JAPAN FOODIE ADVENTURE
4:45 pm Arrival in Tokyo at Narita Airport on Flight JAL 61 Private Vehicle from Narita Airport to Hotel Trunk Tokyo in bustling Shibuya
9:30 am to 1:30 pm Half Day Guide (4 hours) Guide in Tokyo, Subways for Touring in Tokyo
Tsukiji Outer Market
While the wholesale fish market has been relocated to its new Toyosu location, Tsukiji's Outer Market is as busy and bustling as ever. The Outer Market is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops selling everything from carrots to cakes, pottery to kitchen knives. It is also filled to the brim with restaurants serving the freshest sushi and sashimi. In contrast to Toyosu's new ultra-modern facility, Tsukiji's Outer Market retains an essence of traditional charm that makes it well worth a visit.
Ginza is Tokyo's most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district, featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs and cafes. One square meter of land in the district's center is worth over ten million yen, making it one of the most expensive real estate in Japan. It is where you can find the infamous $10 cups of coffee and where virtually every leading brand name in fashion and cosmetics has a presence. From 1612 to 1800, today's Ginza district was the site of a silver coin mint, after which the district was eventually named. Ginza evolved as an upmarket shopping district following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. Most shops in the Ginza district are open every day of the week.
Ginza Depachika (Basement) Food Floors
If you are feeling a bit hungry, or just interested in food, the depachika (basement floors) of department stores are filled with foods of all kinds. Most are already prepared and ready to take away and eat at home, which is exactly what many people do in order to balance busy work and home lives. A mouthwatering mix of Japanese and western dishes, sweets, and snacks await.
Ramen Dinner Tour
During this personalized 2-3 hour ramen tour, your expert guide will take you to some of Tokyo's hidden ramen shops for lunch or late afternoon meal. He will take you to two ramen restuarants, one for a thick, rich bowl of ramen and one lighter bowl. Ask him any question about ramen and he will be able to answer. Meet your ramen expert in your hotel lobby.
9:30 am to 5:00 pm Full Day Guide (8 hours) Guide in Tokyo Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby. Private Vehicle (8 hours)
Sensoji Temple & Kaminarimon Gate / Nakamisedori
Sensoji Temple, possibly one of the most photographed structures in the city. An official temple was built in 645AD, making it not only the oldest temple in Tokyo, but among the oldest in Japan. Sadly, after standing for 1300 years, it fell to the bombings of WWII, only to be rebuilt during the aftermath as a symbol of peace and resurrection to the Japanese people. Today, millions of visitors pass through the Kaminarimon or Thunder Gate annually, known for the huge brightly painted lantern dominating the entrance. Just beyond Sensoji’s Kaminarimon you’ll find yourself on the Nakamisedori, a vibrant shopping street lined with souvenir shops selling everything from Samurai swords to paper fans, and all manner of snacks and trinkets.
One of Japan’s most creative spaces, this art encounter places you within large scale installations that combine digital and physical media. The variety here is impressive, with infinity rooms of digital light, knee-deep illuminated water, and mazelike cavernous halls of huge balloons. There are plenty of memorable surprises in this uniquely Japanese art space – and all highly Instagrammable.
Roppongi Hills is one of the best examples of a city within the city. The building complex in the Roppongi district is home to an amalgamation of offices, apartments, shops, restaurants, a hotel, the Mori Museum, a view deck and more. The 238 meter Mori tower at the center is one of the tallest buildings in the city. Just behind the tower and hotel is Mori Garden, and TV Asahi is also located on the site.
Mori Art Museum
The 238 meter Mori tower at the center of Roppongi Hills is one of the tallest buildings in the city. The Mori Art Museum, located near the top of Mori Tower, shows innovative exhibitions of international contemporary art.
At the heart of Roppongi's arts district, Tokyo Midtown feels almost like a city in itself. Home to a sophisticated mix of shops, galleries, and residences, it is a pleasant area to explore. The main shopping mall features international restaurants, a dining terrace, and a range of stores from everyday essentials to luxury boutiques. The complex also contains many museums and art galleries. Their top floor features interior design and houseware shops as well as the Suntory Museum of Art, a modern space with beautiful city views that displays traditional works.
Night Activity: Shinjuku
Shinjuku is one of the 23 city wards of Tokyo, but is often referred to as the huge entertainment, business, and shopping area around Shinjuku Station. Colorful signs decorate the narrow streets at all stories, blocking out the city sky and filling it with life. More than 2 million passengers go through Shinjuku Station every day, making it the busiest railway station in Tokyo, which effectively makes it the busiest railway station in the world. Shinjuku's skyscraper district is home to many of Tokyo's tallest buildings, including several premier hotels, the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office, and is also home to famous game companies, such as Square Enix (right outside Higashi-Shinjuku station). Dinner at Kaiseki Komuro With flavors of cha-kaiseki, a meal served during a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Since opening in 2000, the two Michelin star restaurant has become a gem for urban gourmands that long to immerse themselves in the beauty of the seasons. LGBT Shinjuku NightLife
Below are the most popular venues in Tokyo's largest LGBT area:
• Eagle Tokyo (bar)
2 Chome-12-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022
• Eagle Tokyo Blue (club)
(1 drink cover)
2-12-3, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0022
• DragonMEN (club)
(JPY 1,000 cover)
2 Chome-11-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022
• ArtyFarty (club) (1 drink cover)
2 Chome−11−7 2F, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 〒160-0022
• AiiRO CAFE (bar)
(1 drink cover)
2-18-1 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 〒160-0022
• New Sazae (Disco Bar)
(JPY 1,000 cover)
2-18-5 2F Shinjuku, Tokyo 〒160-0022
• Campy! Bar (drag bar)
2-13-10 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 〒160-0022
9:30 am to 5:30 pm Full Day Guide (8 hours) Guide in Tokyo Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby.
Nezu Museum The collection on display at the Nezu Museum once belonged to Nezu Kaichiro, an industrialist and former president of the Tobu Railroad. Although he enjoyed everything from delicate calligraphy to Chinese bronzes, the center of the collection concerns “the way of tea.” There are several authentic teahouses scattered throughout the extensive gardens, as well as many lovely artifacts. A collection of painted folding screens in the Rinpa style is not to be missed. The museum’s grounds are a highlight as well. Designed by Kengo Kuma, one of Japan’s brightest architectural stars, the soaring roof and strategic use of glass and steel create a perfect setting for the works within.
While Paris has the Champs-Élysées and New York has Fifth Avenue, Tokyo has Omotesando. Running from Harajuku to Aoyama-dori, the wide boulevard is home to some of the city’s most intriguing architecture. Many of the buildings are fashion houses built by a veritable Who’s Who of Japanese and international architects, including Jun Aoki’s Louis Vuitton, Toyo Ito’s Tod’s, SANAA’s Dior, Herzog & de Meuron’s Prada, and Tadao Ando’s Omotesando Hills. Whether you’re shopping or simply strolling, the tree-lined street offers generous visual stimulation and plenty of opportunities to leave a few yen behind.
Harajuku is the epicenter of Japanese street-fashion and fashion subcultures. The neighborhood's modern identity stems from the post-war history of the area, but its continuous development is heavily reliant on today's youth culture trends. The Harajuku area is divided by a boulevard called, Meiji-dori, which separates its two main areas: Takeshita Street and Ura-Harajuku. The side most internationally associated with Harajuku is Takeshita Street an extremely popular pedestrian street overflowing with fashion boutiques, sweet crepe stands, innovative snack shops, photobooths, and fast food outlets marketed to tweens and teens. Even though many of Takeshita Street's energetic trends are starting cross over to the other side, Ura-Harajuku has retained a more relaxed atmosphere. Its streets lie behind Omotesando and are filled with high-end vintage shops, street-fashion brands flagship stores, privately-owned boutiques, and cafes.
Shibuya is one of the twenty-three city wards of Tokyo, but often refers to just the popular shopping and entertainment area found around Shibuya Station. In this regard, Shibuya is one of Tokyo's most colorful and busy districts, packed with shopping, dining and nightclubs serving swarms of visitors that come to the district every day. Outside of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station lies Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. It’s referred to as a "scramble" because traffic is stopped in all directions to allow pedestrians to walk through the intersection, resulting in a true human scramble.
This area of Tokyo is just one station away from busy Shibuya but has a very different atmosphere with small high-end boutiques, restaurants and cafés sharing the space with embassies, high-class residential areas and Hillside Terrace, the symbol of Daikanyama. The laidback vibe and trendy fashion found here has made it a hot spot among the hip crowds of Tokyo but remains a pleasant counterpart to the busy streets of Shibuya.
Dinner at Sushi Saito Considered the best, Michelin sushi in Tokyo, 3 stars, with near impossible to get seating. Day 4 Hakone
Luggage Transfer to Kyoto (up to 2 pieces)
During check-out please leave up to 2 pieces of luggage to be sent ahead to your Kyoto accommodation. Please note that the bullet train will not have designated luggage space.
Please pack a smaller bag for your night in Hakone at new, exclusive, DESIGN HOTELS Hakone Retreat före & villa 1/f
9:30 am Private Vehicle Transfer to Shinagawa Station
Your driver will meet you in the hotel lobby.
10:30 am Depart: Shinagawa (Kodama #), Green Car Arrive: Odawara
11:30 am to 4:30 pm Full Day Guide (5 hours) Guide in Hakone Your guide will meet you on the train platform upon arrival.
Old Tokaido Walking Trail
Welcome to the Old Tokaido road, a highway which once linked Tokyo and Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Today, you can enjoy a beautiful cedar-lined passage of the road along the shore of Lake Ashinoko. Even a short walk down the cobbled highway for a few minutes is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the nature and history of the area. Visitors desiring a longer walk can continue deeper into the mountains towards the restored Amazakechaya Teahouse.
Hakone Shrine stands at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi. The shrine buildings are hidden in the dense forest but are well advertised by its huge torii gates, with one standing prominently in the lake and the other two over the main street of Moto-Hakone.
Hakone Open Air Museum
Hakone Open Air Museum views itself as a harmonious mix of nature and art. This museum allows visitors to experience the beautiful mountainous backdrop of Hakone while viewing numerous sculptures and art exhibits spread out across the museum’s grounds. The main building of the museum features works by various artists including Picasso.
Kaiseki Dinner at Nijo YamagishiKaiseki
Born from the near impossible to book kaiseki favorite Tominokoji Yamagishi, Nijo Yamagishi is a chance to enjoy premium quality in a more casual setting, with hot pot cuisine from an exciting young chef. Day 5 Kyoto Transfer to your hotel, a stay at luxury royokan Yoshida-Sanso, the historical university villa of Prince Higashifushimi.
Gion is Kyoto's most famous geisha district located near Maruyama Park. The district has a number of traditional machiya townhouses where geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) enter and exit in the evening when entertaining guests. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of a geisha on her way to her next appointment.
Tea with Maiko (45min)
Enjoy tea, conversation, and a short performance from one of the few professional maiko (geisha-in-training) still active in Kyoto. The teenage maiko will explain in detail about her life and what it takes to become a geisha – a rare opportunity that many travelers never have a chance to experience. This unique meeting is a great way to enjoy geisha culture in the former capital of Kyoto. You can take a photo with the maiko as well.
7:00 pm Dinner at Gion Nishikawa Michelin 2 Star Chef Masayoshi Nishikawa crafts unique, seasonal Kaiseki dishes and offers vibrant counter seating to interact and watch the chef's magic. Day 6
9:30 am to 5:30 pm Full Day Guide (8 hours) Guide in Kyoto, Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby. Private Vehicle (8 hours)
Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple
Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple is one of Kyoto’s hidden gems due to its isolated location and a unique display of Buddhist art. Although the roots of this temple go back to the 8th century, the current grounds were revitalized in the modern era by Kocho Nishimura, a respected Buddhist artist and priest. In the 1980s, he invited worshippers to this small mountain temple to learn the techniques of stone carving to create 1,200 Rakan (a disciple of Buddha) statues that are now on display at the temple. No two statues are the same, with many depicting lighthearted and comical features that you rarely find in Buddhist art. From singing priests and parents cradling babies to acrobats and surfers, all walks of life are present in stone at Otagi Nenbutsuji. Nishimura’s family continues to care for the temple and carry on his legacy of blending personal expression through art with the teachings of the Buddha.
One of Kyoto’s best-kept secrets is this quiet district tucked away in the hills on the western rim of the city. A long street runs through a preserved village with rows of charming wooden houses below forested slopes. This is a rare chance to see a grouping of original thatched roof houses so close to the city. Many of these farmhouses are from the Meiji-era (late 1800s/early 1900s) and remain in their original state. At the top of the street is a lovely traditional teahouse with a mossy thatched roof and impressive torii gate. Along the road are several quaint shops selling regional crafts, including bamboo goods, pottery, and whimsical local folkart made from the cocoons of silkworms.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries.
Shojin Ryori lunch at Izusen
Enjoy traditional vegetarian Buddhist cuisine (shojin-ryori in Japanese) in a charming restaurant on the backstreets of the quiet Sagano district. The vegetarian fare is sure to delight and surprise both your tastebuds and eyes.
Okochi Sanso Villa
This samurai-style villa is the former home and garden of the famous Japanese film actor Denjiro Okochi (1898-1962), known for his roles are fierce samurai in the early silent film days. The beautiful garden is dotted with rustic teahouses and hidden pathways that open onto expansive city views. One of the best spots for early autumn leaves in Arashiyama, the villa also has a rest area where matcha tea and unique sweets are served.
Perhaps best known in English as the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion,” this icon of Kyoto rises above a quiet reflecting pond, shimmering in its layers of gold leaf regardless of the weather. A remainder of a former villa of the Shogun, the pavilion successfully incorporates three distinctly grand architectural styles: Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. Rebuilt in the mid-20th century, Kinkakuji remains the epitome of Kyoto's gilded past as the cultural capital of the nation. The layout of the garden is based on ancient Chinese writings, and the stones of the main pond serves as a representation of the Japanese islands themselves. As a whole, the entire landscape serves as a fine example of the magnificent villa that once occupied this space.
5:00 pm Candlelit Tea Ceremony & Ritual
As dusk falls and the city begins to settle, enter the traditional home of our in-house tea expert for a special experience. Candles light your way through the garden as you remove your shoes and step into a charming tea room. This special ocassion is multifaceted and focuses on more than just tea. You’ll begin with a glass of local sake paired with two light seasonal foods as a way to better understand the culinary culture of Kyoto. Purified by the sake, you are ready to move on to the main event: an informative tea ceremony served with sweets. Your host will explain the meaning behind the ritual and how it ties to both the mundane world and the spiritual realm. This is an ideal pre-dinner activity to whet the appetite and learn about an important element of Japanese culture.
Dinner at Gion Sasaki Michelin cuisine, whose original and creative dishes that go beyond the bounds of Japanese cuisine Day 7
9:30 am to 5:30 pm Full Day Guide (8 hours) Guide in Kyoto, Private Vehicle (8 hours)
The Shijo district in downtown Kyoto is the lively heart of the city where locals come to shop, stroll, and unwind. Fashionable Shijo Dori Street is lined with brand name shops and upscale department stores like Daimaru and Takashimaya. To the north is Sanjo Dori Street, a much more compact avenue with hip boutiques, cafés, and local craft shops tucked in between wooden homes and everyday Kyoto scenery. Between these two areas runs Teramachi, a covered shopping arcade filled with eateries and shops. The downtown Shijo district is perfect for shoppers and peoplewatchers looking to get a feel for the pulse of Kyoto. Teramachi Street Teramachi was created in the 16th century as part of an effort by the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi to control the Buddhist clergy by relocating their temples to a single area in Kyoto. Now home to art galleries, bookshops, clothing shops and Kyoto specialist stores featuring a Kyoto twist on Japanese goods such as wagashi (confections), noren (curtains), furoshiki (beautiful cloth wraps), ohashi (chopsticks), and ceramics, Teramachi also features excellent tea houses and a variety of restaurants. It is also a mecca for fans of anime and manga with several stores dedicated to merchandise and books of all the well-known series and characters.
Hidden behind a nondescript temple wall is one of the city’s most impressive treasures: Sanjusangendo, the hall of 1001 golden statues of the goddess Kannon. The central image of Kannon in the middle of the temple is a towering masterpiece, as are the 28 guardians that flank her. Originally built in the 12th century to house this stunning collection, it also hosted legendary archery competitions where participants would shoot arrows down the entire length of the 120 meter wooden hall. In 1604, legend has it that the famous samurai Musashi Miyamoto and Yoshioka Denshichiro, leader of a rival martial arts family, fought a duel at the temple gates. Inspiring as both an architectural and artistic wonder, Sanjusangendo is a standout landmark in Kyoto.
Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka
The streets Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka in Higashiyama are lined by small shops, cafes and restaurants which have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries. These businesses retain their traditional design, although many have been renovated through the years, and they continue to serve customers today, selling local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, pickles, crafts and other souvenirs.
The shops and restaurants in the area typically open around nine or ten in the morning and close relatively early around five or six in the evening.
Dinner at Restaurant Gion Sasaki
Praised as “Sasaki Theater,” this one-and-only Japanese restaurant has become a long-run hit on the old strip of Gion. With charisma and passion, Chef Hiroshi Sasaki has transformed his kitchen into a stage where he performs a new kind of culinary entertainment, packed with fun and surprises. Day 8 Osaka
9:30 am Full Day Guide (8 hours) Guide in Kyoto
Private Vehicle (8 hours)
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Perhaps one of Japan’s most recognizable symbols, the endless wending of thousands of vermillion torii mark this well-known shrine. Dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, Fushimi is one of Kyoto’s oldest structures, erected even prior to the establishment of the capital in 794AD. Visitors mainly come to wander through the trails of torii, but the main buildings are also of architectural interest as are the dozens of fox statues dotting the grounds. Perhaps the most famous of all the gates donated to Fushimi is the Romon Gate, presented by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s three great unifiers in 1589.
Fushimi Sake District
Fushimi District is a sake-brewing district in southern Kyoto with a retro laid-back atmosphere. Canals lined with willow trees and historic breweries make for a scenic and calm getaway from the busier areas of Kyoto. The district's underground springs provide the clean water for sake making and many of Kyoto's most delicious sakes come from Fushimi. The famous shrine in the area, Fushimi Inari, is dedicated to the god of rice, the main ingredient in sake making. Some of the traditional sake breweries have been converted into stylish restaurants and cafes serving local sakes and craft beers. These restaurants make for an enjoyable place to stop in and enjoy a drink while touring the area.
Sake Brewery Visit with Sake Expert
Prepare to go deep into the world of Japanese sake with the owner of a local hole- in-the-wall bar who speaks exceptional English and is very passionate about Japanese alcohol. As a recognized expert who has lectured at universities and cultural centers, Mr. Asakura will accompany you on a visit a local sake brewery or two, providing a private experience the likes of which are unavailable elsewhere in Kyoto on such a personal level. You’ll learn how sake is produced and the history behind the drink, as well as stop to sample some of the city’s finest vintages. Mr. Asakura’s ability to educate and entertain will impress, and even sake novices will walk away with a deep understanding of Japan’s favorite potent beverage.
Todaiji Temple and Museum
Until 1998, this World Heritage Site was the world’s largest wooden building. Although destroyed twice by fire, the temple’s current structures have been standing since 1709. Todaiji Temple is home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha, which is said to have depleted Japan of every last ounce of bronze to build. The new Todai-ji Museum opened in 2011. It is full of temple treasures, religious art, and objects of deep cultural significance. There are several large statues of the Buddha, as well as rotating exhibitions on Buddhism-oriented themes. Dinner at Shunsaiten Tsuchiya, 2 Michelin stars, considered the best specialty temupura, featuring Chef “Beautiful and delicious”, Shunsaiten Tsuchiya.
Transfer to your hotel, St Regis Osaka, a boutique gem right in the heart of Honmachi. 9:30 am to 1:30 pm Half Day Guide (4 hours) Guide in Osaka
Private Vehicle (4 hours)
Visiting Shinsekai is like entering a time capsule. A popular entertainment district since 1912, the spirit of the area has hardly changed since the postwar reconstruction boom of the 1950s. The only old architectural attraction that remains is 104m Tsutenkaku Tower, but the streets are densely packed with traditional Japanese restaurants tracing their heritage back to the beginnings of the district. The overblown outdoor advertising is decidedly 1960s in style and traditional Kansai restaurants dominate the streets. This is an opportunity to try plenty of local fare like takoyaki (octopus dumplings), okonomiyaki (Kansai pancakes) and especially kushi- katsu (deep-fried meat or vegetables on a wooden stick).
Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is Osaka’s most iconic building. Designed by Hiroshi Hara, the Japanese architect who also designed Kyoto Station, the 173-meter shiny high- rise structure of glass and steel consists of two separate towers joined at the top by a ring-like observation deck. This open deck, known as the Floating Garden Observatory, offers 360 degree panoramic views of Osaka and is a great way to see the whole city. It is reached by using the world’s highest escalator. The rest of the building is a popular recreation spot with gardens and restaurants. The basement of the building has a selection of eateries organized in narrow alleys designed to reflect a retro early twentieth century style.
Sumo Match in Osaka
Enjoy an afternoon watching the Sumo Grand Championship at EDION Arena, and discover how exciting this unique sport can be in a live setting. Sumo has ancient roots that initially saw it as a religious ceremony, and many of these traditions are still a part of the matches today. For example, the wrestlers – known as rikishi – throw salt into the ring as they enter to purify the space. Keep your eyes open in between matches as well for all the pageantry and tradition that goes into announcing the rikishi and their entrances into the arena. With its simple rules and constant moments of drama, sumo wrestling will surely find a way to pummel itself into your heart. Don’t be surprised if you exit the arena a newly-minted fan of Japan’s national sport.
4:30 pm to 8:30 pm Private Guided Evening Food Tour in Osaka (4 hours)
Get ready to experience some of Japan’s best casual cuisine as you sample your way through the city natives like to call 'Japan’s kitchen'. Osaka is home to some incredible dishes, and your private guide from the city’s best food tours knows all the top spots to eat in the busy Namba and Dotombori districts, including some insider gems. The ever-evolving menu can include takoyaki, okonomiyaki, sashimi, tempura, yakitori, as well as some of Japan’s finest sake and beer to wash it all down.
9:30 am to 2:30 pm Half Day Guide (5 hours) Guide in Osaka,
Private Vehicle (5 hours) Finish at Itami Airport
Cup Noodles Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history of instant ramen in Japan, and to the founder of instant ramen Momofuku Ando. In 1958, he invented the world's first 'Chicken Ramen' instant noodles after an entire year of research using common tools in a little shed he had built in his backyard in Ikeda-city, Osaka Prefecture. He also invented Cup Noodles in 1971 and Space Ramen (literally ramen that can be eaten in space) in 2005. The museum features a number of interactive exhibits and some interesting workshops.
My CUPNOODLES Factory
This section of the museum enables you to create your own completely original CUPNOODLES package. You will have the opportunity to design your cup, choose your soup and noodle toppings, and put it all together to create a cup noodles package you can take home with you. There are 5460 flavor combinations to choose from!
Located about 30 minutes north of Osaka by train from Umeda Station, Mino Park is a Quasi-National Park that is popular with Osakans seeking to escape the city for a day. The park is famous for Mino Falls, a 33-meter high waterfall surrounded by lush scenery. The falls attract a large number of visitors in autumn when the leaves begin to change colors. The park features several hiking trails that take you by historic buildings and Ryuanji Temple. The temple originally started as a temple for Shugendo, a mountain religion that later became a part of Buddhism in Japan. The founder of Shugendo, En-no- gyoja, is believed to have meditated under the Mino Waterfall and this led to the area becoming closely tied to Shugendo's mountain worship. Dinner at Michelin star, Naniwa Okina. Famous for their freshly made noodles, ramen, soups & gyoza.
Depart on Flight JAL 126. We hope you enjoyed your trip!
STEPPING OUT IN SWITZERLAND
Stepping Out in Switzerland
Switzerland has long been a progressive country that champions diversity and individual rights, and it's also very gay friendly. Sophisticated LGBT travelers come for the welcoming atmosphere, glorious lakes, and majestic mountains. Our custom itinerary includes the welcoming cities of Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne, taking in both the region's natural wonders along with its art and architecture highlights.
Hand picked Havens: Widder Hotel Zurich, the city’s most unique property crafted by 10 medieval houses fused with ancient stone, vibrant art and 17th century frescoes.
Mandarin Oriental Geneva is an Historical Heritage landmark, the former Hotel du Rhône, the first luxury hotel built after World War II. Reimagined by designer Adam Tihany, it’s an Art Deco gem with subtle, Asian accents.
Festivals Year Round
The Swiss calendar is crowded with LGBT festivals and celebrations—Arosa Ski Week in the winter, Zurich's Pink Apple Film Festival in the spring, and Gay Pride events in the summer. We can make arrangements for any of these popular events.
Zurich's Art Scene
Start your visit to Zurich with an art & architecture tour of the city with an art historian and private docent. Among the stops will be the last work by Switzerland's most famous architect, the Heidi Weber Museum–Center Le Corbusier, as well as the Kunsthaus and the Landesmuseum. After you have had your fill of culture, walk along the Bahnhofstrasse, the city's famous shopping street.
Zurich West was long an industrial area but in recent years it's transformed itself into one of the city's most exciting neighborhoods, home of open air cafés, dining, and clubs—gay, straight, and mixed. Spend a day, and evening, exploring this part of Zurich with our suggestions for the coolest stores and the hottest restaurants.
One of the most appealing aspects of Switzerland is that pristine nature is never far away. We can arrange for a car and driver to take you to sites like the Walensee, seen here, or the historic city of St. Gallen, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Baroque Abbey of St. Gallen. Both are less than two hours from Zurich.
To Winterthur and Back
Just to the north of Zurich, Winterthur is home to a unique art collection. Oskar Reinhart was born into one of the town's wealthiest families, and he began to collect art when he was just 22, in 1907. Eventually his purchases would form one of the world's most important collections of 19th-century French art, the Museum Oskar Reinhart, which he left to the Swiss people at his death. Your guide will get you to Winterthur and back with time to explore more of Zurich, before you continue on to Geneva on Day 5.
To Geneva and Lausanne
You'll depart today for Geneva and Lausanne, either by car or a more leisurely trip by train. In either case, there will be time to stop and explore some of the historic cities along the way, like Bern, Switzerland's capital—and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geneva and Lausanne offer a heady mix of both age-old history and contemporary arts, culture, and a gay scene. And both cities sit on stunning Lake Geneva.
In Geneva you'll find a historic city that manages to be both charming and elegant at once. Explore the medieval Old Town, walk along the lakefront with its views of the iconic Jet d'Eau, cross the Mont Blanc bridge, and smell the flowers in the vibrant Jardin Anglais. A fifth of Geneva is public parks, but the Jardin Anglais is the most popular of them all with its outdoor sculptures and meticulous landscaping.
A university town and cultural center, Lausanne is a city of students and entrepreneurs as well as the home of a vibrant gay scene. You can visit museums like the unconventional Musée d'Art Brut dedicated to outsider art or attend the Bejart Ballet, though leave some time to see the enormous 13th-century cathedral. When you are ready to check out Lausanne's LGBT scene, start at the Avenue du Tivoli, lined with popular bars and cafes.
South Africa A 40 day Crystal World Cruise that ended in Cape Town where we booked a stunning Royal Suite at the Silo Hotel and curated private art docent at The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art and The Vault Private Collection at Silo, a subterranean private gallery. Day 2, we curated a private heli flight to La Residence in Franschhoek with exclusive dining in Persian Alley complete with tastings and private touring of the village. The final Day 3, we arranged a luxury yacht to Robben Island that included scuba diving with sharks and private lunch on a nearby atoll.
For a single LGBTQ male CEO client wanted to tick India off his bucket list, so we arranged a custom tour that included private meeting with infamous LGBTQ activist "Prince Manny" Manvendra Singh Gohil, in Gujarat. He is the first openly gay prince in the world. He personally took our client around his charitable institutions that support the HIV & LGBT oppressed communities in India. Afterwards, we pulled out all the stops in a short visit to The Golden Triangle, of course, all Oberoi properties (new in Mumbai), Oberoi Suite overlooking Taj Majal in Agra with private visit to The Rashtrapati Bhawan to witness the change of guard ceremony in Delhi, excursion to Amber Fort with an Elephant ride up the hill and descend by jeep in Jaipur, next a Royal Grandeur Tour of the Chandra Mahal followed by glass of Champagne at a private venue at City Palace in Jaipur. Following we arranged an exclusive boat cruise on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, private viewing of City Palace in Udaipur, private visits to Crystal Gallery in Udaipur, private art lesson at The Mewar School of Art in Udaipur, Private Guide & Tiger Tracking at Relais & Chateaux Sher Bagh. The property is a rough luxe, 1920's styled luxury safari camp. We arranged personal touring by General manager Garth Hoveel, who has intimate expertise from his time in African camps whose expertise includes bird watching and local fauna and flora.