An in-depth tour in Japan with Ace Camps Travel and Prairie Stuart-Wolff of Cultivate Days. Kyoto, Japan - MAY 2019 Learn more here!

Kyoto: exploring the noble flavors and aesthetics of Japan

KYOTO, JAPAN | MAY x - x, 2020

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About the trip:

Join us in the historically rich city of Kyoto as we explore the noble flavours and aesthetics of Japan. We will learn about the origins and harvest of green tea with one of the very few veteran organic tea farmers in Japan. We will test your senses with the finest incense in the world, wander through exceptional moss gardens and bamboo forests, examine centuries old Temples and practice the art of meditation with a Senior Priest from Kyoto's oldest Zen Temple.

This intimate behind-the-scenes experience will be curated and lead by Prairie Stuart-Wolff. Prairie is a writer and photographer, who will bring you on a journey of epicurean ideals from the heart of Japan.

You will enjoy various culinary specialties of the region including Oden, "Zen" vegetarian Temple cuisine, Izakaya and different versions of kaiseki. Traditional kaiseki is a course menu of specialty dishes utilizing fresh, local ingredients presented in fine vessels made of ceramic and lacquer.

May is a wonderful time of year to visit Kyoto. The days are mild and sunny and evenings slowly turn warm enough to leave the windows open. The first cicadas begin to stir and the lavender color of wild thistle blossoms in the fields marks the entrance into summer. It’s the season of fragrant citrus blossoms and fresh garden vegetables, and the tea harvests are underway.

All photos by Prairie Stuart-Wolff

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 5 Days of guided workshops and tours by Prairie Stuart-Wolff

  • 6 nights in twin share accommodation*

  • 6 breakfasts

  • 4 Lunches

  • 5 Dinners, each carefully hand picked to include local Kyoto specialties

  • Learn about organic green tea, with a tasting and educational class and visit to tea farm with veteran tea farmer

  • Visit to a Zen temple with moss gardens

  • Cooking class

  • Meditation Class with Zen Priest

  • Visit to the bamboo forest and Imperial Palace

  • Learn about traditional Japanese incense

  • Transport during tours


Group Size: Maximum 8 guests. 

*Rooms are shared with one other guest. Single supplement may be available, please inquire.

Transport to Kyoto, Japan is not included.

This trip does not include alcoholic drinks except where noted.


Deposit:  $x - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $x due January 15, 2020


As a zen-inspired building our accommodation is all about harmony and calmness. This artful boutique retreat blends seamlessly with the cityscape, inviting you to walk Kyoto's historical paths. Please note: Room size and layouts may differ from the traditional North American standards - the two individual beds may be situated closer together.


Prairie Stuart-Wolff

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Upon moving to Japan in 2007, Prairie immediately recognized the great depth and beauty of Japanese culinary traditions and her good fortune to have married into a family of accomplished potters, dedicated cooks, and food connoisseurs. Her father-in-law, Takashi Nakazato, has long been a recognized champion of talented growers, producers, and chefs. Eating at her mother-in-law, Kuniko’s table kindled a desire to know more about the fascinating ingredients she used and the techniques in the kitchen that daily transformed them into such exquisite dishes. Thus began an endeavor, to learn about and document the principles and practices of Japanese food and culture in context.

You can learn more about Prairie on instagram @cultivateddays


As a culinary focused tour, the meals are a main aspect of the week and the more adventurous you are, the tastier this trip will be for you. Unfortunately we are unable to handle specific dietary requirements, allergies or intolerances on this trip. Seafood dishes will feature prominently during this Ace Camp AND we recommend you enjoy ALL KINDS OF fish + SEAFOOD in particular.

Japan is not always an easy place to travel for vegans, vegetarians or those with restricted diets such as gluten-free. Many foods in Japan that appear to be vegetable based are likely prepared with dashi (stock), which contains dried fish and soy sauce. Gluten, fish + soy sauce in particular are staples in Japanese cuisine. Japan is full of wild and wonderful things to eat. While we won’t be challenging you with the strangest aspects of the food culture, even day-to-day eating in Japan can taste quite different to someone unfamiliar with the cuisine.

All photos by Prairie Stuart-Wolff


ACE CAMPS  will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 90 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 90 prior to the camp. There will be no refunds for this Ace Camp due to the planning and logistics involved.


May is a wonderful time of year to visit Kyoto. Days are mostly temperate with trees and plants in bloom.

Temperatures range from 55°F to 75°F, which means you should pack layered clothes for your stay and a light jacket + umbrella to prepare for the odd shower. 


The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.


This trip is for the calm, open minded traveler who is eager to experiment with their taste buds. You should be interested in learning about the local community of artisans, fascinated by ancient rituals and curious about regional culture and cuisine.



Travel Day - plan to arrive in Kyoto, Japan

Make your own way to our hotel in Kyoto, located a short distance from Kyoto’s main train station. 

Dinner together this evening to meet Prairie and your group.


Breakfast at the hotel

We start our morning with a visit to Kishin Kitchen which is run by Atsushi Nakahigashi. Here we will learn about the foundation of the Japanese meal with Atsushi’s principle of one rice, one soup. We will have a short educational lecture and cooking class, before we enjoy an early lunch.

This afternoon we visit Saihoji, also known as Kokedera, a UNESCO Zen temple with a gorgeous sprawling moss filled garden. The garden has been selected as one of the ‘Historic Sites and Places of Scenic Beauty’ by the Government of Japan.

Following this we will visit Uneno Dashi, where we will learn about the different ingredients of dashi (Japanese soup stock). We’ll learn how to make it and tour the locally owned production facility.

Multi-course dinner at Kyoto Wakuden


Breakfast at the hotel

Start this morning with a Zazen Meditation class. Senior Priest Toryo Ito of Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple (Kenninji Ryosokuin) is stepping outside the Temple confines to teach this very special Zen meditation. (optional)

Continuing the morning of zen, we will visit Tenryuji temple. Built in 1339, Tenryuji is the most important temple in Kyoto's Arashiyama district. We will have lunch of a shojin-ryori (Zen vegetarian cuisine) on the temple grounds.

After lunch a stroll through the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest. Then on to another beautiful property called Okochi Sanso Villa and Garden. The grounds of the villa feature multiple buildings, including a Japanese-style home, tea houses, and shrines, amidst carefully maintained Japanese gardens.

Dinner this evening will be Oden. Oden is a Japanese one-pot simmered dish that has been developing for over 1,000 years.

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Breakfast at the hotel

This morning we’ll visit the Nichinichi gallery, regarded as one of the finest galleries for contemporary applied and decorative art in Japan, followed by Toka tearoom to learn about tea with an organic green tea tasting.

Lunch will be a picnic on the grounds of the Imperial Palace

This afternoon we will focus on traditional incense making. We will visit Kyoto’s two most revered incense shops. At the first workshop we will learn about incense through scent. Then we go on to Shoyeido, where after nearly three hundred years, the Hata family continues the legacy of their innovative ancestors, offering a wide variety of unique, hand-blended incense. Here we will tour the small production facility where they make incense by hand. Today, Shoyeido is considered the highest quality, most natural incense available in the world.

Dinner on your own to explore the many flavours of Kyoto!


Breakfast at the hotel

Free morning to explore or relax (we’ll offer suggestions of places to go).

Lunch on your own

This afternoon we leave Kyoto and travel a short distance to the historical tea farming village of Uji. We will visit the tea farms of one of the very few veteran organic tea farmers in Japan. As it harvest time we will have the unique opportunity to see how tea goes from the field to the teacup.

Dinner this evening is traditional izakaya


Breakfast at the hotel

This morning we visit the stunning Imperial Villa. Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu) is a cherished cultural treasure. The villa’s elegant buildings are among the finest examples of the Sukiya Style of the Edo Period (1603 to 1868).

Lunch - Oden

Shopping extravaganza …Write up TBD

Our farewell group dinner this evening is special Kaiseki dinner. Kaiseki cuisine is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that presents a completely unique dining experience consisting of a series of beautifully presented dishes.


Departure Day

Breakfast at the hotel

This morning we pack our bags and say our farewells.

Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.