Real quotes from real people:


“This tour has just been a mind blowing experience.  Design, beauty and attention to detail are the three things that impress me the most.”

“This has not just been an arts and culture tour, this has been a human tour.”

“I was in Japan when I was in my 20’s.  Coming back has been quite special.”

“What I love here is the level of aesthetics.  Nothing seems out of place or haphazard.  When I get home I’m going to be paying a lot more attention to aesthetics.”

“The highlight for me is the moss, all the different kinds, the colors and the textures.”

“We thank you for this life-changing, inspiring introduction to Japan and the gardens and culture of Kyoto.  Inspiring does not begin to describe – this is an incredible place.  You have done an amazing job putting this trip together.  Your love and attention shows at every turn.”

“Thank you Allan.  Your enthusiasm for Kyoto gardens and Japanese culture made all the difference between a bus-filled stare-out-the-window and take-a-look tour and a tour where sights and sounds and impressions are all brought into the experience and taken into the heart.  I am blessed to have been a part of your tour and would recommend it for any of my family or friends.”

“I’ve been on many international tours, some quite expensive, and Allan, your tour is of an entirely different order.”

“There is so much beauty here, more than you can imagine.”


“Given the tour description, I had no doubt it would be a gratifying experience but did not expect to participate in the kind of experience you and Judith exposed us to. For me, this trip ranks at the top of my list of memorable experiences we’ve had and as you know, we’ve had some wonderful travel experiences with excellent guides.”

Contemplating moss

“This has been an experience we will treasure!”

“Allan, the fall garden tour we’ve just experienced with you has left our hearts filled with rich memories. Your commentary on Kyoto’s beauty is oh so true, and I’m sure we only saw a relatively small portion of it. Beauty is everywhere there, and your artist’s eye brought us to wonderful treasures and feasts for the soul. Thank you…”


“You changed my life.  I see things in a whole new way.  And I’ll never look at stones the same way again.”


“You don’t have to be a garden expert to love Allan’s tour.  But after the tour you will have a deeper more personal intimacy with beauty.”


“It’s impossible to imagine a better organized tour, or one that is so much fun !  It was our first tour ever, but not our last. Okini!”


“Thank you for such an adventurous and enriching tour of Kyoto, I remember the ancient temples and the modern gardens and the people who graciously shared their enthusiasm with us. I especially remember the gentleman who told us he started making his garden 42 years ago and it is still changing – now I look at my own garden with different eyes.”


“We just finished his fall Kyoto garden tour of exquisite gardens. It was well-organized and included lots of lovely surprises, where we both saw amazing gardens and experienced the Japanese way of life as well. These are the kinds of sights you’ll see on Allan’s tours.”

“Thank you so much for so many diverse cultural insights and viewing around every corner and mountainside.”


“I couldn’t be happier with how the trip and tour unfolded.  I appreciate all of your efforts, patience and expertise.”


“Allan’s love of Japanese culture helped bring the group towards an understanding of the gardens we visited. I came away with a deeper appreciation for the history and the people of Kyoto.”

“We went to places we could never have gone to on our own”.

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“What a trip  –  amazing, calming, inspiring, delightful … I could go on and on.”


“I want to thank you for arranging this incredible, once in a lifetime tour. The itinerary was stellar! Allan was the consummate guide.”

“Visiting Japan, and Kyoto in particular, had been a dream and hope for me for many years. Being part of the 2013 Kyoto Autumn Tour made it all come true. The experience was richer and more profound than I could have ever imagined. Visiting a number of the most significant and famous Zen and Temple Gardens, understanding their underlying symbolism, sampling the diverse Japanese food, and finding out more about the intricacies of daily life in Japan was transcending. As a professional landscape designer, I can already tell that it will have a positive impact on my practice and design orientation.”


“What an incredible trip we had! It could not have been better prepared and organized, and we could not have packed much more in! The memories of the experiences and many century-old culture we were exposed to will stay with me forever. I am so very grateful to have been part of this tour. How much we saw and learned.”

I got home from the airport about 3:00 pm and by 4:00 pm I was out in the garden beginning to prune a tree to try and replicate what I saw in Kyoto.  Needless to say I have a long way to go, but I feel more confident now in getting more aggressive with my pruning.  Can’t stop my mind from racing with all the memories from the tour.  Thank you for all the work you both did in putting together this very special event.”

Wagashi class - Fall Tour 2016

“What a wonderful, magical trip.  So perfect in so many ways.  I actually cannot imagine how it could have been better in any way.  Judy, I am missing you and our travel companions already!  How cool that you have gotten out to your garden already.  I cannot shut off my memories either (and I do not want to); my mind is full of Kyoto.”

“The most insightful garden tours I could hope for in a guide were given by Allan.  He gave me insights into Buddhism as well as Japanese history and culture.  My husband who generally has no interest in gardens accompanied us for two mornings and was captivated.  Allan knew how to relate to his introductory questions and how to draw out my husband’s perception so that he too experienced the spirit of these magnificent and varied gardens.”


“A trip that combines horticulture and photo opportunities is like Nirvana for me.  When you add great travel companions, incredible guides and itineraries it does not get any better.  Thank you’s to everyone, especially Allan and Ayumi.  There is sooo much behind the scenes planning that goes into a smoothly running tour.  You both have my complete admiration.  Thank you again for an incredible introduction to Japanese  gardens and culture.”

“Allan was perfect for this tour, embellishing our experience through his quiet reverence for the Japanese garden aesthetic.”


“Allan and Ayumi prepared a miraculous tour, flawlessly organized, enriching and diverse. They truly want to relate and share their love of Kyoto and Japanese Gardens. The accommodations were clean and comfortable, and the pace of the tour was very doable, allowing enough time for some exploring on our own. Kyoto is a very manageable and beautiful city. The people are friendly and helpful, and the beauty and attention to detail are an example to follow. I would recommend this trip to anybody who loves Japanese gardens and wants to travel to Japan.”


What a rich exposure we had to Japanese gastronomy!  Food exposure was a surprising addition to what made the travel so immensely satisfying for me.  So once again, thank you.

“It’s nice to back home before the fire with a good book, but the memories I have of Kyoto will be everlasting.  Thank you for opening that special world to me and thanks for the wonderful photos.  My family and friends are enjoying them.   You did a great job  choosing and showing us around so many of the gardens.  Staying in the Temple was a delightful and felt like I was a part of the community.  Thanks so much.”

“This tour has been heaven to me.  Thank you, Allan.”

water basin, Shu Sui Tei tea garden, Kyoto, Japan