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Trip Plan for Flueren family

A trip to show you the different facets of Japan with a focus on learning about different regional foods.

Day 1: Tokyo

We wanted to start your first day off by allowing you to experience both the ancient side of Tokyo, and how grand it has become. We would start the day with a visit to Sensouji temple, and also have a short food tour of that area (it is one of the few places in Japan that actually have food stalls in front of the temple, as well as having some very interesting quick bite places in the area). From there we would take you to Tokyo Sky Tree for the best views the city has to offer. Then, finally, we would like to extend those views by arranging a traditional dinner via a yakatabune on Tokyo Bay at night. Activities: 

  • Sensouji Temple
  • Asakusa street food tour
  • Tokyo Sky Tree
  • Dinner on Tokyo Bay

Day 2:

Your second day would be shorter, with only half a day of activities planned. When we spoke, you mentioned that you both enjoy doing things on your own, and so we didn't want to bombard you with this itinerary, and wanted to be sure to include space in each city for you guys to explore and discover things on your own. The day will start with a visit to Japan's largest fish market, where you will be guided by someone who will help you pick out your own fish for sushi-making. When the fish market tour is over, you will return to their kitchen where you will learn how to make your own sushi (nigiri and maki). After which we have a museum visit planned that can be either guided or on your own, depending on your preference. Activities: 

  • Fish market tour
  • Sushi-making lesson
  • Museum visit (guided or unguided)

Day 3:

Since we've planned almost every day of this trip to include something to do with food, we wanted to include a more recent Japanese food trend into your itinerary, high tea. A lot of places have been offering their interpretation of high tea recently, and each of them are totally different. Some are more traditional, some are a purely Japanese interpretation, and others fall somewhere in the middle. The Imperial Palace Hotel, and Shangri-la have been my favorite discoveries so far, but we can go over the details of each of them, and let you decide. After that, a trip on an unmanned monorail train to the manmade island of Odaiba will start off your activities which are all 'futuristically' themed. Miraikan is a science learning center that is based on futurology, and TeamLab Borderless is a one-of-a-kind high tech art museum. Actually, we had one more TeamLab experience planned for you. There is a steak house in Tokyo that only uses wagyu from Saga region ranches. They have a private room there that was designed by the same team that created Borderless. The interactive art changes by season, and the food is amazing. I believe it is eight courses, and it would be the perfect food splurge experience for the trip. Activities: 

  • High tea (exact location TBD)
  • Miraikan
  • TeamLab exhibit hall (either Borderless or Planets)
  • TeamLab-designed steakhouse dinner

Day 4: Tokyo

This day will have three planned activities, but still allow for time to do your own thing in the evening. The first is a kendo martial arts lesson, which will not only teach you the basics of Japanese fencing, but will also give you insight into the Japan's respectful, and ceremonious martial arts / dojo culture. After that, we wanted to plan a spa day for the two of you to relax, with a couples massage. You'll have free time before your guided visit to the best place in Japan to learn about (and taste) Japanese regional spirits from all over the country (conveniently located near our 1st choice hotel). Speaking of which, the hotels we've chosen (our first choices) in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima are all located in the neighborhoods that have the most choices for food within walking distance, and some of the best local restaurants for that city. Especially the one in Kyoto. Activities: 

  • Kendo martial arts lesson
  • Spa day with couples' massage
  • Sake learning center (with taste testing)

Day 5: Tokyo ---> Hachijojima

This will be the last day of the Tokyo leg of your trip, and so we wanted to leave it open for you guys to self-explore, and tick off any personal shopping or visits before leaving the city. We will of course assist you with any reservations or call that you need to make for this day. At night, you will take an overnight ferry to Hachijojima. The view of Tokyo at night from the deck is beautiful. We would like to arrange a private room for the two of you on the ferry. Activities: 

  • free day

Day 6: Hachijojima

Hachijojima is one of the best places I've ever visited in Japan. It is literally an island with two inactive volcanoes. One of which is on the itinerary for a short climb on this day. Although the island is small you will need transportation. We typically arrange for our guests to travel the island by go-kart, as it is both fun and efficient, however we can provide you with a car to rent (please secure an IDP before coming either way, as Japan requires a driver's license to operate a go-kart). The accommodation for this part of your trip will be the traditional-style inn (ryokan) that we discussed on the phone. So, tatami mats (which smell incredible). The owner's also use ingredients that they've either caught, or grown in their garden for the meals that they make, and so we'd like to arrange dinner here for one of the two nights. It's also walking distance from the beach, which has beautiful black sands. Hiking Hachijofuji is the first order of the day, and it is a short, but challenging hike. The tall grass at the top, and the views of both the sea and the inside of the volcano (which has another smaller volcano inside of it) make it something that is unforgettable. This is the highest point in the Izu Islands. After that, your first onsen visit is next. This is an all natural hot spring, that is special as it is an outdoor routenburo that faces the ocean. It is, however, a public bathhouse and so if you are not interested, please let us know . Activities: 

  • Short mountain hike
  • Ocean-facing rotenburo

Day 7: Hachijojima

Hachijojima is blessed with natural beauty. From waterfalls, to forest that glow at night from strange mushrooms, there is a lot to take in. We would like to arrange a guide who can show you some of its more fascinating spots. At night, we would like to arrange dinner at one of the local favorites. Activities: 

  • Guided tour of the island
  • Dinner at a local izakaya

Day 8: Hachijojima ---> Takayama

Today will be a relatively free day, in that we don't want to overload you after having traveled so much. We will arrange flights from Hachijojima back to Tokyo (about an hour long flight), and then arrange for you guys to get on your first shinkansen bullet train to head to Takayama for the matsuri festival. Given the amount of traveling you will be doing today, we wanted to give you the chance to rest on this day before the festivities begin. However we will make suggestions for dinner, and you may have the opportunity to meet your guide for dinner on this day to get an idea of what's in store tomorrow.

Day 9: Takayama

Today is completely and solely dedicated to the Autumn Takayama Matsuri. This is something that should absolutely be experienced with a guide to get a full appreciation for it. The guide will be with you for both the day and night portions of the matsuri. Activities: 

  • Takayama Matsuri

Day 10: Kyoto

Today the Kansai leg of your journey begins. Although your hotel is in Kyoto, we planned it as the 'base' for this leg of the trip, and day trips will be made from Kyoto. We would like to start you off by introducing some of the ancient capital's iconic landmarks. This day is best experienced with a guide, so that you can fully take in the history of each place. The two major sites visited will be Fushimi Inari Shrine, and Kyomizudera Temple. The former of which is the most popular shrine in all of Japan, and is famous for its thousands of red torii gates throughout the grounds. For dinner, we will provide a list of recommendations, or make a reservation at a place of your choosing. Again, the hotels we've chosen are in an excellent location, and there are hundreds of choices in the neighborhood that you'll be located in. Pontocho alleyway is within walking distance. Activities:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine visit
  • Kyomizudera Temple visit

Day 11: Kyoto

Today will be completely dedicated to the kogatana sword crafting lesson. You will be paired with an interpreter who will guide you through the process of creating your very own small katana with an actual swordsmith who uses traditional methods. This is a 4-6 hour experience, and so we designated the remainder of this day as a day for self-exploration in Kyoto, as we did not want to overload this day's schedule. Activities: 

  • Sword forging with a katana swordsmith

Day 12: Himeji + Osaka

Today we will get you out of Kyoto for the day to visit the neighboring cities of Himeiji and Osaka. It may sound like a lot of traveling, but Osaka is literally less than half an hour away from Kyoto, and Himeji is about the same distance. Himeji Castle is the most stunning castle in all of Japan, and it is the original structure, which is quite rare. We would like to arrange a guide to introduce it to you, so that you can fully appreciate its history. Kansai food, is a bit different from the food in the Kanto area, and after visiting the castle, we'd arrange a street food tour for the city of Osaka, which is also known as Japan's kitchen. This is the chance the find the best ramen restaurants, and takoyaki stands in the city, and really, walking the streets of Dotonbori is, in and of itself, an experience to behold. This will be guided. If you are up for it, we would also like to have our guide join you for karaoke after the food tour. There are private and public places in Osaka, depending on whether you want to sing in front of people, or have a private booth to yourselves. Activities: 

  • Himeji Castle visit
  • Osaka street food tour
  • Karaoke booth (?)

Day 13: Hiroshima

This day will be dedicated to taking in the sites of Hiroshima, and learning about the history of what happened there. When we spoke on the phone, you mentioned that you wanted to visit a museum that would teach you about the war, and what happened in Japan during that time. I can think of no better place in the entire country to do so than The Peace Memorial Park. The guides here are typically people who have been affected by the bomb in some way, and so the stories that they share tend to be from a very personal perspective. In addition to that, visiting the island of Miyajima, is something that is an absolute must when in the area. Itsukushima is another UNESCO World Heritage site, and the island in and of itself is quite sacred. There is a huge orange torii gate off of the shore of the island that appears to be floating on the sea when you arrive. Miyajima is special in many ways, but something that makes it exceptional is the fact that a lot of the structures on the island are original. Never destroyed, and thus some of them are hundreds of years old. In addition to that, Miyajima has some of the most spectacular momiji in the entire country. It doesn't look real, it almost seems as though the leaves were painted, they are so red. Hiroshima is one of the best places for seafood dishes in Japan, and the city has one of the best eclectic mixes of restaurants in the nation. It's also known for its unique take on okonomiyaki, and there is a building that actually has 30 or so restaurants and each of them are dedicated to making the best okonomiyaki. It's made on a teppan hotplate, and so it's kind of a show as well. The area we've chosen for your hotel is not only surrounded by great restaurants, but it is also surrounded by arcades, and other places that are fun to explore at night. Activities: 

  • Peace Memorial Park (guided)
  • Visit to Miyajima (guided)
  • Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki dinner

Day 14: Hiroshima

We are leaving the day free for exploration, however the journey from Hiroshima back to Tokyo by train is quite long, and so if there are no spots that you would like to explore on your own in Hiroshima, we suggest getting back to Tokyo on an early train, and using that time to finish anything that was left unfinished, or unchecked there.


We may switch some things around. There were some places that we wanted to add to the Kyoto leg of the trip, but we ran out of time when planning. However, if we placed Hachijojima in the middle of your Tokyo leg, then we can get you to Takayama a bit earlier, and there wouldn't be a need to spend two days there, but you would need to wake up quite early to arrive there on time. We also really wanted to add a restaurant in Kyoto to match the level of the one we want to reserve for you in Tokyo. There is a restaurant north of the city which is famous for having menus for each season. The setting is also unique in that it is a platform of tatami mats that are situated on top of a flowing river. The food is amazing as well, and it is the ideal place to get a traditional kaiseki dinner (or obanzai, since it is Kyoto). There are a lot of things that we could change based on what interests you the most and the least. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.


Martijn Flueren

Start date:

October 1st, 2021

Number of days:





Tokyo / Hachijojima / Kyoto / Hiroshima / Himeiji / Osaka /






Based on the conversation we had, I wanted to focus primarily on food, and unique experiences for this itinerary. I've tried to plan a different food related 'event' for each day to go along with that day's activities. Also, although there are a lot of cities listed, there are really only three major legs of your trip (Tokyo, Kansai area, and Hiroshima). Takayama, and Kobuchizawa are smaller stops along the way. We talked about Danjiri Matsuri, but unfortunately, it will be taking place right before you arrive, and so I've decided to replace it with the Takayama Festival, which is equally, if not more spectacular, and the only festival in Japan that has earned a UNESCO World Heritage designation. This day is best experienced with a guide, and the night portion of the festival will include yatai for traditional foods, and the chochi-lit mikoshi make is an amazing site. Also, my aim was to create an itinerary that wasn't too crammed, and allow for you guys to have some free time to explore on your own, and so some days will have only a single planned activity, or none at all.

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