An exclusive access-all-areas journey to the heart of Japan; Danielle Demetriou; How To Spend It

Japan – Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)

A formidably well-connected mastermind is opening up Japan’s most exclusive cultural experiences to the sophisticated traveller. Danielle Demetriou gets a first taste.

The double doors swing open and the first thing that grabs my attention is the smell: a rich, woody aroma that evokes forests, mountains and the minimal interior of a traditional Japanese house.

The tableau before me is no less arresting. Beneath a curved roof thatched neatly with tree bark, there is a wooden stage with four columns, a painted pine tree and a garden-style border of white stones. The only thing missing is troops of masked actors versed in the 700-year-old world of Noh – an esoteric and deeply esteemed form of Japanese musical drama – to bring the empty, dimly lit theatre to life with tales of love and war, joy and loss.

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