Take a deep dive into the history, culture, culinary excellence, and incredible natural beauty of Japan with this artfully crafted 10-day adventure. Your tour will start in Tokyo before moving out to the untouched regional corner of Ibaraki, traverse mountain temples in Nikko and offer guests an opportunity to train under a Zen meditation master.
Day 1: Coffee workshop and Tokyo tour
Today you'll go deep into Japan's rich and delicious coffee history by partaking in a workshop with one of the best drip coffee masters in Tokyo, Mr. Takahashi of coffee company HARIO. Tokyo, HARIO Co., Ltd, located in Nihonbashi, has been dedicated to designing, producing, and selling heat proof glass since 1921. The company began as a manufacturer of laboratory glassware and expanded its production to household items in 1948, starting with the coffee syphon. Their V60 coffee dripper is recognized and beloved by baristas around the world. You'll enjoy a class before the store opens.
After the class, you'll take a comprehensive tour through Tokyo with your English-speaking guide. You'll discover Tokyo landmarks and key locations like Nihonbashi, Asakusa, Kappabashi, Ginza, Shibuya and Omotesando on the tour. We can suggest other destinations/ modify the tour depending on your interests.
In terms of accommodation, we recommend the following luxury resorts: Palace Hotel Tokyo, The Peninsula Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Aman Tokyo, or the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo.
Day 2 and 3: Independent exploration
These two days are free for you to explore however you wish. There's a likely chance you'll have some idea of what you want to see and do after your guided Tokyo tour. Or, if you're not too sure, feel free to ask us for some suggestions, as we can point you in the right direction.
Day 4: Farm and dining Koga
Today is very special; you'll be enjoying an artfully curated day adventuring through Koga, Ibaraki, one such example of the country's endless gifts and potential. The adventure begins at Aoki Sake Brewery, a proudly family-run brewery and an example of Koga's local appeal. Aoki Sake Brewery, which was founded in 1831, is located on the west side of Ibaraki, right by the rushing water of the Watarase River and not far from the neighbouring Tone River. Meet the family behind the sake label, who also happens to live behind the brewery, and sample the delicious brews offered by Aoki.
The tour then continues on to Akiba Farm, a compact but vibrant farm run by a couple (husband) Satoru and (wife) Hiroko Akiba. Satoru's hometown is Koga, and the pair relocated from Tokyo to enjoy a more laid-back life and showcase the regional side of Japan. The pair grow many of their own vegetables and occasionally offer boutique farm-to-table style dining in their charming repurposed greenhouses, working in collaboration with local breweries, chefs, and producers to craft a multi-sensory, multi-course seasonal lunch, featuring a variety of cooking styles, from Japanese-inspired bento (lunch box) style dishes to European flavours like rich, smooth beetroot soup with yuzu (a little taste of Japan).
Day 5: Nikko, and water and art
This day is dedicated to taking in all the gorgeous scenery, fascinating history and incredible culture of Nikko, a world cultural heritage site and national park. Sitting at the doorstep of Nikko national park, Nikko itself is a townhome to Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine and the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Long before the town's incredible sites were built here, this corner of the country was a centre of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship, and its power can be felt throughout the area. We can curate a day exploring, depending on what you want to see/ do experience.
You’ll also head deeper into Tochigi for an experience you'll never forget, a visit to groundbreaking architect Junya Ishigami's 'Water Garden' (Mizuniwa), a spectacular combination of landscaping, avant-garde design, architecture and the natural beauty of Japan. Here we'd suggest staying the night (maybe even two) at Art Biotop. This hotel and garden is a curated biosphere and lush, tranquil retreat. Contact us for more information on this somewhat elusive experience.
Day 6: Nature guided trekking in Heisei-no-Mori
Also known as the Nasu Imperial villa forest, this sprawling, untouched corner of lush beauty lies in northern Tochigi Prefecture and is a wonderful destination to visit for those looking to get deeply immersed in the unrivalled natural beauty of Japan. Take a guided tour through the 560-hectare forest, which used to be a part of the Nasu Imperial Villa, to learn about its ecological and political significance. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy at your leisure.
Day 7: A journey to Odawara is a journey into yourself
Today it's off to Odawara for some meditation, relaxation, and contemplation. This experience was crafted in collaboration with local makers and is titled 'Odawara Mindfulness: Journey to Odawara is Journey to Yourself.' Today, you'll experience some of the finest gastronomical offerings the region has to offer; you'll learn about the Japanese take on 'wellness' through teachings by zen masters and discover a side of Japan that will surprise and delight you.
The highlights of this day include a zen meditation session led by chief priest Iwayama of Odawara City's Ganshuji temple in Odawara, and meals are provided by one of Odawara City's most respected restaurants, MECIMO, home to incredible French-Japanese fusion cuisine. Later you'll head to your accommodation, one of the area's most impressive luxury resorts like Gora Kadan, Hakone Suishoen, Hakone Gora Byakudan or Ginyu.
Day 8: A trip around Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is one of the nation's most spectacular destinations, home to spectacular views, hot springs (onsen) and of course Mt. Fuji. You can expect a day filled with unforgettable sights on today's itinerary, including potentially the still active Owakudani volcano, Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Shrine, and the Open Air Museum. There's so much to do, but don't worry, we can tailor-plan the day to suit your particular needs and interests.
Day 9: Independent exploration
One day in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is definitely not enough, so there's an extra day in the schedule for you to catch what you missed yesterday. If you feel like you've seen enough, this day is also an excellent day to just relax and soak in the park's wonderful hot springs.
Day 10: Check Out, continue on your adventure
This is the last day of the tour, and we hope you're feeling equal parts rested and inspired! It's time to check out of your hotel/ ryokan and continue on your Japan adventure. Some recommended destinations include Ise, Koyasan (Mt. Koya), Nara, or Kyoto. If you'd like some more advice, just let us know. We're always happy to help!