• Okonomiyaki

Gourmet Japan Tour

Experience the cultural and culinary delights Japan has to offer. This tour will teach you the necessary skills to prepare some of Japan's most popular dishes, and allows you to taste them in traditional surroundings. Along the way, you will visit cultural capitals and travel through breathtaking landscapes.

Duration
12 days

Guide Price

£5,949 pp
Options
Private basis, Self-Guided
Start your journey

Trip highlights

  • Famous temples, shrines and World Heritage Sites.
  • Cooking classes.

Upon arrival in Tokyo, you will be welcomed by a guide holding a card with your name on, and escorted to the boarding point of the limited express train to your hotel. Before you board the train, the guide will also assist you in collecting your fourteen day Japan Rail Pass which is included in this tour, and can help you to purchase a local SIM card if require it. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax after your flight.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel or similar

Today you will spend a full day taking in the many highlights Tokyo has to offer with a local guide. Taking public transport, you can experience the capital like a local and the first stop of the day will be Meiji Jingu, Tokyo's most famous shrine dedicated to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji. From old to new Tokyo, you will then take a walk down Omotesando shopping street, often referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysee.

A short subway ride will then take you to Asakusa, part of Tokyo's shitamachi, or old town. Home to the city's oldest Buddhist temple, Sensoji Temple, this is also Tokyo's oldest Geisha district. Nakamise shopping street is located around the temple, and has many traditional shops selling Japanese crafts, souvenirs and local food and are a delight to wander through. Here is where you will have lunch at your own expense.

After lunch, visit the bustling Shibuya shopping district, famous for its 5-way crossroads, not to mention the amazing shopping that can be found here. From here you will head to colourful Harajuku, where you will take a stroll along the famous Takeshita dori (Cat Street). 

Your day will end with dinner in a Izakaya close to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel or similar

This morning you will meet with your guide before heading to Tsukiji, the worlds largest fish market which handles around 2,888 tons of fresh marine products a day.

You will have time to explore this magnificent fresh fish market before stopping for a sushi lunch.

After lunch your guide will give you directions to return to your hotel for an afternoon at lesuire in Tokyo.

** Regulations apply for visiting Tsukiji Fish Market - Please do NOT do any of the following during your visit: enter restricted areas, obstruct traffic, bring large bags into the market, wear high heel shoes or sandals, bring small children or pets, smoke in the market or touch anything. **

Suggested Accommodation

  • Keio Plaza Hotel or similar

Today is a self-guided day.

Today you will have an early start before leaving Tokyo behind to making your own way to Hakone , the gateway to Mount Fuji and surrounding national park, the journey takes around two hours.

This small town is famous for its Onsen (natural hot springs), and has natural beauty in abundance. Armed with your included 2-Day Hakone Freepass you can take advantage of numerous forms of transport on offer throughout the park. Why not ride the ropeway all the way up Mount Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers in this volcanic area? Another option is a replica pirate ship which will sweep you across the Ashinoko, a lake formed by volcanic eruption 3,000 years ago. Alternatively, ride the Hakone Tozan 'switchback train' which zigzags through the mountains, giving amazing views of the surrounding valleys. Throughout the day you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji, however please keep in mind that it needs to be a clear day. Tonight you will stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, complete with tatami mats and onsen baths. Relax in your yukata (lightweight kimono) and dine on a sumptuous traditional meal.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Kajikaso or similar

Today you will take a 4.5 hour train journey to Takayama. The first leg will be on the world famous Shinkansen bullet train, which reaches speeds of up to 230km/h. You will then change in Nagoya onto one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan, winding your way through tall mountains and stunning gorges. Due to its previously inaccessible location nestled high in the mountainous Hida alpine region, this beautifully preserved old town was cut off from the rest of Japan, allowing it to develop its own unique culture. 

Upon arrival, you will be met by your local guide who will accompany around this Edo period merchant town. You will walk along side beautifully kept buildings and experience Takayama's distinctive culture before heading to your hotel to enjoy your evening.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Takayama Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan or similar

This morning you will make your own way from Takayama to Kanazawa by train, the first 1.5 hours will be on the scenic Hida Wide View Express to Toyama, followed by a short 20 minute bullet train to Kanazawa. 

After you have checked into your hotel, head to Kenrokuen Garden which is one of the most beautifl landscape gardens in Japan. These stunning gardens were built over two centuries and used to be part of the outer grounds of Kanazawa Castle. After you have spent some to enjoying the gardens, make your way over to explore the Castle grounds next door.

This evening your guide will take you to the Higashi Chayagi District, which is one of the last few active Geisha districts in Japan. Here you will enjoy an authentic Geisha performance in a 200 year old Tea House. After the performance you will have free time for dinner in the local area, your guide will also be able to make suggestions if you would like them.

After enjoying a lovely meal you will make your own way back to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Nikko Kanazawa or similar

This morning you will begin with a visit to Terashima Kurando House with your local guide. This well-preserved house was once home to a Samurai warrior, but now holds his fine artwork and boasts a stunning garden. 

Next, you will walk along the picturesque back alleys of Kanazawa to the stunning D.T. Suzuki Museum, where you will learn about the man who introduced Zen Buddhism to the West. There is a small garden where you can take some time to practice mindfulness by the water mirror garden.

After you have finished exploring the museum, you will head over to the merchant district of Owaricho for a sushi lunch by the famous Omicho Market.

Once you have enjoyed your lunch, you will have free time to explore Kanazawa at leisure. Your guide will give you directions to your hotel so you can make your own way back once your ready.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Nikko Kanazawa or similar

Today you will make your own way from Kanazawa to Kyoto using the Limited Express Thunderbird Train, which takes approximately two hours.

When you arrive in Kyoto you will be met by your local guide who will show you the way to the join-in tea ceremony, before making your own way to take part in a Japanese Tea Ceremony called Sao or Cha-no-yu. This tea ceremony has more than 400 years of history behind it, and it is also conducted in decorated rooms of a traditional house. 

After you have enjoyed your tea ceremony, you will make your own way to your hotel, before enjoying the rest of the day at leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako Hotel or similar

Today you will explore the former imperial capital with a local guide, starting with a visit to Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, which was originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun, but became a Buddhist Temple after his death. 

Next you will make your way to Nijo Castle, this ornamental castle is surrounded by stunning gardens, and was built by the founder of the Edo Shogunate as his Kyoto residence.

Lunch will be enjoyed at the 'Honke Owariya', which has been serving soba udon noodles and rice cakes for the past 500 years over all seasons.

After you have enjoyed a tasty lunch, you will head to Heian Shrine, which is dedicated to the spririts of the first and last emperors who ruiled the city. This stunning shrine was built to mark the 1100th anniversary of the capital's foundation in Kyoto.

You will continue on to Kiyomizu Temple also known as 'pure water' temple, which has amazing views of the whole of Kyoto from the 13 metre high veranda jutting out from the main hall. 

Your guide will then provide you with directions to your cooking class. You will take part in a 3-4 hour private cooking class with professional chef, Mr. Hirokazu Nagano. If you have something that you would like to learn to cook, then please let us know in advance so we can advise the chef. After you have enjoyed your cooking class you will make your own way to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako Hotel or similar

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and provide you with directions to your Bento class.

This morning you will take part in a Bento class ,which is a great way to learn about traditional Japanese dishes such as sushi, tempura and miso soup. The class takes approximately 2.5-3 hours, and after you finish cooking, you will get to enjoy the Bento box you have created.

After you have finished your cooking experience, head to Nishiki Market, also known as 'Kyoto's Kitchen' where you will have some time to browse the local stores and restaurants that line this narrow shopping street.

The rest of your afternoon is free for you to enjoy at leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • New Miyako Hotel or similar

Today, you will make the 14 minute journey by bullet train to Osaka and make your own way to your hotel. 

Your guide will meet you at your hotel, before starting your time in Osaka with a visit to Osaka Castle, this breathtaking structure was built in 1583 as the intended capital of Japan before the capital was moved to Tokyo (formally known as Edo).

Next you will visit Dotonbori, Osaka's most popular tourist areas that runs along side the Dotonbori-gawa canal. This exciting area is filled with neon lights and an electric atmosphere. Lunch will be taken at the famous Dotombori Honten which is easily identified by it iconic giant, moving crab billboard outside its doors.

After the exploring the streets of Dotonbori, head to the observatory at the top of Umeda Sky Building for stunning views across Osaka. Once you have taken in the breathtaking views, make your way to the basement which houses the Takimi-koji gourmet street for some delicious local food.

Once you have finished, your guide will show you the way back to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Ana Crowne Plaza Osaka or similar

Enjoy your morning at leisure, until you make your own way to Kansai Airport using the JR Pass provided.

Included

  • Accommodation as stated or similar with daily breakfast
  • Meals as stated
  • English-speaking guide where mentioned in each city
  • Sightseeing fees and permits during guided days
  • IC card preloaded with ¥2500 for public transport
  • 14 Day JR Rail Pass

Not included

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry etc)
  • Services, meals and drinks not mentioned itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Luggage transfer (if needed)