tokyowayロゴ

luxury travel

People

EXPERTS

Soto Zen monk

Ryuei was born into a Soto Zen family that runs a temple near Nagoya. After the Kobe earthquake in 1995 he dropped everything for several years to offer spiritual support to the victims. An author of several books about mindfulness and Zen practice, he lives with his wife and children in Tokyo. Ryuei is constantly trying to find ways a monk can support today’s individuals and communities. He recently launched a crowdfunded business selling an inflatable Zen cushion he designed. His typical 90 minutes session with Tokyo Way guests consists of a blessing of the travelers, a mindfulness exercise, and a 10 or 15 minutes Zen sitting, at one of several temples in Tokyo.

Tea Ceremony master

“It takes ten years to master all the parts of the full tea ceremony, which traditionally lasts four hours.” Recently retired from his day job as a high school math teacher, Kiyotaka has been practicing and teaching tea for over forty years. At the tea room built into his family’s home near Asakusa, he conducts a one hour ceremony with Tokyo Way guests-- serving tea as he explains each step, then helping guests who want to to serve tea themselves. “Every element of the ceremony is done with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment in mind...Each ceremony is a new one, a precious time.” Kiyotaka-sensei welcomes questions and photos at any time, part of his broadly generous spirit of omotenashi hospitality.

OUR GUIDES

Any good guide, including those at Tokyo Way, can assure the safe and successful navigation of a day’s itinerary and enjoyment of the route. But we expect much more of our guides, because we define their role a bit differently. We believe that a guide’s first responsibility is to follow the flow of our guests’ experience. We stick to the itinerary when you want to, but some stops on the route will inevitably be more engaging than expected, and some perhaps less. So we authorize our guides to change the tour as it progresses, however you and they decide.

There may be three important things to know about a shrine, but if you only want to hear one today, we move on. Meanwhile your conversation with the guide over lunch about raising children in Japan may be too interesting to stop because of the time, so we adjust the afternoon plan accordingly. We make sure that Tokyo Way’s guides have the personality and character, the communication skills and the flexibility, to engage with our guests this way. Because we remember that it’s your trip.