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Culture and Cuisine of Japan

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 the choice of 2 Select & Mix options.

 Holiday Length: 12 days
 Start City: Tokyo
 End City: Osaka
 Departures: Daily
 Type of Holiday: Select n Mix Holiday

Day 1   Tokyo arrival

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, for a scenic river cruise to 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 specialty stores which even 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 least, the precise way of cutting it into 1.6 mm thick noodles.  At the end of the lesson, cook the soba ad dine with the teacher and the rest of the class in tachigui style (eating while standing).
The afternoon is at leisure to self-guide or to take a Select & Mix option:

    Select & Mix option:
+ 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 the Hida Alpine region town of Takayama.  Upon arrival you will be 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 & Mix option:
+ 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 or take a Select & Mix option:

    Select & Mix option:
+ Uji Green Tea Tour
+ Biwa Guided Cycling Tour
+ Moochi Making Experience
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 centers.   Remainder of the day is at leisure for relaxation or further exploration.

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.  Here 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 Okunoin - 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 flamboyance, fun-loving people and amazing food are the highlights of the city.
Upon arrival in Osaka transfer to your accommodation with the remainder of the day at leisure to explore or choose a Select & Mix option. (B)

    Select & Mix option:
+ Vintage Osaka Street Food Tour
Day 11            Osaka (BD)
    The morning is at leisure until the afternoon guided tour of the city.  This 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 this tour, stroll through the neighbourhood with its uncountable tiny bars - each with their very own distinctive style.
Day 12   Osaka departure (B)

The day is at leisure until you depart for the airport and your onward flight, or your own arrangements.



  * Meet and greet at the airport and return transfers to the airport
* All entrance fees and public transportation fees as specified in itinerary
* Two (2) Select & Mix options of your choice
* Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast (B)
* Other meals as mentioned in the itinerary (L=lunch; D=Dinner)
* PASMO Card for local transport in Tokyo and to/from the Koyasan
* 7-day Japan Pass in ordinary class, activated on Day 4
* English-speaking guides for tours on days 2, 7 and 9
* Roundtrip train tickets to Koyasan (days 9 & 10)

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