Finally, the skies cleared and I met fellow Garden Vistas travelers at the luxurious Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. After four nights on my own at convenient but rather seedy digs near Ueno Park, I was happy to have company. Led by the celebrated Dr. Allan Armitage, Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, and Vincent Simeone, director of Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island, Garden Vistas tours visit unique destinations all over the world.
The majority of the group had traveled together many times before, united by a love of gardening. I was delighted to be a “newbie” among such a dynamic and diverse group of people. At Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel, a traditional ryokan in Nikko, we dressed for the evening kaiseki (traditional banquet) in informal yukata.
The tour spanned ten days, taking in sights in Tokyo, Hakone, Nikko, Kanazawa, and Kyoto. With so much variety to our days, posts ordered by date would grow unwieldy. Consequently, the rest of my posts about this trip will be organized by theme.