Following his travels to Spain, Algeria and Morocco, he turned to more exotic themes and painted works depicting street life, merchants, musicians and harems. He spent 10 years in Morocco and lived in Tangiers for a year between 1890 and 1891. In 1900, he exhibited pictures in the Exposition Universelle in Paris to great acclaim, winning the bronze medal. In 1904, he sold many of his works to raise money for further travel.
In the Summer of 1905, he travelled to Far-East where he continued his interest in Orientalist themes. During this period he travelled through India and Japan. Shortly after his arrival in Japan, he painted a portrait of the former Prime-Minister, Count Okuma, who became an influential patron. This patronage gave him unprecedented access to many facets of Japanese life and customs that had previously been hidden from Europeans. This allowed him to explore Buddhism and Shintoism in depth. Tornai remained in Japan for 16 months during which time he painted such works as A Japanese Princess Going to Church, Geisha, The Geisha House and the Samurai Warrior amongst other paintings.