Art Tours Japan

Tour Leaders

Art Tours Japan was established in 2008 with the intention of providing a unique opportunity to join a small group of no more than 8 like-minded people exploring Japan’s exciting cultural and artistic heritage.

Most tours to Japan consist of large groups of 20 or more led by flag-waving locally employed tour guides visiting tourist traps. We organize and conduct our own tours and endeavor to make our tours to less visited places feel like a group of friends enjoying and appreciating Japan together.

Visits to Japan often leave the visitor bewildered by the cultural difference and complexity of artistic expression. By providing a context for understanding the history of Japan our tours will enhance the participants’ appreciation of the art and culture.


Dr. Gary Hickey

Gary with Japanese Ambassador and his wife
Gary with Japanese ambassador and his wife at the
2017 National Library of Australia exhibition curated by Gary

Gary has both a Masters and PhD in Japanese art history and continues to publish, lecture and curate major exhibitions of Japanese art. As your tour leader Gary will provide talks and tours that will ensure a fuller understanding and appreciation of this fascinating country.

Gary’s first visit to Japan in 1975 awakened a passion for its culture and traditions. He subsequently lived there studying traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking and calligraphy before returning to Australia to further his academic studies. He has thirty-two years’ experience working in Australia’s leading cultural and educational institutions. As a senior curator of Japanese art at the National Gallery of Australia and later at the National Library of Australia he curated major exhibitions of Japanese art. He has published widely on Japanese art history and taught the same at The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland and Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. He is a Research Fellow at both the Kyoto-based International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) and the National Library of Australia.

Further, over a period of more than forty years Gary has pursued his interest in the philosophical traditions of Asia with a particular focus on Zen Buddhism and Yoga. He has taught both subjects at university and is certified to teach Iyengar Yoga having studied on numerous occasions in India with B.K.S.Iyengar. He has taught Iyengar Yoga at schools he established in both Australia and Japan. 


Haruyo Maeda

Haruyo with tour members at Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto

A native Japanese Haruyo comfortably straddles both East and West having lived in Australia for more than forty years. On the tour, as well as managing the day-to-day logistics, Haruyo will provide insights about the culture that only someone with an intimate knowledge can.

Haruyo was born in a coastal town on the island of Shikoku. Later her family moved to the island of Kyushu where she completed her high school studies. Her undergraduate degree in nutrition was completed at Doshisha Women’s University in Kyoto where she lived for many years.

It is there that she first met Gary.  After their marriage Haruyo moved to Australia where she completed a second degree in science at the University of Melbourne. She worked as a research scientist for eighteen years at Melbourne University and later at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Haruyo has a keen interest in Japanese history and when in Japan takes the opportunity to continue her studies in Ikebana and Japanese ink painting.

Japan tour groupGary with tour members at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima