Enthrall your taste buds with this nine-day culinary adventure through Japan. Eat lunch with sumo wrestlers and learn to make sushi in Tokyo, then taste whisky at the base of Mount Fuji. Take a train to Kyoto to explore the famous shrines and learn to make Japanese specialties like matcha tea. In Osaka, explore the ancient castle, take a street food tour of the vibrant Dotonbori district, and cruise along the river. End your trip in Kobe, sampling its famous (and rare) beef and locally-made saké.


  • Savor world-class ramen at one of Tokyo's Michelin-starred restaurants
  • Learn to make different kinds of sushi from a master (and sample your creations)
  • Eat a five-course Japanese dinner at a traditional geisha show in Kyoto
  • Taste-test saké at a brewery, followed by a perfect steak, in the town of Kobe

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tokyo, Michelin-Starred Dinner Tokyo
Day 2 Culture, History & Cuisine Tour of Tokyo Tokyo
Day 3 Sumo Experience with Chankonabe Hotpot, Nigiri Sushi Workshop Tokyo
Day 4 Transfer to Fujikawaguchiko via Mount Fuji, Lake Cruise & Whisky Tasting Fujikawaguchiko
Day 5 Train to Kyoto, Discover Kinkaku-ji Temple, Maiko Dinner Show Kyoto
Day 6 Temples & Tea in Kyoto Kyoto
Day 7 Transfer to Osaka, Explore Osaka Castle, Foodie Walking Tour & River Cruise Osaka
Day 8 Day Trip to Kobe for Saké & Beef Osaka
Day 9 Depart Osaka  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tokyo, Michelin-Starred Dinner

Tokyo summer festival
Welcome to Tokyo, the evocative and busy capital of Japan

Welcome to Japan! After you arrive at Tokyo International Airport, your driver will be waiting to whisk you into the capital. Settle in, then explore the glittering, bustling Tokyo, where modernity competes with centuries-old culture. Begin at Shibuya Station, the world's fourth-busiest transport hub, then tackle the famous Shibuya Scramble, the world's busiest pedestrian crossing. Take a short walk to Shinjuku Gyo-en, one of the best gardens to see cherry blossoms in the spring, and continue to one of Tokyo's oldest parks, Shiba, for views of the Tokyo Tower.

Cross the colorful Rainbow Bridge to the island of Odaiba for futuristic fun in the city. Here, you can visit the Miraikan Museum, meet the resident robots, and experience life on the International Space Station. End the day in Japan's pop-culture capital of Akihabara (known as "Electric Town") to immerse yourself in the world of manga, animé, and gaming. 

For dinner, your driver can pick you up at your hotel and take you to one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo (the most of any city in the world, at around 200). To try a kaiseki meal (a traditional Japanese five-course dinner that focuses on in-season produce), have your driver take you to Ginza Kojyu. If you want to try famous Japanese noodles, head to Sobahouse Konjiki Hototogisu, one of the few ramen restaurants to earn a Michelin star. After your meal, enjoy a ride through the brilliantly lit streets back to your hotel.  

Day 2: Culture, History & Cuisine Tour of Tokyo

Try various Japanese specialties on a street food tour in Tokyo

Join your guide this morning for a full day exploring Tokyo's iconic landmarks, starting at the Toyosu Market, the largest fish market in the world. Watch the famous tuna auctions and sample fresh seafood products, from sushi to grilled scallops, in one of the many stalls. Fill up on fresh fish for breakfast or lunch, then head to the Imperial Palace. Enter through East Gardens, the only part of the palace open to the public. Wander the picturesque grounds, stopping at tea houses or bridges, including the famous Double Bridge

Continue to the ancient Asakusa district to visit Senso-ji, one of Tokyo's most significant Buddhist temples, built in the seventh century. Pass the giant lanterns on the Kaminarimon, the outer gate, then stroll along the buzzing, shop-lined Nakamise-dori. At the end of the road, you'll reach the second gate, Hozomon, which leads to the temple's main hall and a five-story pagoda, where you can pick up an omikuji (fortune).

This evening, immerse yourself in the incredible food scene of Tokyo with a night out in the charming, retro Yanesen neighborhood. Join your guide and sample street food like korokke (potato cakes), rice balls, and kakigori (shaved ice). Enjoy a drink in a Japanese izakaya (pub), browse traditional shops, and visit a shrine with a tunnel of vibrant red torii gates. Learn about Japanese culture as you stroll the streets and soak up the atmosphere.

Day 3: Sumo Experience with Chankonabe, Nigiri Sushi Workshop

Learn to make sushi from a master during a nigiri workshop

Start today with a glimpse into Tokyo's captivating sumo wrestling culture, led by a knowledgeable guide. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives of these revered athletes, learn some of the history, and test out your skills on the mat with retired wrestlers. For lunch, savor some chankonabe (sumo wrestler's hot pot), a sumo specialty made of rich broth full of protein and vegetables, to complete your immersion in this fascinating subculture of Japan. 

Later in the day, dive into another treasured Japanese tradition: sushi! Discover the secrets of this iconic dish in a nigiri sushi workshop, made by molding rice into a bite-size shape and topping it with thin slices of fish. The expert instructor will guide you through the process, providing pro tips and sushi history from an insider's perspective. During the class, you'll also sample other types of sushi, such as inari, sushi rice stuffed into deep-fried tofu pockets, or maki, where the classic ingredients are rolled in seaweed.

Day 4: Transfer to Fujikawaguchiko via Mount Fuji, Lake Cruise & Whisky Tasting

best time to visit Japan - Chureito pagoda during Spring time, with Mount Fuji in background
See the iconic Mount Fuji from the picturesque Arakurayama Sengen Park

Meet your driver today for your transfer to the Fuji Five Lakes region to see the iconic Mount Fuji. After a two-hour ride, you'll arrive at the famous Arakurayama Sengen Park. Ascend to the Chureito Pagoda perched on the hillside for panoramic views of the snowcapped mountain surrounded by seasonal foliage. 

In the afternoon, join your guide on a cruise at the picturesque lake Kawaguchi-ko. Pass charming lakeside villages set against Mount Fuji reflected in the water. Then, savor the sights on the Mount Fuji Panoramic Ropeway. Hop off at the observation deck under Mount Tenjo, which provides incredible panoramas of Fuji and the surrounding area. On your way to Fujikawaguchiko, stop at the Fuji Gotemba Distillery to learn about the multiple stages of distilling and taste a glass of whisky.

Plan your trip to Japan
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

End the day in the onsen (hot springs) town of Fujikawaguchiko. Stay in a ryokan (traditional inn), usually old family-run businesses that feature locally-made meals along with Japanese-style design and furniture. Lounge in yukata (kimono pajamas), enjoy the legendary omotenashi (Japanese hospitality), and savor views of the volcano and lake.

Day 5: Train to Kyoto, Discover Kinkaku-ji Temple, Maiko Dinner Show

Kinkakuji Temple
Marvel at the Golden Pavilion of Kyoto, reflected perfectly in the surrounding pond

This morning, your driver will take you to the train station, where you'll catch the two-hour bullet train to the cultural capital of Japan, the mesmerizing Kyoto. Kyoto is alive with history and is home to numerous shrines, temples, palaces, and gardens. Once you've arrived, join a tour to explore, starting at the UNESCO-listed Kinkaku-ji, the "Golden Pavilion." Stroll through the gardens and marvel at the gold-leaf-covered upper floors, a striking contrast to the wood and white plaster on the lower floors.

In the evening, enjoy a maiko show with dinner in a traditional tatami room designed in Japanese style and lined with mats. Immerse yourself in the world of geisha (female Japanese performing artists) and maiko (geisha in training) while tucking into a multicourse kaiseki dinner, which usually includes a sashimi course, a rice course, and a local dessert paired with palate cleansers in between. 

Day 6: Temples & Tea in Kyoto

The 10,000 Red Gates of Fushimi Inari
Walk through the famous 10,000 Red Gates of the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Today's guided tour starts at Sanjusangendo-do, a temple featuring a central hall, the longest wooden structure in Japan, lined with 1,001 gold-leaf-encrusted statues of Kannon (the goddess of mercy). Continue to the famous Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine for an enchanting hike through the 10,000 red torii gates, and follow the torii-lined route up to the observation deck atop the mountain for panoramic views of the gates and the surrounding forest. Walk back through the forest, discovering smaller shrines, moss-covered animal statues, and ancient stone tablets.

After a quick break at your hotel, head to Kyoto Maikoya for a wagashi-making class and a tea ceremony. Change into a kimono, then learn to make Japan's favorite snack from an expert. Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets, often filled with sweet bean paste and molded into shapes. After this lesson, join a tea ceremony, called sado or chanoyu. Sit down on a mat and participate in the ritual of matcha, led by a knowledgeable tea master, before taste-testing the sweets and the perfectly prepared green tea. 

Spend the rest of the day in Gion, Kyoto's famous geisha district. Stroll down the stone street of Hanami-koji, bordered by traditional wooden townhouses and shops, and see if you can spot the beautiful geishas as you wander. At the corner of Shijo Street and Hanami-koji, you'll find the legendary Ichiriki Ochaya Teahouse, the 300-year-old establishment that is invite-only but still makes for an iconic photo.

Day 7: Transfer to Osaka, Explore Osaka Castle, Foodie Walking Tour & River Cruise

Osaka Castle
Taste some of the best food in Osaka, the "Kitchen of Japan"

Meet your driver for an hour-long transfer to one of Japan's most vibrant cities, Osaka, often described as Tokyo's younger (and cooler) sibling. Today, your guide will help you tick off some of Osaka's famous sights, such as Osaka Castle and its blossom-filled grounds. Delve deep into Osaka's history at this gorgeous landmark, which bears witness to the bloody power struggles that preceded the establishment of the Edo era in 1603. Roam around the complex to appreciate its beautiful features and learn the stories behind its reconstruction from your guide.  

After exploring the castle, head to the vibrant Shinsaibashi Shopping District, which dates back 380 years and sells everything from kimonos to jewelry. Then, end the day in the lively Dotonbori, the city's go-to area for entertainment, for a street food tour of "Japan's Kitchen." Sample conveyor belt sushi and grilled crabs, then dive into a hot pot experience. Try taiyaki (a fish-shaped dessert filled with sweet red bean paste), takoyaki (octopus balls), and okonomiyaki, a savory pancake. Your guide will show you the best local food, so make sure you come with an empty stomach!

After you've eaten your fill, visit the Tazaemon-bashi bridge to embark on a short cruise along the beautiful Tombori River. Admire the vibrant city lights as you glide along the waterway, spotting hidden gems and historical landmarks, and learn some of the background from your guide. 

Day 8: Day Trip to Kobe for Saké & Beef

Half Day Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and Kobe Harborland Tour
Sample world-famous wagyu beef and saké in the beautiful town of Kobe

Take a day trip 20 minutes away from Osaka to the ancient town of Kobe, known for its saké and wagyu beef. Your guide will take you through the Nada district, where you'll visit the Hakutsuru Saké Brewery Museum, a saké-brewhouse-turned museum. Learn about the complex brewing process of Japanese saké in both the old and modern ways, then sample several types to discover your favorite.

Afterward, stroll around the waterfront area of Kobe Harborland, featuring shopping malls, restaurants, cafés, and more. Head to Mosaic, part of the shopping complex Umie, for a selection of eateries with views of the Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum, or explore the 19th-century brick warehouses of Renga Soko.

Next, treat yourself to some of the best Japanese wagyu beef in the country. The meat is extremely rare, as it comes from the strictly-raised Tajima-gyu breed of Japanese black cattle raised in the Hyogo prefecture, of which Kobe is the capital. Your guide will take you to one of the best steakhouses in town, where you can enjoy a classically prepared steak grilled on a teppanyaki (iron plate). After your meal, head back to Osaka for your final night in Japan.

Day 9: Depart Osaka

Watch one last sunrise over gorgeous Osaka before catching your departing flight
It's time to say goodbye to beautiful Japan. Depending on your departure time, you could take another quick stroll around the Dotonbori district or glimpse Osaka Castle from a different view before you meet your driver for a transfer to Kansai International Airport. Safe travels, wherever the road takes you next!

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Map of Foodie Tour of Tokyo, Fujikawaguchiko, Kyoto & Osaka - 9 Days
Map of Foodie Tour of Tokyo, Fujikawaguchiko, Kyoto & Osaka - 9 Days