Japan for Foodies: Tokyo, Matsumoto, Takayama & More

FIRST-CLASS | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Enjoy a deep-dive into Japanese cuisine, learning how it’s made, where it’s sold, and how best to enjoy it. On your journey, you’ll head on foodie tours in Tokyo, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and enjoy delicacies from sushi to soba and wagyu, while also exploring famous temples and monuments.

This 11-day Japanese vacation takes you from Tokyo to Matsumoto, Takayama, and Kyoto to explore Japanese cuisine. It features moderate accommodations, private and shared tours, and is perfect for foodies who want to explore one of the world’s great food scenes.

Your journey begins in Tokyo, the largest city in the world. Tokyo is a glittering marvel of futuristic innovation and ancient tradition. While it has something for every type of globetrotter, you’ll focus on its indelible food scene during your time in the city. Explore the city at leisure on your first day. The next day, head on a privately-guided walking tour to explore the food scene from Asakusa to Harajuku. Along the way, you’ll visit the Buddhist temple Senso-ji, peruse kitchen goods at Kappabashi “Kitchen Town,” and try rainbow cotton candy and ice cream before visiting Meiji Jingu Shrine. On your third day in Tokyo, explore Japan’s most famous dish: sushi. You’ll head through the Tsukiji Outer Fish Market before visiting a local sushi restaurant to learn to transform fresh fish into this culinary staple. In the evening, join your guide on a walking tour of neon Shinjuku, where you’ll stop at an izakaya to sample Japan’s pub culture.

From Tokyo, ride the train to Matsumoto and learn to make soba, the buckwheat noodles that are a staple of Japanese cuisine. The next morning, you’ll have free time to visit beautiful Matsumoto Castle before riding the bus into the Japanese Alps to the charming town of Takayama. In Takayama, you’ll stay at a traditional Japanese inn known as a ryokan and enjoy a kaiseki dinner, which is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal. As one of the many courses, you’ll enjoy some Hida beef, which is a form of the wonderfully marbled wagyu beef that Japan is famous for. After dinner, relax in the onsen. The next morning, explore the wooden buildings of Takayama’s old town on a walking tour and sample sake and local snacks. You’ll enjoy another kaiseki dinner that evening at your ryokan.

From Takayama, ride the train to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and city of temples. Join a matcha green tea ceremony to get in touch with Japanese etiquette and traditions. The next day, head on a full-day walking tour to many of the city’s landmarks, including Kinkaku-ji, known as the Golden Temple, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizudera (Pure Water) Temple, and the Higashiyama District. The next day, you’ll have some more time to see a few more of Kyoto’s landmark temples, including Fushimi Inari Shrine, which has thousands of torii gates leading up the hillside. In the evening, ride the train to neighbouring Osaka and enjoy an introduction to the nightlife of Dotonbori, with its raucous bars and neon lights. You’ll try some popular Japanese pub snacks, including takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and kushikatsu (meat and veggie skewers). Return to Kyoto and spend one more day exploring the city’s temples, this time in Arashiyama, where you’ll walk through the famous bamboo grove and enjoy a shojin-ryori lunch, a vegetarian Buddhist meal, at Tenryu-ji. For your final dinner, you’ll share the company of a maiko/geika (geisha) as you feast on Japanese delicacies.

At the end of your stay, connect to the airport to return home or consider extending your stay with foodie tours in more Japanese cities.


11 days/10 nights
Starting at $6,421 CAD per person


Day 1


Welcome to Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. Tokyo is a city of contrasts, famous for its pioneering modernity, neon streets and soaring skyscrapers, mixed with peaceful parklands, shrines, temples and adored gardens. Despite its mania for anime pop culture, fashion, digital trends and discernable consumption, the city embraces an ancient heritage evident in the temples and shrines scattered amongst the vast sky rises.

On your arrival at Narita or Haneda Airport, proceed through customs and then exit the security zone to meet your assistant. Then take a shared transfer to your hotel in Tokyo. The rest of day is free.

Meal-None        Duration-3 Nights


Day 2


Tokyo may have many sights to its name, but it’s a truly beloved city among foodies. Today visit some of the key sites and some of the city's most well known food spots. You’ll have a private guided walking tour using public transport like a true Tokyoite.

Start the day with a visit to Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town area to visit Sensoji temple and Nakamise shopping street where there here are hundreds of shops selling snacks, sweets and souvenirs. Then walk to Kappabashi, called Tokyo’s “kitchen town.” Kappabashi is full of kitchenware shops selling utensils, plastic food, dishes and other culinary items. There are also plenty of great restaurants in this area and your local guide will make some suggestions on where to have lunch (own account). In the afternoon travel across the city to the trendy Harajuku district, the pop culture area. Walk along the Harajuku’s main alleyway and choose to sample some unique sweets and snacks such as rainbow cotton candy, coffee with 3D foam art and ice cream crafted into cute animals. Afterwards walk to Meiji Jingu Shrine to learn about Shintoism. Return to your hotel at the end of the tour. Evening at leisure.

Meal Plan- Breakfast


Day 3


This morning, take a shared group tour to enjoy an in-depth experience with Japan’s most well known and beloved cuisine - sushi! Make your way to your group meeting spot and begin your tour with a stroll through Tsukiji outer fish market. Have the opportunity to sample some tasty items. You will see a variety of fish, vegetables and fruit stalls. Then, take the public bus to a nearby venue, where you will meet a Japanese chef and learn how to make your own plate of sushi. Enjoy your sushi creations for lunch. After lunch, say goodbye to your morning tour group and have some free time to explore Tokyo.

In the evening, take a private food walking tour with a local guide. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Shinjuku, a busy nightlife area. Explore the streets and alleyways of Shinjuku and visit an izakaya (a Japanese style bar). You will also visit a speakeasy for a nightcap. At the end of the tour, return to your hotel.

Meal Plan- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 4

Tokyo to Matsumoto

This morning make your own way by train to Matsumoto (approx. 2.5 hrs). Matsumoto has flourished as a castle town since the 16th century and is acclaimed for its beautiful mountain views and famous nationwide for its delicious soba: buckweat noodles. On arrival, visit a soba restaurant, boasting a history of more than 130 years, to learn the secrets of soba noodle making. You will try your hand at kneading and cutting the noodles, and then you will be able to taste your noodles cooked by the chef in the traditional Shinshu way. Make your own way back to your hotel after you have enjoyed your delicious noodles.

Meal Plan- Breakfast and Lunch          Duration-1 Night


Day 5

Matsumoto to Takayama

Your morning is at leisure to explore Matsumoto. You may choose to visit Matsumoto castle or a nearby wasabi farm. In the afternoon make your way by public bus to Takayama (approx. 2.5 hrs). This is a very scenic route, crossing through the Japanese Alps. On arrival in Takayama, take the shuttle bus to your ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). Tonight, a delicious multi-course Japanese meal, known as “kaiseki cuisine”, which is served at your ryokan for dinner. Kaiseki meals use seasonal and local ingredients. As part of tonight’s meal, your ryokan will serve succulent Hida Beef. Hida beef is one of Japan’s many delicious forms of wagyu (Japanese beef) which has become internationally renowned for its texture and rich taste. Note that wagyu is very expensive so the portion you receive at dinner might be very small but once you have tried it, you will understand why this meat is so sought-after in the world of cooking. After dinner, you can choose to soak in the onsen baths (hot springs) at your hotel.

Meal Plan-Breakfast  and Dinner        Duration-2 Nights


Day 6


This morning, take a shared group food walking tour around Takayama’s old town area. Enjoy sampling some of Takayama's local delicacies including sake. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring Takayama on your own. Another delicious kaiseki meal is included at your ryokan tonight!

Meal Plan- Breakfast and Dinner


Day 7

Takayama to Kyoto

Make your own way to Kyoto by local train and bullet train (approx. 3.5 hrs). Arrive in Kyoto and make your own way to your hotel. In the late afternoon, partake in a shared matcha green tea ceremony to learn about the history and etiquette of serving and drinking green tea. A Japanese sweet will be served together with the tea. The rest of day is at leisure in Kyoto. We suggest you take an evening walk through the Gion and Pontocho districts.

Meal Plan-Breakfast          Duration- 4 Nights


Day 8


Today take a full day private guided walking tour using public transportation to see some of Kyoto’s main highlights. Visit Kinkakuji Temple (the Golden Pavilion), originally built as a retirement villa for the Shogun. Also visit Nijo Castle and Kiyomizudera (Pure Water) Temple. Along the way, spend some time in Nishiki Market which is a lively retail market specializing in all things food related. You can also stroll along the Higashiyama district after visiting Kiyomizudera Temple. Higashiyama is a good place to shop for Japanese sweets and souvenirs. Lunch is not included today but your local guide will provide some suggestions. We recommend a tempura or udon noodle restaurant, well known Kyoto dishes.

Meal Plan- Breakfast


Day 9

Osaka (from Kyoto)

Enjoy a free day in Kyoto. You can choose to visit Fushi Inari Shrine, Yamazaki whiskey distillery or Nara (we can assist with other tours depending on your interest).

In the early evening, meet your private guide and travel by train to Osaka (approx. 30 mins). Osaka is one of Japan's most vibrant cities and your guide will introduce you to Osaka's foodie culture in the Dotonbori area. Dotonbori is known for neon lights, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. Here you will have the chance to sample a variety of food items such as takoyaki (commonly known as "octopus dumplings") and kushikatsu (skewered meats and vegetables). You can choose to explore other food venues with your guide. In the later evening return to your hotel in Kyoto.

Meal Plan- Breakfast


Day 10

Arashiyama (from Kyoto)

In the morning, take a private guided excursion to Arashiyama, using public transportation. Arashiyama is the western district of Kyoto. Visit a variety of sites including Okochi Mountain Villa, Arashiyama’s famous bamboo groves, Nonomiya Shrine and Tenryuji Temple. Tenryuji Temple is a zen temple and here you will enjoy a delicious shojin-ryori lunch, which is the traditional Buddhist cuisine. Shojin-ryori usually features tofu as its main dish, a speciality of the Arashiyama area so you will truly be eating local today. The rest of day is free for you either to continue exploring Arashiyama or to return to central Kyoto. If you are interested, we can add a very special experience for your last night in Japan – dinner with a maiko and/or geiko (more commonly known as geishas). A cultural experience that is uniquely Japanese!

Meal Plan- Breakfast and Lunch


Day 11

Depart Kyoto

Day at leisure until your shared vehicle transfer to Kansai or Itami airport.

If you have more time to spend in Japan we can customize a post tour for you. Perhaps you will continue the food tour in Hiroshima and Miyajima to taste Okonomiyaki and oysters, which are famous in that region. Kanazawa might be another consideration, to visit a soy sauce and/or miso factory. Alternatively, fly to Sapporo to sample some of Sapporo’s beer. The world is your oyster!

Meal Plan- Breakfast

Inquire About This Trip!

Other Information


Shared arrival and departure airport transfers
3 nights in first-class accommodations in Tokyo
1 night in first-class accommodations in Matsumoto
2 nights in first-class ryokan accommodation in Takayama
4 nights in first-class accommodations in Kyoto
Private-guided tours of Tokyo (Day 2 & 3), Kyoto (Day 8 & 10), Osaka (Day 9)
Small group Tsukiji outer fish market and sushi making lesson
Small group soba making lesson
Small group match green tea ceremony with Japanese sweet
Tokyo to Matsumoto // Takayama to Kyoto to Osaka train tickets in ordinary class
Matsumoto to Takayama public bus tickets
Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 3 lunches, 3 dinners, 3 drinks in Tokyo (Day 3), snacks as listed as included

Travel insurance
International airfare & airfare taxes
Meals and beverages not explicitly listed as included
Optional excursions
Items of a personal nature
Visa fees, if applicable
Luggage shipping

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

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