- Visit the world’s only permitted reproduction of Monet's famous garden in Giverny - located in the verdant foothills of Kochi's eastern mountains
- Paint, draw, or meditate at your leisure in any of the 3 main gardens - drinking in the atmosphere and vibrant colors and smells of nature
- For a counterpoint, on Day 2, visit and paint in the verdant forests of nearby Umaji Village, home of plunging forest-clad cliffs, misty mountain tops, mighty rivers, and flowers and nature of all kinds
Claude Monet (1840-1926) was the founder and probably most prolific painter of the French Impressionist movement. His interpretations of color and light have spellbound audiences ever since. He produced many of his most famous compositions in a set of beloved gardens near the banks of the River Seine, in rural Giverny, Normandy, France. In the century since his passing, Monet's legacy has grown even richer and more loved globally thanks to the careful guidance of the Claude Monet Foundation. Central to Monet's legacy has been the preservation and respect of the gardens around his home. There have been numerous approaches and offers from developers around the world to replicate his garden. However, the Foundation has only ever permitted one site globally to do so. That is the village of Kitagawa, Kochi, Japan. This tour takes you to the heart of Monet's inspiration - his gardens. You will see the wonderful job that the gardeners and curators have done with their Kitagawa site. With this tour, you have permission from the owners to take your time in exquisite surroundings. You will enjoy the tranquility, colors, and atmosphere of Monet to paint your own masterpiece. Or you may simply meditate and soak in the atmosphere.
You came for painting and inspiration, so on this first day let’s have you dive headlong into the potent atmosphere of Monet's gardens at Kitagawa Village. The gardens complex is about 60km east of Kochi Station and 45km east of Kochi Airport, making it quite accessible as a destination. Yet, being located in a rural area, they are also remarkably tranquil - a perfect place to set up your easel or take a sketchbook, and get right to work. We have pre-negotiated with the garden management for you to enjoy as long as you need (within the opening hours of 09:00-17:00). You will have access to all three gardens: the Flower Garden, the Water Garden, and the Light Garden (an interpretation of Monet's favorite Mediterranean painting spots). The gardens are served by first class facilities, including a bakery, a cafe with meals, and a souvenir shop. In the late afternoon, you will make your way back up the coast and inland to the Kochi eastern mountain range, to stay at a wonderful, tranquil valley retreat called Yuzo-no-Yado.
After a hearty breakfast at Yuzu-no-Yado, you can either take a stroll and do some painting/sketching on the banks of the Nahari River right next to the hotel, or move to your next destination, even further up in the mountains - to the village of Umaji. This mountain hamlet will be as dramatic a contrast in terms of scenery, color, and atmosphere from the day before, as you can get. While Monet's garden is cultivated and curated, the mountains and rivers of Umaji are untamed and raw. You can feel the Shinto spirits come alive, and whether you wish to paint or to simply ramble and meditate, nature's powerful presence is never far away.
The hamlet of Umaji is small and you can walk around it in less than an hour. The trails out to the forest are many, and the friendly local community center has staff who can help point out places to go and things to see. There are several cafes in the area for lunch and snacks, and if you happen to like cooking or natural products, you might want to visit the Yuzu factory operating nearby. The factory is a study in sustainability and low-impact, eco-friendly facilities. Factory tours need to be pre-booked, so let us know if you would like to take this option. After this experience ends, you will return either to Kochi Airport or Kochi Station, depending on the next leg of your itinerary.
Included in price
- Yuzu-no-Yado Hotel stay booking
- Dinner and breakfast at Yuzu-no-Yado
- Car rental cost if you are doing the self-drive option (If you are using public transport, you will need to self pay at the boarding location); Up to three persons - compact car, from four to eight persons - van
- Chat and voice support in English
- Tolls, gas, parking for vehicle
- Insurance for vehicle or yourself and passengers
- Admission to any additional attractions that have gate/entry fees
- Vehicle accessories such as child seat, freezer box, etc.
- Wi-Fi Router unless purchased separately, as recommended
- Guides or other persons in attendance, although we have both guides and activity options for Umaji/Yuzu-no-Yado areas (please enquire)
- Equipment for any activities you may plan to do independently (unless booked separately with us)
- Lunch or drinks at Monet’s Garden Marmottan
- Entrance to Monet's Garden Marmottan
Minimum number of persons required for the tour to run is 2.
Maximum number of persons per tour is 8.
- We recommend bringing your art supplies with you, but if you need to stock up, take a trip into Kochi City first and visit the Matsuura Shoten art shop - probably Kochi's best source of art supplies.
- A stay at the Yuzu-no-Yado hotel depends on room availability coinciding with your travel dates, and we may substitute a nearby hotel of similar grade if it is not available.
- The meal at Yuzu-no-Yado is French-inspired local ingredients fusion cooking. If you do not eat fish or have other food preferences, be sure to let us know well in advance.
- You will need a working cell phone for navigation. If you need a Wi-Fi Router, we have high-performance, reasonably priced units in stock.
- Some parts of the route may be modified depending on weather and seasonal conditions.
Know before you book
2 days prior to the day of your trip: 40 % of tour price
1 day prior: 50 % of tour price
On the day, no-show: 100 % of tour price
- Japan is a safe country and this tour is low-risk, however, we advise you to consider personal and third-party travel insurance out of abundant caution
- If you are renting a car, we recommend you buy the car rental company's insurance policy.
What you need to bring
- Sturdy pair of walking shoes, and a spare set of shoes in case of inclement weather.
- Working cell phone (usable in Japan) or apply for our Wi-Fi Router rental.
- Battery extender/charger.
- Any pre-purchase passes, route maps, and other information.
- Sunglasses, water bottle, and other personal accessories.
- Your art supplies!
Organised by Japan Travel KK
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