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Japan | A Taste of Japan
DESTINATIONS: Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan
Trip Duration: 8 nights / 9 days
A world-renowned culinary mecca brimming with Michelin star chefs, Japan is a foodie paradise. Boasting everything from unique markets and street-food venues to premium haute cuisine, indulge in authentic and innovative dishes, distinctive delicacies and exceptional dining experiences, plentiful in Tokyo and Kyoto.
Below is just a sample of the immersive itineraries our Destination Specialists can create. Click on the experiences links in the itinerary to see other curated excursion choices offered by Journese. Our Destination Specialists are happy to book our hotels and excursions highlighted in the itinerary below, or let them know if you would like something customized. And, feel free to offer our non-hyperlinked suggestions to your clients to further explore the destination.
Day 1: HOME/Tokyo | Arrive in Tokyo and relax in your private transfer to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, located in a lively international district. Settle into warm, residential ambience, elegant Egyptian linens and deep soaking tubs for an overall pampering experience. Home to 10 unique restaurants and bars, savor innovative Teppanyaki-style cuisine at Keyakizaka, featuring such dishes as spiny lobster salad, smoked scallops, Kamifurano Wagyu beef and delectable pear or apple-cinnamon flambe dessert.
Day 2: Tokyo | Experience the highlights of this remarkable city on the full-day private guided Tokyo Dynamic Excursion. Begin at Tokyo Tower, a symbol of Japan's post-war renaissance modeled after the Eiffel Tower. Then, partake in an authentic Japanese ceremony with a presentation of matcha or powdered green tea for a little taste of history before a Japanese-style lunch including noodles and rice with grilled chicken, shrimp and vegetable tempura, or a rice bowl topped with pork and onions.
Following lunch, explore the residence of the Emperor - the Imperial Palace, its inner grounds and Nijubashi Bridge, followed by the ancient Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street, one of the oldest in Japan, featuring delightful shops and must-try street food venues offering sweet cakes, edible seaweed, Asakusa rice cakes, fried Manju (sweet bean paste) and mochi.
Day 3: Tokyo | Step back in time as you embark on the private Kawagoe Ancient Edo Walking Experience & Street Food excursion. Known as "Little Edo," this vibrant castle town boasts streets lined with clay warehouses, merchant homes and a Buddhist temple amid sweet shops, handicrafts and unique eateries. Sample traditional flavors from the ancient Edo period such as charcoal broiled eel in sweetened soy sauce, roasted sweet potatoes and tea ceremony dishes, plus an opportunity to make your own sushi before your return to the hotel.
Unwind before dinner with a restorative spa treatment at Nagomi Spa and Fitness in the hotel. Then, savor Edo-mae-style sushi and sashimi in Roku Roku, together with a hand-picked Japanese sake selected from the sake sommelier, and toast to your culinary celebration.
Day 4: Tokyo | Delight in a Parisian-style breakfast including eggs benedict or a chocolate croissant at The French Kitchen before boarding your private transfer to the largest wholesale fish, seafood and food market in the world on the Tsukiji Fish Market & Sushi Excursion. Roam the streets and alleyways of this famous market, infused with piquant aromas and flavors such as beef-stew from Kitsuneya, renowned aburi sushi from Kagura and signature Ganso Kaisen Hitsumabushi - a mixed bowl with tuna, salmon, roe, sea urchin and more from Tsukiji Itadori Uogashi Senro. Then, learn the skills of making sushi with a professional chef and indulge in your very own creations.
Savor afternoon tea and dinner at The Oak Door at the hotel. Start with delicious Taraba crab cakes and remoulade sauce or Schrenckii caviar before devouring Kobe sirloin or Wagyu tenderloin, Australian rack of lamb or broiled Atlantic lobster paired with a varietal for an exceptional dining experience.
Day 5: Tokyo/Kyoto | Following check-out from your Toyko hotel, board your private transfer to the train station for your journey to Kyoto. Upon arrival, you will be escorted to The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto where you will stay for four nights in gracefully-appointed luxury overlooking the Kamogawa River. Delight in four unprecedented fine dining options, a soothing well-being spa oasis and indoor pool, combined with meticulous attention to detail and service.
Once you are settled, venture out this afternoon to explore this remarkable city. Immersed in the remnants of history, discover everything from ancient temples, colorful shrines and endless manicured gardens to hip cafes and modern art museums. Visit quaint teahouses and exclusive Japanese restaurants with picture-perfect dishes and tea served on a low dining table.
This evening, depart for an enchanting world as you participate in an authentic Kyoto Maiko dinner. Celebrate the graceful dances of a kimono-clad Maiko (young geisha) as you indulge in an elegant Japanese course-style dinner featuring savory small dishes such as oden stew, tempura, sashimi, specially-prepared meats, rice and tea for an inspiring culinary experience.
Day 6: Kyoto | Board your private transportation for a full-day Kyoto Excursion, visiting the city's highlights and hot spots. Explore the imposing Nijo Castle, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kinkakakuji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion. Relax with a Japanese-style lunch, followed by a visit to the Heian Jingu Shrine and its iconic 82-foot Torii gate. Then, head to the Kiyomizu Temple, a 1,200-year old UNESCO World Heritage site and Sanjusangendo Hall, home to one of the most impressive collections of statues in the world.
After an exciting day of exploration, indulge in an exquisite private dining experience at Teppan Mizuki restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. Restaurant chefs will prepare fresh, flavorful steaks and seafood in an open kitchen environment, cooking upon a traditional iron griddle right before your eyes for a grand finale to your day of culture and tradition.
Day 7: Kyoto | Get ready for a full day of enriching experiences on the Kyoto Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Premium Excursion. Begin at the Daikakuji Temple where you can try your hand at sutra writing, carefully creating artful Japanese characters. Continue to the Nonomiya Shrine, stroll the Sagano Bamboo Grove and the beautiful gardens of Tenryuji Temple before a traditional Buddhist vegetarian lunch on the temple grounds. Then, take a scenic rickshaw ride near the Togetsukyo Bridge and revel in picturesque views of Arashiyama before your return to the hotel.
Day 8-9: Kyoto | Celebrate your final full day in Kyoto with a leisurely look at the ancient sites, sounds and flavors of Nara, the birthplace of premium sake, on the Nara Premium Excursion. From the 8th century Todajai Temple complex and park, the Kofukuji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine, famous for its many bronze and stone lanterns, to a delicious Japanese-style lunch and delightful sake tasting, experience it all in Nara.
Glorify your last evening in Japan at Kaiseki Mizuki restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. As the ultimate expression of Japanese cuisine, Kaiseki is the Japanese tradition of Go-mi, Go-syoku, Go-ho (five flavors, five colors, five cooking methods). Appreciate exquisitely prepared small dishes from Matsuba crab, soft-shell turtle soup and tuna sashimi to grilled sea bass or flatfish with fried gingko nut, steamed rice with chicken and radish, and decadent desserts from Pierre Herme Paris, for an unforgettable culinary experience.
Before your departure the next day, take a morning dip, followed by a sweet treat and seasonal teas. Board your private transfer to Kansai International Airport and begin planning your next exquisite vacation enhanced with more delightful culinary surprises.