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  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Duration:  5 days / 4 nights
Indulge in Japan’s incredible gastronomy on a 4-night gourmet tour including Tokyo’s food scene and a visit to the Mt Fuji region of Hakone. See yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) sizzle at Shinjuku's Memory Lane, eat fresh-off-the-boat sashimi (raw fish) at the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market, learn to make soba noodles in a hands-on cooking class and consume a sumo-size bowl of stew. Take a boat trip over Lake Ashi and dip in an 'onsen' (hot spring bath) in Hakone, where you’ll enjoy seasonal specialties over a multi-course 'kaiseki' dinner!

Highlights

  • 4-night food tour of Tokyo including Hakone
  • Tour Shinjuku’s Memory Lane and see the city from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
  • Tour the world’s largest seafood mart – Tsukiji Market – and learn to make soba noodles in a hands-on cooking class
  • Ride a boat over Lake Ashi and a cable car to Hakone’s hot springs
  • Visit the historical town of Odawara, renowned for fish cakes and preserved plum
  • Explore a gourmet food mart in a department store basement, eat Japanese omelets for breakfast and taste delicious savory pancakes
  • This small-group tour limited to 12 people ensures a personalized experience with a knowledgeable guide

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Japan definitely knows its food! In five days you'll understand why Japan has the most Michelin 3-star restaurants in the world.

What You Can Expect

4-Night Tokyo and Hakone Gourmet Tour

4-Night Tokyo and Hakone Gourmet Tour

Your knowledgeable guide will introduce you to one of the world’s most eclectic cuisines. Tantalize your taste buds as well as your sense of adventure during visits to Tokyo’s most prized eating and drinking spots, including an optional evening of karaoke. You’ll take a train to the charming Hakone region and visit historical Odawara, retiring overnight at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). Numbers are limited to 12 people, ensuring an intimate experience with a small group of like-minded food lovers.

Itinerary

Day 1: Tokyo (D)
Start your culinary adventure in Tokyo, Japan’s dynamic capital, with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Since there are no activities planned until this important group orientation, you can arrive at your accommodation at any time. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where your meeting will take place.

Afterward, follow your guide into Tokyo’s neon-drenched streets where mesmerizing lights mix with traditional temples, shrines and gardens. Head for Shinjuku’s Memory Lane, known locally as Piss Alley, crowded with busy restaurants and bar stalls. The alley originated in the 1940s and quickly gained a reputation as a black market drinking quarter. Nowadays, it is better known as a local hot spot for some of the city's best yakitori. There's also plenty of cold beer and, to the delight of visitors, more enticing aromas than one would have stumbled upon in the early days. Pull up a stool and watch as skewers of grilled chicken sizzle in front of you before diving in!

Next, take in stunning views of the metropolis from the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building before embarking on a late night city walk through Shinjuki’s red-light district and Shibuya, where your small group will discover some of the area’s coolest bars and tempting street food.

Overnight: Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or Hotel Parkside in Tokyo

Day 2: Tokyo (B, L)
Get a very early start in the morning and see the day’s catch at the world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market on Earth. You’ll witness the sheer magnitude of seafood and activity that abounds, including a live auction, where more than 400 types of seafood from around the globe are sold. The auctions start around 5:20am and conclude by 7am. (Please note: The Tsukiji Fish Market is closed every national holiday and every Sunday, and the tuna auctions may be closed to visitors during busy times.)

Sit down at one of the sushi restaurants surrounding the market and enjoy the freshest sushi breakfast you could eat! You may want to browse among the surrounding shops specializing in Japanese cooking supplies before your guide takes your small group to a sumo stable to watch the wrestlers grapple during their morning practice. (Please note: Occasionally the sumo stables are closed and not accessible to the public. Another activity will be substituted if this occurs.)

Next, gain insight into the different varieties of rice from all over the country as you go behind the scenes at a rice wholesaler. Learn about the wholesalers who meet Tokyo’s demand for local rice sourced from the region. Then, head to a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn the art of creating soba, Japan’s famed buckwheat noodle.

After you’ve slurped up your sumptuous lunch, embark on a guided walking tour of the Asakusa area. You’ll enjoy sightseeing in this old part of town, home to Kappabashi-dori (Kitchen Town), a street almost exclusively dedicated to shops supplying the local restaurant industry. It’s a perfect place to purchase an offbeat kitchen gadget or soba knife, or marvel at the lifelike plastic food samples seen in many restaurant windows around the city. Satisfy your sweet-tooth craving as there are many local sweets to be sampled here.

In the afternoon, your guide will take your small group to visit a traditional sake brewery to sample Japan’s national beverage, made from fermented rice. You’ll find out how the drink is made and learn about regional differences as well as how sake historically relates to food as you enjoy a taste.

Your evening is free for you to create your own food adventure, perhaps dining at a typical Japanese izakaya, a Japanese pub that serves tapas-style food (own expense). Test out your Japanese language skills and people-watch, as many business people come to izakayas to relax after work. Dishes like kushiyaki (grilled meat or vegetable skewers), sashimi and karaage (bite-sized fried chicken) are perfect to share with others in your small group. If your want something more elaborate, indulge in one of Tokyo’s famed high-end dining establishments (own expense).

After dinner, your guide may suggest where to grab a nightcap at one of Tokyo's underground whisky bars, part of the uber-cool bar scene.

Overnight: Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or Hotel Parkside in Tokyo

Day 3: Tokyo – Hakone (D)
Escape the crowded city for the picturesque lakeside region of Hakone, a wilderness area close to Tokyo with breathtaking views of Mt Fuji and interesting historical sites. Home to the ethereal Lake Ashi, Hakone is a wonderland of stunning mountain panoramas and is also famed for its relaxing outdoor onsen.

Travel to Hakone for approximately 2.5 hours by train – clean, fast and punctual. Hop aboard the non-smoking passenger car where a trolley cart comes around regularly with all kinds of delicious items for purchase. For lunch, purchase a bento box with compact trays containing tempura and sushi, and choose a popular Japanese drink such as cold green tea or Ashi (own expense).

Upon arrival in Hakone, part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, enjoy a boat ride across Lake Ashi's clear waters, followed by a picturesque cable car journey. Soar through the air over the surrounding mountains to visit the sulfuric hot springs and try to get a glimpse of elusive Mt Fuji looming in the distance.

Famed as a luxurious resort area since the Meiji period, Hakone's onsens are a top holiday destination for Tokyo residents looking to unwind. In addition to a luxurious soak, try some of the famous onsen eggs, which are cooked in the steam and hot pools of this volcanic area.

Afterward, travel on to the nearby historical town of Odawara, where you will visit a famous shop selling the local specialty kamaboko (fish cake). Be sure to try umeboshi, a type of Japanese preserved plum that is another specialty of the region. Perhaps explore the Odawara Castle (own expense) and the city’s charming streets before checking in at a traditional Japanese ryokan for your overnight stay.

In the evening, enjoy kaiseki, a gorgeous multi-course dinner packed with mouthwatering flavors. After dining on a seasonally fresh meal, retire to the old-world charm of your ryokan, sparsely furnished with a tatami (straw) mat floor and a low table. Here, sleep in the traditional style, using a futon that is spread out on the tatami mat and kept in the closet during the day, and enjoy complimentary Japanese tea before bed.

Your guide will enlighten your small group about Japanese customs, such as removing shoes at the main entrance to the ryokan and wearing the slippers provided to walk around unless stepping onto the tatami mat. A yukata (Japanese bathrobe) is also provided to be worn during your stay, used for both walking around the ryokan and as pajamas.

Overnight: ryokan in Odawara

Day 4: Hakone – Tokyo (B, D)
In the morning, wake up to a traditional Japanese breakfast at the ryokan. Delight in Japanese omelets, rice, grilled fish, miso and green tea – the ultimate start to your day!

After catching the train back to Tokyo, wander through one of the city’s more popular farmers’ markets with your guide and pore over the wild and wonderful foods that are grown in Japan. You will have a chance to meet some of the local producers and learn about the flow of food from the regions to the city.

Then, lunch at a restaurant famed for chanko nabe, an aromatic broth filled with chicken, fish, tofu or vegetables, and noodles, which sumo wrestlers eat three times a day as part of a weight-gain diet. You and your small group may want to share a sumo-size portion of this protein-rich, high-calorie meal to avoid sumo status (own expense).

After lunch, walk to your next destination, a Tokyo depachika – an underground floor of a luxury department store dedicated solely to food. In this foodie’s paradise, explore every tantalizing morsel amid food stalls serving up a mind-boggling array of both traditional and non-traditional Japanese foods. If you still have an appetite, you can find take-away sushi from the Michelin-starred restaurants.

Spend your afternoon recovering at your leisure before heading downtown to dine on monjayaki, Tokyo’s answer to the okonomiyaki (savory pancake). Slightly runnier than okonomiyaki, the flavors are chosen from an extensive menu and cooked on a hotplate at your table. Eat your pancake like a local – straight off the grill, using a metal spatula.

A trip to Japan is not complete without participating in karaoke! In the evening, stop by a hip karaoke bar and lose your inhibitions as you sing the night away over after-dinner drinks and snacks (each your own expense).

Overnight: Asakusa Sunroute Hotel or Hotel Parkside in Tokyo

Day 5: Tokyo
There are no activities planned for your final day in Tokyo and you can depart from your accommodation at any time. Please check with the hotel for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities. If you plan to extend your trip, explore the many sides of Tokyo, a city bursting with contemporary urban culture, including fascinating museums, world-class shopping and neighborhood backstreets lined with more restaurants and bars!
From USD $ 1,735.00

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Tour code: 5912TYOCJZF

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