Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group, Private

Culinary Traditions of Japan (9 days)

Access Culinary Trips

Tokyo, Japan To Kyoto, Japan

Valid for Departures Now Through: 31 Dec 2022


Day 1
Tokyo, Japan
Shiba Park Hotel Dinner

Day 1: Japan Culinary Tour Begins

You will be met at the airport and taken to Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital where we find its modern core. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner together.

Day 2
Tokyo, Japan
Shiba Park Hotel Breakfast, Dinner

Day 2: Discover Traditional Tokyo

This morning we will set out on a sightseeing tour of traditional Tokyo. Starting in Asakusa, we will wander along the narrow streets of this historic district. We will take in the impressive sight of Senso-ji, a large Buddhist temple with a five-story pagoda, dating originally from the 7th century and rebuilt after its destruction during World War II. Afterward, we stroll along the Nakamise-dori, a pedestrian street lined with shops selling a variety of Japanese arts, crafts, and souvenirs. This walk ushers us to the Kaminari-mon, the stunning entrance gate to the temple. We’ll then walk just west of Asakusa to Kappabashi, an area famous for its wide variety of crafts and wares. Here, we will appreciate – and perhaps, purchase! – the kitchenwares, including knives, noren (shop curtains), tableware, and another, more unusual craft: plastic food replicas. These recreations of sushi, hamburgers, rice, miso soup, and ice creams are amazingly realistic and are ubiquitous in the front windows of many of the country’s restaurants. In the late afternoon, we will learn how to make soba from scratch and enjoy a dinner made from the results!

Day 3
Tokyo, Japan
Shiba Park Hotel Breakfast

Day 3: Explore Modern Tokyo

Today, as a counterpart to our visit of traditional Tokyo, we will explore her busy, modern side. We begin with a visit to Meiji Jingu, a shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Many Shinto ceremonies are held in its tranquil grounds. After a calming respite in this serene environment, we will take a short walk to the lively Harajuku district. This neighborhood is known for its colorful styles and creativity. Shopping and picture-taking opportunities abound! From here we will continue on to the Omotesando district, a beautiful tree-lined avenue sometimes referred to as the Champs-Elysees of Tokyo. In the afternoon we venture to Shinjuku, a neighborhood of Tokyo known for its humming energy. Here, we will visit the observation gallery of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The view will give you an appreciation for the vast size of Tokyo with its views above the metropolis.

Day 4
Kumano, Japan
Fujiya Ryokan Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Journey to the Kii Peninsula

This morning we’ll send our main luggage on ahead to Kyoto and will travel with an overnight bag with essentials for the next two nights. This allows us to travel hands-free by bullet train, or shinkansen, to Shingu. In Shingu, we will visit Hayatama Taisha, a shrine of the UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage route of the Kumano Kodo. The Kii Peninsula is the site of a centuries-old route of pilgrimage – one of just two recognized UNESCO World Heritage Pilgrimage Routes. Then, we continue inland by local bus to the hot springs resort of Kawayu Onsen, where we will stay in Japanese-style accommodations, soak in the hot springs, and dine on local specialties of the Kii Peninsula.

Day 5
Kumano, Japan
Fujiya Ryokan Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Ancient Pilgrimage Route

Today we will visit another one of the shrines that forms a part of the Kumano Kodo route of pilgrimage and is key to the local shugendo faith, which holds ascetic training in the mountains as part of its core. This morning we travel by local buses and train to Nachi Taisha, one of the three shrines on this pilgrimage route, known for its picturesque setting and dramatic waterfall. We’ll dine on seafood fresh from the nets of local fishermen at lunch before continuing on to the shrine and waterfall. This evening, we return to our ryokan in Kawayu Onsen, where you may wish to have a therapeutic soak in the waters of this hot spring resort.

Day 6
Kyoto, Japan
The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Travel to Kyoto

This morning, we travel by local bus and express train to Kyoto. Kyoto is considered the cultural and spiritual capital of Japan, and is renowned for its traditions, temples, festivals, and cuisine. We will visit Nishiki market to see the fish, pickles, tea, tofu, sweets and other foodstuffs on display. We continue on to discover the back lanes and traditions of Gion – a famous district for its geisha (known as a geiko in Kyoto) and the brightly attired apprentice geisha, known locally as maiko. If luck is with us, we may see one breezing into one of the local teahouses to perform for guests. Our luggage, sent from Tokyo, awaits us at the hotel.

Day 7
Osaka, Japan
The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Farm to Table Cooking Class & Osaka Street Food Tour

Today we travel by local train to Asuka, a town with a rich historical legacy. In addition to its colorful past, Asuka is a wonderfully picturesque destination, and visitors delight in its beautiful landscape of terraced rice fields. We will visit a small-scale farm where we learn in a true farm-to-table experience how to prepare a local dish using vegetables grown in the area. The fruits of our labor will be our lunch today.

Afterwards, we will have some time to explore the town’s ancient monuments and rice terraces before we continue on to Osaka, which is truly the culinary sweetheart of the nation. Osaka is famous not just for its Michelin-starred restaurants, but particularly for its street food – takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and more – the food of the common man and woman. Here, it is elevated to a delicious art form. In the twilight hours, we will experience the food ourselves on a delicious street food tour. We will sample different local treats as we go, having a moveable feast for dinner. Later in the evening, we will return to Kyoto.

Day 8
Kyoto, Japan
The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cultural Treasures of Kyoto

This morning, we travel to the Northwestern Kyoto district of Arashiyama. We’ll walk through bamboo forest paths and along her back lanes dotted with temples and shrines. Our tour includes a visit to Tenryuji – considered one of the five greatest temples in Kyoto – and our guide will explain its Zen Buddhist philosophy. We will enjoy a lunch here of shojin-ryoji or traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine –the origin of the famed kaiseki dining. We then travel back to Kyoto where we will visit Nijo Castle in the afternoon and enjoy a tea ceremony where we will learn about the history associated with the ’way of tea’.

Tonight at our farewell dinner we dine on local Kyo-ryori or cuisine specialities of Kyoto. Kyo-banzai ryori is based on making the most of local produce and is strongly rooted in vegetables that can only be found in the Kyoto area. Tofu is another speciality of Kyoto due to the clean clear water that feeds the city from the surrounding mountain springs and rivers. At dinner, we will have the opportunity to sample various sakes from the region, which will be a wonderful way to usher our Japan Culinary Tour to a close.

Day 9
Kyoto, Japan
None Breakfast

Day 9: End of Japan Culinary Tour

This morning, we have included a shared taxi transfer to the Kansai or Itami airport for your journey home.

Tour Features


  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Family Vacations
  • Food & Wine
  • Romance, Weddings & Honeymoons
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking & Biking


Japan Culinary Tour Overview

From the moment you arrive in Japan, you are struck by the refined balance of a modern society rooted in centuries-old traditions. The ornate carvings of ancient shrines are illuminated by the glow of city lights; the brightly-colored fashions of Harajuku are contrasted by the elegance of traditional silk kimonos; and the sparse serenity of zen gardens provide a respite from bustling cities. Explore Japan’s culture through its cuisine and discover its vast treasures on our Japan culinary tour.

Bask in the verdant green of surrounding forests as you soak in geothermal hot springs. Join masters of age-old traditions as they share their ancient rituals. Tantalize your taste buds with world-renowned Japanese food that is just as beautiful to behold as it is exquisite to eat.

Journey from industrious Tokyo to historic Kyoto. Along the way, discover the timeless villages and sacred pilgrimage routes of the Kii Peninsula, sample the delectable street food of Osaka, take part in a tea ceremony, cook a farm-to-table meal, and make meaningful connections with the kind and intriguing people of this island nation.

Top Japanese Culinary Experiences:

>> Two Japanese cooking classes: learn to make soba noodles and cook a hearty farm-to-table meal

>> Visit a fish market and dine on fresh seafood

>> Sample the renowned street food of Osaka

>> Explore Kyoto’s Nishiki on a tasting tour

>> Take part in an ancient tea ceremony

>> Enjoy a traditional Buddhist vegetarian lunch at Tenryuji temple

What's Included


  • 8 nights (double occupancy): 6 nights 4-star hotels and 2 nights traditional Japanese-style inns (ryokan)

  • 2 cooking classes (soba noodle class and farm cooking classes)

  • Tasting walk through Nishiki Market

  • Street food tour of Osaka

  • Traditional tea ceremony

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches (includes lunch prepared in farm class), and 6dinners (includes dinner prepared in soba noodle class)

  • Expert bilingual tour guide

  • All ground transportation for activities included in itinerary

  • Group airport transfers from Narita or Haneda International Airports to Tokyo hotel at beginning of tour and from Kyoto hotel to Kansai or Osaka International Airport at end of tour

  • Overnight luggage transfer from Tokyo to Kyoto

Not Included

  • Flights to and from Japan

  • Mandatory travel medical insurance, including emergency medical evacuation

  • Private room upgrade

  • Drinks with meals, snacks and miscellaneous items

  • Sightseeing entrance fees that are not included on the itinerary or indicated as optional

About Us

Access Culinary Trips is an award-winning tour company offering immersive, hand-crafted culinary vacations to exotic destinations around the globe. Explore culture through cuisine on one of our small group tours that take you behind the scenes to blend food and travel like you've never experienced before. Our knowledgeable local guides, world-class chefs, and carefully designed itineraries give you authentic, insider access to the local culture. Tour length ranges 3 to 9 days depending on destination. We are proud to be a Virtuoso Sustainable Partner.

Insider Tip

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Health & Safety

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Small group sizes, support of local economies, sustainable farm visits and giving back to local communities are hallmarks of our tours.

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