Flavours of Japan
Price per person for a group of 4 people.
Flavours of Japan
Tokyo – Kanazawa – Kyoto (7 Days/6 Nights)
Welcome to Japan, a culinary hotbed, and a world-class food destination in it’s own right. On this week-long tour, you will be traveling by Bullet Train, with your own private guide, from Tokyo to Kyoto, via Kanazawa and Osaka, exploring the best of Japan’s culinary traditions.
Together we will visit the Tsukiji Outer Market and other local “must see” food destinations.
We’ll shop for the best quality knives and kitchenware in Kappabashi (Japan’s most famous kitchenware street), and try some delectable street food in the bustling city of Osaka. And let’s not forget Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, where you will experience “Kaiseki” cuisine, a highly elaborate and beautifully presented multi-course meal of seasonal dishes and local ingredients.
The tour can be customized to your interest.
Indicated price is for one adult in a twin/double room based on a group of 4 people in a low season for this sample itinerary. Please contact us for any inquiries.
Min 2 / Max 6
WELCOME TO TOKYO!
Bursting with contemporary urban culture, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping to neighbourhood backstreets lined with delicious izakaya’s and lively karaoke bars. We want you to experience the lot, but let’s start with the endless array of Japanese food and drink.
Your adventure will begin with the all-important “Welcome Meeting” at 5:00pm (JST) tonight. Of course you can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this time.
Once the formalities are over, join your Tour Manager and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner at a local tempura restaurant, washed down with a local beer or some fine sake. For those not suffering jetlag, why not explore the night-time ambience of Tokyo’s tiny backstreets, maybe stopping by a local bar for a cocktail. Your Tour Manager will be only too happy to provide suggestions.
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting your insurance details, and next of kin information at this time. Please ensure you bring these details with you to the meeting. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent, hotel reception or your “Two Streets Back” Japan representative know. Please ask the reception staff or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, after a delicious breakfast, we head to the Tsukiji Outer Market. The former site of Tokyo’s iconic seafood market, Tsukiji remains an important source for fresh seafood and produce and is a favourite among Tokyo’s top restauranteurs. The various wholesale, retail shops and restaurants lining the narrow alleyways offer locals and office workers the freshest sushi and sashimi for lunch, now a world-famous cuisine born right here in Tokyo over 200 years ago.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION – The wholesale fish market, previously located at Tsukiji, moved to a new location in Toyosu in late 2018. On this trip we continue to visit the old, atmospheric Tsukiji Outer Market, which still functions as a fresh fish and produce market for the public, but we do not visit the new wholesale market.
After a mouth-watering lunch of fresh sushi straight from the market, your Tour Manager will take you on a world of discovery in the basement of one of Tokyo’s biggest and best department stores. These cavernous food halls are known locally as “depachika” and are packed full of every treat you can imagine, from delicate French desserts to bottles of high-quality sake and bright displays of gleaming fresh fish. Depachika are a food-lovers heaven. The average depachika sells around 30,000 items. But it’s not just $100 melons and gourmet bento boxes you’ll discover. Your Tour Manager will ensure you have plenty of time to wander through the desserts and gifts sections, trying to retain some self-control. The stunning French desserts and Japanese specialties are nothing short of mind-boggling.
Another short metro ride and you will find yourself in Kappabashi Street, a beloved spot for professional and amateur chefs alike, and home to no less than 160 shops offering everything from high-quality Japanese knives and lacquerware to professional-grade stoves. Most stores are open to the public, so you can get great deals on tableware, kitchen tools, and plenty of other useful little gadgets you never even knew you needed. This is also where you can see ultra-realistic plastic versions of all sorts of dishes and ingredients.
Time to return to our hotel and relax before meeting again for dinner.
Dinner tonight is a very local Tokyo experience. Join your Tour Manager for a throwback to postwar Tokyo, as we head over to Yurakucho Yakitori Alley, a collection of old yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) restaurants under the JR train tracks in Yurakucho. These favoured watering holes of Tokyo businessmen occupy virtually all of the free space under nearly 700 meters of track on both sides of Yurakucho Station. It looks a bit seedy, but it’s perfectly safe, very delicious and a whole lot of fun!
This morning, after forwarding your luggage on to Kyoto, we board Japan’s famous Bullet Train and make our way towards the northern coastline to Kanazawa – sometimes known as the hidden pearl of the Sea of Japan (approximately 2.5 hours). Having avoided much of the destruction in World War II, it’s a place where both modern and traditional Japan are found.
On arrival we will make our way to the Kanazawa port area and take a first-hand look at how one of Japan’s most popular condiments are made when we visit the Yamato Soysauce & Miso Park (fondly known as Kouji Park). First established in 1911, this family-owned company has been producing top quality soy sauce and miso products using original recipes handed down from generation to generation. After our tour you may like to try some soy sauce-flavored ice cream before a nutritious lunch highlighting local fermented foods featuring Koji microbe, the same essential ingredient used to make soy sauce and miso.
After lunch let’s head back to our hotel where you can freshen up and enjoy some relaxing free time.
In the evening, join your Tour Manager for dinner and sample some of the delicious regional food found in Kanazawa, particularly fresh seafood fished straight from the nearby Sea of Japan. The unique blend of warm and cold currents helps create the perfect conditions for a wide variety of fish and shellfish, including the famed crabs and much loved sweet prawns.
Today is a busy day, so it’s essential we start with a hearty breakfast before checking out of our hotel and making our way to Kanazawa’s much loved Omicho Market.
Omicho Market has been Kanazawa’s largest fresh food market since the Edo Period (1603 – 1867). Today, it is a busy and colorful network of covered streets lined by about 200 shops and stalls. While most shops specialize in the excellent local seafood and produce, you can also find local vegetables, flowers, clothing, kitchen tools and more on sale.
After the hustle and bustle of the market we’ll make our way to the relatively peaceful Higashi-Chaya District. Here we can wander through cobblestone streets and marvel at the perfectly preserved “tea houses” dating back more than 200 years. Many of these buildings have today been converted into restaurants or souvenir craft shops, but there are alsao a few geisha teahouses. Who knows, we may even stumble upon a Geisha going about her daily business.
Today’s lunch is a rare treat!
In days of old, there was a traditional dish in Kanazawa called oshi-sushi, (pressed sushi), which was an essential part of most spring and autumn festivals. Adults and children alike enjoyed making oshi-sushi with their families and most families had their own particular recipe. Sadly, this traditional dish began to fade with modernization and the increase of two-generational families. This morning you will experience the fun of making oshi-sushi whilst hearing the stories about its special ingredients from the elderly women of Kanazawa who strive to keep the tradition alive, before sampling the fruits of your labour.
Of course, no visit to Kanazawa would be complete without a stroll through the impossibly beautiful
“Kenrokuen Garden”, a highly intricate landscaped acreage of bridges, ponds, waterfalls, fountains and tea houses that are breath taking no matter what season. Kenrokuen Garden is one of the three “Great Gardens of Japan” along with Kairakuen and Korakuen. After our visit to the Kenrokuen Garden, we will make our way back to our hotel for our late afternoon express train journey to the ancient capital of Kyoto (approx 2 hours).
Today, following a delicious breakfast at your hotel, we’ll make our way to the nearby town of Uji to partake in a unique Buddhist vegetarian lunch at a Zen temple founded in 1661.
After lunch, we will make a visit to the much-loved UNESCO World Heritage listed Byodoin Temple. If you feel like you’ve seen this temple somewhere before, you probably have – its ornate 1000-year-old Phoenix Hall is featured on the back of the ¥10 coin.
Uji is universally famous for its superior quality green tea. You will learn how to make Maccha green tea in a traditional way during your own Maccha Tea making class.
From Uji Station we will take a relaxing 1-hour train ride to Osaka – Japan’s third-largest city and unofficial culinary capital. There are sprawling shopping hubs and tiny backstreets full of restaurants and bars, serving up local delicacies as well as Japan’s answer to fast food.
The city is renowned for its take on okonomiyaki (fried savoury pancake), kushikatsu (deep fried meat and vegetables on skewers) and perhaps its most renowned dish – takoyaki (a hot snack of shredded octopus, pickled ginger and spring onion cooked into batter).
Your Tour Manager will take you on a captivating walk-through Osaka’s unmissable Dotonbori district, before sampling some street food, or maybe a drink or two at one of Osaka’s most famous institutions, the “Tachinomiya”. These small bars where you drink alcohol and eat food standing up, are numerous and very popular. Regulars meet there after work for a drink and a few odds and ends before heading home for the evening.
After dinner and a chat with the friendly locals we will make our way back by train to the peaceful surrounds of our Kyoto hotel (approx 1 hour).
Our final day of activities start with breakfast and a visit to one of Japan’s national treasure sites, Nanzenji Temple. Although this grand temple may not be on every foreign visitor’s itinerary, it is ranked the highest among all Zen temples in Japan. With its impressive “samon” gate, brick aqueduct, and stunning zen garden, it truly deserves the respect heaped upon it not only by locals but all Japanese people.
As a bonus, today’s “Yudofu” lunch was originally created by the Buddhist monks from this very special temple. After our historic lunch, our next stop is a genuine Japanese Sake Brewery, where we will meet the sake sommelier and learn all there is to know about Japan’s national drink. You’ll get to try flavours of sake you may never have experienced before. By the end of our experience, you will be able to find your favourite type of sake, confidently order at a restaurant or bar, or impress your friends by explaining different variations and characters of sake.
You may need an afternoon nap after sampling the delicious sake, so let’s return to our hotel for some free time, or visit one of the many attractions Kyoto has to offer before we meet for our final dinner together.
Tonight is an extra special treat, and always a genuine highlight for every one of our guests.
You will be treated to a Kyoto’s signature “Kaiseki” multi-course cuisine. “Kaiseki” is a highly elaborate and beautifully presented multi-course meal of seasonal dishes prepared with local ingredients using various cooking methods. The presentation of each dish is truly spectacular, offering a very unique Kyoto culinary experience.
There are no activities planned for today, so feel free to depart the hotel at any time. Check out is 10am, however if you’re departing later, we are happy to arrange luggage storage for you at the hotel. Your Tour Manager will be delighted to help plan your post-tour itinerary or advise you on your onward journey.
SAYONARA! ……. and safe travels. Thank you for choosing to spend some of your vacation time with us, we truly hope you enjoy the remainder of your time in Japan, and look forward to welcoming you again when next you visit our country.