One of the hottest new trends in travelling is culinary tours – food trips led by operators like Culture Bites that don’t just include multiple stops at restaurants, but actually offer planned expeditions to a range of culinary and cultural locations, led by local experts.
Trips to Japan are among of the most popular culinary tours for real food lovers. On the best adventures, well-chosen professional chefs and savvy food guides un-peel the cultural subtleties that make up the many-layered life and cuisine in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Those who have lived in Japan’s cities and understand their people, can explain ancient arts such as the tea ceremony, with a real geisha on hand to demonstrate the ritual. Modern regional cuisine known as Japanese kyodo ryori is also unravelled on such tours, with signature dishes offered to taste in each city.
On a professionally run culinary tour, participants also have the chance to take hands-on lessons that include everything from choosing food at the market to traditional preparation methods and even plating. All of these elements are explained in great detail, as the finer points are considered vital in understanding Japanese cooking culture.
Budding chefs can learn where to find the best razor sharp knife to slice and delicately arrange raw fish for sashimi, as well as how to buy, store and prepare the ingredients use in a range of Japanese dishes.
The dynamism offered through personalized cooking lessons makes a real difference. Whether learning how to entertain guests at home or practising skills to use in a restaurant, culinary tours team up travellers with highly skilled professionals that offer individualized learning experiences.
Trips can last a few days or several weeks, and participants choose from Japan’s top cities, with some tours even including Michelin-star restaurants, along with back street eateries and guided visits to famous cultural landmarks.
Itineraries are customized to suit each participant, and the teachers – who are often local chefs, filmmakers or architects – make each trip exciting, memorable and unique.