Japan with Heath Ceramics

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The Soul of Craft

An unparalleled journey through the artistic zeitgeist of Japan with Heath Ceramics

Two Exclusive Departures

Sold OutOct 29 - Nov 7, 2023

Sold OutMay 18 - 27, 2024

10 Days, 9 Nights

Explore the art islands of Naoshima and Teshima, and the best of Tokyo & Kyoto

Price from


per person

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

We will contact you if and as space becomes available for either departure

You stare at sapphire waters through a darkening haze of wildflowers, shielding your eyes against the blaze of the tangerine-and-pink setting sun. Stars will be out soon, shining bright and close as an art installation. And maybe they are. After all, you’re in Naoshima, the famed Japanese art island nestled in the heart of the Inland Sea, a place where each field and slope is just another canvas for some of the world’s greatest art. You took a bullet train and ferry to get here, and there’s plenty of exploration still to come. But for right now, just breathe it all in.

Your companions on this 10-day journey are icons of modern design. In October 2023, we travel with Robin Petravic and Cathy Bailey, the husband-and-wife owners and creative forces behind Heath Ceramics. In May 2024, we’re accompanied by Rosalie Wild, the design director at Heath Ceramics for more than a decade, with a design point-of-view that is holistic and interdisciplinary, drawing inspiration from textiles, ceramics, furniture, glass, and other craft practices. The iconic San Francisco ceramics company produces some of the world’s most highly regarded ceramic tableware and tile. In Japan we’ll meet makers and masters of craft who regularly collaborate with Heath, and explore the materials and techniques that make Japan a deep source of permanent inspiration.

If you possess a boundless passion for art, design and cultural exploration, this trip is for you. If you’re fascinated by ancient rituals and generations of artisans who’ve been perfecting their craft for centuries—and believe that every second of every day should be filled with adventure and moments of quiet wonder alike, join us in Japan.


Iconic museums, Naoshima art installations, traditional pottery and crafts workshops


The grace and beauty of an ancient civilization, from monumental shrines to artful tea ceremonies


With Japan’s world-class art scene and some of its most inspiring working artists and craftspeople


The philosophy of wabi-sabi, and in finding beauty in the small and humble

Heath Ceramics

What started as a small-scale pottery in 1948 has turned into an American icon. They produce some of the world's most highly regarded ceramic home goods, believing in quality craft and timeless design, celebrating the process, materials, and people and places behind their products. Join us in Japan for an inspired week of art, design and cultural exploration.

Your Experience

“There is a deep sensitivity to beauty and craft in Japanese culture. It is inspiring to meet people whose dedication to perfection - in all its many forms - weaves through their work and ways of life.”
Rosalie Wild

Tokyo, Teshima, Naoshima, Inujima, Osaka, Kyoto

“On one side, there’s a striving for innovation. On the other, an immense respect for the past and craftsmanship. Neither are downplayed. They both coexist in Japan.”
Robin Petravic

Our Hosts

Robin Petravic & Cathy Bailey

Owners, Heath Ceramics

Our October 2023 departure is with Robin Petravic and Cathy Bailey, the husband-and-wife owners and creative forces behind Heath Ceramics. They travel the world in search of inspiration, returning frequently to Japan to further refine their materials and techniques.

Rosalie Wild

Design Director, Heath Ceramics

In May 2024 we travel with Rosalie Wild. Heath's design director has spent more than a decade immersing herself in every aspect of the creative process. Her nuanced understanding of color and materiality, and her passion for design history, makes her an invaluable steward of the institution's legacy. We are overjoyed to explore the artisanal heritage of Japan through her eyes.

Day by Day

Day 1: Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! For newcomers and seasoned visitors alike, this city never disappoints. It’s a collision of old and new, a bastion of both tradition and innovation. We’ll begin our trip with an informal orientation over welcome drinks at the Conrad.

Here, we’ll make introductions as Rosalie and our local guides share cultural tips and inspiration for the immersive experiences ahead. As the enchantment starts to set in, we’ll shuttle off to our welcome dinner, which is exactly what you’d expect—a meal curated by fresh ingredients anchored in centuries of culinary tradition.

Day 1: Tokyo Highlights

  • Welcome cocktails
  • Welcome dinner
  • Stay at Conrad Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo

This morning, we officially begin our exploration. Our first destination is 21_21_Design Sight, an art museum created by architect Tadao Ando and fashion designer Issey Miyake. It’s the perfect introduction to the vibrant design resurgence in the beating heart of Tokyo.

Lunch is nearby at a local gem—a simple food counter elevated by both its minimalist aesthetics and intentional menu of seasonally selected sashimi and hotpots. In the early afternoon, we’ll wander over to Daikanyama, a bustling neighborhood akin to Brooklyn, and explore independently. Don’t miss the iconic shop on Mina Perhonen or the Tsutaya bookstore. Dinner tonight is on your own in the culinary Mecca of Tokyo. We can’t wait to hear about it in the morning.

Day 2: Tokyo Highlights

  • Design museum visit
  • Traditional lunch
  • Time to explore Daikanyama
  • Stay at Conrad Tokyo

Day 3: Tokyo & Around

This morning we’ll head deep into the Japanese countryside to visit Mashiko—a rural, mountainous region famous for its local ceramics community—and meet well-regarded potter (and friend of Heath Ceramics) Akio Nukaga, who will give us a behind-the-scenes look at his studio and introduce us to other local potters, including Toyo Kobayashi.

After a pizza lunch (yes, pizza!), we’ll continue our art-filled afternoon with friend and frequent collaborator Hideki Takayama, who lives and works out of his workshop in Mashiko. Taka’s primary medium is wood; he’s is a self-taught sculptor whose work ranges from the functional to the sensual: “The thing I value most when making furniture is the sensation you have when interacting with its textural elements. I always finish a piece of work by touching it intently and only stop working when it feels perfect.”

We’ll have some time to shop and explore before heading back to Tokyo for an evening to explore and dine on our own.

Day 3: Tokyo & Around Highlights

  • Meet potter Akio Nukaga
  • Meet sculptor Hideki Takayama
  • Stay at Conrad Tokyo

Day 4: Naoshima

Today, we embark to the art islands via a Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Okayama, making sure to arrive at the station early enough to admire the elaborate, clockwork-like rituals with which porters greet each train. Next, we’ll catch the ferry to Naoshima, reveling in the soft breezes off the sapphire waters.

A once-sleepy fishing island nestled along the Inland Sea, Naoshima is today a destination for art pilgrims the world over, thanks to the vision of Saichiro Fukutake. We’ll check in to our hotel—the Benesse House, itself a work of art, and one of the most visually stunning properties in Japan—and explore its on-site art works, with time to relax and reconvene for dinner.

Day 4: Naoshima Highlights

  • Bullet train to Okayama
  • Ferry to Naoshima Island
  • Dinner at Benesse House
  • Stay at Benesse House

Day 5: Naoshima

Today we may appreciate Naoshima from many perspectives: by bike, on a guided morning tour of the island’s many art installations; and later on foot, up close and personal, tackling the dozens of museums and art projects that adorn the island, turning every new path, corner, and horizon into something whimsical and unexpected. Our highlights include the Chichu Museum, built mostly underground to avoid disrupting the natural landscape; and House Project, with seven formerly empty homes taken over by artists for truly unique gallery and installation spaces.

After exploring the myriad exhibits and installations, we’ll reconvene for dinner overlooking the sea at the Benesse House’s Terrace Restaurant. The cuisine is French, with a Japanese twist, and we’ll raise a glass to one of the most inspiring places on Earth.

Day 5: Naoshima Highlights

  • Bike tour of Naoshima
  • Naoshima art exploration
  • Dinner at Benesse House Terrace
  • Stay at Benesse House

Day 6: Teshima & Kyoto

This morning we’ll head to Teshima, the “island of abundance” and another of Japan’s famed art islands. We’ll visit its flagship art museum, a concave shell of a building that perches on a hill overlooking rice terraces and the sea below like a water droplet trembling at the moment of landing. If it sounds both dreamy and complex, it’s because it is. 

After immersing ourselves in the sheer originality of creation, we’ll fix our compass toward Kyoto. A few hours later—by boat and bullet train—we’ll arrive in the eternal city just in time to check into our serene, luxurious hotel. Dinner tonight is on your own.

Day 6: Teshima & Kyoto Highlights

  • Ferry to Teshima
  • Teshima art exploration
  • Transfer to Kyoto
  • Stay at Hotel Mitsui in Kyoto

Day 7: Kyoto

This morning, we find and embody zen. Under the tutelage of a local master, we’ll immerse ourselves deep in meditation and punctuate the act with the ancient art of a tea ceremony. Next, we’ll embark on a walking tour of Gion, Kyoto’s Geisha district—we’ll pass by beautiful temples, kimono-clad hostesses and some of the finest shops and restaurants in Japan.

After a light Italian-inspired lunch at Sodoh, this afternoon is yours to explore deeper in Kyoto, wandering its quiet alleys and through its stunning temples. We’ll reconvene in the evening for dinner and sake tasting from the collection of 350-year-old sake brewery Tamanohikari.

Day 7: Kyoto Highlights

  • Kyoto tea ceremony
  • Gion walking tour
  • Dinner & sake tasting
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 8: Osaka & Kyoto

We spend today in pursuit of inspiration, looking at how art and design carry influence across industries. First, we journey to Osaka to visit Truck Furniture. Robin and Cathy are friends with owners Kise Tokuhiko and Karatsu Hiromi, who use their designs to accentuate the natural beauty of materials and connection. Their approach is an inspiration for Heath Ceramics, and you’ll understand why.

We then set out for culinary inspiration, walking Osaka’s heavenly markets in search of the perfect bites. From juicy and vibrant fruits and Japanese pickles to Osaka’s specialty takoyaki pancake balls, everything is fuel for the imagination. Lunch is up to you in the country’s foodie heart and soul, followed by a visit to Sakai, for an intimate introduction to the fine art of Japanese steel knife-making.

In the afternoon we’ll have a time to freshen up back at our hotel, before meeting up for a truly special experience: meeting and dining with a traditional Kyoto geisha. For the first half of the evening, we’ll be treated to an ancient performance that requires years of schooling and apprenticeship to perfect; afterward, we’ll enjoy a conversation over dinner.

Day 8: Osaka & Kyoto Highlights

  • Osaka Truck Furniture gallery
  • Knifemaker visit
  • Dinner with geisha
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 9: Kyoto

Today starts with an early morning visit to Fushimi Inari shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates leading into the wooded forest, and the spectacular Sanjusangendo Temple, which houses 1,001 carved wooden statues of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. After lingering in the quiet serenity, we’ll break for lunch. Feel free to wander the canals and back alleys or just duck into the first counter that catches your eye.

In the afternoon, we’ll meet with a local artist’s collective, and thanks to Rosalie, we’ll get an in-depth look into their process and a sneak preview of some of the groundbreaking work on the horizon.

Dinner tonight is truly special. As we bid farewell to Japan, we’ll convene for a sushi-making workshop. With a master chef at our sides, we’ll feast on our one-of-a-kind creations and toast to the incredible week of discovery joy.

Day 9: Kyoto Highlights

  • Fushimi Inari & Sanjusangendo 
  • Art collective experience
  • Sushi workshop
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 10: Kyoto

Our journey has come to an end. As we say goodbye to our new friends, we know that we’ll have to return, and soon. In the meantime, the soul of Japanese craft will travel home with us, helping us find the beauty wherever we look.

Day 10: Kyoto Highlights

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Osaka's KIX Airport

Where We Sleep

Japan leads the world in thoughtful design, and its hotels are no exception. Each of our hotels is a work of art unto itself, perfectly blending modern aesthetics with traditional hospitality.

Conrad Tokyo


Just seconds from the Shiodome subway station, the Conrad Tokyo rises from the electric hustle below and into the clouds above. Every room exudes Japanese motifs—an ideal blend of historical flourish and understated elegance—while offering a panoramic view of one of the most magnificent cities on Earth.

Naoshima Island

Benesse House

Few experiences in life can prepare you for staying at Benesse House, a breezy, light-filled gallery space that just happens to moonlight as one of the world’s coziest, most luxurious hotels. The brainchild of architect Tadao Ando, its expanses of concrete, glass, and wood are designed to showcase one of the world’s most stunning indoor-outdoor art collections, the perfect foil to the gently sloping meadows and azure sea just beyond.


Mitsui Kyoto

An ode to ancient Japanese tea ceremonies, each room translates centuries of tradition into quiet luxury—spacious bathrooms carved with stone and artisanal cypress accents flow into the hotel’s majestic courtyard and breathtaking spa. A true sanctuary in the heart of Kyoto, the historic Nijo Castle is just across the street.

Unique access to people and places. This was a trip we could not have done without Modern Adventure.
Scott F.
One of the best weeks of my life. I definitely want to do another trip with MO/AD.
Elizabeth Z.
Everything was perfectly planned and amazing. We were able to explore places that most people never see.
Jennifer G.

Book Japan with Heath Ceramics


Number of Travelers


Reserve your spot today with a $1,500 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs


per person

Can't travel on these dates?
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+1 (855) 219-8018


That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What does this price include?

    Nine nights at unique five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfers; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, many lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuity for local drivers.

  2. What does the price not include?

    International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; gratuity for Modern Adventure trip leader and local guides

  3. What are the arrival and departure details?

    Our October 2023 departure begins at the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel, while our May 2024 departure starts at the Conrad Tokyo Hotel. in Tokyo, Japan. For both departures, the closest airports for arrivals are Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT) and, for departures, Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX). Your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 2pm or later from KIX.

  4. What is the difference between the Oct 2023 and May 2024 departures?

    We travel in October 2023 with Robin Petravic and Cathy Bailey, the husband-and-wife owners of Heath Ceramics. In May 2024, we’re accompanied by Rosalie Wild, Design Director at Heath Ceramics. Elements of the itineraries and certain accommodations differ between the departures, too, based on seasonality and availability. Both departures are designed for those with a boundless passion for art, design and cultural exploration.

  5. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Japan for visits under 90 days, however are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over.

  6. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    For solo travelers, there is a $4,600 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. These spots are extremely limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  7. Who is going on this trip?

    Our adventures typically have between 12 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.

  8. Who is leading this trip?

    This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure Trip Leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.

  9. What is the cancellation policy?

    On our October 2023 departure, you may cancel up to July 1, 2023, and receive a full refund, minus a $500 per-person service fee. On or after July 2, 2023, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after August 30, 2023, there is a 100% cancellation fee. For our May 2024 departure, you may cancel up to January 19, 2024, and receive a full refund, minus a $500 per-person service fee. On or after January 20, 2024, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after March 19, 2024, there is a 100% cancellation fee

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or of the trip being canceled for unforeseeable reasons (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).

  10. Do I need Travel Insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit.

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