Journeys Rediscovered - Culinary Journey of Japan
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Culinary Immersion Tour Unique to Journeys Rediscovered
"Culinary Journey of Japan"
Small Group Tour of no more than 8 people
Osaka - Miyajima - Hiroshima - Kyoto - Kanazawa - Shirakawago - Takayama - Matsumoto - Tokyo
15 Days/ 14 Nights
- 3 nights accommodation in Osaka
- 2 nights accommodation in Kyoto
- 2 nights accommodation in Kanazawa
- 2 nights accommodation in Takayama
- 2 nights accommodation in Matsumoto
- 3 nights accommodation in Tokyo
- Daily breakfast at hotels
- Many lunches and dinners specifically chosen for the itinerary
- All rail sectors and private vehicle transfers as listed in the itinerary
- Entrance fees
- Sightseeing and touring with a local English speaking guide
- Luggage forwarding on longer train journeys - Japan has an excellent luggage forwarding system that makes the intervening travel as easy as possible
Contact Journeys Rediscovered on m: 0477 002 235 for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary or to REGISTER 2022 or 2023 Small Group Journey; other dates may be available.
Accommodation 4-4.5 star hotels and boutique ryokans.
Contact Journeys Rediscovered for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary or to REGISTER your spot on one of our 2022 or 2023 Small Group Journey.
Private itineraries are available for your preferred date, contact Journeys Rediscovered for pricing for a private departure.
Accommodation 4-4.5 star hotels and boutique ryokans
Day 1 - Osaka: Met at airport by Our Tour Leader Welcome to Japan! Our Tour Leader will meet you at the airport and remain with you for the duration of your tour to Japan. Private Coach from Osaka Kansai Airport to Osaka Hotel We will arrange a private coach to take you in comfort from Osaka Kansai Airport to your hotel in Osaka. This evening, your Tour Leader will take you out for dinner at a local izakaya restaurant for an introduction to Japanese cuisine, where they will show you some more unusual dishes and guide you through the etiquette of dining out in Japan.
Day 2 - Osaka: Guided Sightseeing in Osaka including Osaka Castle Today our Tour Leader will show you around Osaka. This will include a visit to the city's towering replica samurai castle and spend some time exploring its sprawling grounds. The castle building hosts a brilliant museum with a great introduction to Japan's feudal history, with a large amount of the exhibits in English. The top tower of the keep also affords you great views across the gardens and city.
Tonight, your tour leader will take you on a street food safari through Osaka's exciting Nanba district. You will head first to the famous Dotonbori 'restaurant' street in the heart of Nanba. Dotonbori is famous throughout Japan for its vast array of casual dining options and street food. Here bars and eateries line the neon illuminated streets along with hole-in-the-wall takoyaki stands and ramen bars. And everywhere people, young and old, are out to enjoy the culinary pleasures of the nation's most famous restaurant district. This is where Kansai people come to celebrate when their local baseball or football team win the league - or just whenever they can think of an excuse! You'll be sure to stop off at the 'Glico running man' neon ad which along with the giant moving crab statue has become a symbol of the area. You will also stroll through Dotonbori, learning a little of the history (old and new) of the area. To ensure good luck for the rest of your trip, the guide will take you to Hozenji Yokocho to splash water on to the resident “Ofudosan”, a Buddhist God for love and business. Food wise you will keep well filled up with the chance to try Kushikatsu (skewered vegetables and meat dishes), Takoyaki (the very famous 'octopus balls') and a variety of delights at a traditional Izakaya (pub-restaurant). Tonight will be a great chance to sync yourself into the Osaka philosophy of 'kuidaore' - eat, drink and enjoy life!
Day 3 - Osaka: Train from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima At Shin-Osaka station you will board the Shinkansen for Hiroshima, a 340km trip. Journey time is around 90 minutes. From Hiroshima Station, you'll take a local line train to Miyajima-Guchi Station, the access point for the ferry to Miyajima Island. Have your camera ready for some great views of Miyajima's red torii gate which is said to float on the water at high tide. You will have the morning to explore Miyajima Island. The first port of call must be Itsukushima Shrine, which you will have already seen from the ferry. The iconic vermillion shrine is built out into the sea, taking on a different appearance as the tide comes and goes, and it’s a great place to get some panoramic photos of your trip. On the way to the shrine, you will inevitably encounter the rather curious deer who populate the island – keep a tight hold on any maps, as the deer are known to try to steal anything. You've seen the sights and met the deer on Miyajima; now it's time to head back to the mainland. You will take the ferry from Miyajima to the Peace Park in the center of Hiroshima City.
A trip to Hiroshima is not complete without a sobering visit to the Peace Memorial Museum and Park, built as a memorial to the harrowing events of August 6th, 1945. The museum contains clear English explanations of the timeline leading up to that fateful day as well as the aftermath, including poignant accounts of the hibakusha A-bomb survivors. The museum is in the grounds of the sprawling Peace Memorial Park which provides a calm, meditative counterpart to the heart-breaking historic accounts housed in the museum. Scattered around the park are various memorials, including the Children’s Peace Monument with its thousands of origami cranes, and the Peace Flame which will burn until the last nuclear weapon is destroyed. Just across the river is the iconic A-Bomb Dome, one of the few buildings in the city to miraculously survive the attack and a striking link to Hiroshima’s past.
This evening you'll try Hiroshima's famous dish - okonomiyaki. It's popular with locals and tourists alike, and for good reason - it's absolutely delicious! This crepe-like batter is topped with cabbage, noodles and other ingredients of your choice and made on a grill in front of you. A perfect side is a large glass of cold beer. You will take the Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Osaka.
Day 4 - Kyoto: Today a private coach will take you from your hotel to your next hotel in Kyoto via Yamazaki Whisky Distillery and Fushimi Inari. You'll have a guided tour of the Yamazaki whiskey distillery. The tour is conducted in Japanese, but your tour leader will translate. You'll learn about all the steps of the whiskey making process in chronological order from malting, to mashing, fermentation, and distillation. Then there's a chance to visit the whiskey museum and library where over 7,000 different kinds are displayed. Finally, and most importantly there's a stop at the tasting counter where you can try the unblended whiskey (not for sale) that makes up Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky - for no extra charge!
This afternoon you will be taken on a guided tour of the wonderful Fushimi Inari shrine. Here thousands of red shrine gates line the maze-like paths all over Mount Inari. This shrine and its stone fox guardians are dedicated to the rice Gods. After visiting the shrine you'll be taken to a nearby sake brewery where the local rice production is put to good use! You'll learn all about the sake brewing process before visiting a local liquor shop. There are more than 80 types of sake on sale here and you will be able to sample three different types. This evening we will arrange a meal at a local restaurant for the group.
Day 5 - Kyoto: Full Day Sightseeing in Kyoto using Public Transport: Kinkakuji, Ryoanji & Arashiyama First stop this morning is Kinkaku-ji - also known as the Golden Pavilion - because that's precisely what it is. Kinkaku-ji is probably Kyoto's best-known place of worship. A Zen-Buddhist building, it is remarkably picturesque, situated as it is on a lake surrounded by a crop of trees. Access to the inside is impossible but there is a nice garden to wander around. A short distance away, your Tour Leader will take you to Ryoan-ji Rock Garden. While there are many Zen dry-landscape gardens across Japan, the most famous is at Kyoto's Ryoan-ji temple in the north-west corner of the city. Looking across Ryoan-ji's small rectangle of 15 rocks amid white pebbles, it's left to the visitor to ponder the meaning of it all. Spend the afternoon in InsideJapan's favourite corner of Kyoto - the suburb of Arashiyama on the banks of the Hozu River. Literally meaning 'storm mountain', Arashiyama has many pretty temples, preserved Meiji Period streets, cafes and shops to explore as well as stunning views down the Hozu gorge. But the most well-known sight are the bamboo groves; an atmospheric 200metre path through swathes of stories high bamboo.
Afternoon Tea with A Maiko For many people the quintessential image of Japan is a graceful geisha in an exquisite kimono darting through a sliding screen door into a traditional tea house. It’s a scene that embodies both the geisha’s beauty and mystery, as the geisha and their maiko apprentices move almost in secret through a world largely hidden behind closed doors. Often misunderstood in the West, geisha are essentially artists, highly skilled in traditional arts such as fan dancing and shamisen playing and are masters of wordplay and social etiquette. Although geisha numbers have dropped dramatically since their heyday in the 1920s, in today’s Japan, they are also the caretakers of these traditions making sure time-honored Japanese arts and crafts are not lost. The majority of geisha live and work in Kyoto and are known as geiko in the local dialect. Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district with a large concentration of ochaya tea houses where the geiko entertains guests most evenings. Not just anyone can enter an ochaya however; in traditional Japanese society, hierarchy and social connections are everything and most Japanese will never have the honour of an official invitation. Fortunately, our operators have strong ties with the Gion Maruume teahouse and we will arrange for you to visit for 45 minutes for a fascinating glimpse into the geisha world. Over a cup of green tea and a Japanese cake, you'll be entertained by a geisha or maiko who will perform a traditional dance for you. During the experience, you'll be able to take photos and ask any questions you may have. This evening we will arrange a meal at a local restaurant for the group.
Day 6 - Kanazawa: Today you will be taking the train from Kyoto to Kanazawa. The line out of Kyoto takes you directly north through some beautiful scenery and along the shores of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake. In today's experience, you will learn some of the secrets of wagashi sweet making at a historic sweet shop near Omi-cho market in central Kanazawa. During the 40-minute experience, you will learn how to make two different types of colourful, elegant Japanese sweets, two of each variety. Wagashi traditionally are enjoyed as an accompaniment to a fresh bowl of matcha green tea, but you can either try yours on the spot or take one home as a tasty souvenir of Japan. This evening we will arrange a meal at a local restaurant for the group.
Day 7 - Kanazawa: Full Day Sightseeing in Kanazawa using Public Transport: Samurai Quarter, Kenrokuen Garden & Omicho Market. Today your Tour Leader will lead you on a tour of Kanazawa exploring the old Nagamachi samurai quarter, the traditional teahouse districts, the spectacular Kenrokuen (one of Japan's top three landscape gardens), or perhaps the intriguing 21st Century Art Museum. Most importantly, don't miss Omicho food market where you can find all manner of weird and wonderful fish and vegetables. This evening we will arrange a meal at a local restaurant for the group.
Day 8 - Kanazawa to Takayama via Shirakawago: This morning you will be picked up at your hotel by private coach for your journey from Kanazawa to Takayama. On the way, you will be stopping off at the World Heritage village of Shirakawago where you will have a couple of hours with your tour leader to explore the traditional gassho houses and sample the local soba noodles up in the Japanese mountains (not included). After sightseeing, you will be taken on to Takayama for your stay here. Total journey time today is around 5 hours.
Day 9 - Takayama: Today you will spend the full day exploring Takayama with your Tour Leader, and there is plenty to see and do to keep you busy. Begin the day by visiting the riverside morning market. Keep an eye out for some of Takayama’ s local on-the-go delicacies, including Hida Beef Kushiyaki (grilled skewer) and Mitarashi Dango (sweet rice dumplings). This afternoon we will head to the Hida-no-Sato folk village, an open-air museum showcasing the region's traditional thatched farmhouses.
Day 10 - Takayama - Matsumoto: Today a private coach will take you from Takayama to Matsumoto with a detour to Daio Wasabi Farm. Today you will visit Daio Wasabi Farm in the nearby town of Azumino. This is a lovely spot for the beautiful watermills and river running through the area. The Daio Wasabi Farm is one of the largest farms in Japan. At the farm shop, you can try all manner of wasabi flavoured goods including wasabi ice-cream! A wasabi-flavoured lunch will be included. This evening we will arrange a meal at a local restaurant for the group.
Day 11 - Matsumoto: Today your Tour Leader will show you around Matsumoto. You'll have plenty of time for sightseeing in one of Japan’s best castle towns – Matsumoto. Located in the Japanese Alps, Matsumoto is home to the dramatically coloured ‘Black Crow’ castle, often considered to be among the most beautiful original feudal castles in the country. The castle isn’t all that Matsumoto has to offer. In the castle grounds, you will find the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, which has a great range of modern art and a Yayoi Kusama exhibition. If art is your thing, the Ukiyo-e Museum in the western suburbs is well worth a visit; despite its rather unassuming exterior, the museum houses the largest collection of ukiyo-e woodblock prints in the world. To round off your day of sightseeing, be sure to try out Matsumoto’s most famous specialty – ‘shinshu soba’ noodles, which can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Matsumoto is famous for its soba buckwheat noodles and there are numerous restaurants in town serving this simple but tasty dish. Today you will be making soba noodles from scratch, learning how to serve them and then most importantly how to enjoy eating them! The 1-hour course takes place at Takagi, a shop that's been in operation for over 130 years and located close to Matsumoto Castle. This fun and relaxed course is conducted mainly in Japanese but is easy to follow and you are sure to leave as a soba noodles expert!
You'll also have a tour around Ishii Miso factory. They have been producing miso here since 1868. The process still includes fermenting miso in wooden barrels for over three years. You'll get the chance to try a miso flavoured ice-cream if you wish! Evening meal at a local restaurant will be provided.
Day 12 - Matsumoto - Tokyo: From Matsumoto you will be travelling on to Tokyo taking the Azusa Express. The train winds its way through some beautiful rural countryside passing paddy fields, vineyards, orchards, lakes and rivers on the way. As you approach Tokyo the open countryside is replaced by the urban development which spreads out from the capital and eventually you will see the skyscrapers of Shinjuku looming in the distance. If the weather is clear, keep a lookout for Mt. Fuji from the right-hand windows of the train as for much of the final forty-five minutes of the journey she can be seen soaring skywards to the west of Tokyo. Tonight, your tour leader will take you around Golden Gai and other yatai bars in the Shinjuku area. You'll have tasters of food including yakitori (chicken on skewers) and karaage (fried chicken) as well as vegetable dishes.
Day 13 - Tokyo: Sightseeing Tour of Tokyo using Public Transport: Meiji Shrine, Harajuku & Tokyo Metropolitan Building This morning, head to the Meiji shrine, tucked away in a tranquil forested park in Shibuya. The grounds are an oasis of calm and popular amongst locals for recreation and relaxation and even weddings. In stark contrast, you'll then head into the Harajuku district, the home of Japan's youth culture. Takeshita-dori is a must-visit shopping street if you're interested in cosplay and youth fashion, and the area is a hub for Lolita’s, punk musicians and Goths. Finally, enjoy the view of Tokyo from the towering Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings. Evening Meal at a Local Restaurant.
Day 14 - Tokyo: Tsukiji (Outer Market) Guided Tour & Sushi Making Class One of the best things to do during any stay in Tokyo is to make a visit to Tsukiji fish market. This is now entirely subject to where the market will be moved to in 2018/19, so it may be that visits are no longer permitted to the new location, in which case we will replace this visit with a similar activity. The fish market is the embodiment of organised chaos: Miniature trucks race to and fro laden with all manner of products from boxes of prawns to huge tuna; unintelligible auctioneers shout the latest prices as the day's catch is sold off to the market wholesalers; chefs from across the city make their way from stall to stall, inspecting the goods and choosing the best for that day's menu. Yet amidst the madness one thing becomes abundantly clear: Everyone has their role and knows their job backward. A visit to Tsukiji is one of the experiences to be had in Tokyo. This morning you will be met at your hotel by your guide who will accompany you to Tsukiji and take you on a guided tour. After touring the market, the guide will take you to a nearby location where you will learn to prepare 'maki sushi' (rolled sushi), 'gunkan maki' (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients) and 'nigiri sushi' (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). After preparing this sushi you will learn how best to present them and then it is time to tuck in! This evening we will arrange a farewell dinner at a local restaurant where you can swap stories and highlights of your trip as it comes to an end.
Day 15 - Tokyo: We will arrange a private coach transfer from the hotel in Tokyo to Narita Airport. Journey time is usually around 90 minutes.
Valid for travel 01 Jan 2022 - until 31 Dec 2023.
Terms & Conditions
Contact Journeys Rediscovered for pricing to suit your preferred departure dates as a private itinerary or to REGISTER for our 2022 or 2023 Small Group Journey (no more than 8 passengers.)
Tours will run with a minimum of 6 passengers.
Land based itinerary.
International airfares are additional, please contact Journeys Rediscovered for international flight options & prices.
Travel insurance is strongly recommended and can be arranged for you for an additional cost.
For full pricing, terms and conditions, contact your MTA Travel Expert, Journeys Rediscovered on m: 0477 002 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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