small group journey
Off-the-Beaten-Track Culinary Tour
Welcome to Japan, a culinary hotbed, and a world-class food destination. On this week-long tour, you will be traveling to Tokyo, Nagano, and Yamanashi with a food blogger/chef to explore the best of Japan’s culinary traditions. Together, we will visit the Tsukiji fish market and take a cooking class there, shop in Kappabashi (Japan’s “kitchenware capital”), and try some delectable street food in the bustling city of Tokyo.
In the second part of the tour, we will take our curiosity to the countryside to learn about where the food comes from and how ingredients are prepared, visiting a wasabi farm, touring a miso brewery, preparing soba noodles, and staying overnight at a century-old farmhouse. We will also relax in hot springs, sample Japanese whiskey, and visit cultural sights to nourish ourselves, body and soul.
This tour is offered twice a year: at the first sign of spring, and during the harvest season in the fall.
- Master sushi-making, at a class at the Tsukiji Fish Market
- Shop in Kappabashi, in the “kitchen town” of Asakusa
- Take a bullet train to Nagano for vegetarian cuisine and a Zen temple experience
- Visit a wasabi farm to learn how wasabi is grown and harvested
- Tour the 500-year-old Matsumoto Castle
- Ponder the history and process of making miso at a miso brewery
- Relax at a traditional hot spring and enjoy a multi-course kaiseki dinner
- Sample world-class sake in the lakeside town of Suwa
- Visit a knife shop
- Tour the Suntory Distillery and learn about Japanese whiskey
- Take a soba-noodle-making class in the mountain town of Yamanashi
- Stay overnight in a community farmhouse
In the afternoon, we will hop on the subway to visit Kappabashi, a “kitchen town” where professional chefs and restaurant owners shop, located in Asakusa. Enjoy street food as we stroll through the busy streets on the premises of Senso-Ji Temple.
Our evening meal will be served in the temple’s dining hall. It will be a traditional vegetarian meal, carefully prepared using long-established methods to bring out the best flavors of local vegetables and grains. Admire the artful presentation and savor the delicate and delicious vegetarian flavors as you relax in the tranquility of the Zen lifestyle.
After morning prayers at Zenkoji Temple, we head to the picturesque castle town of Matsumoto, a cultural destination and home to one of Japan’s finest feudal era castles. We’ll tour the castle and explore the amazing architecture and history of Japan’s feudal era.
We’ll also visit a 150-year-old Miso Brewery. Ishii Miso is known for using traditional wooden barrels instead of modern stainless steel for its three-year maturing process. No additives are used, resulting in delicious natural, pure-tasting miso. In the afternoon, we will visit a destination wasabi farm.
In the evening, we will check in at a traditional ryokan, an inn in a hot spring town on Lake Suwa. This ryokan was a celebrated restaurant from the Taisho era (1912–1926) to the beginning of the Showa era (1926–1989), when it became an inn, and to this day they take pride in serving excellent kaiseki dinners to their guests. Enjoy a relaxing evening soaking in a hot spring and a splendid meal paired with local sake.
In the afternoon, we will tour the Suntory Hakushu Whiskey Distillery, nestled in the forest on the slopes of Mt. Kaikoma. Known locally as the “Forest Distillery”, it’s also one of the highest whiskey distilleries in the world. Here, surrounded by a wild bird sanctuary, we’ll learn about the distillation process and taste some of the finest Japanese whiskeys.
Tonight, we are going to sleep at a thousand-star hotel (a.k.a. the bunkhouse on the farm premises). We’ll enjoy a dinner that is home-cooked by the inn owner and served in the formal dining room of a 150-year old farmhouse. After dinner, be sure to take the time to stroll through the farmhouse gardens.
(or you can add another day and a visit to Mt. Fuji!)
To Be Announced.
$3999 per person, double occupancy
($100.00 discount for check payment)
Deposit of $750.00 due at the time of registration (non-refundable)
Cooking Classes and Admissions
Guide & Interpreter
what’s not included:
travel or medical insurance
flight to/from Japan
personal spending including:
shopping, alcohol, laundry, some meals
koshiki yonemura, 651-734-3923, firstname.lastname@example.org