Japan Culinary Tour
Discover Japan with this tour that will awaken all your senses!
Embark upon an unforgettable gastronomic journey by visiting Japan's most beautiful sites and by participating in numerous activities: discovery of tea fields, a guided tour of the Japanese countryside, a visit to a typical market, an evening of gastronomy...
2 week itinerary
- Tokyo (3 days)
- Osaka (2 days)
- Miyajima (1 day)
- Kyoto (5 days)
The first and last day are reserved for your arrival and departure from Japan (and for the last bit of souvenir shopping!).
Please find below the itinerary details.
WARNING : The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. On departure, you will have to leave Europe on the day before. The return flight is on the same day due to the time difference. For further details, refer to "More about your trip".
Pourquoi choisir ce voyage au Japon ?
- A tour to discover all the gastronomy through several activities
- In Tokyo, you will participate in a tour of the typical restaurants of the Shinjuku district
- Then, move on to Osaka, a gastronomic city !
- Possibility of travelling to Kobe to taste the famous "Kobe beef"
- Reach Hiroshima and the island of Miyajima where you will spend a night in a ryokan
- Kyoto will offer you all its culinary refinement through several themed guided tours
- 5 culinary activities included: visit of the tea fields, the countryside, the market
- Recommendations available in your travel diary
- Enjoy unlimited internet access thanks to your pocket Wi-Fi
- If necessary, contact our Japanese bilingual English-speaking assistance 24/7
- A number of guided days or other optional activities are available
- Benefit from the expertise of Japan Experience, European leading travel agency in Japan.
Your trip in detail
Day 1 : Wake up in Tokyo 東京
Arrival at Tokyo airport (Narita or Haneda).
Welcome to Japan! Yokoso 日本へようこそ！
Reception at the exit from Customs in English by our airport assistant, who will give you all your travel documents.
Unaccompanied transfer from the airport to Tokyo (see details).
Check-in at Hotel B Akasaka Mitsuke or equivalent 3* (rooms available from 3:00pm).
You can pick up your pocket Wi-Fi at the hotel reception desk.
Day 2 : First steps in the capital
What is there to do in Tokyo on the first day?
We advise you to slowly start visiting Tokyo from its western districts:
- Harajuku: the avant-garde district
- Meiji Jingû, the imperial shrine
- Takeshita-Dori: the most famous street in Japan
- Omotesando: Tokyo's Champs-Élysées
- Shibuya and its unmistakable "crossroads"
One of our many experienced English-speaking guides can also accompany you to visit the classic sights of Tokyo (optional, from 9:00 to 17:00).
In the evening, enjoy a typical Japanese dinner in the Shinjuku district! Your guide will accompany you to several unique "izakaya" restaurants, where few tourists set foot!
Day 3 : The big loop
For this second day of visiting Tokyo, we recommend the following "loop".
Start from Tokyo Central Station, with its original architecture, then go to visit:
- Ginza, Tokyo's chic district
- Tsukiji, the small outdoor food market
- Hamarikyu, the Japanese garden between Tokyo's buildings
- Asakusa, a traditional district and place of pilgrimage, accessible by a cruise on the Sumida River
- Sensô-ji Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in the city
- Tokyo Sky Tree reaching a height of 643m, and its panoramic view of Tokyo at sunset
Enjoy a cruise on the Sumida River between Hamarikyu and Asakusa.
Day 4 : Back to the future
There are still many places to discover according to your taste ! Ueno, Yanaka, Odaiba...
Don't hesitate to follow the many suggestions in your travel diary.
Or better still, book an English-speaking guide for the day (optional) to visit Tokyo off the beaten path!
Make the most of our many optional activities:
- Are you looking more for fun? Ghibli Museum, Disneyland or Hello Kitty Park are waiting for you!
- Do you prefer a themed activity? Book a visit on an architecture tour, gardens, home cooking or Noh's theatre.
- Chasing thrills? Let yourself be tempted by a helicopter ride or a sumo tournament (in season)!
If you wish to continue the visits at your own pace, Kamakura will seduce you. This small coastal town just 45 minutes by train (no reservations required) from Tokyo was once a shogun capital. The great Buddha of Kamakura is the symbol of the city. Our English-speaking guides can help you discover this city full of history.
Day 5 : First steps in the capital of Kansai
Depart for Osaka by train (2,4 hour direct journey, included in your package).
Check-in at Hotel Intergate Osaka Umeda or equivalent 3* (rooms available from 15:00).
We advise you to start out slowly visiting Osaka from the northern and eastern districts:
- The medieval castle of Osaka, with its park full of plum and cherry trees
- The city centre and its Nakanoshima Island, with its rose park in the middle of the buildings
- Utsubo Park, an oasis of freshness in the business district
- Rendezvous in Umeda, temple of Japanese style shopping
- End up at the Umeda Sky building at dusk for a 360° view of Kansai (including Kyoto on a clear day!)
As an option, you can book a river cruise between the different parts of the day.
For those who love high-quality red meat, there is also the possibility of travelling to Kobe in the evening or the next day for lunch to taste the famous "Kobe beef". 22-minute train ride, every ten minutes until midnight, included in your package.
Day 6 : Gastronomic introduction
We recommend the following itinerary for this second day's visit to Osaka:
- The Osaka Kaiyûkan aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world in terms of volume
- The Tennoji district and its Shitenno-ji Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Japan
- Spa World, Japan's largest spa (onsen)
- Shinseikai, with retro charm
- DenDen machi, the technologeek village
- End with Dotonbori, the liveliest district
In the evening, discover the temple of gastronomy in Dotonbori!
You can sample Osaka's specialities: takoyaki, okonomiyaki and many others.
Day 7 : The Sacred Island
A short 2h30 trip (1 change, all-inclusive) awaits you to reach the coast of the Sea of Japan. Although more touristy, this coastline is nonetheless exceptional, as witnessed by the fabulous island of Miyajima. This sacred place of Shintoism, twinned with the Mont St Michel, is accessible from "the mainland" in 15 minutes by boat (included in your offer).
Reach your ryokan near the island's ferry terminal.
Explore the island: its Itsukushima-jinja shrine and its large gate (ootorii) standing in the sea. (Please note: The ootorii is under construction until an unspecified date). Take the cable car up to Mount Misen and then descend on foot. A breathtaking view of Hiroshima Bay is waiting for you!
In the evening, traditional Japanese dinner in your ryokan.
An opportunity to taste all of the region's specialities, most of which are based on seafood. A truly refined experience!
Day 8 : The former capital
Traditional Japanese breakfast at the ryokan.
In the morning, make a stop in Hiroshima (30 minutes by train from Miyajimaguchi Ferry Station, included in your JR Pass), to visit the Peace Park and its memorial.
In the afternoon, reach Kyoto (1h40, included in your package) and check into the Tsugu 京都三条 Hotel or equivalent 3*.
Start in the afternoon in the historic Gion district near your accommodation :
- Kiyomizu-Dera, the great water temple
- The historical streets of Sannen-zaka & Ninnen-zaka
- Kodai-ji, the maple and bamboo temple of Kyoto
Day 9 : Between temples and deer
For the last day of the Japan Rail Pass' validity period, we recommend taking the 50 minute journey to Nara, which is included in your package.
Visit to Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan in the 8th century.
- The Shinto shrine Kasuga Taisha and its thousands of lanterns
- The Todaiji, its great bronze Buddha and the imposing Nan-Daimon gate
- Kofukuji temple and its beautiful pagoda
Return to Kyoto and stop for sunset at Fushimi Inari, the huge 10,000 torii sanctuary in Kyoto. If you wish to be accompanied on this day, one of our English-speaking guides will unveil all the secrets of Japan's first capital (optional, return trip from Kyoto).
Day 10 : On the Tea Road
It's the day to leave to discover the tea fields and the thousand-year-old culture surrounding them! Meet your guide early in the morning and spend the day in Uji, the region where the best matcha (green tea powder) in Japan is produced. Visit the Japanese countryside, in a private vehicle, passing through green tea fields, then meet the growers. Of course, you will taste several types of tea from the fields around you in order to learn about the subtleties of this beverage. A day full of discovery!
Return to your hotel in Kyoto and stay overnight.
Day 11 : Market and Saké
In the morning, explore Kyoto's culinary market, Nishiki, with your guide. Taste local dishes on this tour followed by the included lunch. You will learn a lot about the preparation of typical Japanese dishes and the city's culinary culture.
In the afternoon, as an option, treat yourself to a saké tasting! In the Fushimi district, take advantage of a Japanese saké professional's expertise for a sake tasting that will surprise and delight your taste buds!
Day 12 : Discovering the Japanese countryside
Getaway to Ohara Village.
Leave the city behind and head out on a private minivan tour to discover rural Japan in the Buddhist village of Ohara. This day offers curious visitors the opportunity to see an important but little known side of rural Japan: the rice fields, the woods and the fields, with the added bonus of visiting two wonderful temples in the same day, which are often unjustly overlooked.
Return to Kyoto at the end of the day.
Day 13 : Sayonara, and see you next time!
Direct transfer to Kansai International Airport (included but not accompanied).
Return flight to Europe, North America, Australia.
Do not hesitate to extend your trip by one or more days to Kansai or elsewhere... We will be able to advise you!
- 4 nights in a 3* hotel in the heart of Tokyo, close to public transport
- 2 nights in a 3* hotel in Osaka
- 1 night in a 3* ryokan in Miyajima, traditional half-board
- 5 nights in a 3*hotel in the heart of Kyoto, close to public transport
The basic rate includes a room with double bed in the hotels.
- Airport transfers
- Prepaid public transport card
- Japan Rail Pass for 7 days
Experiences and meals
- Airport welcome
- Traditional dinner and breakfast in the ryokan at Miyajima
- Culinary evening in Tokyo with a guide
- Guided tour of Nishiki, Kyoto's culinary market
- Guided day trip on the Tea Route
- Guided day trip to the Japanese countryside
Included in your self-guided tour
- Unlimited Wi-Fi access with pocket Wi-Fi
- Complete e-travel diary sent 20 days before your departure
- 24/7 telephone assistance in English and bilingual Japanese
Not included in the price of your trip
- Flights Europe <> Japan
- Optional insurance policies
- Personal expenses including meals (breakfast optional)
- Public transport when your transport cards have run out (see details)
- Anything not included in the "included in your tour" sectio
Your tour :
- The prices displayed on this page may vary according to the exchange rate of the Japanese ¥.
- Unfortunately, this tour is not accessible to people with reduced mobility.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Children over 3 years of age are allowed. Rates for children are available for people from 3 to 11 years old inclusive.
- This programme is subject to change due to circumstances such as weather conditions or any other case of force majeure. Please note that due to the current circumstances, any information mentioned is subject to change or modification.
- Your travel documents will be given to you as follows:
- Travel diary by email 3 weeks before departure, and other electronic documents
- Paper documents (airport transfer tickets, transport cards, Shinkansen ticket) when you arrive at the airport by our airport assistant.
- Your pocket Wi-Fi at the hotel reception upon arrival.
Your accommodation :
- Some hotels may ask you to pay a tourist tax on arrival. This depends on the city and even the hotel, as some do not include it in the booking price. Normally, it is 200¥/night/person (about £1.37/1.93$) but can be slightly higher in 4* hotels. It must be paid in cash at the hotel reception. For traditional Japan Experience accommodations, it is included in the initial tour price.
- Room size: in Japan, a densely populated country where everything is compact, 3-star luxury hotels are of very good quality but the rooms are often quite narrow (12 to 20m2/129 sq ft to 215 sq ft) depending on the hotel. Please note the size of the single room, between 10 and 16m2 (107sq ft and 172 fq ft). For more comfort, you can choose our luxury 4* accommodation upgrade option. (This option is only valid for the hotel in Tokyo, not for the traditional accommodation in Kyoto).
- Double room: Rooms for two people in western hotels have 2 single beds (twin rooms) by default, which can usually be joined together. As an option, you can select a double room instead of a twin if you prefer a double bed.
- Single room: People travelling alone and wishing to book a single room must pay a supplement at the time of booking. The single room supplement is compulsory for orders with an odd number of participants. Please note that if you request more than two people in a single room, the single room supplement will be applied to all accommodation except for the ryokans (3 and 4*). In fact, as this is traditional accommodation, people with the same reservation are grouped together in spacious rooms for up to 5 people.
- 3-person room: If there are 3, 5 or more of you and you do not select the single supplement, a triple room will be allocated to you.
- In the case of a group order (> 5 people), it is possible, depending on hotel availability, that not all members of the group will be accommodated in the same hotel. Nevertheless, we aim to keep you close.
- Names of the hotels : The names given on the site are for information only. In the event of unavailability, an establishment of equivalent standing will be scheduled. Hotels, corresponding to local standards, are given as an indication and may be changed on site for hotels of a similar category.
- In the ryokan, the rooms have a private sink and toilet. The single-sex collective Japanese baths ("onsen") then act as shared bathrooms, with showers and thermal baths. They are freely accessible, at the times in force on the site. These baths are often not accessible to people with clearly visible tattoo (s). The latter are invited to contact us to evaluate the possibilities of accommodation with private baths or shared baths that can be reserved. The 4* ryokan (see 4* option) have comfortable futons raised on either western beds in a traditional tatami room. The bathrooms and toilets of the 4* ryokans are private.
Your transport :
- Flights are not included in this tour. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to include flights in your order: Flights in economy class with stopovers or direct flights, eco-premium or business air upgrades, provincial departures or abroad: we will be able to advise you.
- The tour departure and end dates presented on this page relate to your stay in Japan. You will arrive in Japan via Tokyo (Narita or Haneda airports) and depart from Kansai airport (KIX, not Itami ITM). On departure, you will have to leave the day before Europe and land at 6:30 p.m. at the most to make the most of the airport services of your circuit (reception and transfer to Tokyo).
- The return takes place the same day, taking into account the favorable time difference, with a minimum take-off time at 9 a.m. Please do not hesitate to consult us for any uncertainty or need for precision in the choice of international flights.
- Airport transfers: The shared limousine bus shuttle leaves from the airport and stops either in front of your hotel or at a stop between 1 and 15 minutes' walk from your hotel. Our airport assistant in Tokyo will drive you to the platform for the airport transfer. Then this transfer to the hotel is done without assistance. If you wish to be accompanied from the airport to your hotel reception, choose the "Accompanied airport transfer" option. The same applies to the return trip from Osaka to KIX airport.
- Included in your tour is a pre-charged transport prepayment card of ¥ 1,500 (around £10.30 / 14.54$) (suica or Pasmo brand); and a 7-day Japan Rail Pass. These cards should cover a large part of your trips during the stay. Upon expiry of the 1,500¥ Transport Prepayment Card, or if the line you are travelling on is not covered by your Japan Rail Pass, any travel will be at your own expense by recharging your pre-paid transport card (at vending machines in all stations and metro stations).
- The Japan Rail Pass is a personal train pass for foreign travellers who wish to visit Japan. This pass allows unlimited travel for 7 consecutive days on all Japan Railways (JR) trains throughout Japan. You will receive a voucher to be exchanged at a JR office when you are welcomed at the airport by our assistant (list of addresses provided in your travel guide). You will be asked to show your passport and fill in a form. During this exchange, you will select the start date of your pass. Once your Pass has been activated, it will be valid for 7 consecutive days from the date chosen. To prevent wasting time when you arrive at the airport, you are requested to exchange your voucher upon arrival in Tokyo City. This is because exchanging it at the airport could delay your airport shuttle. With your Japan Rail Pass in hand, just go to the station, show your pass to the ticket inspector at the entrance gates and board any JR train. Trains in Japan are almost all open seating. If you are worried about not having a seat (on a shinkansen for example), simply go to a ticket office and reserve your seat at no extra charge. The Japan Rail Pass covers all JR and Shinkansen lines in Japan. The following journeys are not covered:
- Travel by metro and bus in the cities (payable by pre-paid transport card, included in your package)
- Transfers from the train station to the hotels (by foot, bus, metro or taxi)
- Travel on private train lines (other than JR)
- Travel on Nozomi and Mizuho high-speed trains (shinkansen)
- Trips made outside the validity period of the Japan Rail Pass
- Japan Rail Pass: It is not necessary to possess a Japan Rail Pass which covers your entire stay. This is only cost-effective if it is used for long journeys between the different stages of your stay (especially in shinkansen) which are very expensive. In large cities like Tokyo, only about ⅓ of public transport is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and getting around is relatively cheap (Tokyo metro tickets: £1.71 / 2.42$; Kyoto daily bus card: £4.28 / 5.97$). Thus, providing you with a Japan Rail Pass for more than 7 days (14 or 21) would not be cost-effective and, on the contrary, would significantly increase the cost of your trip.
- If a person taking part in the tour is a Japanese national and a resident of Japan, or a foreigner with tax residence in Japan (including a student), then that person is not eligible for the Japan Rail Pass. Please contact us to get the price of the tour without a Japan Rail Pass. They will have to buy the train tickets for the tour directly in Japan. The Kansai Thru Pass is also subject to the same nationality/residency requirements. This is not the case for the Hakone Free pass. If this person is a Japanese citizen but not a resident of Japan, then he/she can benefit from the Japan Rail Pass under certain conditions (see https://www.japan-experience.com/frequently-asked-questions).
Your activities :
- Airport reception is in English. Your airport assistant will be waiting for you at the customs exit holding a sign with the name of the reservation. They will give you your travel documents and take you to your airport transfer. They will not accompany you to Tokyo (this is possible, but optional)
- The Tokyo Culinary Tour, Nishiki Tour and Lunch, and Tea Route are group tours of maximum 12 people, in English. All expenses (transportation, meals) are included, except for admission fees for sightseeing.
- The Japanese countryside tour is a private guided day. All other expenses (entrance fees, meals) are at your own expense.
Your meals :
- Traditional Japanese dinner and Japanese breakfast (mostly savoury) are included in your ryokan. Do not hesitate to indicate any dietary requirements you may have, we will pass them on to the ryokan so that they can take them into account when planning the meals. If the ryokan does not take any of these dietary requirements into account, we cannot be held responsible and no compensation will be issued.
- Breakfasts which are not included in your package can be added at the reception when you arrive at the hotel. However, you will find many cafés near your hotel serving copious breakfasts, often tastier than those in the hotels, which sometimes have tight schedules and are predominantly savoury. However, if you would like to add breakfast to your offer when you make your reservation, you can select it as an option.
Your additional services:
- A pocket wifi is included in your tour. It allows unlimited high-speed internet access. Your pocket wifi will be delivered to you on arrival at the first hotel on your tour, in the name of your tour reservation.
- It comes with a small booklet to operate your device (don't panic: simple operation) and a prepaid envelope to return your device at the end of your stay. Your pocket wifi will work naturally until the last day of your trip to Japan.
- A maximum of 5 devices can be connected to a pocket wifi (phone, tablet, computer).
- A single pocket wifi is provided for a circuit order of 1 to 5 people. For an order of 6 people or more, a second pocket wifi will be added automatically and at no extra cost to your reservation.
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