Japanese Garden Tour

---Learn how to appreciate Japanese gardens by visiting three different styles in Arashiyama, Kyoto---

“This is a typical Pond Garden. You can see two islands, one represents a crane, the other a turtle. Those stone arrangements are Sanzonseki….”

  "Pond-style, crane and turtle island, Sanzonseki, and etc." those terms help Japanese get the whole idea of the garden (the theme), and help them find the other elements supplements the theme.

 The theme can be from Buddhism, Shintoism, or even old anecdotes, many Japanese are familiar with.

“Next one is a Dry Landscape Garden, the monk raked the gravel carefully this morning….”

Many positions at the right spot to examine the stones, but they keep a certain distance from the edge of a veranda.

Of course, the position differs depending on the style of the garden, but overall, one won’t stand at the edge of a veranda for many reasons.

“The last one is a Roji Garden, please watch your steps….”

Small stepping stones guide you through this garden. Those stones are actually the main attraction, you have to literally watch your every step!

There are Pond-style, Dry Landscape-style, and Roji-style gardens. Many great Japanese gardens utilize those three garden features very naturally.

"What do we learn in this tour?"
Beside “some points of appreciation”, we would include “the birth of the garden”, “the development of Zen gardens”, “historic gardeners in Japan” etc.

Of course, gardens are arts, thus one would have one’s own way of appreciation, still knowing the basics will help you understand and enjoy gardens more.

Matcha and Japanese Green Tea Tour Description

---Led by certified Japanese Tea Instructor, and focusing on the health benefits of tea---

 It was only the last century that unveiled the secrets of Green Tea. Now we know green tea can make you slim, younger and healthy, but...

you seeing its benefits yourself?
 Perhaps not, or not sure.
Maybe you have been drinking wrong kind of green tea. The amount of health ingredients (Caffeine, Catechins, Theanine etc.) in green tea leaves hugely differs depending on the plucking season. If you are drinking green tea for losing fat, tea leaves with higher amount of caffeine should be chosen. For the overall health, and relaxing effect, tea leaves with higher amount of catechins, and theanine work well.
Does the tea you have chosen contain the RIGHT kind of ingredients?

 The next question is have you fully extracted the health ingredients you wanted? Caffeine, and Catechin seep out at a certain water temperature and steeping time.  

Are you making your tea right?

 You are choosing "the right kind of tea" and "making your tea right" still, more than half of the ingredients stay in the leaves.

Are you dumping used tea leaves?

 Those used tea leaves can be re-used for cooking with a few tips.

 Meet our Certified Japanese Tea Instructor, and Tea Farmer, and you will start to fully enjoy the benefits of Japanese green tea.
 The tour takes place in Uji-Kyoto, Japan’s best known tea growing district with 800 years of tea history.

Saihoji Temple (Moss Garden) Tour Description

---Very well known for its miraculous beauty, but one of the most forbidding gardens on the earth.--- 
 The moss garden shows its true beauty in June, the rainy season.

 The original garden looked completely different in the 14th century. Muso Soseki, a landscape architect and Zen monk, who designed the Saihoji’s garden didn’t expect to see moss in his garden.

More precisely, moss wasn’t in his garden plan.

 His garden had a three-story pagoda on white pebbled island for the good view. From the top of the pagoda, you could see many aristocrats in their best attire enjoying cherry blossoms on pleasure boats. Colorful flowers in spring and autumn leaves in fall were enjoyed. It was a pleasure garden for those in power.
 The great war of Onin which lasted over 10 years changed people's interests, soon beautiful pagoda and banquet halls were all ruined. The pleasure garden lost its dignity.
 Still, three things didn't change, and kept giving what the garden needs.

 “The Sunlight" that filters through trees, “the Morning Dew" from the lake and nearby rivers, and “the Routine" of the resident monks. Those three joined their hands together unconsciously and made this miraculous garden. Now 120 different types of moss living in this garden.

Need the reservation only?
 We also provide the service to obtain the permission on your behalf, and send it to your hotel in Kyoto.

Imperial Villa and Palace Reservations Description

---Reservations for Katsura-rikyu Villa, Shugakuin-rikyu Villa, and Sento-gosho Palace---
You can make an online-reservation on your own through “Imperial Household Agency” website

 Our service is to help those who have failed to apply online, and need someone physically go get the reservation for each place in advance.

 The staff who applies for your reservation has to visit the villa or the palace together with you, thus up to 3 guests can apply for each reservation.

 The applicants have to be aged 12 or over for Katsura-rikyu Villa, 18 or over for both Shugakuin-rikyu Villa, and Sento-gosho Palace.

Osaka Night Street Food Tour Description

---Why is Osaka called the nation's KITCHEN (the food capital of Japan)?---

“Speedy- Cheap-Yammy”
, this best describes Osaka street food.

Takoyaki (octopus ball), Kushi-katsu (small cutlet on skewer), Okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake), Horumon (variety meat), Conveyor Belt Sushi (Sushi Merry-go-round), all originated in Osaka, and spread throughout Japan.

 The concept of the tour is Eat-and-Walk.
Doesn’t mean walking while eating. It does mean walk before you get full to make some room to eat (walk off the food).

 Eat at Dotombori*, and then travel to Shinsekai* where the famous Kushi-katsu’s No-Double-Dipping ritual started.

 Food wise, we are happy to stop by at the best Takoyaki, Gyoza, and Kobe Beef stands, then Okonomiyaki and Kushikatsu restaurants.
You will be probably full after 3 stops, now you are good to go for Ramen noodle to finish off the tour!
 This is how Osakans ruin themselves with the extravagance of food, we call the habit “Kuidaore.”

 *Dotombori: a street flanked by numbers of food stands and eateries, well known for its eye-catching signs. Well compared to NY’s Times Square.

 *Shinsekai: a district where Kushi-katsu dish was born, bit seedier area but retains good old Osaka atmosphere.

 If you are lucky, you will be guided by Aya who guided numbers of international journalists and finally appeared in UK TV food program.

Full Description of Tours