Experience the distinctive regional flavours of Japan with this 12 day itinerary of local delicacies, cooking classes, and culture. Featuring bustling cities and relaxing onsen soaks in the mountains, this itinerary is the perfect way to experience some of the best that Japan has to offer. Personalise your itinerary with your choice of 2 Select & Mix options included in the price.
- Explore the world famous Tsukiji fish market and savour a fresh sushi breakfast
- Soak in a mountainside onsen hot pool
- Try your hand at making fresh soba noodles
Day 1: Tokyo
Upon arrival in Tokyo you will be met by our local operator who will assist you to get the correct connection to your accommodation. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: Tokyo (BL)
Begin the day with a guided visit to Tokyo’s iconic Tsukiji – the world’s largest fish market, filled with traditional shops and top quality sushi outlets – one of which will prepare your breakfast. Next visit Hamarikyu, one of the most visited gardens in Japan, where you will have a cup of freshly made green tea at the famous teahouse. Following a scenic river cruise, experience Tokyo’s old town of Asakusa - full of many traditional shops and home to the Geisha district.
Following a lunch stop at a local restaurant, take a short walk to Kappabashi “kitchenware town” full of speciality stores which produce the replica meals seen in so many Japanese restaurants. The final stop before returning to your accommodation is the former black market and now bustling shopping alley of Ueno’s Ameyoko-cho.
Day 3: Tokyo (BL)
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 activity will begin with a short demonstration by a sobatician followed by a lesson on how to prepare the wheat mixture the proper way to work on the dough, and last but definitely not the least 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 afternoon is at leisure to self-guide or to take a Select & Mix option.
Select & Mix Options:
- Tokyo Street Food Tour
- Tokyo Street Photography Tour
Day 4: Tokyo – Takayama (BD)
This morning take a bullet train and then Wide View train to Hida Alpine region town of Takayama. Upon arrival you will transferred to your traditional Ryokan accommodation. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 5: Takayama (B)
Today is set aside for self-discovery or to use one of your Select & Mix options.
Select and Mix Options
- Guided Food and Culture Walk
- Hida Guided Cycling Tour
- Afternoon trip to Shirakawago
Day 6: Takayama – Kyoto (B)
Take one last soak in the onsen before starting the journey to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto. Kyoto is home to around 2000 shrines and temples including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore.
Day 7: Kyoto (B)
Today embark on a full day sightseeing tour of Kyoto featuring Nijo Castle and Ryoan-ji Temple before a visit to the stunning golden pavilion known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. Later travel to Kiyomizu-dera which features a famed 13 metre tall veranda constructed without any nails. 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 centres.
Day 8: Kyoto (BD)
Have a leisurely morning until afternoon activities begin with a food market tour and cooking class. 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.
Day 9: Kyoto – Koyasan (BD)
Koyasan has been the centre of Shingon Buddhism for over 1200 years and the journey to this UNESCO World Heritage Site 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. Spend the afternoon exploring a couple of popular sites including Kongobu-ji temple before Okuno-in, Japan’s largest cemetery.
Afterwards the guide will provide an escort to the shukubo (temple lodge) where famous Buddhist cuisine is served.
Day 10: Koyasan – Osaka (B)
An early start to join a 6am Morning Prayer ceremony is highly recommended today. Following a morning free to further explore Koyasan, depart for Osaka - Japan’s Kitchen Capital. Osaka’s flamboyant, fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.
Upon arrival in Osaka and transfer to your accommodation, the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore or choose a Select & Mix option.
Select & Mix Option:
- Vintage Osaka Street Food Tour
Day 11: Osaka (BD)
The morning today is at leisure to explore until the afternoon guided tour of the city. The guided experience will help you to discover Osaka’s best-loved dishes in one of the liveliest areas in town. With the help of the English-speaking guide, taste some of the staples of Osaka’s soul-food such as fresh Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki. Continue the gourmet journey with fresh sushi and a local brew plus the opportunity to interact with the sushi chef. To conclude the tour stroll through the neighbourhood with its uncountable tiny bars, each with their very own distinctive style.
Day 12: Osaka (B)
The day is at leisure until you depart for the airport for your onward flight or your own arrangements.
- 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 transport (non-private) to/from the airport
- PASMO Card for local transportation in Tokyo and to/from Koyasan with 1500 JPY worth of credits
- (Note: Additional credit will be charged by our 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
- 2 Select & Mix Experiences
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal Expenses
- Departure taxes
- Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
- Visas (unless specified)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Accommodation based on the following or similar:
First Class - Hotel Gracery Shinjuku (Standard Room)
Deluxe Class - Park Hotel (City Room)
First Class - Ryokan Asunaro (Japanese Style Room)
Deluxe Class - Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan (River View Japanese Style Room)
First Class - Hotel Vista Premio (Standard Room)
Deluxe Class - Hotel Granvia (Standard Room)
First Class - Eko-in (Japanese Style Room)
Deluxe Class - Henjoso-in (Japanese Style Room)
First Class - Cross Hotel (Standard Room)
Deluxe Class - Cross Hotel (Standard Room)
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.