Inland Sea of Japan aboard Le Soleal
May 22 - June 1, 2019
The unsurpassed natural beauty and fascinating way of life in Japan are found nowhere else in the world; here, centuries-old culture echoes throughout the nation, laden with the storied values of tradition, ceremony and ritual. Ukiyo-e, a Japanese art style beloved by the Impressionists, captures the fleeting essence of the natural world on its woodblock prints. A similar ephemeral style reverberates through the delicate ikebana (flower arrangement, also known as kado or "the way of the flowers") and the immaculate paradise, kare-sansui (dry landscape), strolling and tea gardens - many of which were commissioned by the Daimyo feudal lords and are unique in style and symbolic purpose. From the meticulously sifted sands of the kare-sansui rock garden of Ryoan-ji, a paragon of Japanese expression and Zen Buddhism, emerge a variety of symbols, dependent on the onlooker's perception. It is said only 14 of 15 rocks in the garden can be seen at once, and only when one reaches peak enlightenment does the final stone reveal itself.