A Taste of Japan & South Korea
Balancing the subtlety of Japanese kaiseki haute cuisine with the heat and bombast of saucy Korean BBQ, this itinerary is a tasting menu in holiday form.
In Japan and Korea, food isn’t just about flavour and texture (though the Japanese do reportedly have 400 words for the latter). It’s about how what you eat changes with the season; the huge variety between different regions; the ritual and etiquette surrounding eating. Which is more delicious? We’ll leave that one to you.
Transport in detail
With lots of destinations spread between the two countries, travel will include a mix of high-speed bullet trains, buses and private transfers — with a connecting flight to link the two (not included).
You’ll get to taste and compare the unmissable highlights of each country’s cuisine
There’s a great variety of destinations, including big cities, mountain towns and historic villages
Experience culinary culture from a variety of angles with cooking classes, market tours, included meals and even a food-themed theatre show
Things to consider
Covering eight destinations in 15 days, this is a very busy trip with lots of experiences included. If you’d like to take it a bit slower, we can easily trim it down
Not all of the included food experiences are suitable for those with dietary requirements, but we’ll be happy to adapt the itinerary to cater to you
This trip puts food front and centre, but it’s just the start of what we can do. Let us know where your interests lie and we’ll design an itinerary just for you.
Welcome to Tokyo: the city with the most Michelin stars in the world, and a paradise for gourmands of all stripes. There’s no time to lose, so get right out there and start exploring. You’ll have a full day with a private guide to learn the ropes, whether you’re after tranquil gardens, art galleries and wooded shrines, or something more manic — perhaps the crazy youth fashions of Harajuku or the non-stop neon of buzzing Shinjuku. Wherever you go, the food’s incredible — but we definitely recommend sushi-sampling at the city’s famous fish market. Finally, an evening exploring the city’s izakaya pubs with one of our fantastic tour leaders is a surefire highlight.
Explore Tokyo with a local guide who’ll tailor the day to your interests and wishes
Ask your guide to take you to Tokyo’s world-famous fish market, where a single bluefin tuna can snag over three million US dollars at auction
Go izakaya-and-bar-hopping to try the city’s best bites and get to grips with food etiquette
One of the great joys of eating in Japan is the regional variation, and the alpine town of Takayama, with its wood-panelled streets crammed with craft shops, is a great example. Begin your stay with a kaiseki feast at your traditional ryokan inn, then head out for a day in the Hida countryside with a guided cycling tour. Along the way, you’ll get to meet the locals, cycle through farming villages, and sample some alpine specialities — including strawberries, fragrant sesame goheimochi, beef buns or hoba miso grilled on magnolia leaf (depending on the season). Then, return to town and go sake brewery-hopping — or settle in for a dinner of melt-in-the-mouth Hida beef (Kobe’s unsung cousin).
Spend two nights at a traditional ryokan inn, sleeping on a futon laid out on tatami mats
Enjoy an elaborate, beautifully presented kaiseki feast prepared with local, seasonal produce
Cycle through the rice paddies and timewarp towns of the Hida countryside with a local guide
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Four full-day experiences: guided tours in Tokyo, Kyoto and Busan; a day of food and cycling in Takayama
- Three half-day experiences: Kanazawa cooking class; guided tours in Gyeongju and Seoul
- Seven evening experiences: izakaya insider tour; evening Gion walk; restaurant reservation at Tempura Endo; Osaka evening street food tour, Busan night market tour; Seoul evening street-food tour; Nanta drumming performance
- Portable Wi-Fi device
- Preloaded T-money transport card for local transport in South Korea
- Preloaded IC transport card for local transport in Japan
- Seven-day Japan Rail Pass
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All internal transport & accommodation
Logistics & journey times
Car transfer from Narita/Haneda airport to Tokyo (30-90 minutes depending on airport)
Train transfer from Tokyo to Takayama (4 hours)
Bus transfer from Takayama to Kanazawa (2 hours 45 minutes)
Train transfer from Kanazawa to Kyoto (2 hours)
Train transfer from Kyoto to Osaka (15 mins)
Car transfer from Busan to Gyeongju (60 minutes)
Car transfer from Gyeongju hotel to Singyeongju station (30 minutes)
Train transfer Gyeongju to Seoul (2 hours 10 mins)
Car transfer from hotel to Incheon airport (50 mins)
What's not included
- International flights & connecting flight between Japan and Korea
- Any meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters