A SENSORY FEAST IN TOKYO AND KYOTO
If you’re craving an epicurean adventure, look no further than Japan, the country with the most three-star Michelin restaurants. Start your journey with a curated culinary tour organised by bespoke travel agency Black Tomato: the tour kicks off in Tokyo with a visit to famous Tsukiji fish market, followed by a lesson in sushi-making with an expert chef. Next up, take part in a traditional Japanese cooking class where you will learn how to make authentic favourites such as tonkatsu (fried breaded pork) and udon noodles.
The bullet train will take you from Tokyo to Japan’s cultural capital, Kyoto, where you can visit the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum and do a tasting with an expert brewer. Another culinary must-see is Kyoto’s Nishiki market, also known as Kyoto’s kitchen. Here, more than a hundred stalls and shops sell all manner of dried and cooked foods, including a tempting array of street snacks. Keen to try out your new cooking skills at home? The market is also chock-full of traditional Japanese cookware. blacktomato.com
Escape to the hotsprings of Hakone
For a break from Tokyo’s and Kyoto’s assault on the senses, escape to lofty Hakone. A day or two in the mountains will de-stress your body and relax your mind: after all, the area is known for its hot springs and healing waters, which can soothe and replenish the skin. Cable cars will give you a bird’s-eye view of Hakone’s stunning natural landscapes, and local cuisine will satisfy your taste buds—here, you can feast on delicacies such as onsen eggs boiled in the steaming natural springs. To round out your experience, stay at Taiseikan, a luxurious ryokan. The traditional Japanese inn is situated in a private river valley that you descend into by funicular railway from Miyanoshita. Guests enjoy access to two indoor and two outdoor hot springs, with one offering gorgeous river views. taiseikan.co.jp/en