $1209)

Field Class Conflicts
  • SPCM 332 Interpersonal Communication Skills
  • ECON 204 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • MGT 320 Contemporary Management Principles/Practices
  • ART 100 Introduction to the Visual Arts (Section 1)
  • JTC 416 Global Communication Technologies
  • IE 272 World Interdependence – Current Global Issues (Migration)

Travel by the exciting Shinkansen “bullet” train to Okayama. Okayama is the capital of Okayama Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chugoku Region after Hiroshima. The city developed as a castle town during the Edo Period (1603-1867) and became a significant regional power.

After arrival and some time at leisure for lunch, your guide will take you to Okayama’s most famous attraction: Korakuen Garden, which is ranked as one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan. Okayama Castle is located just across from the garden. The garden reflects the open, mild atmosphere and climate of the Seto Inland Sea area that the French guide book, the “Michelin Green Guide”, awarded a three-star rating; its highest rating. You will then visit the castle neighboring the Korakuen Garden and admire the impressive appearance of its black castle tower. Together they create a superb harmony.
After check in, you will have the evening at leisure.

Next day be ready for a breathtaking full immersion in art. Naoshima is an island in the Seto Inland Sea that is known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. Part of Kagawa Prefecture, the island with its Mediterranean atmosphere, sandy beaches and sunny weather, combined with a laid back, rural feel is a relaxing getaway from Japan’s large urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. This morning make the journey by coach and ferry to Naoshima. Spend the day exploring the island. Honmura, a small port town on Naoshima’s eastern coast, is home to the Art House Project, a collection of abandoned houses, workshops, a temple and a shrine that have been converted into art installations and venues for contemporary art by artists and architects from Japan and abroad. The art houses are scattered throughout town, and most of them are unassuming from the street, blending into the surrounding traditional Japanese neighborhood. The interior of each, however, has been given over to artists to convert into whatever suits their artistic vision. The Chichu Art Museum is a unique modern art museum built into a hillside overlooking the southern coast of Naoshima. The museum building, designed by Ando Tadao and itself a work of art, is mostly located underground and solely utilizes natural light to illuminate the artwork. This creates a viewing experience that is heavily influenced by the surrounding natural environment.
You will then go back to Okayama.

On the last day in Okayama area, move to the lovely town of Kurashiki. The Kurashiki Bikan Area is a retro-modern cityscape having a mixture of Japanese and western flavors. In the Edo Period, Kurashiki prospered as “Tenryo”, a domain directly governed by the shogunate. Special local products from all over the surrounding area were gathered in Kurashiki via rivers using takasebune, traditional cargo boats, and thus many white-walled houses and storehouses of merchants lined the Kurashiki River at the center of town. You will admire the nostalgic scenery of white-walled storehouses together with narrow stone-paved streets crowded by carts in olden days. The structures down the side streets have also been repaired and remodeled, and are used today for galleries, coffee shops, and souvenir shops. The blending of Japanese and western, as well as that of antiquity and modernism, create a unique, calming, original atmosphere one cannot experience in any place other than Kurashiki.

Your coach will then take you to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Seto Inland Sea, its islands and Seto Ohashi Bridge, the world’s longest two-tiered bridge system, links Honshu and Shikoku and is aesthetically designed to harmonise with the natural beauty of the forested islands and surrounding sea.

Continue on to Okayama station where you will board the train back to Kobe again.

Itinerary

Day 1

January 25
0930 Departure from Kobe Port Terminal by coach to Shin Kobe station
1029 Shinkansen Shin Kobe – Okayama
1105 Arrival Okayama station, move on foot to hotel to drop luggage
1130 Time at leisure for lunch
1230 Departure on foot to Korakuen Garden
1300 Visit Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle
1530 Departure on foot to hotel
1600 Arrival, check in, time and dinner at leisure
Overnight at Mitsui Garden Okayama

(Please note that times, activities, and accommodations are subject to change)

Day 2

January 26
0815 Departure from hotel by coach to Uno Port
0922 Ferry departs from Uno Port
0942 Ferry arrives at Naoshima Miyanoura Port
Visit Naoshima: Chichu Art Museum, House Art Project
Lunch
1635 Ferry departs from Naoshima Miyanoura Port
1655 Ferry arrives at Uno Port, coach to hotel
1755 Arrival at hotel, dinner at leisure
Overnight at Mitsui Garden Okayama

(Please note that times, activities, and accommodations are subject to change)

Day 3

January 27
0915 Departure from hotel by coach to Kurashiki
1000 Arrival Kurashiki City, visit
1230 Time for lunch on own
1330 Depart Kurashiki
1400 Visit Seto Ohashi observation spot
1500 Depart to Okayama station
1638 Shinkansen Okayama – Shin Kobe
1715 Arrival Shin Kobe Station, coach pick up for transfer
1745 Arrival Port Terminal

(Please note that times, activities, and accommodations are subject to change)

Meals Included

Jan 25: none
Jan 26: breakfast, lunch
Jan 27: breakfast

Special Note

This program has quite a lot of walking involved (in the garden and on the island especially, as cars cannot enter many of the visited zones).