Art and artisanal craft is a special focus for Gilman. For one recent trip, he organized a visit to the coastal city of Hagi, famous for Hagi-yaki pottery, which has a textured, milky-white glaze. The clients met with master potters and learned how they create their pieces using a traditional kiln. Another client was interested in Japanese samurai swords, so Gilman enlisted the help of a specialist in Japanese sword-making, who provided his clients with a visit to a swordsmith's forge outside of Tokyo to observe this fascinating craft. "The visit lasts a few hours and a light lunch was served at the swordsmith's home," he says. And for a more spiritual trip, Gilman arranged for a group helicopter ride from rural Nara to Mt. Koya for the day. "Koyasan is Japan's best-known Buddhist mountain retreat, a very spiritual and beautiful area that's quite remote," he says. "Our clients were accompanied to Mt. Koya by my good friend, a Buddhist priest, who offers an especially insightful visit. These clients also spent two evenings at a luxurious rice terrace villa, Sasayuri-Ann, in the mountains of Nara."
Languages Spoken: English and Japanese
Minimum Daily Spend: From $1,000 per person per day
Trip Planning Fees: $1,000; can be applied to trip cost
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