BOULDER, CO, June 2007 – The pace of modern life would seem to afford precious little time for contemplative ceremonies or stylized rituals.

In Japan, however, many aspects of ancient life permeate an otherwise hectic society. Whether participating in a three-hour tea ceremony, lodging at a ryokan (classical guest house in the Zen tradition) or indulging in the cleansing effects of an onsen (natural hot springs), in order to fully absorb Japan one must experience the elaborate rituals and stylized ceremonies that manifest their philosophies and define the culture.

Asia Transpacific Journeys knows that delving into these traditions is intrinsic to a rich travel experience and to understanding the culture as a whole. They offer a 13-day Small Group (up to 16 travelers) trip called Quintessential Japan that features an in-depth survey of the arts and traditions that defined ancient Japan, and that continue to be practiced today.

Through extensive connections nurtured for the past two decades, travelers will enjoy private meetings with the priests, dancers and craftspeople practicing the ancient arts. Zen gardens, Shinto architecture, a geisha dance performance and a tea ceremony will illuminate this hyper-modern countryÂ’s connection to its revered past.

“Even with the press of modern life, the Japanese retain many of the rituals that add meaning and substance to our hectic lives,” says Marilyn Downing Staff, CEO of the company that is the definitive expert in travel to Asia and the Pacific Rim for the past 20 years.

Autumn departures feature beautiful fall foliage and the extraordinary temple town of Koya-san. In April guests will join local revelers at the Takayama Spring Festival, one of JapanÂ’s most beautiful, to watch a parade of traditional floats and ancient puppets. With luck this will coincide with the cherry blossom season.

Quintessential Japan departs on Oct. 27, 2007, and April 8 and Oct. 25, 2008. For those who canÂ’t travel on these days, Custom Journeys can be arranged through Asia Transpacific Journeys. The featured destinations include Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Takayama and/or Koya-San, Kyoto and Nara.

Included in the per-person (double) land costs of $7,395 ($1,200 single supplement) are highest end accommodations, nearly all meals, transfers, visa fees, tips, entrance fees, medical and emergency insurance and a comprehensive pre-departure packet. Asia Transpacific Journeys can also arrange international air through its in-house air department.

Asia Transpacific Journeys has been crafting private Custom Journeys and Small Group Trips to the Asia/Pacific region since 1987. Their regional expertise also makes them the operator of choice for dozens of AmericaÂ’s most demanding universities and museums.

For 2007 Asia Transpacific Journeys itineraries of Small Group Trips and Custom Journeys encompass over 20 countries in North Asia, South Asia, SE Asia and the Pacific. Some trips also support global conservation and cultural preservation. Asia Transpacific Journeys own non-profit Asia Transpacific Foundation, established in 1998, works with rural Asian communities to provide clean drinking water through locally made ceramic water filters.

National Geographic Traveler (Oct 2006) has selected Asia Transpacific Journeys’ Myanmar Trip as one of “50 Tours of a Lifetime”

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Read an article about Koya-San and ITKT wirter Devin Galaudet’s experience
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