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Top 10 Experiences to Indulge Yourself in Japan

Private Meeting and Afternoon Tea with Maiko or Geisha

Maiko are Geisha in training and are revered for their exquisite communication, music, and dance. Admire their exquisite cloth and precise make-up and decoration each Maiko wears with pride. It takes many more years of training to become a Geisha. Appreciate this rare opportunity to share in the company of a Maiko a traditional teahouse. Sip matcha and notice how they move, tilt their head, and use their skills to transfix the audience of those in their company.

Featured Tours: Ancient Trails, Wonders of the West, Japan Discovered, Traditional and Tropical, Gardens and Galleries, Hidden Treasures

Afternoon Tea with Maiko (trainee geisha) in Gion. Kyoto

Ryokan Stay

Your stay in a Ryokan is delivered with Omotenashi, the revered Japanese hospitality, paying close attention to detail in all aspects, and with a warm and polite welcome. An overnight stay in a traditional Japanese inn is a must during all trips to Japan. Elegant interiors in traditional rooms provide a futon on the tatami mat flooring. A Ryokan is much more than accommodation: enjoy elements of soothing Onsen bathing in volcanic hot spring baths, appealing and delicious Kaiseki dining, supreme quality, and seasonality with multiple highly artistic dishes. This is a complete experience of traditional luxury.

Featured Tours: All Tours

Nagano_Ryokan_Kanbayashi Senjukaku Ryokan, Japan

Kaiseki Dinner

(Japanese Traditional Meal of Multiple Courses)

Compliments to the chef and freshest seasonal ingredients, Itadakimasu! Enjoy a set menu that aims to balance the taste, texture, appearance, and colours of food. Kaiseki principles exist in nouvelle cuisine, with a collection of skills and techniques applied to prepare fresh seasonal ingredients and enhance their flavour. In some cases, a complex broth or sauce accompanies the main ingredients without overpowering them. Then the dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished, often with real leaves and flowers. Meticulously presented on earthenware and China. There are several courses to indulge in and discover Umami. Gochisosama!

Featured Tours: All Tours

Seasonal kaiseki-dinner in ryokan, Japan

Kobe Beef Dinner

Kobe is best known for Kobe Beef, a prime, marbled beef with a soft, buttery texture. The Kobe Beef brand is granted to Tajima beef raised in Hyogo Prefecture that meets strict quality standards, and each year only about 3,000 cows are produced. Taste it at a restaurant in Kobe City, where the marbled steak is grilled to perfection on a hot plate inches away and served at its freshest. This is a world-famous, succulent, and flavour-packed sensation. Alongside the melt-in-the-mouth beef, find a homemade ponzu sauce made from Japanese citrus and soy sauce to extract the distinct taste.

Featured Tours: Wonders of the West, Hidden Treasures, Optional on all tours

Granclass Luxury on the Shinkansen Bullet Train

The Hayabusa E5 Series train carriage features a fully active suspension. Tohoku colours are painted on the exterior and visible from windows. Step onboard and relax in the comfortable carriages. Attendants will pass with free gourmet refreshments. Granclass exceeds JR “Green”, or first-class. Nested in the armrest is a control panel to recline plush chairs and put your feet up. Choose a western-style lunch or locally sourced bento, accompanied by fresh Aomori apple juice. Relax with the slippers and eye masks provided. Step onto Aomori primed into the wonders of the region.

Featured Tours: Tohoku Trails

Benesse Art-Site Naoshima

Art and nature converge at Benesse House. Nowhere else in the world can rival this famous contemporary art island, with noted pieces by artists such as Imi Knoebel or Sol LeWitt on display in each guest room. Start the day with a tranquil seascape and end in the setting sun. Heal at Benesse House SPA, admire the beautiful architecture, and dine on fresh Setouchi seafood and seasonal ingredients at Issen. Shop Kagawa souvenirs or find the perfect coffee table books related to the Benesse Art Site.

Featured Tours: Gardens and Galleries, Hidden Treasures

Ama Pearl Divers Demonstration on Mikimoto Pearl Island

The mysterious freediving women of Ama have captivated imaginations for thousands of years. Depicted in art and films from Hokusai to James Bond, this community of women have earned their livelihood as skilled retrievers of shellfish for generations. Wearing loincloths or completely wrapped in white, society has marvelled at their abilities. They intrigue with a whistle from the surface of the seas. Witness a demonstration of this profession now in decline on Toba Island. Ama divers became a natural solution to aid the cultivation of perfect pearls. Visit the Mikimoto Museum for displays of their hard-won treasures.

Featured Tours: Hidden Treasures

Michelin Star Dining

In Tokyo find Japan’s culinary capital. In addition to 12 three Michelin stars worthy of a detour, there are 41 excellent locations, with two stars, 150 restaurants worth a stop, with one star, and 30 new listings vying for multiple stars. Notable establishments are judged by five specific criteria: quality, mastery, chef personality, dining experience, value, and consistency. Discover a devotion to food prepared with reverence and respect for a curated encounter with seasonality, seafood, and artistic presentation. Chefs combine the best of produce for a heightened essence of evolution and diversity of dining options.

Featured Tours: Optional on all Japan visits

Shojin (Buddhist Monk) Dining

Shojin-ryori was developed by Monks who aimed to strengthen the mind while making full use of seasonal materials. Meals are without meat or fish, and feature pungent flavours of garlic and onion. Applying five rules for cooking to guide the dishes to greatness in flavour and looks, using a selected range of ingredients, such as tofu, wild mountain plants and seasonal vegetables. The meals need to sustain them through long periods of meditation and have optimum appeal. Tofu made from soy and sesame is common, and find Koya-dofu, a frozen-dried tofu accidentally invented when left outdoors in winter at Mount Koya.

Featured Tours: Gardens and Galleries, Hidden Treasures, and optional on all Kyoto visits

Kyoto by the Sea

Kyoto by the Sea is a unique retreat, immersing visitors in Japan’s rich heritage. It offers miso making workshops revealing secrets of longevity, sake tastings at renowned local breweries, and insightful organic farm tours emphasising sustainable practices. Explore the historic Oni Trail, rich in folklore and ancient routes. Experience traditional Japanese elegance through Kimono and Mother-of-Pearl Weaving demonstrations and find tranquility in Zazen Meditation sessions. Each activity at Kyoto by the Sea is a gateway to understanding Japan’s cultural depth and enduring legacy.

Featured Tours: Wonders of the West, Optional day trip on all Kyoto visits