Tokyo Personalised

TOURS

  • Classic Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • A Snapshot of Tokyo
  • Tokyo Backstreets
  • Uncovering Edo Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • The Art of Japanese Gardens
  • High Fashion to Street Fashion private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability
  • Japanese Design Reborn private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability
  • The Art of Living private viewings can be arranged depending on request and availability

FOOD

  • Backstreets Dining Experience
  • Gourmet Tokyo – includes private tea ceremony
  • A Taste of Tokyo
  • Discovering Japanese Tea
  • The Luxury of Japanese Fruit
  • Tsukiji Sushi Sensation

ARTS

  • Behind the Scenes Sumo – limited availability determined by Tournament schedule
  • An introduction to Kabuki – availability determined by Tokyo show schedules
  • An Interactive Introduction to Noh
  • Japanese Cultural Experience
  • Yamabushi Experience

 

TOURS

 CLASSIC TOKYO – half or full day tour
This tour allows the visitor a chance to view some of the highlights of this incredible city and uncover a little of its history; exploring elements of its growth from a fishing port to the military stronghold of the Tokugawa shogunate and capital city of Edo Japan, to the city’s revitalization during the Meiji period, its recovery after WWII, to its current manifestation as an the world’s most populous metropolis blending the ultramodern with the traditional.

A SNAPSHOT OF TOKYO – half or full day tour
A day spent wandering in the vibrant and dynamic neighbourhoods of Harajuku, Meiji Jingu and Omotesando gives you the opportunity to see many of the fascinating and diverse elements that make up this every-changing metropolis. Home to more award-winning architectural buildings per square metre than arguably anywhere else in the world; streets of teen fashion; cat cafes; artisanal coffee shops; pop-up boutiques; and art galleries.

There are extensive options available for lunch, from some of Tokyo’s best tonkatsu, breaded pork on rice, to Tsukiji sushi delivered on a conveyor belt, to Michelin starred restaurants.
Private viewings/visits can be arranged depending on request and availability

TOKYO BACKSTREETS – half or full day tour
This walk explores some of the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ neighbourhoods of Tokyo. We stroll to one of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts; home to hip designer shops, embassies, high-priced boutiques and some of the best café culture in Japan. The neighboring district, in contrast, encourages shoppers to browse without pressure to buy and diners to linger over conversations. This area attracts some of Tokyo’s coolest artists, musicians, and designers.

The tour extends into the evening in a bohemian neighbourhood; narrow alleys packed with small theater halls, live houses, bars and secondhand shops, have made this a trendsetting place for youth culture. Dinner is enjoyed in a popular izakaya (an informal Japanese gastropub).

UNCOVERING EDO TOKYO – one day tour
This tour reveals some of the unique and fascinating history of the city from its samurai origins to its development as the world’s largest metropolis.

Starting in the Edo centre of Japan, we also explore the grounds of the Imperial Palace, former site of Edo Castle before moving on to one of the downtown areas providing perhaps the closest approximation to life in downtown Edo through to Tokyo’s pre-war years. The tour finishes in the home of Tokyo’s oldest temple and largest amusement quarter in the city up until WWII; an area considered home of the Eddoko, the original townspeople of Edo.

THE ART OF JAPANESE GARDENS – half or full day tour
On this tour, we experience some of Tokyo’s loveliest gardens. From one of the city’s oldest, today designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic Site to one of the most beautiful, a strolling garden of the Edo period featuring miniature views from Japanese and Chinese landscape.

We finish in a delightful garden that can truly be described as an urban oasis. Upon every turn of the numerous winding paths, you will see a new garden lantern, memorial stone, statue or teahouse. The original garden destroyed during the bombing of Tokyo in WWII and has been painstakingly restored to its present state.

HIGH FASHION TO STREET FASHION – half or full day tour
Japan’s capital is deservedly known as a shopping mecca. Beyond department stores, the city has countless shopping streets, and we explore a few of these.

From a fountain of teen trendiness where shoppers of all ages can enjoy the bargains to the former home of Tokyo’s ninja where those ‘too cool for school’ now hang out. From the centre of Japan’s most extreme youth cultures watched by the international fashion industry to Tokyo’s Champs-Élysée, a beautiful tree-lined avenue home to high-class domestic and international brands in award winning architectural buildings. On this tour you can ‘shop ‘til you drop’.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

JAPANESE DESIGN REBORN – half or full day tour
Accompanied by our art expert, this walking tour of Ginza, Marunouchi and Nihonbashi is an intriguing mix of contemporary and historical.

The ongoing reinvention and restoration creates an experience akin to a historical Japanese Disneyland. We explore topical buildings such as the Ichigokan and Kitte, recent urban developments exemplified by Coredo, and smaller contemporary art galleries.

We consider the interplay of contemporary and historical commerce and culture, explore recent and ongoing restoration of traditional areas, and modern marketing, Japan-style.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

THE ART OF LIVING – half or full day tour
Accompanied by our art expert, this tour considers how ‘art permeates life’.

Wandering in Roppongi, one of Tokyo’s contemporary art and design hubs, we will see how refinement and sophistication have evolved over the centuries. We will visit the design museum Design Sight 21_21, smaller art and design galleries, and major museums such as the Suntory Museum of Art, Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center.

Whilst exploring the new urban complex of Tokyo Midtown, part of the day can also be spent appreciating how the Japanese have elevated shopping to an art form.
Private viewings/visits with artists can be arranged depending on request and availability

FOOD

 BACKSTREETS DINING EXPERIENCE – evening tour only
Hidden between and behind towering skyscrapers and sprawling station complexes, Tokyo’s yokocho, alleyways, are a must see for anyone looking to experience the city’s less sterile, down-to-earth side. We visit one of Tokyo’s most representative yokocho, enjoy a cocktail or two in a lounge bar with gorgeous views over the city before moving on to one of Tokyo’s more bohemian neighbourhoods. Dinner is enjoyed in a popular local izakaya (an informal Japanese gastropub) serving a wide range of delectable Japanese dishes and round off the evening in a nearby standing bar where the owner/DJ/bar tender serves jazz from his vast personal collection with drinks.

GOURMET TOKYO – half or full day tour
The magnificence of Tokyo’s dining scene is no secret: home to 227 establishments holding one or more Michelin stars, even the street food is a gastronomic delight.

We start by learning how sushi originated in Tokyo and why there are few better places to eat it before feasting our eyes on the extensive range of delights in the bustling food hall of one of the city’s oldest department stores. Lunch is enjoyed in an elegant institution that has been serving locals, internationally renowned actors and heads of state since 1930 before strolling on to Tokyo’s “kitchen town”. We end in one of the city’s most popular izakayas (an informal Japanese gastro-pub); always full it serves local expats, university students and salarymen alike.

A TASTE OF TOKYO – one day tour
Starting at Tsukiji market we learn how sushi originated in Tokyo before taking a short walk to the home of Kabuki; this unpretentious art form has its origins in the Edo period. Guests are invited to a pre-performance private lecture and tour of the theatre gallery. Lunch is bento box enjoyed whilst watching the performance.

Following the show, we stroll to Tokyo’s most upmarket shopping district, take time to browse in one of Japan’s first department stores and enjoy a cup of tea in one of the city’s newest tearooms.

We finish the tour with a monjayaki dinner, a type of savoury pancake, and a Tokyo speciality.

DISCOVERING JAPANESE TEA – one day tour
We begin the day hosted at a private tea ceremony, by a 1st degree Chado, way of tea, instructor, where we also learn the finer points of the ceremony.

Moving to Tokyo’s most upmarket shopping district, we sample some of the many varieties of tea available in one of the city’s newest tearooms; a fascinating blend of ultra-modern and traditional, enjoy lunch and browse for tea utensils in Tokyo’s oldest department store.

The day finishes at a beautifully designed museum founded to conserve and exhibit the collection of an enthusiastic practitioner of the “way of tea” who wished his collection to be shared by all. The museum garden boasts an exquisite teahouse.

THE LUXURY OF JAPANESE FRUIT – 2-hour tour
Japanese’s dedication to perfection is what makes Japan such an incredible country; there is a reason it has the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants in the world. Thanks to this perfectionism coupled with Japanese creativity there are several kinds of ultra-premium fruits on offer in Japan, including five of the world’s most expensive.

On this tour we visit Japan’s oldest fruit shop and fruit parlor, established in 1834 where the fruits are so perfect in shape without any blemishes that the display looks like a jewelry shop. After feasting our eyes, we sample some of the delicious product and learn why fruit is considered a luxury product that features heavily in Japan’s gift-giving culture.

TSUKIJI SUSHI SENSATION – half-day tour
Tsukiji Market handles over 2,000 tons of marine products per day and features the “inner market”; the licensed wholesale market, where approximately 900 dealers operate, and the “outer market”; a mixture of wholesale and retail shops.

On this tour a trained sushi chef will guide you through the market, sharing his insights and knowledge of the stalls and merchandise. You will have the option to purchase any fish that you would specifically like to try eating. Following our trip through the market you will learn to prepare nigiri sushi, which we will then enjoy eating whilst learning sushi eating etiquette.

ARTS

 BEHIND THE SCENES SUMO – one day tour
Japan’s official national sport, it is generally considered a modern Japanese martial art although the sport has a history spanning many centuries.

Granted exclusive access to a sumo stable, accompanied by a former high-ranking wrestler, to observe the morning training session, we are invited to join the wrestlers for their traditional brunch of chanko nabe, a robust hot pot filled with vegetables and large helpings of protein in a rich broth; observe the restoration of the wrestlers’ hair to the sleek chonmage, top knot; and meet one of sumo’s top referees. The tour ends with a guided tour of the sumo museum.

AN INTRODUCTION TO KABUKI – half-day tour
Kabuki traces its origins to the start of the Edo period, a time of unique cultural development during which townspeople became patrons of art for the first time. Its lack of pretentiousness made Kabuki a popular art form as it was in general more accessible than other traditional performances. Today it is recognised as one of Japan’s three major classical theaters and has been named as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Guests are invited to a pre-performance private lecture and tour of the Kabukiza gallery, to maximize viewing enjoyment. We also visit one of the many food halls located nearby to purchase lunch boxes and snacks to enjoy whilst watching the show.
Matinee, afternoon or evening performances can be selected
Noh and Bunraku lectures and performances can also be arranged

 AN INTERACTIVE INTRODUCTION TO NOH – two-hour tour
Noh is a traditional form of performing arts with over 650 years of history; proclaimed a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO it is an important cultural asset to Japan and is one of the oldest extant theatrical forms in the world.

We join one of Noh’s prominent actors for an interactive introduction to the world of Noh. Guests are invited to watch and understand a short performance, learn some basic movements, wear one of the sumptuous costumes and examine some of the traditional props and musical instruments. This tour is particularly suitable for children.
Guests may have the chance to view a traditional Noh stage – depending on performance times.

JAPANESE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE – half day tour
Imagine strolling through Tokyo’s through oldest temple complex, taking a ride in a rickshaw and participating in a private tea ceremony in a charming local tea house wearing an exquisite Japanese kimono. After choosing from a selection of beautiful kimono, which our expert will dress you in and arrange your hair and make-up in the traditional style, we venture out into the streets of Tokyo accompanied by a professional photographer.

We end the experience hosted at a private tea ceremony, by a 1st degree Chado, way of tea, instructor, where we are instructed in the finer points of the ceremony.
A souvenir album can be arranged.

 YAMABUSHI EXPERIENCE – 2-hour tour; early morning or evening
Take time from your busy life and schedule to refresh your mind and soul in one of Tokyo’s oldest and loveliest temples. Accompanied by a certified Yamabushi priest you will be guided through some of the techniques used during Yamabushi training programmes, based on Shugendo, one of Japan’s most ancient and transformative practices.

Yamabushi are the ancient mountain priests of Japan whose role was to guide people to their true nature, teach discipline and warrior ways. Although the few remaining are mostly hidden from public life these days, their work has not changed. What they offer is more relevant than ever.

 

If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.