A SEN­SORY FEAST IN TOKYO AND KY­OTO

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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

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