Why us? Each of our Japan tours are private and custom-tailored to your specific interests and preferences, along with our recommendations of unique and interesting people, places, and things do from over two decades of organizing trips. As you've heard, Japan is the ultimate destination for family travel, contemporary arts, traditional crafts, world-renowned gardens and temples, and of course, culinary delights.
Explore these themes and other trip ideas below—a small sampling of which we've had over 20 years experience in planning. This season we're excited to add new family cycling, traditional pottery, contemporary architecture and culinary adventure itineraries.
Send us an message or call us in San Francisco at (628) 256-0093 —we can often simplify planning by speaking with you directly. —Asami & Tree
TALE OF TWO CAPITALS
Highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto Two of the world's most remarkable cities, yet starkly different. Explore contrasts between Tokyo, the futuristic megalopolis that inspired Blade Runner, with the ancient and sublime Kyoto. Unique places, people, and activities reveal finest aspects of each city.
JAPAN IN BLOOM
Splendors of Sakura Plan early to experience the breathtaking cherry blossom blooms during Sakura season in the most sublime and tranquil places for viewing every March & April such as Ueno, Maruyama & Matsumae Parks, Mifuneyama Rakuen, and the Kiyomizu Temple.
Off the Beaten Path Discover serenity in a secluded ryokan lost in the wilderness. Explore away from the crowds in remote places and small towns where few travelers venture—high mountain villages in the Japanese Alps, sacred forests and shrines of Mount Koya, and sublime Yakushima.
JAPAN WITH KIDS
Family Trips for All Ages
No other destination in the world is as safe, polite, punctual and as fascinating as Japan, making it an easy and reliable destination for families with children of all ages. Our unique mix of places and activities will keep children, teens and young adults of all ages and interests excited and engaged. Explore some of recommended places, things to, and the example itineraries to inspire and spark your imagination.
Walk, Bike, Trek and Hike
Cycle the tranquil Tango Peninsula on Lake Biwa, pedaling small towns while staying at traditional ryokan. Trek pilgrimage trails through Japan's most beautiful mountain landscapes. Hike the scenic Japanese Alps, exploring the country's highest peaks and cycle it's ancient villages. Explore Tokyo and Kyoto by bicycle—safe and enjoyable for all ages—while enjoying all destinations by foot on our guided walks.
THE SHOGUN TRAIL
Highlights of Japan's Feudal Era In ancient cities, where history lingers like a gentle fragrance, step back into the Edo era, a time when shoguns ruled and art and culture flourished with a quiet but intense passion. Explore feudal castles, samurai lanes, and imperial palaces from this fascinating time.
ZEN & NATURE
Sublime Natural Spaces A giant torii gate, majestically afloat on the sea off of Miyajima Island is one of Japan's most sublime sights and offers insight into a tradition of creating places of exceptional peace, harmony and contemplation. Discover Japan's most compelling outdoor spaces.
TWO WEEKS IN JAPAN
Japan in Full Explore unique aspects of Tokyo and Kyoto in depth, but also the best of Osaka, Nara, Takayama, and Kanazawa, with your interests from cooking to cycling, sumo to sushi, pottery to pilgrimage trails, monks to manga, blended into to your itinerary.
ARTS & ARTISANS OF JAPAN
Naoshima, Mori, Miho & More During this private arts journey explore the highest forms of Japanese tradition-inspired crafts, ancient and modern art, performance and theater, and renowned architecture and design that has defined a nation and had profound influence on the world. Journey from Fukoaka along the historic "pottery trail" pausing to explore Naoshima "Art Island," Kyoto's renowned traditional crafts, Ishikawa's Kutani ware kilns and studios, and Tokyo's modern art spaces and galleries.
SUSHI & SUMOS
A Culinary Grand Tour of Japan Nowhere is the mantra food is culture more profound than in Japan. While you've enjoyed sushi, tempura, yakatori and other popular Japanese dishes before—nothing prepares you for authentic expressions in country. Explore the world's greatest culinary destination, dining at renowned sushi bars, world-class restaurants, traditional ryokan kaiseki, and sampling legendary street food. This trip canvases the very best dining in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Kanazawa.
LUXURY & ZEN
Refined Tranquility Japan is known for quality, but the recent openings of Amans and other new resorts, have literally changed the landscape for refined travel in Japan. Experience the sublime and elegant on a trip capturing not only the finest but authentic Japan
An Enlightened Journey Discover Zen Buddhism and Shinto, faiths that form the deepest yet least apparent aspects of Japanese culture. Explore sacred gardens, majestic temples, and pilgrimage sites. Stay in a remote monastery learning from monks their way of life and meditation practice.
Romance and Beauty Japan is the top destination in Asia for a honeymoon, featuring breathtaking landscapes, elegant traditional accommodations, culinary delights, rich culture, gracious and warm people, and sublime experiences for newlyweds.
In the compass of Japan's varied landscape, Tokyo and Kyoto stand as two magnetic poles, each pulling at the heartstrings of the wanderer with a force that resonates with the very fabric of the nation. Tokyo, ever pulsating, is the epitome of the new, a city that races towards tomorrow with a zest that dazzles and exhilarates. Its streets are a kaleidoscope, its people a mosaic of modern life. Yet, hidden within its folds are pockets of the old, whispers of what once was.
In sharp contrast, Kyoto is the custodian of the past, a city that moves to the rhythm of ancient ceremonies, where the cherry blossoms fall like memories, and the temples stand as monuments to a grace that time has not tarnished. Together, these cities offer the traveler a glimpse into the dual soul of Japan, a dance between the future and the past. If time constrains your journey, let these two be your guides, for in their embrace lies a Japan that is at once profound, enigmatic, vibrant, and eternally beautiful.
Explore two of the most interesting cities in the world, with must-see and unique sites, activities and experiences that capture contrasts. In Kyoto stroll through Zen gardens, witness monks chanting in UNESCO World Heritage temples, discover the "way of tea" in an ancient tradition of tea ceremony, and delight in the fresh and complex tastes of kaiseki cuisine.
Beneath Tokyo's forest of neon you uncover vibrant subcultures, mesmeric modern design, the art of sushi and the contemporary allure of a rapidly changing art scene. These experiences are just the start as this one-week tour journeys through all the hidden sites that make these two capitals so special.
For comfortable but comprehensive immersion into both Tokyo and Kyoto, you should plan a full week for in Japan. For an elegant start, begin you trip in Tokyo with four nights at the Zen-like Aman urban sanctuary, then by Shinkansen (bullet train) to ancient Kyoto for three nights, spending your evenings in a traditional ryokan along a turn in the river (above). This is only one suggestion, all our Japan tours are tailored to your interests and time, for there are a thousand ways to explore both these incredible cities.
Hike Tokyo to Kyoto along the Tokaido and Nakasendo Trails, scenic day hikes in the highest mountain peaks and beautiful valleys of the Japanese Alps around ancient Takayama or explore the tranquil forests of Shikoku Island, walk sections of the forested Kumano Kodō, a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Peninsula, Kumano Kodo, or a longer journey along sections of the Tokaido trail, trekking through towns and along paths seemingly forgotten since the days when the it was the major transport artery through Japan. Witness wintering cranes and other species in southern Kyushu and Japan's "last wilderness," Yakushima, a UNESCO heritage island when few other travelers go and where we can arrange cycling as well.
Cycling tours have become ever more popular in Japan, and for good reason—it's safe, pleasant, and often the most efficient way to explore not only the countryside, but even places like Tokyo and Kyoto. E-bikes are available now throughout Japan and have added to the increased interest in cycling. Pedal through neighborhoods and remote landscapes that few other travelers see. For longer cycling trips in Japan, we offer three multi-day trips to the Tango Peninsula on Lake Biwa, a close destination from Kyoto, and also remote and picturesque Kyushu, as well as Yukushima Island for the ultimate escape. If you're traveling with the kids, we offer family cycling trips in Japan for all ages
Southern Kyushu: Mid to late March through May, and from October to early December.
Kyoto & Tango Peninsula: April to mid-June, and mid-September to mid-November.
Notes: the spring season in Southern Kyushu starts and ends about a month earlier than in the main island of Honshu. Conversely, the autumn season begins and concludes roughly a month later.
In the furthest reaches of Japan's archipelago, where ultra modern Japan gives way to nature's splendor, one discovers a Japan that whispers its secrets. In the remote islands and forests, the pace slows to a rhythm of the seasons, and life is lived with a grace untouched by rush. In the mountain villages, slow down to the gentle pace of nature, staying in a traditional ryokan and spending time after walks soaking in a hot spring bath. Watch Fishing boats drift on the tranquil Seto Inland Sea, casting lines as their ancestors did, while village craftsmen still bend over their work, forging beauty from wood and stone,and creating timeless porcelain treasures. Remote temples stand watch over tranquil trails, their timbers gray with wisdom, their gardens a quiet testament to nature's artistry. To explore these remote corners is to step into a painting, a world that moves with the subtle beauty of a haiku, where every leaf, every stone is a word in a poem that speaks of the eternal, the unchanging, and the essence of Japan.
Follow in the footsteps of 10th-century emperors, hiking Japan's bucolic Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails through peaceful mountain and coastal landscapes on Japan's lush Shikoku island. Stay in a serene mountain Zen monastery meditating with monks. Bicycle paths through ancient traditional villages along countryside roads in the Japanese Alps. Explore stunning seaside cliffs, hot springs, and scenic river gorges in the Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan... all far removed from busy cities and crowds.
In busy Japan, experience the country's hidden gems and lesser-known treasures, such as these less popular places:
The Japanese Alps feature serene mountain villages like Shirakawa-go, an ancient UNESCO World Heritage site known for its traditional thatched-roof houses. Hiking trails, picturesque landscapes, and unique architecture provide an insight into the rural Japanese lifestyle. Nearby, the remote villages of Gokayama and Ainokura offer similar charm, away from the crowded cities.
Discover the Spiritual Side of Kumano Kodo, a series of ancient pilgrimage trails through the Kii Mountains. These paths are less traveled by international tourists and offer a mystical, spiritual journey through sacred sites, beautiful forests, and traditional teahouses. Walking the trails provides a deeply peaceful and authentic experience of Japanese spiritual culture.
Unearth the Secrets of the Iya Valley: Tucked away on Shikoku Island, the Iya Valley is famous for its dramatic landscapes, deep gorges, and historic vine bridges. The area is renowned for its hot springs and traditional lodgings, providing a secluded retreat for nature lovers.
Escape to Japan's last "wild" landscapes and wildlife on UNSECO Yakushima Island off the southern coast of Kyushu. With a prominent 6,000 peak, the island is covered by an extensive cedar forest with Japan's oldest living trees, some more than a thousand years old that are affectionately called yakusugi, the oldest which may be over 7000 years old.
Immerse Yourself in Okinawan Culture: While Okinawa is known for its tropical beaches, the islands also host a rich and distinct cultural heritage. The Yaeyama Islands, part of the Okinawa Prefecture, provide a glimpse of traditional Ryukyuan culture, complete with unique music, dance, and cuisine. The islands' remote location offers a serene escape from the bustling mainland.
Experience the Northern Wilderness in Hokkaido: Beyond its popular skiing resorts, Hokkaido offers wild landscapes, indigenous Ainu culture, and unique wildlife like brown bears and red-crowned cranes. The untouched Shiretoko Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage site, provides hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities, away from the crowds.
Visit the Art Islands of the Seto Inland Sea: Naoshima, Teshima, and Inujima islands have been transformed into contemporary art destinations, with museums, sculptures, and installations blending with the natural scenery. These islands are less frequented by mass tourism, providing a unique cultural experience for art enthusiasts.
Wander Through the Samurai District of Kakunodate: Known as the "Little Kyoto" of the north, Kakunodate offers well-preserved samurai houses and cherry blossom-lined streets. Its historical charm and rural setting provide a tranquil glimpse into Japan's feudal past but far less busy than Kyoto.
Bicycle the small villages and tranquil coastline on the Tango Peninsula, enjoy a casual cycling trips through beautiful landscapes and local small towns far away from the crowds in Kyoto.
Combine several of these places into a longer and active trip, hiking the most beautiful of Japan's landscapes, including trails of Shikoku Island, ancient rainforest of Yakushima, Kumano Kodo with overnight at monastery, Koguchi, coastal Ishikawa and Noto, and the Japanese Alps.
Whether it's discovering the tranquility of remote islands or exploring the hidden trails of ancient pilgrims, these lesser-known journeys promise unforgettable memories and a truly authentic Japanese experience.
Explore the many facets of Japanese spirituality lying just below the surface, discovering the importance and expressions of Shinto and Zen Buddhism in everyday Japanese life. Japan's religious facets are a mesmerizing blend of the aesthetic and the divine, a journey that nourishes the soul and enriches the senses, wrapped in an elegant cloak of serenity and reverence.
Embark a spiritual sojourn through Japan, a transcendent experience that unites the rich tapestry of tradition with an underlying ethos of harmony and contemplation. The country's religious landscape is as diverse and enigmatic as its serene beauty, offering a number of sublime spiritual retreats and sacred sites. Witness Shinto wedding processions at a scared shrine in Tokyo, explore an ancient sacred cemetery where the tombstones of monks, feudal lords, and even kamikaze, have been erected here over the centuries, hike to remote temples on pilgrimage trails, and witness Shinto ceremonies in Kyoto. Wander through Kyoto's Terun-ji, make a pilgrimage to the ancient Shikoku Henro, where each step is a meditation and every shrine a testament to faith's enduring grace. Explore inner peace in the Zen gardens and temples that offer an oasis of tranquility, where the mind can unwind and the soul can connect with age-old wisdom.
Stay in a remote mountain monastery, hosted by Buddhist monks, joining in the monks' daily rituals of meditation and vegetarian feasts, and exploring the peaceful forest footpaths in contemplation. Take in the awe-inspiring gates of Itsukushima Shrine, appearing to float on water, to the ethereal beauty of Mount Haguro's pagoda, but a spiritual journey in Japan is not only confined to quiet temples or ancient shrines. In the bustling heart of Tokyo, discover contemporary expressions of faith, such as the unconventional Church of Light.
Experience a night in a monastery hosted by monks, enjoying Shojin ryori, traditional vegetarian dining of Buddhist monks in Japan. Settle your busy thoughts with a tranquil meditation session under the guidance of a priest in a sublime Zen garden. Explore Japan's most sacred and less-known temples away from the crowds. Witness rhythmic Taiko drummers who commonly perform at religious festivals.learning from walks with monks and nuns in sacred temples and shrines, learning about their way of life.
These are only a few examples of places and activities that we may arrange during your private trip in Japan.
Sakura, the delicate unfurling of cherry blossoms across Japan, is more than a natural spectacle; it is a symphony of ephemeral beauty that captures the soul of a nation. To wander beneath these blushing canopies is to partake in a ritual as old as the land itself, a fleeting moment when time stands still, and the heart is invited to ponder the transient nature of existence. The blossoms fall like soft whispers, each petal a reminder of life's impermanence, yet together they form a panorama that feels almost eternal in its grace. Temples and castles are adorned with a gentle hue, rivers blush with reflections, and the people come together in parks and gardens to celebrate with picnics and poetry. Sakura is a season that transcends mere viewing; it is an experience that nourishes the spirit, a dance between man and nature that echoes with the wisdom and artistry of Japan's ancient philosophy. To visit during this time is to touch the essence of Japanese culture, a memory to be treasured, as fragile and as precious as the blossoms themselves.
cherry blossoms scatter–
snap! the buck’s antlers
come off —by haiku master Kobayashi Issa
Spring ushers in Japan's most enchanting colors, when a thousand red and pink nuances filling the avenues and parks. Sakura is the most popular time to visit Japan, with the phenomenon popular in busy cities to the most remote of villages. Plan your visit well ahead of time to witness the peak blooms from late March to early May. We've intimately followed the bloom for over two decades and this tour connects a huge array of sites, from world-famous spaces to parks tucked away in forgotten villages. Cherry blossom provides the focus on this handcrafted tour, something to sit and admire each afternoon. You'll also discover Japan's iconic and unknown destinations, each day of exploration taking you deeper into a country that always surprises.
Note: A visit during Cherry blossom season should be planned at least a half-year advance to secure airlines, guides, and accommodations.
Japan is defined by an unshakable self-possession and obsession with quality. It's pursuit for perfection is found in presentation, nature, aesthetics and the subtleties of all things. This trip explores the most vigorous traditional and contemporary arts culture in the world, highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, along with the architecture that has defined a nation over the centuries.
Explore iconic art spaces, from the hallowed I.M Pei Miho museum in the tranquil mountains of Shigaraki, Tokyo's famed Mori museum, and renowned Naoshima "Art Island". Visit local art spaces and studios, meeting artists and craftsman working in a variety of mediums, gain an insider's perspective on Japanese culture, and be immersed in the immense varieties and rituals of cuisine, from the serenity of a tea ceremony to famous sushi bars. In Tokyo, explore art spaces concealed in back alleys, private residences in tucked-away suburbs, and contemporary design fills derelict warehouses.
Embark on a visual feast as you traverse the rich tapestry of Japan's art landscape, where centuries-old techniques meet contemporary expressionism in a harmonious blend of form and function. Tokyo's thriving art scene is showcased in world-renowned Roppongi Hills, where the Mori Art Museum and art space 21 21 Design Sight showcase cutting-edge Japanese artists. In Kyoto, the elegance of traditional tea ceremonies and ikebana (flower arranging) awaits, offering a tactile exploration of Japan's artistic heritage. Venture to Naoshima, the 'Art Island', a surreal destination dotted with world-class museums and outdoor sculptures that merge with the natural landscape. From the iconic ukiyo-e woodblock prints to the innovative art of Yayoi Kusama, Japan's art is a captivating journey of contrasts and creativity. The discerning traveler will find inspiration in every brushstroke, every chiseled line, immersing themselves in an artistic tradition that resonates with beauty, philosophy, and the timeless allure of Japanese aesthetics.
Customize this tour takes you far off the beaten track, to incorporate a pottery festival, ceramic and porcelain towns, and more. It's completely customizable and can explore any of your niche interests. Contact us to receive a full and personalized itinerary that responds to your preferences.
The giant torii Gate seems to float on the sea, standing majestic besides Itsukushima Shrine on World Heritage Miyajima Island. It's an astonishing symbol and insight into the sublime Japanese tradition of blending nature and design. Japanese aesthetics pays reverence and deep respect to the natural elements like earth, water, plants, and sun.
In the land of the rising sun, where human craftsmanship often steals the limelight, the natural wonders of Japan await the discerning traveler with a spectacle of quiet grandeur. The mountains, lakes, and forests are not just scenery but characters in a timeless narrative, where every rock, every tree has a story to tell. In the Japanese Alps, the rugged peaks stand like ancient samurai, guarding the secrets of the valleys below. The hot springs of Hakone whisper of earth's hidden fires, while the tranquil gardens of Kyoto reflect a philosophy that sees in nature a mirror of the soul. Journey to the remote islands where subtropical jungles flourish, or wander through the ancient cedar forests of Yakushima, where trees that have seen a thousand years still stretch towards the sky. In these landscapes, there is a harmony that transcends mere beauty, a poetry that speaks of a land where nature is not merely observed but lived, not merely admired but understood, a place where the wanderer may find not just the splendors of the earth, but the very essence of being.
Throughout Japan, Zen gardens stand as silent poems, each stone, each plant a word in a dialogue with nature. Explore not just landscapes but philosophies wrought in plants, places where the soul may wander and find reflections of life's deeper truths. The stillness of a rock garden, with its raked sand and well-placed rocks, invites contemplation and whispers of eternity. Visit Imperial gardens where grandeur lies not in opulence but in subtlety, in the careful crafting of space and the masterful use of simplicity. Meditate on the subtle design and natural beauty of your ryokan looking over the carefully manicured gardens outside. Here, beauty is a path, and the garden a journey, a serene exploration of nature's artistry and man's place within it.
This trip celebrates the country's most unique and grandest natural treasures, though all our private Japan tours are fully tailored to your interests and specifications—the highlights on this tour are just a suggestion.
Two weeks for your Japan trip provides enough to explore both must-see Tokyo and Kyoto in depth, but also secondary places we recommend and others based on your interests including Osaka, nicknamed "Japan's Kitchen" for its robust food scene. Other unique destinations include Japan's renowned modern "art island," Naoshima, the pottery trail through Kyushu, staying at a remote mountain monastery hosted by monks, bucolic Tang Peninsula by e-bike, the world's most luxurious train which meanders the coast in Kyushu, the many splendors of Ishikawa prefecture, and ancient villages in the Japanese Alps.
Destinations to consider:
Japanese culture is centered on an unshakable self-possession and obsession with quality, something found in the incredible food, ancient inns, trains, and almost every aspect of local life. It's also something that discovered through old-world craftsmanship, exemplified by pottery and other refined crafts. During this custom-tailored journey, immerse into Japan's finest craft—pottery. Explore the highest forms of traditional pottery, meeting with artisans and craftsmen who have helped to define contemporary Japanese style but remaining loyal to the past.
Onta pottery is one of the living treasures of Japan and is celebrated throughout a series of festivals in mountain villages around Hita which we may arrange your attendance. As you meander Japan's "Pottery Trail," discover the differences between Onta pottery and Karatsu stoneware, used in tea ceremonies, then contrast both with the elaborated glazes and decoration of porcelain from Imari and Arita. Explore the other exotic crafts produced in Nagasaki and the Bizen pottery of Kurashiki. Visit pottery and craftsmanship festivals throughout the country and learn how to make your own. We can provide an in-depth exploration of the pottery scene, taking you from classic to contemporary, mountain villages to modern cities.
Pottery is just one example of the craftsmanship and we can arrange your tour to focus similarly on textiles, modern art, wood sculpture, and other specific arts and crafts. Also ask about our new in-depth Contemporary Architecture itinerary.
In the gentle embrace of Japan's timeless landscape, love finds a delicate canvas upon which to paint its passions. Amongst the cherry blossoms that bloom in ephemeral splendor or beneath the gentle glow of paper lanterns in a Kyoto alley, romance finds its refuge. The country unfolds itself like a love letter written in the ink of tradition, inviting couples to lose themselves in onsen baths tucked away in misty mountains, or to wander through gardens where every rock and pond whispers an ancient poetry of connection. The serenity of a temple or the slow, graceful pace of a tea ceremony can become metaphors for love itself, unfolding and deepening, moment by moment. In the busy urban tapestry of Tokyo or the calm stillness of a remote village, Japan offers a romantic journey, not just through its scenery, but into the very heart of what it means to be entwined, to share a path, to become a part of something that transcends the mere passing of days.
Start your love story with an unforgettable journey in the Land of the Rising Sun with a unique itinerary created just for the two of you. Let us tailor outings that highlight the city's seasonal colors, from the glorious pinks of spring to the rich hues of autumn. Retreat to the Hotel for pampering with Japanese-inspired well-being practices, couples' Spa treatments and Michelin-starred dining.
Why Japan for your honeymoon?
Exotic, yet familiar, Japan offers sublime gardens, remote resorts and tranquil traditional inns (ryokan) to soak in your private onsen (hot spring bath), majestic temples and shrines, and incredible cuisine.
A Selection of Honeymoon Experiences & Facets of Travel in Japan
More Special moments in Japan:
Contact us and use our over 20 year's experience in planning your unfogattable honeymoon trip to Japan.
Indulge in an exquisite, sublime journey in the Land of the Rising Sun. Recent luxury hotel opening have transformed refined travel in Japan, offer unparalleled opulence, from the serenity of an exclusive ryokan overlooking the tranquil shores of Lake Ashi to no less than three Amans opening their doors. Combine your stay at these elegant retreats with dinign at some of the finest restaurants and sushi bars in the country, including meticulously prepared multi-course kaiseki in Kyoto, each dish a work of art that tantalizes both the eyes and the palate.
Explore the captivating metropolis in chauffeured splendor or board a bespoke cruise around the idyllic islands of Okinawa, with champagne toasts set against the backdrop of golden sunsets. Private guides lead you through the hidden gems of Kyoto's imperial gardens, while exclusive shopping experiences await in Ginza's premier boutiques.
For all of Japan's renowned modernity, bustling streets of neon towers, bullet trains, and sleek gadgets, what truly makes the country unique is the endurance of traditions in their obsession with quality, aesthetics, presentation, nature, and subtlety in practically all things. Explore these enchanting aspects of Japanese culture, observing the highest forms of traditional and contemporary crafts, arts, cuisine, and architecture, but also sublime natural settings where one will discover ancient landscapes that have inspired generations of Japanese poets and artists.
Shop for a rare Kamakura-period katana sword with a private dealer, cruise aboard a luxury yacht on Tokyo Bay, fly over Tokyo on a helicopter tour, spotting Mount Fuji, make a stopover in Naoshima, the world's only "Art Island" staying at the renowned Benesse House. Revive at sumptuous ryokan in Kyoto. Have a private tour of the Mori, Japan's famed contemporary art museum. Learn the art of calligraphy from a master, stroll through thick bamboo and tranquil cedar forests, and experience the serene beauty of a Kyoto temple that quietly prefers to forgo fame. Witness a Kabuki theater performance meeting the performers after, discover enchantement in the company of a geisha for dinner, spend a tranquil moment of meditation with a monk in a Zen Buddhist monastery.
We've had over two decades experience organizing trips at the highest level. Contact us to find out more.
Japanese cuisine is not just about the taste, it's also about the beauty and the presentation. The food is a work of art." —Nobu Matsuhisa
From Tokyo, Osaka, all the way to Kanazawa, explore the best of Japan's cuisine, from farm, to market, to table—meeting chefs, mastering dishes, while exploring the country's most spectacular landscapes and sights. Dine where every bite is a sensory delight and every meal a captivating experience. Take in busy food markets, sampling sizzling takoyaki and savory yakitori, savor the elegance of Kyoto's multi-course culinary ballet, kaiseki, that marks the seasons through meticulously prepared traditional dishes. And, of course, delight in the delicate artistry of sushi, expert chefs transforming the freshest seafood into masterpieces that melt in your mouth.
For many years we've been organizing culinary-first trips in Japan for "food adventurers". From Tokyo, all the way to Kanazawa, you too may explore the best of Japan's cuisine, from farm, to market, to table, meeting chefs, mastering dishes, while exploring the country's most spectacular landscapes and sites. Consume not only a cuisine, but a culture and place, where every bite is a sensory delight and every meal a captivating experience. Take in Tokyo's busy food markets, sampling sizzling takoyaki and savory yakitori, to the tranquil countryside, where traditional tea ceremonies and farm-to-table fare reveal a rich culinary heritage. Delight in the delicate artistry of sushi, with expert chefs transforming the freshest seafood into masterpieces that melt in your mouth. Savor the umami explosion of a steaming bowl of ramen, a comforting symphony of flavors that warms the soul. Enchanted to the elegance of Kyoto's kaiseki, a multi-course culinary ballet that marks the changing seasons through meticulously prepared dishes.
During a food-first trip, discover incredible food is never hard to find in Japan. Learn about the exceptional quality of ingredients, produce, and meats while enjoying the bounty of talented, renowned chefs who are obsessed with crafting their ramen, yakitori and the world’s finest sushi — in atmospheric settings creating unforgettable dining moments. Explore fish and traditional food markets, legendary sushi bars, busy izakaya (pubs), delicate Zen vegetarian shojin ryori cuisine at a Buddhist monastery, to savory street food in the chaotic alleyways of Osaka. Visit Japan's oldest food market, "theaters of food"—depachika food courts—Tokyo’s sprawling “Kitchen Town,” master sushi with a top Tokyo sushi chef, share a traditional yet complex kaiseki dinner with a Geisha in Kyoto, sample street food in Japan's oldest wholesale food mart, sample fresh sake at a top brewery, breakfast with sumo wrestlers in their training stable, and experience a traditional tea ceremony in a sublime garden setting. Stop at Japan’s most renowned maker of wagashi, and in between bites of kushikatsu and nomiyaki, sample delicious sweets that are the best in the world.
"Japan's cuisine? It's like a full-on assault on your taste buds, a gastronomic journey that's as wild and thrilling as a ride down the back alleys of Tokyo on a motorcycle. You think you know sushi? Wait till a master sushi chef in Tsukiji lays down a slice of the freshest tuna that melts in your mouth, a piece so fresh it might have been swimming that morning. Ramen shops in hidden corners, with broths that have been simmering for days, are scenes of reverence. And don't get me started on the street food in Osaka, where every bite is a new adventure, or the traditional Kaiseki dinners that are like 12-act plays on a plate. Wash it down with some local sake, and you're not just eating; you're absorbing a culture, a history, an art form. Japan's food is unapologetic, intricate, and down-right delicious. It doesn't just fill your stomach; it gets under your skin, and good luck shaking it off." —Anthony Bourdain
Contact us to plan a once-in-a-lifetime culinary journey to Japan discovering and exploring the very best of all things food.
In the islands of Japan, where tradition meets innovation in a captivating dance, the very air seems to hum with a secret melody. The stoic grandeur of ancient temples juxtaposes with the electrifying bustle of neon-lit Tokyo, offering a bewildering yet harmonious spectacle. Here, politeness is an art form, and the tea ceremony a microcosm of the country's profound sense of beauty and order. Through the shrouded mists of Kyoto's gardens to the snow-topped majesty of Mount Fuji, Japan whispers a timeless riddle, a blending of epochs that invites the visitor into its delicate enigma. Every alleyway and every smiling bow seem to beckon with a graceful gesture, leading one further into a labyrinth of culture that constantly surprises, enchants, and mystifies.
"In Japan's age-old cities, where history lingers like a gentle fragrance, step back into the Edo era, a time when shoguns ruled and art and culture flourished with a quiet but intense passion. Navigating the narrow streets of old Tokyo, one can almost hear the distant footsteps of samurai warriors, feel the delicate brush of silk kimonos, and inhale the scent of cherry blossoms that once witnessed the elegant processions of feudal lords. The castles, with their curved roofs and formidable walls, stand as both guardians and storytellers of a time that shaped Japan's soul. From the preserved streets of Kanazawa to the samurai district of Kakunodate, the Edo period is not a closed chapter but a living narrative, offering the wanderer a chance to explore not just a place but a time, a heartbeat of Japan that still resonates in the rituals, aesthetics, and ethos of a nation that has never forgotten the beauty of its past."
The Edo period from 1603 to 1868 is Japan's most popular and romanticized, set in everyone's imagination from famous films like Ran, pop culture, and literature. Highlights of Japan's Feudal Era In Japan's ancient cities, where history lingers like a gentle fragrance, step back into the Edo era, a time when shoguns ruled and art and culture flourished with a quiet but intense passion. From feudal castles to ancient merchant towns and imperial palaces, explore historical sites from the country's most exciting period, canvasing Kanazawa, Takayama, Himeji Castle, Nara, Nikko, Gion and more.
Similar to the Wild West in the U.S., the Edo period is the setting of many works in popular culture about Japan, including famous novels, stage plays, films, television shows, animated works, manga, and video games. Major events of the period, such as the Siege of Osaka, Shimabara Rebellion, and the decline and fall of the Tokugawa shogunate figure prominently in many works. Historical and fictional people and groups of the period, including Miyamoto Musashi, Izumo no Okuni, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, the fictional Isshin Tasuke, Yui Shōsetsu, Matsuo Bashō, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (Mito Kōmon), Ōoka Tadasuke, Tōyama Kagemoto (Tōyama no Kin-san), the Forty-seven Ronin, Sakamoto Ryōma, Katsu Kaishū, and the Shinsengumi, as well as the fifteen Tokugawa shoguns were active for much or all of their public lives and are dramatized in works of popular culture.
The development and flourishing of cultural and arts is unprecedented in Japanese history, a period remarkably similar to the European Renaissance in its individualism and socioeconomic and cultural vitality as well as setting the country up for it's vigorous technological leap. Many aspects of the Edo period remain in popular culture today, including kabuki, bunraku, and ukiyo-e, and practices like sankin kōtai, and pilgrimages to sacred sites. During this trip, explore the towns, sites, and enjoy activities and performances that bring the period to life.
Explore these and other highlights of Edo Heritage:
Embark on the ultimate culinary adventure in Asia, exploring four of the region’s most unique and captivating culinary destinations. From the seafood markets and renowned sushi bars in Tokyo, modern and traditional Chinese in futuristic Shanghai, dim sum in the back alleys of Hong Kong, to a restaurants scene that has emerged in Bangkok as one of the most exciting in the world.