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Sample Itinerary

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

Tokyo

Meet your guide and other group members at the tour hotel in central Tokyo in the evening. We head out into the city’s exciting streets and 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 favorite small dishes and their favorite beers, Sake, and Shochu.

Kanazawa

We catch the train for Kanazawa on the Japan Sea coast which was the seat of the powerful Maeda Clan during the Edo Period. Kanazawa had a grand castle and was a city of great cultural accomplishments, including a refined and sophisticated local cuisine. For lunch, we visit the local food market Oomi Ichiba, “Kanazawa citizens’ kitchen pantry”. The market has attracted residents and visitors for centuries. In the evening we taste the local specialty Kaga-ryori for dinner. Kaga-ryori uses the freshest local seafood and vegetables served on colorful Kutani porcelain, or on lacquerware made in Ishikawa Prefecture. Notable Kaga-ryori dishes include Kabura-zushi (salted yellowtail sandwiched between turnips), Jibu-ni (stewed duck with vegetables), and Tai-no-karamushi (steamed sea bream with vegetables).

Gokayama

Today we 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. We join a local plant hunter to explore the surrounding mountains and harvest seasonal wild delicacies. We visit the home of local resident Mr. Nakanishi, who grows a special variety of rice for brewing Sake. Tasting home-brewed Sake, called Doburoku, is an unparalleled experience, and to complement the Sake, villagers will show us how to cook our finds from the mountains to produce delicious local dishes.

Takayama

After a traditional Japanese breakfast, we depart by highway bus to visit nearby Shirakawa-go which has its own impressive collection of Gassho-zukuri houses and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. After lunch in Shirakawa-go, we continue onwards to Takayama nestled in the mountainous Hida region. Takayama boasts a beautifully preserved old town and a unique culture. It has retained much traditional architecture and is known for its crafts, particularly yew carving, Shunkei lacquerware, pottery, and furniture.

This evening, sit down to a multi-course Kaiseki dinner at our family-run Ryokan. Kaiseki cuisine is the ultimate style of Japanese food, and both the preparation methods and appearance are refined. Imbuing dishes with a seasonal feel and bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients are key elements. Only seasonal ingredients passing intense scrutiny are used for the menu. But sometimes ingredients called “Hashiri” that have been harvested before their seasons are included as treasured items. Each individual dish is a small portion, but colors, combinations, and presentation of ingredients, together with tableware, all express the aesthetics of Japanese culture.

Hida Furukawa

Today, we take a short train ride to Hida Furukawa, a beautifully-preserved old town with distinctive white-walled storehouses retaining the atmosphere of the Edo Period.

Entering one of the oldest Machiya traditional residences, a local grandmother will show us the technique of cooking in a classic earth oven known as an “Okudo-san” which is rarely used in modern times. After lunch, we head to a sweet shop that has been making Furukawa’s specialty “Miso Senbei” crackers for more than 100 years using the famous “Hida Miso”. There will be free time to stroll the town of Takayama and a chance to dine out at one of the local restaurants.

Osaka

We board our train in Takayama with an ekiben lunch box for Osaka. 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, we will visit a hidden house in the downtown of Namba, owned by a unique Sake specialty shop. The shop owner has fallen in love with Sake and is dedicated to fulfilling the intentions of Sake brewers for over 30 years, and has been interacting with Sake aficionados with the same level of enthusiasm with over 10,000 bottles of Sake collections, all of which are from local specialty brewers. The term “Sakana” traditionally refers to food served to accompany Sake as originated from the word Saka (Sake) and Na (food). Special delicacies which pair well with selected Sake are served for today’s dinner.

Osaka

This morning we travel by local train to Sakai city, once known for the production of Samurai swords but now revered for its kitchen knives. We make our way on foot to a local smith where we will see the forging process of Japanese knives up close. As you come into close contact with embers and sparks, the craftsmen will show you all the steps needed to fold steel and sharpen edges. You will learn how to sharpen and maintain a Japanese knife and purchase your own cutting-edge souvenir should you wish.

In the evening we return to Osaka; dinner is at leisure.

Awaji Island

Awaji Island is known as the birthplace of the Japanese archipelago when the gods Izanagi and Izanami first created an island here. Awaji has long been known as a Miketsukuni (a place of food production for emperors). We visit a fish auction at a port and a local producer of the classic Japanese semi-dried fish call Shirasu Boshi. We rendezvous on the coast for the ultimate beach lunch experience. If the weather is unkind, we will eat our delicious meal at a former primary school, now renovated as a lovely artistic café. Our chef today is a real artist and prepares what he calls a “Foodscape” (a food landscape). Using locally harvested ingredients, he uses his inspiration to create a natural landscape that will delight all your senses. Our accommodation tonight is a Ryokan on Awaji Island and in the evening, we browse the lively port’s backstreets and enjoy the drinking culture of Awaji Island with fresh local seafood.

Kyoto

We travel back from Awaji Island in the afternoon by private vehicle and make a brief stop for a local lunch. After lunch, we make our way to Uji, an area that is famous internationally for its green tea. We visit a tea plantation and participate in a tea tasting to get to the depth of its real flavor and your cups. We then depart Uji for Kyoto where we will participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, wearing a kimono if you wish, in a renovated samurai residence.

Kyoto

Kyoto is renowned throughout Japan for its regional Washoku cuisine and specialties, also for the refinement and artistic presentation of Kaiseki cuisine. Follow your guide to some of Kyoto’s historical treasures. Starting from Nanzenji, a tranquil Zen Buddhist temple whose history dates back to the mid 13th century, we stroll along the Philosopher’s Path, with craft shops, cafés, shrines, and temples beside the clear waters of a small canal. The path ends near Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion.

In the evening, there is a Farewell Dinner. You will enjoy a Kaiseki banquet at a private property not typically open to the public. The wonderful Japanese villa was built by Takeda Goichi and its garden was designed by historically notable gardener Ogawa Jihei. Your expert chef for the evening has 30 years of experience in Kyo Ryori and will cook the finest ingredients for you, explaining the intricacies of Kaiseki Ryori cuisine, the pinnacle of Japan’s culinary traditions.

Our tour ends after breakfast at the hotel in Kyoto. Your guide will offer advice on your journey to the airport for your homeward flight, or on onward travel in Japan if you are extending your stay.

What Our Customers Have To Say

The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.

John Moawad

Classical Japan Tour

It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...

Marina Boyer

North Central Exploration

Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...

Edan Ecker

Shoguns and Samurai

I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...

Our Team Of Local Experts

Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.

Jeff Aasgaard


Tour Sales Director

Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.

Michiyo Kakiuchi

Tour Arrangement Manager

Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.

Izumi Yamauchi

Tour Arrangement team

Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.

Why Rediscover Tours

Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.

Trips Made for You


Your Japan travel expert will create your trip just for you


Your interests and travel style will be front and center when designing your tour


Accommodations will be selected based on your style and we will inform them of all your special meal and physical requirements


Japan Experts


Your Japan expert has lived in Japan or is Japanese


They know the hidden treasures of Japan that you will love and most tourists miss


Most of our team lives in Japan giving them first hand knowledge of the latest trends and experiences for you to enjoy


Finest Guides


Private local guides add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour


We only hire the best guides and review each trip with them insuring excellent experience


Your private guide will listen to you, show you sights of interest and will make on the fly changes to match the weather and crowds


With Confidence


Our office in Japan is here to assist and support you


Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000


You will arrive comfortable in the knowledge that all details are taken care of and that our Japan office is just a call away