Your 11-day culinary tour of Japan immerses you in the flavors of ramen and the gastronomic delights of the nation’s four classic broths. Follow the timeline of the cuisine from its origins to its newfound international popularity and delight in the mouthwatering bursts of umami in every bit. As you explore Japan, you will relish in essential regional tastes, the beauty of the scenery, and the majesty of preserved custom.
Tokyo – Arrive in Tokyo and Relax with the Remaining Day at Leisure
Tokyo is a city with a seemingly infinite skyline, and neon lights cause the streetscape to glow with ethereal, colorful light. Sleek facades soar into the air to contrast with the simple wooden décor as they represent the traditional building techniques alongside the ultra-modern world. The pace of the city with the friendly antique ambiance brings many simple, tantalizing restaurants. Chefs utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients whether working with renowned sushi or legendary noodles crafted with intimate attention to detail honed through generates of experience down over time.
Your private transfer greets you at Narita International Airport upon your arrival and will escort you to your luxurious accommodations in the heart of Tokyo. The remaining day is at your leisure to get acquainted with the culture of the city and the distinct ambiance generated by the bright lights, towering high-rises, and vibrant fashion. The broadcasting and observation tower of Tokyo Skytree is a remarkable feat of architectural engineering reaching 2,080 feet above the surrounding streets. The structure acts as the centerpiece of a larger commercial development in the Kanto region and changes colors in the evening shifting from white and blue to purple against the black sky.
You can travel up to the observation floors for a different perspective on the city and take in the spectacular panorama at 1,480 feet above the Tokyo streets. An app on your smartphone designed by Skytree helps guide you along the Tembo Deck providing a sense of direction, as well as information on the famous architectural sites of Tokyo visible from the viewing platform with visibility reaching up to 44 miles away on a clear day.
Tokyo – Relish Historic Tokyo, the Asakusa District and a Ramen Tour
Tokyo – Enjoy a Soba Cooking Class and Instant-Noodle Museum Visit
Kyoto – Travel to Kyoto for a Guided Tour and Local Ramen Meal
Kyoto – Discover History in Kyoto and Flavor in a Ramen Cooking Class
Fukuoka – Transfer to Fukuoka for a Relaxing Day at your Chosen Pace
Fukuoka – Explore the Beauty and History before a Food Stall Tour
Sapporo – Fly to Sapporo and Unwind with the Remaining Free Day
Sapporo – Visit Antique Sapporo, Noodle Street, and the Beer Museum
Hakodate – Experience Mount Hakodate and Local Shio Ramen
Hakodate – Return to Tokyo and Depart for Home
- Explore the four classic broths of Japanese ramen including shoyu (soy), shio (salt), miso, and tonkotsu (pork) broth made from scratch in their distinct regional origins, while learning the differences in flavor, viscosity, and use of toppings
- Discover three award-winning ramen shops to explore the intricate and diverse flavors of ramen and the current trend of “neo-ramens”
- Relish on crafting your own ramen from scratch during a private cooking class specializing in making noodles, savory broth, and accompanying gyoza
- Bask in the complex, layered flavors of Fire Ramen, a dish specific to Kyoto and renowned for its delicate smoky taste
- Learn the art of crafting handmade soba noodles during a private lesson that will demonstrate the importance of connecting with the ingredients
- Craft your own flavor combinations with a personalized cup of noodles when visiting the Instant-Noodle Museum
- Wander through Sapporo’s historical Noodle Street, an alleyway hosting 17 different ramen shops specializing in the remarkable miso bases and seafood broth
- Visit the Sapporo Beer Museum to follow the timeline of Japan’s most famous beer (often enjoyed with a bowl of ramen) and sample the different drafts crafted at the local brewery
- Journey through some of the most iconic landmarks in Japan from UNESCO World Heritage Sites to ultra modern settings
Ramen has become synonymous with Japanese cuisine as a rich dish with layers of complex flavor, and a fascinating history enjoyed both by college students with instant noodles and restaurant-goers indulging in the handmade delicacy. Your 11-day ramen tour of Japan unravels the threads connecting the history of the cuisine with Momofuku Ando’s invention of instant ramen intertwined with the fascinating past and present cultures of Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Sapporo, and Hakodate. The delicious noodle and broth combination emerged from a Chinese tradition made popular after the Second World War when many soldiers returned home from battle. Flour costs were low after the market opened with the United States, and subsequent years yielded terrible rice harvests leading to a perfect opportunity for the emerging noodle dish to evolve into a specialty that has become quintessentially Japanese.
Your culinary adventure in Japan focuses on the art, flavor, and history of ramen, as well as the remarkable flavors that have permeated the culinary heritage of the country. Ramen has become such a popular treat both in Japan and worldwide, the Fuji Research Institute dubbed instant ramen the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in the year 2000, defeating the Nintendo, the Walkman, and karaoke. Walking through the cityscapes of Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, and Fukuoka, it is easy to imagine urbanites huddled around noodle stalls known as yatai after the deregulation of the outdoor food vendors in the 1950s. Tokyo alone contains 5,000 ramen shops with many hidden in alleyways rooted in the wartime tradition of hiding illegal food stalls from the authorities. The dish has become associated with strength and richness, evolving from the traditional broth based with soy sauce, pork, chicken and dried sardines into a collection of robust ingredients part of the mainstream culture of Japan.
Three nights in Tokyo introduces the central flavors of ramen broth in the region, while also uncovering the wealth of history and beauty of the city as presented in antique temples, vibrant panoramas, and a private cooking class focusing on ramen’s distant cousin, soba noodles along with sampling the traditional soy sauce broth popular in the city. While in Tokyo, you will also visit the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, which highlights the history of the instant cups of noodles as you celebrate its 60th anniversary by making your own flavor combinations. Exploring Kyoto will then immerse you in the preserved heritage of Japan’s cultural capital, and traversing the streets takes you back in time to the Edo period while a local restaurant specializes in crafting a dish known as “fire ramen,” due to the smoky flavor. You can also take the time to learn how to make the delicious dish with a hands-on cooking lesson revealing the subtle art of crafting noodles, making toppings, and producing a consistent broth.
Arrive in Fukuoka for two nights that combine the treasures of the preserved architecture with the comforts of modern luxury. Historical shrines and elaborate parks stand beneath the looming shadow of Maizuru Castle. The Yanagibashi Market brims with vendors offering insight into the culinary lives of locals including the specialty tonkotsu ramen. Two nights in Sapporo then highlight history with a visit to the antique village of nearby Hokkaido and the depth of flavor emerging from the miso-based ramen. Visiting the famous brewery offers a second layer of remarkable tastes as you trace the history of the beer and find beauty in the complexity of the different styles of beer during a delicious sampling. One night in Hakodate brings to light the unique international influence as seen in the architecture and found along the port giving rise to the popular salt ramen before returning to Tokyo and continuing home.
For more ideas about traveling in Japan, visit our Japan travel reviews page.
$5,979 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- 4-star: From $5,979 USD per person based on double occupancy
- 5-star: Please inquire for rates and availabilities
The customized package will include accommodations, airport transfers, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.
Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
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