JAPAN - Leaf peeping in the land of the rising sun

25th October, 2020. 14 nights.


Led by Valda and Denis

“We're fools whether we dance or not, so we may as well dance" Japanese proverb


We have been contemplating visiting this extraordinary country for some time now and after much deliberation, have made the decision to go, not to Hokkaido in Winter as so many photographers do, but to put together an autumn tour to celebrate Koyo (colourful leaves) which we feel will provide a much more immersive cultural experience.

When autumn deepens, Japan is draped in a symphony of red and yellow hues from the fields and mountains to the cities. A transformation thought by many to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

Known as momijigari, the Japanese venture out to appreciate the glory of this natural phenomenon. It is a custom that dates back to the 8th century.

The excitement of the arrival of autumn colour runs deep in Japanese culture. Join us to experience it for yourself.

Led by Valda and Denis


Japan is famous for its four distinct and breathtaking seasons. Though the cherry blossom in the spring is probably the most iconic, for many the fall is just as beautiful. Think entire mountains enveloped in swathes of red, orange, and gold; an avenue of golden ginkgo trees leading to a shrine; starry red and yellow maple leaves blanketing a carpet of moss.

Some degree of flexibility is  required with regard to activities planned. The online presentation (button on the left of the page)  covers the locations we intend to visit, however timing can never be absolute - elements such as weather, traffic, unexpected engagement at a given location and other issues are beyond our control and can all impact on how the tour unfolds.

We have listed below the hotels chosen . Although we anticipate no difficulty in booking the accommodation, some of the smaller properties will not accept our reservation until 12 months in advance. If we have any problems reserving the properties listed, an alternative hotel of similar class will be substituted.

25.10.20 Workshop commences at around 18:30. Meet and greet, dinner.

3 nights Millennium Mitsui Gardens, Tokyo

28.10.20 Bullet train to Kanazawa

2 nights Kanazawa Sainoniwa hotel

30.10.20 Travel to Noto Peninsula

2 nights Lamp No Yado ryokan

01.11.20 Travel to Kaga

2 nights KAI Kaga ryokan

03.11.20 Travel to Kyoto

3 nights Kanra Kyoto

06.11.20 Travel to Mt Koya

1 night Shojoshinin

07.11.20 Transfer to Osaka airport

1 night  airport hotel

08.11.20 Workshop ends. Fly home.


Offering high-floor views of the city and Tokyo Bay, Mitsui Garden Hotel provides chic and stylish rooms in a central location.


Within 350 yards of Ozaki Shrine and 350 yards of Omicho Market, this hotel is perfectly located. Mitsui hotels are beautifully decorated in a tranditional style - the emphasis here is on the gold leaf that the area is famous for


A chance to experience "old Japan" in a truly remarkable setting, Lamp no Yado is a ryokan situated in a rocky cove surrounded by high cliffs at the end of the Suzu peninsula. Guests can enjoy the serene atmosphere in the middle of nature. At night, the property lights up using only lamp lights. No cellphone reception and electricity has only recently been made available at the property.


KAI Kaga is located in Yamashiro Onsen, a traditional hot spring town in Ishikawa Prefecture

The property is clearly defined by its appreciation for local craftsmanship. There is  a first floor gallery dedicated to the works of Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883 - 1959), a famous Japanese artist whose work left a lasting impression on modern-day Kutani porcelain ware.


This hotel exemplifies the marriage of contemporary and traditional; the rooms and suites combine tatami-style seating with occasional Western-height furniture, and all are packed with stylish comfort, from the extra-wide beds and cushiony sofas to the selection of local teas and the artworks that accent the walls. Bathrooms feature tubs made of Japanese cypress, and many of the glass-walled showers feature small rock gardens.


A stay at Shojoshin-in Temple offers a fascinating insight into the traditional lifestyle of Buddhist monks in Mount Koya. This temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples and offers a truly unique experience.

Sorry - fully booked. Email for waitlist or Spring 2021 tour


All hotels are of excellent standard. We have no reason to suspect it might be the case but if, when they open their books for reservations for next autumn, we cannot get the rooms we require, we will substitute a hotel of similar grade.

We have tried to strike a balance between the comforts expected at normal western-style hotels and an authentic Japanese experience.

Lamp No Yado is a small ryokan - stunningly situated and definitely a highlight of the tour. However some of the rooms have shared washing facilities. There is no internet available at this property. As there are only 12 rooms, we have to take every room they have, therefore the tour is priced based on the grade of room taken here. We will be at this inn for two nights.

Upgrades at the other hotels are available, on request, with a supplementary charge.

Single, (no bath at Lamp no Yado) £7,650 

Single, (with bath at Lamp No Yado) £8,450 

Single, (suite with bath at Lamp No Yado) £8,750

Reduction for sharing £650 per couple

We are unable to offer a discounted 'partner rate' due to the very high cost of the local accommodation, meals included, transfers, local guide etc.


Includes £10 carbon offsetting fee. This is a voluntary contribution. Please advise us if you would rather opt out and we will cover your contribution.


All accommodation listed on a single room basis.


Dinner at Lamp No Yado (2 nights), Kai Kaga (2 nights) Mt Koya (1 night)

We have some wonderful restaurants planned for the remaining evenings - excluding those meals enables people to make a choice about where they dine for some of the trip, if they so  wish.

Tuition from Valda and Denis

Max, 14 clients.


Flights, insurance, meals (apart from those listed), airport transfers, should your flight not coincide with ours.

Fitness level - moderate. Gentle walking.


Flight schedule not yet published. We will advise as soon as they are available. We will be flying into Tokyo from London and out of Osaka at the end of the tour

GMT +8 hours

Average temp. High 22°C -  Low 9C°

November is one of the best times to visit Tokyo, but it isn't actually a high tourist season.


Social media; Valda

Social media; Bailey Chinnery

Social media, Doug