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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Take your tastebuds on an 11-day culinary journey through Japan's most delicious hotspots, relishing the flavours of the land of the rising sun. Uncover the secrets of sushi in Tokyo, pick local produce with an expert in Kanazawa, feast on plant-based monastic cuisine in Koya-san, meet local farmers in Uji and go on a food crawl in Osaka. Take part in cooking classes, cooking demonstrations and market visits, feasting on local delights along the way. From temples to tempura, shrines to sashimi, seafood markets to sake breweries, you'll join a local leader on a food-focused adventure that has all the best Japanese ingredients.

Countries Visited

Japan

Cities Visited

Kanazawa , Koyasan , Kyoto , Osaka , Takayama , Tokyo

  1. Day 1
    Tokyo
    Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Between the freshest ingredients and generations of culinary know-how, this is a country that celebrates the art of eating well. Your adventure begins in Tokyo – a food lover’s dream. You’ll have a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. If you get to Tokyo with time to spare, you may like to head out to explore the different sides of the city, from fascinating museums to neighbourhood backstreets lined with izakaya and karaoke bars. After your meeting, it’s time to get acquainted with local cuisine over a welcome dinner with your group. Fancy some perfectly grilled yakitori skewers or super tasty soba noodles? You’re in the right place. Once dinner’s done and stomachs are full, maybe head out to explore Shibuya's backstreets in search of sake or a couple of local cocktails.
    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Tokyo
    Kick off the day with a walk around the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where seafood from Tokyo's largest wholesale fish market is delivered and ready to sample daily. After, learn the art of sushi making firsthand – it's the quintessential Edo-era specialty and possibly Japan's most famous culinary gift to the world. Hear about the history of sushi, how to choose the best fish, learn proper slicing and rice-making techniques and sample some seriously fresh sushi. Then, enjoy free time to explore the historic Asakusa area. Stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple, founded almost 1400 years ago. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then Asakusa is the place to get your sugar fix. Try fried sweet potatoes tossed in sugar and soy or sweet red bean paste sandwiched between baked pancake batter (yes, it’s as good as it sounds!). Tonight, why not head to Tsukishima to tuck into one of Tokyo's most traditional dishes, monjayaki (a type of savoury pancake).
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Kanazawa
    Take the train towards Japan's northern coastline to the historic city of Kanazawa. Having avoided much of the destruction of World War 2, it's a place where modern and traditional Japan go hand in hand. On the train, you’ll be treated to ekiben for lunch – a bento box popularly sold on trains in Japan – yum! When you arrive in Kanazawa, join your leader on an orientation walk around the city, followed by a visit to the Chaya Gai district. With its well-preserved streets and old wooden tea houses, this is where geisha perform music and dance for small private functions. In the evening, join your leader for an optional dinner to sample local dishes bursting with regional flavour, particularly fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan. The unique blend of warm and cold currents creates the perfect conditions for a wide variety of fish and shellfish year-round, including the famed Kano crabs and sweet prawns.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  4. Day 4
    Kanazawa
    This morning after breakfast, visit the lush, 17th-century Kenroku-en Garden – a highly intricate landscaped acreage of bridges, ponds, waterfalls, fountains and tea houses that are beautiful no matter the season. Perhaps stop for a cup of freshly whisked matcha tea on your stroll through the extensive grounds. Then, take a walk around Omicho market – the hub of Kanazawa’s food culture. Explore the stalls and seek out the best seasonal ingredients, learning how to spot the freshest seafood and vegetables along the way. Then head to a local home for a cooking class with an expert foodie. Pick up some tips and tricks on how to cook local cuisine, learn the history of Kanazawa’s favourite foods and then enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch. This afternoon, you’re free to explore Kanazawa at your leisure.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Kyoto
    Today, you’ll make your way by train to Kyoto – a city regarded as the cultural heart of Japan. Before Tokyo, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years. When you arrive, get acquainted with this gorgeous city on an orientation walk with your leader, making your way to the narrow streets of Kyoto's charming Gion district. Here, you’ll learn about the city’s geisha culture. If you’re lucky, you might spot geiko (geisha) or maiko (apprentice geisha) in their elaborate dress and makeup. Join your leader for an optional dinner to sample some of Kyoto's trademark cuisine, like nishin soba (soba noodles with dried herring) or gyu katsu (beef cutlet).
    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Kyoto
    Today, gear up for a fun daytrip to Uji – this small city between Kyoto and Nara is a cultural hub famous for its green tea. The Ujigami Shrine is also the oldest extant shrine in Japan and was constructed here (along with the historic Byodoin Temple) during the height of the Fujiwara clan’s power, between 794 and 1192. Known for its superior quality since the 1100s, a hot cup of Uji’s green tea is a must-have while you’re here, so you’ll be taken to a local tea farm for an insight into the growing and harvesting process. Hear about the history of Japan's tea cultivation and production, then taste five different Japanese teas as you learn how to brew sencha and matcha using traditional utensils. After, you'll take a leader-led walk around Uji City, stopping along the way to visit the shrine. Then, enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Kyoto
    Tuck into some breakfast this morning, then head out for another day of exploration around Kyoto. You’ll first visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, where you’ll have some time to wander through the iconic torii gates. Snap a few pics, then refuel your energy at a local sake brewery, where you might like to pick up a bottle to take home. Continue on for a food crawl through the glass-covered Nishiki Market. This 400-year-old market is the perfect spot to pick up a few local street eats for lunch, so you’ll follow your local leader and pick out a few favourites – maybe try tako-tamago (translating to octopus egg, this must-try is a savoury surprise of baby octopus with a quails egg inserted into the head after cooking!), beef sushi, matcha sweets or tamagoyaki (an omelette filled with cabbage, carrots, green and white onions and pickled ginger). The rest of the day is free to enjoy Kyoto, whether that means walking off your food baby or heading to a local park for a rest in the sun.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Koya-san
    Rise early, hop on the train and venture into an important region for Shingon Buddhism. Founded in the 8th century by the revered Buddhist saint Kobo Daishi, Koya-san has been a centre for religious activities for over 1200 years. When you arrive, visit Okuno-in – the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. Your unique accommodation tonight is in one of the many temples still operating here. You’ll stay alongside Buddhist monks and follow their routine of evening meditation and morning prayers. Tonight, enjoy an introduction to shojin ryori, or monastic cuisine, prepared by novice monks. Shojin ryori was popularised in Japan in the 13th century by Zen monks from China. Shojin ryori is plant-based and prohibits the inclusion of meat and fish, following the teaching that it is wrong to kill living animals. Instead, meals are prepared with seasonable vegetables and wild plants from the mountains.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Osaka
    Hop on public transport this morning to Osaka – Japan’s third-largest city and the unofficial culinary capital. Sprawling shopping hubs and tiny backstreets full of restaurants and bars serve up local delicacies here, as well as Japan's answer to fast food (Osaka is credited with the first kaiten-zushi, or conveyer belt sushi restaurants). When you arrive, visit the lively Kuromon food market for a morning walk through the quirky Doguyasuji Arcade, where you can pick up some kitchen gadgets (or plastic food!) and all the Japanese bowls you’ll ever need. You’ll also learn about one of Osaka’s signature dishes and try your hand at perfecting okonomiyaki. A tasty okonomiyaki lunch will be included afterwards. This evening, maybe dive into Osaka’s twisting back alleys and experience one of the city’s typical tachinomi bars (drinking while standing), maybe sharing a few drinks with your travel pals.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Osaka
    Have some breakfast this morning, then pop into a depachika – the food basement hall of one of Japan's department stores. This is a treasure trove for food lovers, given the endless range of products beautifully displayed. It’s also one of the best ways to understand what the locals eat on a daily basis. Wander the Dotonbori district with your group this afternoon at the heart of Osaka. This bustling district, known for the iconic glowing signs all over the canal, is the go-to destination for local nightlife, delicious cuisine and diverse shopping options. Enjoy a few included snacks along the way, then you’re free for the afternoon to continue exploring at your own pace. Regroup with your fellow travellers tonight for a farewell dinner of kushikatsu (skewered meat and vegetables, battered and deep fried).
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Osaka
    With no further activities planned, your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. You’re free to leave anytime after check-out, but your adventure doesn’t have to end here! Osaka has so much to explore, it’s recommended that you stay a few extra days and continue to feast on the city’s many foodie favourites.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Tokyo - Welcome dinner
  • Tokyo - Asakusa guided walk & Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market & Sushi Tasting
  • Tokyo - Art of Sushi-making class
  • Kanazawa - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Kanazawa – Chaya gai district walking tour
  • Kanazawa - Kenroku-en Garden
  • Kanazawa - Home cooking class
  • Kanazawa - Omicho market tour
  • Kyoto - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Uji - Green Tea Farm Visit with tea tasting
  • Kyoto - Nishiki Market walk
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Kyoto - Sake Brewery & tasting
  • Koya-san - Okuno-in Mausoleum
  • Osaka – Tour of Kuromon Market and Doguyasuji Arcade
  • Osaka - Dotonbori Tour
  • Osaka – Depachika visit

Meals
10 Breakfast(s) Included
6 Lunch(es) Included
3 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (9 nights), Temple (1 night)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.7

Ratings based off 217 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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