JAPAN’S CULINARY HERITAGE
AAJI ISLAND I TOKYO I KANAZAWA I GOKAYAMA I TAKAYAMA
WHEN TO GO
MARCH – MAY
11 HOURS 5 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND
This 11 day small group tour covers Japan’s regional cuisine, the heart and soul of Japanese culture. Visit renowned locations as well as hidden rural villages and the unique culture of Awaji Island in the fabled Inland Sea, where culinary traditions have been handed down from generation to generation. Other highlights include taking to the bustling streets in Tokyo for an Izakaya, quintessential Japanese destinations for casual eating and drinking; tasting the local specialty Kaga-ryori in Kanazawa which uses the freshest local seafood and vegetables; a foraging experience in Gokayama; a multi-course kaiseki dinner in Takayama plus much more.
MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS
Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.
Head out into the city’s exciting streets – your guide will advise you on the best options for food and drink. You might want to try an Izakaya restaurant. Izakaya are the quintessential Japanese destinations for casual eating and drinking – the two go hand in hand in Japan and these bars cluster around railway and subway stations. Join a post-work crowd relaxing over some of their favourite small dishes and their favourite beers, sake and shochu. Visit the local food market Oomi Ichiba, “Kanazawa citizens’ kitchen pantry”. The market has attracted residents and visitors for centuries.
Travel by private motorcoach from Kanazawa to Gokayama, a World Heritage Site with distinctive Gassho-zukuri farmhouses sporting triangular thatched roofs which are unique to this part of Japan. Located in a mountainous region isolated from the rest of the country for centuries, villagers still follow traditional lifestyles, gathering and preserving Sansai (wild plants) and growing their own vegetables and mushrooms. Join local plant hunter and explore the surrounding mountains and harvest seasonal wild delicacies. Visit the home of local resident Mr.Nakanishi, who grows a special variety of rice for brewing sake.
Visit nearby Shirakawago which has its own impressive collection of Gassho-zukuri houses and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Continue onwards to Takayama nestled in the mountainous Hida region. Takayama boasts a beautifully preserved old town and a unique culture. Enjoy a multi-course Kaiseki dinner at a family-run ryokan before take a short train ride to Hida Furukawa, a beautifully-preserved old town with distinctive whitewalled storehouses retaining the atmosphere of the Edo Period. Entering one of the oldest Machiya traditional residences, a local grandmother will show the technique of cooking in a classic earth oven known as an “Okudo-san” which is rarely used in modern times. Also use traditional fireplace to grill delicious premium quality Hida Beef.
Osaka was historically known as “the Tenka no daidokoro” (the nation’s kitchen), famous not just for its Michelin starred restaurants, but particularly for its street food – takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and more – the food of the common man. For dinner, visit a hidden house in the downtown of Namba, owned by a unique sake specialty shop. Visit a small-scale producing organic farmer who left city life 10 years ago and moved to the village. Enjoy the opportunity to harvest vegetables and learn home cooking in a charming old Japanese house nearby, offering a true farm-to-table experience of preparing local dishes using vegetables grown in the area. Among the foodie experiences that have been described, there are so many treats in store.