A man walks in a side street contemplating a number of different izakaya establishments in Shibuya, Tokyo

Gastronomic Adventure

Trip code
GAD001

It wasn’t so long ago that “Japanese food” meant (in the West, at least) raw fish, raw fish, and more raw fish.

We’re not saying that sushi isn’t incredible (it is), but it’s just part of a cuisine that’s sometimes highly traditional, sometimes playfully experimental, often unexpected, and always totally and completely delicious. Every trip to Japan is about food to some extent, but this one puts it where it deserves to be: front and center.

Pricing

Price based on 3* accommodation, transport & experiences
From
$3,500
pp
Price based on 4-5* accommodation, transport & experiences
From
$5,500
pp

Key facts

14 days / 13 nights
Enjoy full-day private guided tours of Tokyo and Kyoto
Learn to make soba noodles and sushi with two hands-on cooking classes
Sample traditional kaiseki cuisine with a dinner in Takayama
Spend the night at a temple lodging on Mount Koya and eat traditional shojin ryori Buddhist cuisine
Contrast the food cultures of Tokyo and Osaka on two evening street-food tours
Make the most of our included restaurant recommendation and reservation service
Add an optional lunchtime tour of Tokyo’s top ramen spots, or a cooking class in the home of a Kyoto family (not included in the basic trip price)
Image
DAY 1-3 TOKYO DAY 12-14 OSAKA DAY 11 MT KOYA DAY 5-6 TAKAYAMA DAY 8-10 KYOTO DAY 7 KANAZAWA DAY 4 MATSUMOTO
Image
DAY 1-3 TOKYO DAY 12-14 OSAKA DAY 11 MT KOYA DAY 5-6 TAKAYAMA DAY 8-10 KYOTO DAY 7 KANAZAWA DAY 4 MATSUMOTO

All transfers are by public transport (train, bus and bullet train). If you’d prefer to travel a different way, let us know and we’ll tailor the trip to your needs and wishes.

What's great

Sample the full gamut of Japan’s incredible cuisine

Experience the variety of life in six different Japanese cities, ranging from the vast and chaotic to the quiet and relaxed

Get a taste of life in a more remote community with a stay on Mount Koya

Cross off some of Japan’s most iconic sites in between your foodie treats

Things to consider

Let us know if you have dietary requirements, as some of the included meals and experiences may not be suitable (this one’s important)

Apart from Mount Koya, this is a city-based itinerary. We can help you adapt it to include more rural destinations if you like

This is a fairly fast-paced trip with several one-night stays. If you’d prefer a slower pace, we can tailor your itinerary to suit you

Though it includes some lesser-visited destinations, this trip won’t take you too far from the beaten path

The experience

This is our ultimate foodie dream, but yours may differ. Just let us know your tastes and we’ll design a delicious trip just for you.

Day 1-3

Tokyo

As the city with more Michelin stars than anywhere else in the world, Tokyo is the perfect place to kick off your gastronomic adventure. It has everything — literally — but you’ll start with an evening at an izakaya (Japanese pub-cum-tapas-bar), where one of our insiders will teach you the ins and outs of this Japanese institution. After that, it’s up to you! In between sampling conveyor-belt sushi and sizzling teppanyaki, be sure to make time for some of the sights. You could start in the traditional heart of Asakusa, head to the top of the Skytree for a bird’s-eye view of the city, and end the day in the 200 tiny bars of Shinjuku’s Golden Gai. Tokyo is your oyster, so to speak.

People outside bars in Tokyo's Golden Gai district

Highlights

Get to grips with izakaya culture on a fun night out with fellow InsideJapan customers and one of our expert Insiders

Enjoy a full day’s tour of the city with a private guide, who’ll tailor your itinerary to your interests

Have us include a ramen-hopping tour of Tokyo with a local noodle connoisseur (not included in the basic trip price)

Panoramic view of Tokyo at sunset

Day 4

Matsumoto

After Tokyo’s non-stop hustle, the alpine city of Matsumoto feels like a sleepy backwater by comparison. Don’t be fooled. This nondescript façade hides some cultural heft and surprising (or perhaps alarming) delicacies, including horse sashimi and stonefly larvae. (Don’t worry — we won’t make you try them if you don’t want to). Join a soba noodle-making class, where you’ll get to mix your own buckwheat dough, stretch it out with a rolling pin as long as your arm, chop it, cook it, and wolf down the results. Alternatively, we could include a visit to the Daio Wasabi Farm, where this Matsumoto speciality is grown, harvested and made into ice cream, sausages, beer, chocolate and more.

Red bridge over river in front of Matsumoto castle

Highlights

Visit Matsumoto’s Black Crow castle, one of only a handful of original feudal castles left in Japan

Learn to make (and eat) your own soba noodles, a local specialty

Try some of Japan’s more unusual delicacies, including raw horsemeat and stonefly larvae (or don’t, if you prefer)

Wasabi fields at Daio Wasabi farm

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Two lunches: one at your soba noodle-making class in Matsumoto; one at your sushi-making class in Kyoto
  • Four dinners: one kaiseki dinner in Takayama; one on your Insider food tour of Tokyo; one shojin ryori meal at your shukubo in Mount Koya; one on your evening street-food tour of Osaka
  • Two full-day private city tours: one in Tokyo; one in Kyoto
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All domestic transfers and transport
  • Manaca transport card with 2,500 yen credit for city transport
  • InsideJapan Tours restaurant reservation service
  • Pocket Wi-Fi device
  • Your personalised InsideJapan Info-Pack

Day 1: Subway transfer from Narita Airport to your hotel in Tokyo (80 min)

Day 4: Express train transfer from Tokyo to Matsumoto (2 hours 30 min)

Day 5: Bus transfer from Matsumoto to Takayama (2 hours 35 min)

Day 7: Bus transfer from Takayama to Kanazawa via Shirakawago (50 min to Shirakawago, 1 hour 15 min on to Kanazawa)

Day 8: Express train transfer from Kanazawa to Kyoto (2 hours 15 min)

Day 11: Bullet train, local train and funicular railway transfer from Kyoto to Mount Koya (3 hours 30 min)

Day 12: Funicular railway and local train transfer from Mount Koya to Osaka (2 hours)

Day 14: Local train from Osaka to Osaka Kansai Airport (40 min)

  • International flights
  • Local transport (buses, subways, taxis) at any destination unless otherwise specified
  • Any lunches or dinners unless stated
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tipping and personal expenses
  • Baggage handling