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Introducing our new blog series ‘My Favourite Small Group Tour’
Nobody knows our Small Group Tours better than the people who lead them. We have a fantastic group of Insiders, whose job is to know our destinations inside and out.
All of our team in Japan are bilingual and live locally, so they’re fully immersed in the way of life, where best to go, and what it means to be a part of Japanese culture.
Touchdown in Tokyo…
You’re greeted with an array of sights and sounds, each as overwhelming and enticing as the next. How do you know what to do and where to go?
The Majestic Japan tour takes care of that problem. Starting and finishing in Japan’s capital, along the way you’ll eat food in a variety of different restaurants — some fancy, some more traditional — visit the historically beautiful Kanazawa (to scratch that Samurai itch) meet a real Geisha in Kyoto and relax in a famous hot spring town at Kinosaki.
Safe to say, you won’t be bored on this trip. Here to entice you in even further is our on-the-ground expert, Chantel. She’s led countless tours in her time and has developed a real love for Majestic Japan.
Where’s your favourite destination on the tour?
It’s so hard to pick one, but Kanazawa is such a gorgeous city that feels like a work of art at every corner! There’s such a rich history of traditional arts and crafts and some of the most beautiful gardens Japan has to offer. Plus some simply stunning gardens.
There’s a bustling market with amazingly fresh seafood straight from the Sea of Japan. Anytime I visit Kanazawa, I know I’m in for a feast for the eyes and a full stomach of delicious food.
What’s your favourite experience?
Meeting with a katana specialist is something for the bucket list. Learning the craft up close from a real expert, and getting to live out your samurai fantasy? Priceless.
The trip up to Amanohashidate Sandbar is a fascinating experience, especially considering how different it is compared to the hustle and bustle of the cities. You can’t beat that view, and it’s the best chance to get to interact with locals in a more intimate setting.
Where’s best to eat?
Despite all the fantastic high-end dining you get on this tour (and there are some delicious meals to be had), my absolute must-try would be at an Izakaya (translates to “stay-drink-place.” Basically, a spot to grab a drink, settle in, and get comfortable) in Kanazawa, called Aguri.
Once a small Japanese townhouse, this little gem tucked into the back streets of the Nagamachi district is now a modern, creative, gourmands paradise. They highlight local ingredients prepared beautifully and I look forward to going back every season to see what new creations are on the menu. Yum!
After a long day of seeing the sights, where’s your favorite place to stay?
There’s only one accommodation I’ve visited, where you can chat with your group tour members, all donned in yukata (kimono), while sitting by the fireplace, and sipping on champagne, and that’s at the Hakone Hyatt Regency.
It is truly an oasis for relaxation. You’ve got the fantastic common area, hot spring baths, and even a happy hour. The rooms are huge, too — you could do a cartwheel in them (not saying you should…but it’s damn spacious).
Is there anything for the night owl on this trip?
Yes! In our first stop in Tokyo, we’re lucky enough to be staying right next to one of my favourite yokocho (narrow, lantern-lit alleyways with small izakaya pubs & restaurants).
Yurakucho Sanchoku Inshokugai has an interesting mix of foods from different regions in Japan. You can take a culinary journey through Japan in one small setting, if you’re clever with the menus. I love to show people the sea grapes from Okinawan and Utsunomiya’s famous gyoza!
If you’re interested in booking the Majestic Japan tour, we’d love to help you plan the perfect experience. Get in touch.