TOUR DATES: November 13-19, 2023 (one week).
GROUP SIZE: Minimum 8 / Maximum 15
TOUR COST: $3,700 USD
TOUR COST INCLUDES:
• Train* and chartered bus transportation during the tour
• 6 nights hotel
• Meals included: 5 Dinners, 6 Lunches, 6 Breakfasts, and a lot of sake!
• Fees for all scheduled sightseeing and cultural activities (optional excursions excluded)
• 6 Jizake Brewery Visits
• Professional licensed tour guide
• Certified Advanced Sake Professional
Participants must be at least 21 years of age at commencement of tour.
* Train fares are included in the tour cost, but you may elect to obtain your own JR Rail Pass. We will be in contact to adjust the tour cost should you elect to obtain your own JR Rail Pass. Our tour guide can assist you to exchange your order for the JR Rail Pass on the first day of the tour.
Our excursion will take you through the heart of Tohoku, a region that is not on the usual tourist track, yet contains some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Japan.
Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
We begin our tour in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, the largest city in Tohoku and only a 90 minute train ride from Tokyo. We will enjoy a specially-curated dinner at the elegant Shozan Restaurant to open the week featuring sake pairing with Katsuyama Shuzo.
We also visit two other breweries, Urakasumi and Sasaki Shuzo in addition to visiting some local shrines and temples to learn about the history of the Sendai region. We then take an excursion to Matsushima Bay, known as one of the three most-scenic views in Japan. Join us for afternoon tea at a teahouse overlooking the bay and then a boat cruise on Matsushima Bay. You will return to Sendai for dinner at Ohana Restaurant where we will enjoy local Miyagi izakaya fare and Miyagi sake.
Shiogama & Natori City, Miyagi to Akita
We visit Urakasumi Shuzo in Shiogama and Sasaki Shuzo in Natori City. Both breweries suffered damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Sasaki Shuzo was completely destroyed by an 8 meter tsunami and has rebuilt their brewery and has started brewing again in its own facility a couple of years ago.
We then take the shinkansen up to Akita to visit Kodama Jozo and learn about the Akita Kimoto Method that produces a light and clean sake style. After learning about the folklore of Namahage, we will return to Akita City for dinner at a local izakaya and enjoy Akita sake..
Morioka & Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture
We travel to Morioka to try a specialty of Morioka - the wanko-soba challenge hoping to earn the Tegata title. Then up to Ninohe to visit Nanbu Bijin and their always-entertaining Kuramoto Kosuke Kuji who has been one of the most active supporters of Japanese sake around the world. Morioka is known for Nanbu-tekki cast ironware and you will have opportunities to visit and buy some of the finest Nanbu-tekki cast ironware.
From Morioka, we hop on the shinkansen to Aomori where we visit Hachinohe Shuzo, maker of the Mutsu Hassen and Mutsu Otokoyama brands. While in Hachinohe, we'll take a pottery class before spending the final day of our tour at the Tatehana Wharf Morning Market, the largest morning market in Japan with over 300 vendors covering over 800 meters and attended by thousands of people each Sunday morning. A taxi will take you back to the shinkansen as we send you on your way back to Tokyo to further your Japan adventure, or return to your home country or wherever your Quest takes you next..
Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to weather or scheduling conflicts with each venue. You will be notified of any changes.