Culinary Japan (12 Days/11 Nights) From AED11,385*

 

Ref: JCTCAC

 

  • Sample Tokyo’s best food

  • Visit UNESCO-heritage Kyoto

  • Learn to make soba and sushi

  • Explore Japanese Buddhism

  • Stay in a traditional ryokan

Day 1 : Tokyo - Arrival

(-/-/-)

Upon arrival to Tokyo’s airport, one of our representatives will be waiting to assist with transport to the hotel (either boarding the correct train or finding the appropriate shuttle bus to the hotel).

 

The rest of the day is at leisure.

 

Overnight in Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo

(B/L/-)

Begin the morning early alongside a local guide for a visit to Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji, the world-famous fish market filled with traditional shops and top-quality sushi restaurants.

 

After exploring the market (but before leaving), enjoy a super-fresh sushi breakfast in a local restaurant – the best way to start a trip in Japan!

 

From Tsukiji, walk to Hamarikyu, a Japanese garden that once served as a private villa, however it's best known for its attractive is a teahouse, Nakajima-no-Ochaya.

 

Have a break in the teahouse and a cup of freshly made green tea while the guide shares interesting facts about chado (tea ceremony).

 

From the park, take the scenic river cruise to Asakusa, a part of Tokyo’s shitamachi or old town. Asakusa is the city’s oldest Geisha district and also home to Senso-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. 

Around noon, stop by one of the local restaurants for lunch. Although there’s a variety of food to choose from, Asakusa is more known for its best-tasting tempura.

 

From Asakusa, continue a short walk to Kappabashi, the so-called Kitchenware Town lined with dozens of specialized stores for knives, Japanese tableware, and even food replicas.

 

Last stop is in Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho, a former black market that sprang up after WWII. It is now a bustling shopping alley filled with food stalls that make it a great place to try some local snacks.

 

Overnight in Tokyo

Day 3: Tokyo

(B/L/-)

Begin the day with a hands-on culinary adventure. Head towards the cooking studio in Tokyo’s Tsukiji area to begin the morning’s soba-making workshop. The class will be held by either Akila Inouye, founder and Master Chef of the Tsukiji Soba Academy, or one of the academy’s graduates.

 

The activity will begin with a short demonstration by a sobatician, followed by a lesson on how to prepare the wheat mixture, and the precise way of cutting it into 1.6 mm thick noodles.

 

At the end of the lesson, cook the soba and dine with the teacher and the rest of the class in tachigui style, which means eating while standing.

 

The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure. Enjoy relaxing in the hotel or independently discover the busy streets of Shibuya (scramble crossing), visit the fashion mecca of Harajuku or to explore another shitamachi in Yanaka.

 

Optional Evening Tour: Tokyo Street Food Tour

 

A local English-speaking food expert will provide an escort through tiny izakayas (Japanese-style pubs) and small traditional restaurants and bars, each boasting distinctive atmospheres in heart of the traditional Japanese entertainment districts.

 

None of these local taverns normally accept reservations, but the expert guide is able to pick, depending on the evening, the right areas (always in central Tokyo) and venues to find available seats. Because of this, the tour is always unique and different for each guest.

 

Overnight in Tokyo

 

 

Day 4: Tokyo - Takayama

(B/-/D)

Today is a self-guided day.

 

Today marks the journey to Takayama, a small town nestled high in the Hida Alpine region of Gifu Prefecture.

 

The first leg of the trip will be on a bullet train that can reach speeds of up to 260 kph. Next is on the limited express train Wide View, which offers one of the most scenic train journeys in Japan.

 

Suggested Self-Guided Itinerary:

 

We recommend strolling in Takayama’s shitamachi, where the streets are lined with century-old merchants’ homes and sake breweries. Queue for the famous Hida beef sushi in one of the special food stalls.

 

 In Takayama, experience a stay in a ryokan, the traditional Japanese-style inn furnished with low tables and chairs, sliding shoji doors, and tatami flooring.

 

Day 5: Takayama

(B/-/D)

Today is a self-guided day.

 

Optional Tour (1): Food & Culture Walk

 

Explore some of the food shops in Takayama with a knowledgeable guide, learning about the town’s colorful history and familiarizing the taste buds with some of the local delicacies. The walking tour includes visits to a tofu seller, a rakugan shop (traditional Japanese candies), and even a sake brewery (some stores may close in certain days). Food and sake tastings are also included.

 

Optional Tour (2): Afternoon Trip to Shirakawago

 

Around noon, take the bus to Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses.

 

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer," which is represented through the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs. This architectural style developed over many generations – the roofs were constructed without any nails and are intricately designed to withstand large amounts of snow.

 

Return to Takayama for another night in the ryokan.

  

Overnight in Takayama

 

Day 6: Takayama - Kyoto

(B/-/-)

Today is a self-guided day.

 

Take one last soak in the onsen before starting the journey to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. Kyoto is home to around 2,000 shrines and temples, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Kyoto

 

 

Day 7: Kyoto

(B/L/-)

Today explore the former imperial capital with a knowledgeable local guide, utilising Kyoto’s comprehensive bus system to visit some of Kyoto’s World Heritage Sites.

 

Start with a visit to Nijo Castle, an ornamental castle that was originally built to serve as the private villa of a powerful feudal lord. 

 

Next in the list is the serene Ryoan-ji Temple, which is famous for its well-maintained rock garden and known to be the Myoshinji School of the Rinzai Buddhist sect.

 

Within walking distance from Ryoan-ji is the stunning golden pavilion collectively known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. 

 

Travel to Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple situated near Mt. Otowa, it offers breathtaking views, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom or when the leaves change color in fall.

 

End the tour with a stroll along the busy streets of Higashiyama District, a collection of narrow alleyways lined with local stores, souvenir shops, small eateries, and even pottery centers.

 

Note: Kiyomizu-dera is currently undergoing renovations, with proposed completion in 2019.

 

Overnight in Kyoto

Day 8: Kyoto

(B/-/D)

The rest of the morning is free at leisure until the food market tour and cooking class in the afternoon.

 

Meet with a local guide at a designated meeting spot in Nishiki Market and embark on a tour that will truly delight the senses.

 

The mile-long covered food market of Nishiki is lined with small shops and food stalls that sell fresh produce and local dishes. The guide will introduce a few of these unique ingredients and delicacies before heading to the venue of the cooking class.

 

The instructor will teach the proper way to make rolled sushi, miso soup, and salad with seasonal fruit for dessert. After the class, share a simple yet hearty meal with the teacher and the rest of the group.

 

Overnight in Kyoto

 

Day 9: Kyoto - Koyasan

(B/-/D)

The journey to Koyasan is one of the highlights of the visit, with the final ascent being on a cable car, which offers one of the most scenic journeys in Japan, as it winds its way up to the mountains.

 

Meet the guide at Koyasan Station and spend the afternoon exploring a couple of popular sites that give an insight to Japanese Buddhism.

 

Visit Kongobu-ji, continue on to Okuno-in, Japan’s largest cemetery that holds the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. 

 

Afterwards, the guide will provide an escort to the shukubo (temple lodge), where famous Buddhist cuisine is served.

 

Overnight at Koyasan

 

Day 10: Koyasan - Osaka

(B/-/-)

Today is a self-guided day.

 

Suggestion:

To have a complete experience of Koyasan, joining the Morning Prayer, which usually starts at 06:00, is highly recommended. Be immersed in the calming chants of the monks inside the prayer hall (prayers are only in Japanese but some priests provide a simple explanation in English at the end of the ceremony).

 

Afterwards, proceed to the dining room for a shojin ryori breakfast.

 

The rest of the morning is free to further explore Koyasan before departing for Osaka, Japan’s Kitchen Capital. Osaka’s flamboyance, fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.

 

Overnight in Osaka

 

Day 11: Osaka

(B/-/-)

The rest of the morning is free until the guided tour of the city in the afternoon.

 

Meet the food expert at a designated meeting point in Dotonbori and enjoy about 4 different venues during the tour.

 

Start the experience by discovering Osaka’s best-loved dishes in one of the liveliest areas in town, with innumerable little shops, restaurants and tiny taverns and bars. 

With the help of the guide, taste some of the staples of Osaka’s soul-food such as fresh Okonomiyaki, prepared on the spot, and Takoyaki, which have been featured in the Michelin guide. Continue the gourmet journey with fresh sushi and a local brew, plus the opportunity to interact with the sushi chef. 

 

Overnight in Osaka

 

Day 12: Osaka - Departure

(B/-/-)

The rest of the day is at leisure until the departing flight from Kansai International Airport.

 

If you would like to customize this itinerary, please provide us with your requirements by contacting us.

Service Included

  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

  • Meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport

  • PASMO Card for local transportation in Tokyo and to/from Koyasan with 1,500 JPY worth of credits

(Note: Additional credit will be charged by the guides to cover transportation during guided days. Clients are free to further charge their card should they wish to make use of it during self-guided days).

  • 7-Day Japan Rail Pass in ordinary class, activated on Day 4

  • English-speaking guides for tours on Days 2, 7, and 9 (supplementary charges apply for other languages)

  • All entrance fees and public transportation fees as mentioned in the itinerary on Days 2, 7, and 9

  • Soba-making workshop in Tokyo on Day 3

  • Food market tour and cooking class in Kyoto on Day 8

  • Roundtrip train tickets to Koyasan (Days 9 & 10)

  • Osaka Soul Food Tour on Day 11

  • Information pack

Service Not Included

  • International and domestic flights (quoted separately)

  • All optional tours and activities

  • Some local transport (e.g. some local city buses, taxi transfers, etc.)

  • Meals other than mentioned above

  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone, and other expenditures of a personal nature)

  • Travel insurance (please see below)

  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above

* The price is subject to different factors such as the number of persons, hotel, date of booking...
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