Japan is heaven for foodies, and even travelers short on time can enjoy the best gastronomic experiences in the country by focusing on the distinct culinary traditions of three lively cities—Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Find a diverse range of Japanese and international cuisine in Tokyo, enjoy some Japanese haute cuisine in Kyoto, and sample local street food classics and more in Osaka. All this while learning about Japanese culture and history on a fun-filled six-day tour.


  • Eat your way around Tokyo's famous Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Learn to hand-make your own sushi in Tokyo
  • Participate in a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto
  • Sample Kansai region favorites like Kobe beef and octopus balls in Osaka

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Optional Sushi-Making Class, Omoide Yokocho Food Tour Tokyo
Day 2 Visit Tsukiji Outer Markets, Nakameguro Food Tour Tokyo
Day 3 Train to Kyoto, Nishiki Market & Nijo Castle, Traditional Tea Ceremony Kyoto
Day 4 Shrines & Temples of Kyoto, Geisha & Maiko Performance with Dinner Kyoto
Day 5 Train to Osaka, Sightseeing & Food Tour of Osaka Osaka
Day 6 Depart Osaka  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Optional Sushi-Making Class, Omoide Yokocho Food Tour

Lanterns hanging outside food stalls in Omoide Yokocho

Welcome to Japan! Upon arriving in Tokyo, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. After you've taken some time to settle into your accommodation and depending on your time of arrival, you might want to take an introductory sushi-making class to get your stay in Japan off to a great start. Crafting sushi is an art, and you'll learn how to prepare basic rolls under the guidance of an experienced chef. Prepare the rice and soup stock and slice the fish and other fillings. Then, eat the rolls you created along with spicy wasabi, miso soup, and green tea.

In the evening, head to Omoide Yokocho in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. This alley, which translates as Memory Lane, is packed with one-room eateries selling yakitori, ramen, and other Japanese dishes. Eating here is an atmospheric and delicious way to experience authentic Tokyo.

Day 2: Visit Tsukiji Outer Markets, Nakameguro Food Tour

A Japanese fishmonger at the Tsukiji Market

After a good night's sleep, head to one of Tokyo's most iconic foodie sites, the Tsukiji Outer Markets. The former site of Tokyo's iconic seafood market is well worth getting up early for and remains a must-see for any seafood enthusiast. Tsukiji is not only a fish market as you can also buy vegetables and all kinds of other goods here, from dried goods to bread, knives, and other items. Your guide will tell you all about the history of the market, and you'll get a chance to enjoy a seafood breakfast.

Later on, visit Nakameguro, a quiet residential part of Tokyo that is home to some great finds for foodies. You'll find plenty of quaint eateries, tiny bars, and cool coffee shops where you can sample various tasty local dishes. Other fun stops along the way include a classic old candy shop, an award-winning chocolate shop, a nihonshu (saké) store, and even a vintage kimono store. Your guide will help you translate the Japanese menus so you can get the most out of your tour.

Day 3: Train to Kyoto, Nishiki Market & Nijo Castle, Traditional Tea Ceremony

Woman whisking tea in a bowl for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony

Say goodbye to Tokyo this morning and take the Shinkansen (bullet train) west to Kyoto, a journey of about two hours. Kyoto is one of the most traditional and well-preserved old cities in Japan and offers a wealth of great experiences for foodies and travelers who want to learn more about Japanese culture and traditions.

Kick off your time in Kyoto with a visit to Nishiki Market. This shopping contains many small, local stores as well as a few big-name food stores. It's a great place to rub shoulders with locals and see how they eat, drink, and shop. You can pick up some food-related souvenirs here. After, head to the early 17th-century Nijo Castle, completed under the rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603–1867). Learn more about this history while walking the halls of this beautiful castle. Unlike many Japanese castles, Nijo is located on flat land, not high up on a hill, so its style is very different.

Later on, participate in a tea ceremony, an important part of traditional Japanese culture. Learn the process of making and serving tea along with traditional sweets. Meet your local expert at a machiya (wooden tea house), where they will explain and demonstrate the significance of different steps in the ceremony and tea preparation. After the ceremony, you can visit the nearby temples of Kiyomizu-dera, Kōdai-ji, and Chion-in. Then, take a walk in Maruyama Park through Yasaka-Jinja Shrine and continue to the old geisha and entertainment district of Gion.
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Day 4: Shrines & Temples of Kyoto, Geisha & Maiko Performance with Dinner

Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavillon
Kyoto's Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavillon

Enjoy Kyoto further today, visiting many more sites of historical and cultural importance. Stroll through the picturesque Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and visit three important temples and shrines: the dazzling Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Ryoan-ji, known for its Zen garden, and the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, known for its rows of bright orange torii gates and for featuring in the film "Memoirs of a Geisha."

In the evening, enjoy an immersive experience that combines dinner and a geisha performance. Geishas are entertainers trained in different arts, such as music, dance, and the art of conversation. After sitting down to a traditional Japanese dinner in a tatami mat room, you'll have the chance to speak with a maiko (an apprentice geisha) to learn more about this ancient art, then enjoy a delightful live performance. 

Day 5: Train to Osaka, Sightseeing & Food Tour of Osaka

Chefs preparing street food in Osaka

Take a train south to Osaka today, just a 15-minute ride on the Shinkansen. As it's such a short trip, you can jump right into sightseeing in Osaka, Japan's second-biggest city. Check out the reconstructed but beautiful Osaka Castle, the Umeda Sky Building with its dramatic observatory floor, and the old Shinsekai neighborhood.

Take a food-focused tour of the city later in the day. Osaka is proud of its culinary heritage, which is distinct from other parts of Japan, and on this tour, you'll try dishes from the Kansai region. Feast on Kobe beef, best served grilled or with vegetables boiled in seaweed stock. For dessert, try treats such as sweet rice cakes, rainbow-colored pancakes, or matcha-flavored ice cream. Also, look out for takoyaki (fried balls of octopus), kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables), and okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake), all specialties of Osaka.

Day 6: Depart Osaka

Cherry blossoms surround Osaka Castle in the spring

Your time in Japan is coming to an end. Depending on your time of departure, you may have time during the day to enjoy some last-minute souvenir shopping. Osaka was historically a merchant city and has a reputation for good-quality merchandise for all budgets. The historic downtown area is full of small specialty stores stocking curious trinkets and antiques that make ideal gifts. When it's time to depart, take a private car transfer to the airport for your flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Foodie Tour of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka - 6 Days
Map of Foodie Tour of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka - 6 Days