Japan: Tipsy Tour
Kanpai! A word for cheers in Japanese is the only word you should know before joining the tour.
Sake, alcohol, was once a sacred item used in religious rituals, offered to the god and ancestors as gifts. This tradition is still present, however, Alcohol has now become a widely accepted and essential role in Japanese daily life. It is now a communication tool to create bonds among peers or could be a way to close a deal in business. Therefore, drinking could be the fastest and most enjoyable way to feel the true culture of Japan.
There is a vast range of alcohol beverages found in Japan; Sake or nihonshu, beer and beer-like drinks, shochu, awamori, Japanese whisky, plum wine, wine and so on.
Many of the alcohol originated from other foreign countries, but it is unique how Japan takes it in and breathes new life and taste into it. That is why drinking the same type of alcohol beverage that you are already familiar with, can mean a whole new experience in Japan.
Traveling through the most popular cities in Japan, this itinerary will introduce all the different kinds of alcohol loved in the country along with the culture that surrounds it.
- Explore Tokyo city tour and see the old and new
- Get high on Nostalgic Yokohama Bar hopping
- Craft your own drinking ware craft to bring back home
- Feel the nature while visiting the winery and whisky distillery
- Witness the remain of the history at Matsumoto, Takayama, and Shirakawa-go
- Ride the express train like a local
- Shop at a local market and learn how to make izakaya food
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- You will be welcomed by a private assistant at Tokyo International Airport and will be transferred by a private vehicle, straight to the hotel near the golf course to be enjoyed the next day.
- Check-in the hotel and free at your leisure.
- After breakfast, you’ll go to Meiji Jingu Shrine for a nice stroll in the forest and see the barrels of wine and sake offered to the shrine. Let the guide show you how people pray in a shrine and wish for more luck to come!
- We’ll spend the afternoon in the Asakusa area. Here you will do an Edokiriko workshop.Edokiriko is a cut glass originating in Edo, old name for Tokyo. The beautiful cut glass goes well with Japanese sake and will make such a memorable souvenir!
- After the masterpiece is finished, explore the Nakamise shopping street, Asakusa Kannon, and Kappa Bashi street.
- Return to the hotel and rest a while before we soar out for a Noge bar-hopping tour.Noge has more than 500 bars and izakaya style restaurants all gathered in a small area. It holds a nostalgic atmosphere with neon lights that attracts many drinkers. Try the signature food from each restaurant and pick a drink that matches the dish. Don’t get full in one restaurant because there are so many more restaurants that you must try!
- Your day starts with a visit to Yokohama Kirin Beer Factory.Beer is the most consumed alcoholic drink in Japan where 4 companies dominate the market, and one of them is Kirin. Find out how it’s made and DRINK ALL YOU CAN with a BBQ lunch at the factory restaurant.
- Afternoon follows a visit to Enoshima and Kamakura. The combination of these 2 sites is one of the most popular day trip tours for both locals living around Tokyo and foreign visitors. Enoshima is an island with a symbolic lighthouse with seafood shops and shrines on the way, easily accessed by walking over to it by a bridge from the Shonan beach. Move onto Kamakura where the historic temples and shrines are located with a ride in the retro and charming, Enoden tram.Have a bottle of Kamakura and Enoshima craft beer, all made local in a small brewery in the town. Recommended to grab a seafood croquette or a grilled calamari on a stick to match with the beer!
- Transfer back to Yokohama Area and you will be dropped off at the entrance of Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Japan. One step through the huge Chinese decorative gate, spreads a maze of streets full of Chinese restaurants and shops. Many of the restaurants hold an authentic atmosphere, but many of the dishes are "Japanized" with less spicy food. Trust your intuition and pick a restaurant of your choice. No worries because no restaurant in the area can go wrong!
TRANSFER TO NAGANO WITH A STOP IN YAMANASHI
- After breakfast, pack up and check-out from the hotel.
- Today you will travel to Matsumoto City in Nagano, making side trips on the way.
- Taking a glance at Mt. Fuji on the way, arrive at your first stop, Chateau Mercian, a winery known to make the first and finest Japanese wine. With the philosophy of “Fitness & Elegance,” Chateau Mercian has always been a leading wine producer, contributing to spread the fame of Japanese wine.
- Have a seat in the vineyard view café and try all the signature wines with a pairing plate of finger food.
- The next stop is the Suntory Hakushu Distillery that stands in the middle of the forest in the Southern Japanese Alps. Suntory is one of the 2 main companies leading the Japanese whisky industry along with Nikka, attracting attention from the world these days.
- Sneak peek the secrets of the best single malt whisky with a guided tour and tasting.
- The last stop of the day is the 400 years old castle, Matsumoto castle. Where many of the castles standing today are mostly fully rebuilt after the wars, Matsumoto castle is one of the few castles that remains undamaged and retains its original form. The contrast of the black and white colored walls surrounded by moats will sure to amaze you.
TAKAYAMA TOUR / KANAZAWA STAY
- After breakfast, you will drive and visit Takayama, the old town in the mountainous Hida region. Hida beef sushi is a MUST eat item on the streets.
- Make a brief stop at the world heritage site, Shirakawago village to see the “gassho-zukuri” farmhouse meaning, constructed like hands in prayer. Have a sip of doburoku, an unfiltered sake originally brewed by farming families.
- Transfer to the hotel or ryokan in Kanazawa.
- Dinner near the hotel or served at the hotel.
- After breakfast, visit a plum wine shop to try the authentic kaga-umeshu.
- Then awaits a gold leaf experience at Higashi-chaya district where traditional wooden buildings are well preserved. 98% of the gold leaf and its crafts are produced from Kanazawa! Decorate your item of choice golden.(ex. Coasters, tray, chopsticks…)
- Afternoon free to leisure on your own. Interested in a luxurious spa using gold leaf masks and oil?
KANAZAWA / KYOTO CENTRAL TOUR
- After breakfast transfer to Kanazawa station to board the express train to Kyoto.
- Experience the local way of ride by getting a canned alcohol beverage and a small snack to enjoy on the ride.
- On your arrival at Kyoto station, visit the afternoon in the Fushimi district.
- Walk through the thousands of red tori gates forming a tunnel trail up the wooded forest of Mount Inari. Many people come to Fushimi just for the shrine, but that is such a waste if you don’t taste the sake of Fushimi! Be absorbed in sake by visiting the different sake breweries in the area.
- Transfer to the hotel and check-in.
- Evening free to leisure on your own. Suggested to go to Gion or pontocho for a traditional Kyoto cuisine and luckily run into a geisha!
NORTHERN KYOTO SAKE TOUR
- Today you will travel to the northern coast of Kyoto prefecture, Ine and Tango, to experience the more localized sake brewing in the countryside. People with new ideas and style are becoming a Toji, the master of the sake brewery, in this area. The area has become a group of sake breweries to lead the new generation of sake making. Visit the sake brewery headed by a British Toji, the first non-Japanese Toji, and a sake brewery with a female Toji, which is rare to find. Feel the traditional and the new with your tongue.
- After breakfast, let the local guide take you to Nishiki Market, aka Kyoto’s Kitchen.
- The market is a five block long narrow street of numerous small stall shops on both side of the street. Why? Because you will be making your own lunch today using the ingredients found at the market. The guide, also the cooking teacher for today, will be teaching how to make Japanese izakaya menu that goes well with beer, wine, and sake.
- After lunch, there will be free leisure on your own.
- Did you know Osaka is just a thirty minute train ride away from Kyoto and is full of gourmet, known as a haven for foodies? No reason why you shouldn’t go.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Check-out and transfer to the airport for your departure flight.