Travel from East to West over eight nights and discover Kyoto as the Yin to Tokyo’s Yang. Yes, there are temples, and yes, Japan is packed full of tradition. But it’s also moving quickly, and that’s why we love it. Once you’ve explored the manic exuberance of Tokyo we’ll whisk you off to the cultural homeland of the country, the city of Kyoto. Here is where you will explore ancient golden temples, spot graceful Geishas going about their daily life, and be amazed by Kyoto’s peaceful yet opulent vibe that runs throughout the streets of the city. After soaking up Kyoto’s glorious culture head to the surrounding bamboo forests where you’ll be bedding down in a traditional Ryokan for a chance to step back in time to ancient Japan.
A SUSHI SUPPER
Once your feet touch down on Japanese turf you will be met and escorted by private car to your first hotel – a three-night stay at the luxurious Palace Hotel Tokyo. With the only Evian Spa in Japan it would be rude to not oblige and refresh yourself after the long-haul. Once rejuvenated it’s your chance to wander through the National Museum or take a stroll in the hustle and bustle of the Ginza business district. Tokyo is walkable so take advantage of it, it’s a great way to gather your bearings and get lost in the atmosphere.
Over the next two days take the opportunity to engross yourself in the city. You can visit the West side of the capital, explore the Sword Museum, walk to the Meiji Jingu shrine and continue on until you reach Omotesando fashion district (your chance to invest in a kimono, or three?). Spend the afternoon visiting the Nezu Art Museum or the Imperial Palace East Garden.
On the third day we’ll pick you up from the lobby of your hotel where we’ll take you to Tsukiji fish market. By then your taste buds will be bursting, so we’ll sort this out by introducing you to a Sushi lesson with your guide. By the end of it you will be able to tell the difference between your Nigiri to your Norimaki.Read more
BULLET TO KYOTO
Here at Black Tomato we love to do all things iconic, so it’s time to jump on the Bullet Train to Kyoto – the highlight of our Japanese sojourn. Once you’ve arrived in the cultural heart of Japan we’ll whisk you off to awe at the impressive Golden Temple. A tea ceremony in a traditional Kyoto house will be awaiting then head on and explore the historical Nijo Castle.
Kyoto is an abundance of culture so mix things up and venture to the Nishiki market, appropriately named ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’. With more than 100 shops and restaurants covering five blocks, if you can bring yourself to leave the sweet smells and vibrant colours, cross the bridge to the Gion Geisha district where you can observe graceful Geishas – or Geiko as they’re known in Kyoto – decked out in their enviable kimonos. Head towards Maruyama Park and Yasaka Pagoda when you get the chance and venture along the ceramic course before ending your afternoon at Kiyomizudera Panoramic Temple.
HOME FAR AWAY FROM HOME
After exploring the heritage-packed city of Kyoto it’s time to head out to the surrounding countryside where we’ll have something pretty special in store for you. For the next two nights you’ll hole up in the culturally enriched and luxurious Hoshinoya Ryokan. The most beautiful retreat in Kyoto, here you can step back in time and experience elements of Japanese and Kyoto culture and customs that few get to see. Hidden amidst the striking bamboo forest close to the banks of the river this traditional Japanese style of inn or Ryokan dates back to the Edo period, and a unique insight into the regions past. Slip on a pair of Geta (Japanese clogs) and explore the traditional gardens where you’ll find the ‘karesansui’ (dry landscape garden) style, where hills and rivers are depicted without using water. Spend your days here admiring the picturesque architecture or explore the bamboo forests before taking a trip up the river where you can really be at one with your surrounds.
The following day hop on a boat trip to Arashiyama Pier where your guide will be waiting for you. A picture perfect opportunity to snap away at your remarkable surroundings, you’ll then jump in a car and head to the northern part of the Kyoto Prefecture where you’ll discover one of the last thatched farm districts of Japan. From here your journey back to the retreat through the mountainous terrain will showcase Kyoto’s spectacular landscape.