We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
Culture, Cuisine and Kayaking
Japan is a land of contrasts and delightful surprises. It leads the world with its cutting edge technology, yet it is also a treasury of ancient cultures, art and rituals, which are lovingly preserved and folded into everyday life. Food in Japan is an art form in itself, with every dish a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. Our trip takes you to hypermodern cities, bucolic landscapes, wild coastlines, ancient temples and deep into the Buddhist and Shinto spiritual traditions. We walk through ancient streets, kayak to hidden caves and hike along stunning cliffs; we soak in hot spring pools, eat exquisite food, sip craft beers and rare sakes, and meet some remarkable local people who give us an ‘insiders view’ of their beautiful and fascinating country. Don’t miss this chance to discover Hidden Japan!
Day 1: Arrive Yokohama
Transfer from Toyko’s Narita Airport to Yokohama. Meet your fellow travellers for a trip orientation, and enjoy a welcome dinner, sampling an array of local dishes.
Day 2: Yokohama City and Harbour
Explore Yokohama harbour on foot and learn about the city’s remarkable history and its opening of relations to the west. Discover the secrets of a soba noodle genius! After dinner and a sake tasting at a traditional Yakitori restaurant, stroll the waterfront for a city night view.
Day 3: Yokohama – Kamakura - Ito
Visit a morning fish market, then sample some sashimi and sushi prepared by a master chef. Ride a train to the ancient city of Kamakura, visit a famous Zen temple, and have a private ‘behind the scenes’ tour of one of Japan’s most prestigious Shinto shrines. Continue to the quiet town of Ito on Izu Peninsula. In our simple ryokan discover traditional Japanese lifestyle, including a soak in communal hot spring pools.
Day 4: Ito - Shimoda, Izu Peninsula
Visit a beautifully preserved wooden ryokan to learn about Japanese traditional architecture. Hike along dramatic sea cliffs, enjoy a hot spring with views of the sea, and have lunch in a renovated farmhouse. Hop onto a local train for a scenic ride to the dramatic southern tip of Izu Peninsula.
Day 5 and 6: Shimoda, Izu Peninsula
Go paddling along the remote shores of the Izu Peninsula – get ready for a spectacular coastline of sea caves and rock gardens! Before bed, soothe your paddling muscles in our ryokan’s hot spring waters.
Day 7: Shimoda - Kyoto
Visit a wasabi field, hike in the verdant hills and tour one of Japan’s leading microbreweries. By ferry, sail away from Izu Peninsula, with Mount Fuji as a backdrop. Boarding the Shinkansen train, take a high-speed journey to Kyoto – the imperial capital of Japan for 1000 years, steeped in history and beauty.
Day 8: Kyoto
Take walking tours to some of Kyoto’s finest temples, shrines, gardens and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Sample the famous cuisine, and in the evening stroll along the Kamo River- one of the city’s natural treasures.
Day 9: Kyoto - Ohara
Plunge into the daily life of Kyoto with visits to markets and the workshops of local craftsmen. After some time to explore on your own (maybe do some shopping: sushi knives, lacquer ware, kimonos, antiques – this is the place!), travel to the quiet village of Ohara for a hot spring soak and a multi-course kaiseki dinner.
Day 10: Ohara
Experience a charming glimpse of rural Japan and visit some of its finest Buddhist Temples and moss gardens. Savor a bowl of green tea under the shade of a 700 year old white pine.
Day 11: Ohara to Tokyo
Zoom to Tokyo aboard the bullet train! Explore this hyper modern metropolis, then walk back in time inside one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines to take part in a purification ceremony and blessing: truly a grand finale to a fabulous trip! Celebrate our Japanese adventure with dinner in one of Tokyo’s top restaurants.
Day 12: Departure
Bid farewell to newfound friends, and transfer to Narita Airport for homeward or onward journeys.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.