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810 S Spring St. #1204
Los Angeles, CA, 90014
United States

Tour Calendar

On this personal tour for eight adventurous food lovers, Yoko will take you on a journey to explore historical festivals, community events and locally acclaimed restaurants. She created the tour to share the best parts of rural Japan during its best season.  Most importantly, you will know what every one of her friends knows: Wherever Yoko goes, tasty morsels will follow!

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Spring Tour 2017


NEW: (2017 itinerary will be sent upon request)

Features

  • Travel beautiful rural Japan during cherry blossom season.  For flexibility and to avoid heavy traffic, we have our own car service for 3 full days (Monday to Wednesday).
  • Taste the umami-loaded regional Aka-miso dishes while visiting one of the oldest Miso breweries from the 14th century.
  • Let us inhale the aromas of a “sweets sanctuary”. La Collina is a year-old facility where we will see the craftwork of and taste “Wagashi”, traditional Japanese sweets and cakes.
  • We will visit Ohmi Hachiman, the equivalent of Bruges in Japan.  Formerly a rich merchants’ town in the 17th Century, beautiful canals link Lake Biwa, the castle and the old town.  The architecture presents photogenic sceneries around every corner.
  • We will visit the nationally-acclaimed Mino Pottery Barn and Kitchen knife store.  It’s an essential visit to truly experience the biggest and greatest industry of this region.
  • We will attend the 383rd Inuyama Matsuri, a seasonal night festival at the old castle town of Inuyama where we’ll see 13 lantern-decorated floats pulled by manpower alone.

 

NEW: Check out Itinerary! (Updated on 1/19/2016)

Day 1:  Sunday 4/2/2017

We will meet at the designated point at Nagoya Station in the morning.  [You are suggested to ship your luggage directly to the Isaji Residence to allow the whole day without a heavy luggage. Our staff will help you arrange]  From Nagoya station, we’ll take a half hour train to Okazaki, where we will learn the process for making the fragrant red miso called “Haccho-Miso.”  Nagoya and its surrounding area used to be called Mikawa-Owari; this is the origin of regionally-famous red miso dishes like miso katsu, miso udon and doteni.  In fact, today is the day for tasting the cuisine Nagoya is known for.  We’ll head to Inuyama’s old town district and stroll through the lantern-hung floats on display throughout town.

  • Accommodation: Isaji Residence in Seki, Gifu                                                    
  • Transportation costs all included in the tour fee after the Nagoya Station
  • Lunch -Several small plates will be purchased for tasting. (You may purchase more street foods at the Sakura Festival)
  • Dinner at Isaji Residence: included

Day 2:   Monday 4/3/2017

Lake Biwa and its surrounding towns have as old and rich a history as Kyoto.  Today we’ll drive a little over an hour to visit two towns in Shiga prefecture, Hikone and Omi-Hachiman. We’ll approach the Hikone castle from old town district, through water-filled fortification where you'll see a beautiful reflection of cherry blossoms. We'll walk up to the castle where you can look down the Lake Biwa and surrounding towns. You'll see why this lake has been called "Umi-Ocean in Japanese" by the locals.  Then we’ll drive down to Omi-Hachiman to enjoy the canal boat ride and the bento box prepared with local specialties. After strolling the old town and wander along canals, we head to “La Collina” to observe wagashi-making and of course tasting some if you can!  After having a dinner in Shiga, we'll head back to Gifu.

  • Accommodation: Isaji Residence in Seki, Gifu.                                                     
  • Transportation costs all included in the tour fee.
  • Breakfast & Lunch: Included,  (Before taking a boat ride, buy your own drink from a vending machine)
  • Boat riding at Omi-Hachiman: Included in the tour
  • Dinner Restaurant TBA: Included, Drink is not included and will be charged separately.

Day 3:  Tuesday 4/4/2017

We will spend a morning in Magome, strolling a historical road surrounded by well-preserved hostels and shops from the 18th century.  This road is known as “Nakasendo” and passes through a mountainous area called Kiso, where high-quality wooden products are still made by hand.  If you’re looking to buy any Japanese wooden cookware and tableware, this is the place to shop. For lunch, we are driving to "middle of nowhere" on the map, but to the well-known restaurants among the Japanese epicureans. Yanagiya restaurant offers not "farm to table" concept but "Mountain to table". We will find out what the season and nature can offer that day. It will be a memorable meal for sure. After the lunch, we'll spend a late afternoon strolling old district of Tajimi, Oribe-streets, where you can find chic tableware stores to antique stores and galleries that showcase Mino-pottery. We have a casual dinner near the residence where we recommend ordering "Yuzu-ramen". 

  • Accommodation: Isaji Residence in Seki, Gifu.                                                     
  • Transportation costs all included in the tour fee.
  • Breakfast: Included
  • Lunch at Yanagiya: Included (Drink is not included)
  • Dinner: Included (Drink is not included)

Day 4:  Wednesday 4/5/2016

We start our day visiting small sake brewery known for producing aged sake for the last few decades. The owner is a true pioneer for the aged sake, and he can't help talking about it as he is so passionate. After the morning aged sake tasting, we're ready to visit the 1,500 years old cherry trees. If we are lucky, we will see the full bloom of Usuzumi Zakura, one of the three oldest cherry trees in Japan. There is another temple, nearly as old as the cherry tree, worth to pay a visit: Kegonji. After strolling old town and the park in Gifu city, dinner will be served at a beautiful old steakhouse.  Expect to have one of the best teppanyaki experiences you can imagine.

  • Accommodation: Isaji Residence in Seki, Gifu.                                                     
  • Transportation costs all included in the tour.
  • Breakfast & Lunch: Included. The lunch box will be a light meal. You are encouraged to try the food vendors at the Cherry blossom festival
  • Dinner at Senryu Steak House: Included  (Drink is not included and will be charged separately)

Day 5: Thursday 4/6/2016

After brunch, we’ll help you depart for your next destination. We can arrange your suitcase and souvenir boxes to be delivered directly to the airport.

  • Cooking Class & Brunch: Included
  • Seki Knife Shops Visit (Upon request): No fee will be added. If you have time, shop more! 
  • Transportation costs for your next destination: Not included