Arrive in Tokyo and Experience a Welcome Dinner at a sake izakaya. Guest will arrive in Tokyo on a flight of their choice on this day or earlier. We’ll meet at our upscale Tokyo Hotel, located near Tokyo Station, and as a kick off to our Sake Journey, we will head to a secret, hidden izakaya to experience true micro-brewed Japanese sake in Tokyo!
Travel to Hakkaisan Sake Brewery. On the first full day on our tour, we will travel by shinkansen to visit one of the most famous Breweries in Japan: Hakkaisan Sake Brewery. After a tour of the sake brewery, we’ll lunch at Hakkaisan’s delicious Soba Restarurant and tour their beautiful and brand new sake snow storage facility. In the evening we’ll dine at a private dinner with the Executives of Hakkaisan, enjoying rare sakes not for sale to the general public. Later, we’ll relax in the evening at the beautiful and charming Hakkaisan Guest House.
Hakkaisan Tour and travel to Joy of Sake Tokyo. The second full day on our Journey has us starting our morning with a traditional kurabito “brewery worker’s” breakfast at Hakkaisan Brewery. After breakfast, guests can walk the beautiful grounds of Hakkaisan, visit the unique “snow storage” sake facility, do some shopping or grab a coffee and Hakkaisan “baumkuchen” in their cafe. Next, we’ll travel by first class bullet train back to Tokyo to partake in one of the best sake festivals in Japan, the 2015 Tokyo Joy of Sake! After checking into our Tokyo Hotel, we’ll travel to the Joy of Sake and enjoy an evening of hobnobbing with sake brewers and tasting a wide range of award winning sakes – with the highlight on sakes not for sale in the U.S.
Visit to Takayama City, Gifu. Today will be special as we will enjoy a visit to Takayama in Gifu Prefecture! Takayama is a picture perfect town with many historic buildings and, luckily for us, a cluster of small family-run sake breweries! We will be able to walk the quaint downtown of Takayama and visit sake breweries one after another. In the evening we’ll retire to Honjin Hiranoya, a world class Japanese inn and onsen hot spring spa. We’ll relax with sake and a decadent meal and a visit to the spa.
Exploring Mino City, Gifu. Our day starts with a tour of the historic Tenryo Sake Brewery, which is famous for its unique woven sake bottle packaging. After lunch, our next stop will be at Kosaka Brewery and a chance to design our own custom sake bottle label! After touring Mino City, we can try our hand at making their town’s famous washi paper ourselves. In the evening, we’ll have a special private sake dinner with several brewers from Gifu prefecture – the perfect time to talk with sake makers one on one!
Travel from Gifu to Kyoto and a Free day in Kyoto. After our breakfast in Gifu, we’ll travel by first class bullet train to the ancient capital of Kyoto. In this magnificent city, we will start with a free day to explore Kyoto. On this day, you are free to roam far and wide and explore Kyoto at your leisure. Visit the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, or stroll the gorgeous Gion district. This is your day for relaxing and shopping and taking in all the splendors of Kyoto. If you want to experience the sake side of Kyoto, join us on a tour of Matsuo Taisha – the shrine to the god of sake! In the evening, we’ll visit our favorite sake spots for the best nihonshu and food kyoto has to offer.
Travel from Kyoto to Kobe. Not far from Kyoto, in Hyogo prefecture is the world famous Nada sake brewing area near Kobe. We’ll visit Kobe Shushinkan Brewery, makers of Fukuju sake, to taste sake made to exacting standards with the famous water of this region. Lunch will be at their famous Sakabayashi restaurant and of course, all paired with Fukuju sake. After our brewery tour, we’ll enjoy an evening in Kobe, and dine at a fantastic Kobe beef restaurant for a meal we won’t soon forget!
Travel from Kobe for a final izakaya night in Tokyo. We’ll travel by first class bullet train from Kobe to Tokyo and spend our final night together at a fun, hidden and local Tokyo Izakaya. Let us surprise you with some rare and hard to find sakes along with the best sake pub cuisine. It’s a wonderful way to cap off our tour!
Enjoy a final relaxing morning in Tokyo. Breakfast is included at our hotel. You can travel more within Japan or elsewhere, or head back home. Either way, you’ll have wonderful memories of your Sake Journey!