Friday, October 14th
- 8:30 AM Meet at a cafe in Shinjuku (exact meeting point TBD). Your luggage will need to be transported directly to the hotel prior to our meeting. We'll help you arrange the luggage shipment beforehand. The cost is around $20.
- 8:54 AM Depart Shinjuku station for Katsunama Winery
- 11:05 AM Arrive at Katsunuma JR station. Please wear comfortable shoes as we'll be walking a little more than 3 miles in Katsunuma. Places of interest* in the Katsunuma Winery area:
- Chateau Mercian Wine Museum
- Katsunuma Brewery : Lunch at Restaurant Kaze. We highly recommend the Wagyu roast beef with freshly grated wasabi dressing but there are a few other dishes to choose from. Either a wine tasting at the brewery or 3 glasses of wine at the restaurant is included in the tour.
- Furuya farm for tasting fresh grape
- Haramo Winery
- 4:30 PM Return to Katsunuma JR Station and depart for Kofu city.
- 5:00 PM Arrive at Kofu Station. Places of Interest* near Kofu Station:
- Celeo Kofu (Taste of Kofu, Wine shop )
- 6:00 PM Dinner at Torihei (Yakitori) & Kagetsu for grilled fish soaked in warm sake
- 9:00 PM Head back to the Hotel (Yumura Hot Spring, Yumura Hotel )
Saturday, October 15th
- 7:00 AM Enjoy your breakfast buffet at the Hotel
- 8:10 AM Depart for Suwa, Nagano (1.5-hour train ride from Kofu JR station )
- 10:30 AM Arrive at Shimo-Suwa Station. Places of interest*:
- 12:00 PM Depart for Kami-Suwa Station. Places of interest*:
- Lunch at Marutaka Miso Brewery
- Walking from Sake Brewery to brewery. There are 5 breweries within 1/2 mile. You can stop by and do tasting at all breweries or just at the two breweries Yoko recommends.
- After drinking & walking, take an Ashi-Yu (Natural Hot Spring bath for feet) by the Lake Suwa with a view to the Japanese Alps Mountains.
- Visit Clasuwa, local gourmet shop and bakery.
- 5:30 PM Head back to Kofu
- 7:30 PM Dinner at Dinka (Japanese-Chinese Restaurant)
- 9:00 PM Head back to Yumura Hotel.
Sunday, October 16th
8:00 AM Head over to the Nakamura residence near Kofu Station. As we will be staying at the temple for one night, we'll leave our large baggage at the hotel. Bring a small overnight bag for our one-day trip.
- 8:30 AM Casual cooking party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Nakamura. We will prepare regional dishes such as Houto soup noodles and vegetable side dishes and then dine on our delicious creations. After brunch, we'll take you to our favorite cafe. Places of interest*
- 12:30 PM Depart Kofu station for Mt.Minobu, Kuonji Temple.
- 2:00 PM Arrive at Minobu Station: After leaving our bags at Kakurinbo, one of the best temple accommodations renowned for their hospitality and vegetarian meals, we'll spend an afternoon at the foot of Mt. Minobu. We'll take a cable car to the top of the mountain where we can see Mt. Fuji, Izu Peninsula and the Suruga Bay. At 3 PM, the evening service starts. Chanting by monks will resonate in the temples.
- 6:00 PM Shojin Dinner at Kakurinbo: Let us surprise you with the richness of the taste and texture of the Japanese temple vegetarian dishes called "Shojin-Ryori".
- Free time after dinner. We will be staying at Kakurinbo "shukuBou", the temple's hostel. All the rooms will be tatami mats with no wall. The rooms will only be divided by screen doors. Please ask questions if you have any concerns and we will be happy to explain how "ShukuBou" works.
Monday, October 17th
We'll have a car and a driver all day today.
- (optional) 6:00 AM Morning service at the Kuonji Temple. No reservation needed. Anyone can participate.
- 7:00 AM Breakfast at the temple
- 8:00 AM Depart for Lake Kawaguchiko. The beautiful scenery of Mt. Fuji across from this lake is breathtaking. Early morning is the best time to see the mountain as the air is clear. [Driving time is about an hour. ]
9:30 AM The Itchiku Kubota Kimono Museum: Kimono designer Itchiku Kubota's collections are exhibited here. Although it's a relatively small collection, it's definitely worthwhile to stop by and take a close look at his elaborate work. After seeing the exhibition, we'll stop by the Lakeshore bakery where you can have a morning coffee and pastry by lake Kawaguchi. After our coffee, we'll be heading to Hokuto city, [Driving time is about an hour. ]
12:30 PM Lunch at Itsutsuya: This may be your first and last chance to eat real Japanese eel in 2 different ways: simply grilled and grilled with kabayaki sauce. We'll dine at a locally renowned eel restaurant that serves traditional Tokyo style unagi dishes. I'll explain in more detail at the restaurant!
2:00 PM Suntory Hakushu Distillery Tour. This half an hour tour of the factory shows visitors the process of making whiskey and the barrel stock area. Hope you won't get drunk just by breathing in the air. This experience will convince you of the truth of the "angels' share". After the tour, enjoy the bar where you can find amazing rare Suntory whiskey collections.
(Optional, if we have time) A short hike to the mountain stream. The water, which is so pure and clear that you can see the bottom of steam, has played a large role in cultivating the sake & whisky culture here. Walk by the small shrine and the charming suspension bridge.
5:30 PM Kinseiken Store: We will stop by a Japanese sweets shop. From Sake cake to sweet potato cake and dorayaki, everything here is so hard to resist as it is all so good.
(Optional, only if we have time) 7:00 PM Yoda Liquor Store in Kofu: We'll stop by one of the best liquor stores in Japan. This store is known for stocking up on great Japanese liquors from all over Japan.
7:30 Dinner TBA
9:30 Head back to the Yumura Hotel
Tuesday, October 17
Breakfast at hotel
9:00 AM Heading back to Tokyo with our luggage. (If you like to have your luggage transportation serve, please let us know. We'll be happy to arrange. However, this will be your own expense. )