Spirits of Japan
Small Group Journey
Spirits of Japan, Southern Alps & Kyoto
This Spring, discover the hidden treasures of Japanese culture, nature, history, food, and sake with wine expert Sam Haislet from Alexis Bailey Vineyards and your guide and founder of Tanpopo Journeys – Koshiki Yonemura. We’ll explore Tokyo, the scenic mountain towns of Nagano, and the historic capital of Kyoto while we eat like locals and taste the amazing flavors of sake, whisky, and wine in Japan.
Tokyo > Nagano > Matsumoto > Yamanashi > Kyoto
Ideal trip for:
Age 20+ , Couples , Friends
$5300 per person, double occupancy
hotels, local transportation
workshops & demonstrations
guide & interpreter
guide from alexis bailly
transportation to/from hotel on the first/last day of tour
what’s not included:
travel or medical insurance
flight to/from Japan
personal spending including:
shopping, alcohol, laundry, some meals
- Welcome Dinner
- Tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market
- Visit Yebisu Brewery
- Experience Zen Culture at the historic Zenkoji Temple in Nagano
- Tour Matsumoto Castle, Ishii Miso Brewery, and the Museum of Art
- Visit Shichikan Sake in Yamanashi
- Suntory Hakushu Whisky Distillery Tour
- Soba Making Workshop
- Farm stay in Yamanashi
- Visit Komagadake National Park
- Tour of the famous Gekkeikan Brewery in Kyoto
- Kaiseki Dinner and Maiko Performance
- Kyoto Sightseeing
Day 1 > Arrive in Tokyo
Welcome to Japan, land of the rising sun. Let us greet you at the Haneda International Airport and guide you to your hotel in the heart of Ginza. Join the fellow traveler in the evening for welcome dinner and drinks.
Day 2 > Tokyo, Ginza & Tsukiji Fish Market
Today’s agenda includes visiting Japan’s largest the busiest fish market, Tsukiji Market. This captivating market along the Sumida River gives you an introduction to Japanese ingredients, kitchen tools, and delicacies. After sushi for lunch, we will travel to Yebisu Beer Brewery, one of Japan’s oldest brands of beer.
Day 3 > Nagano, Zenkoji Temple
Today we will say sarewell to Tokyo and head to Nagano prefecture on Shinkansen. Nagano is in the Shinshu region and home to Zenkoji Temple, a national treasure. Tonight, we will stay at a Zen temple and immerse ourselves in Shojin Ryori and Zen enlightenment.
Day 4 > Matsumoto City
After morning meditation at the temple, we will take a train to the castle town of Matsumoto city. Matsumoto city is a cultural destination near the scenic Northern Alps and known for arts and crafts, folk arts, miso making, ski and outdoors, just to name a few.
Day 5 > Yamanashi Prefecture
Today, we will travel along the valley of mountains to Yamanashi prefecture for soba making class and a tour of the Suntory Hakushu Distillery, known locally as the “forest distillery” as it’s surrounded by a wild bird sanctuary.
Day 6 > Yamanashi Prefecture
After a farmhouse breakfast, we’ll tour Japan’s wine country and visit Komagatake National park and Ojiro River Valley for a breathtaking view of the river and mountains.
Day 7 > Kyoto
Welcome to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, and home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While in Kyoto, we will visit the famous Fushimi Sake District which is composed of 24 independent sake breweries.
Day 8 > Kyoto
Today, we will start our journey from Philosopher’s Path which will lead our way to the Silver Pavilion for it’s tranquil Japanese garden. We will also visit Kiyomizu Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in Japan.
Day 9 > Tokyo
We’ll head back to Tokyo on the Shinkansen. It was our pleasure to journey through Japan with you and hope you will have a safe trip home.
After graduating from University of Minnesota, she and her partner opened a Japanese restaurant in St. Paul, MN. After nearly 18 years in the restaurant business, she co-founded Tanpopo Journeys, a boutique travel company, offering hands-on tours to Japan. She has curated and lead groups to Japan on food and art tours to Japan as well as working as an interpreter for the General Mill Wheaties Team during the Nagano Olympics. Come travel to Japan and discover the hidden gems of culture, textiles, and food!
Sam Haislet is a wine and spirits professional working in St. Paul, Minnesota. Married to winemaker Nan Bailly of Alexis Bailly Vineyard, he has been involved in wine production, grape growing, vineyard management and general wine enthusiasm since the late 1980’s. Today he continues his work in the wine and spirits field as a wine consultant for The Wine Shops at Kowalski’s, and holds a lifetime appointment as Chief Tractor Operator, Wine Taster and General Manager of Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Minnesota’s oldest and most award winning wine