Japan with Justin Cogley

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Heart & Soul of Japan

Experience Japan at its most timeless and delicious with Chef Justin Cogley

November 3 - 10, 2023

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8 Days, 7 Nights

The best of Tokyo, Izu, Osaka, Kyoto

Price from


Per person based on double occupancy

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+1 (855) 219-8018

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You’ve experienced more in the past few days than the past few years. First Tokyo, a Blade Runner-like world of subways and skyscrapers, tiny ramen shops and tinier speakeasies. Then, nestled in the sweeping valleys of Mt Amagi, the restorative hot springs of Izu. And who could forget Kyoto, ablaze with scarlet maple leaves, its crooked canals and ancient shrines that emanate centuries of tradition? And now, you’re seated outside a historic temple for a winter nabe (traditional claypot meal) dreamt up and served by a Michelin-starred chef whose connections here run deep. This is total immersion in the magic of Japan, and there’s nowhere in the world you’d rather be.

This is no ordinary trip to Japan hosted by the supremely talented Justin Cogley, executive chef of the world-renowned Aubergine restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea on California’s Central Coast. Here, Justin has racked up awards including: Food & Wine Best New Chef, Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, a Michelin star, a Grand Chef nod from Relais & Châteaux, Forbes’ five-star rating of excellence, and a Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Award — and that is the short list. Perhaps all of this attention is due to the fact that Justin truly cares about the experience he delivers to his guests. We can’t wait to watch first hand as Justin, a frequent traveler and lover of Japan, shows us the art, culture, food, and outdoors through his lens.

If you find joy in immersing yourself deeply in Japanese culture and cuisine, this trip is for you. If you’re fascinated by ancient rituals and artisans who’ve been perfecting their crafts for centuries, join us in Japan alongside Justin Cogley.


With Justin and with some of Japan’s most inspiring chefs and working artists


Tokyo and Osaka—the most exciting, dynamic food cities in the world. We'll eat everything


Kyoto's layers of history, back-alley noodle joints, bustling markets, swanky cocktail bars


Grace, beauty and centuries of history at monumental shrines and traditional ryokan inns

3 Reasons to Travel with Justin Cogley

In a previous life, Justin was a professional figure skater who tasted his way across continents on tour. One of the largest lessons he picked up in life — and still practices as a chef — was at a Japanese gas station. It was the level of care and detail in a simple job that struck him as he watched the attendants fuel the car, squeegee the windows. Today, his kitchen runs on that same philosophy of respect for the common task.

The Hidden Places

Justin knows how to enjoy the finer things in life, but he also loves the simple pleasures. From eight-seat cocktail bars and department-store food stalls to elevated sushi dinners, we will experience a little of everything from Justin’s Japan playbook. And it will no doubt be delicious.

A Story in Every Ingredient

As the visionary of Aubergine’s restaurant and culinary programs, Justin believes in sourcing the finest ingredients — some of which come directly from Japan: weekly shipments caught fresh by Japanese fishermen, wasabi straight from a family farm in the mountains.

Healthy Living

Justin is a triathlete and long-distance runner. For him, it’s not only an outlet but an inspiration. He’s the person to tap for hiking and running trail recommendations in Carmel. Some of his favorite routes decorate Aubergine’s dining room walls as custom illustrations.

Your Experience

“That fresh smell in the air, mountains outside the cities, grilled fish on the sidewalks — that's what I remember when I think about Japan.”
Justin Cogley

Tokyo, Izu, Osaka, Kyoto

“So much care goes into Japanese cuisine. You just don't see that really anywhere else.”
Justin Cogley

Day by Day

Day 1: Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo, the world’s greatest food city, and home to more Michelin stars than any other city (even Paris). We’ll start off the morning on foot, exploring lively Kappabashi, otherwise known as ‘Kitchen Street’, that will — after a few curated detours — culminate in a ramen workshop and sumptuous lunch in Asakusa.

After downtime back at our hotel, we’ll reconvene and stand witness to centuries of tradition and history at Akagi Shrine. Then we’re off to our truly spectacular welcome dinner. Our first course is a sake tasting with special guest and sake expert Nick Coldicott, author of Tokyo Cocktails. Dinner is a personal culinary love letter from chef Hideki Ohnishi of Kisaiya Hide — he’ll dazzle us with sashimi, nasu (eggplant) salad and dishes that remind him of home in Shikoku: taimeshi (snapper) served with Japan’s finest rice. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the start of our adventure.

Day 1: Tokyo Highlights

  • Explore Kappabashi
  • Ramen workshop & lunch
  • Sake tasting & dinner at Kisaiya Hide
  • Stay at Capitol Tokyu

Day 2: Tokyo

We’ll spend our morning exploring Tokyo’s Ginza district and the Mitsukoshi food hall; it’s one of Tokyo’s fabled depachika – the underground department-store food halls where artfully packaged delicacies are displayed like precious museum artifacts.

Lunch is a private, hands-on sushi master class with Angel and Daisuke Shimazaki at Sushi Yuu. Chef Daisuke is an up-and-coming culinary star. His quiet backstreet restaurant is small and intimate; his sushi and sashimi are close to perfection. The afternoon is yours to explore the surrounding Roppongi district.

Our evening begins with a sunset view — a panorama of Tokyo from the Shibuya Sky Viewing Platform — and a float down to Earth for a cocktail at SG Club, one of “Best 50 Bars” in Asia. Dinner tonight is yakitori — grilled meat, skewered and sauced to perfection — at intimate Nogiguchi, a perfect basecamp for the rest of the evening.

Day 2: Tokyo Highlights

  • Lunch at Sushi Yuu with Daisuke Shimazaki
  • Cocktails at SG Club
  • Dinner at Nogiguchi
  • Stay at Capitol Tokyu

Day 3: Tokyo

The morning starts with one of Justin’s favorite things in the world—a morning jog around the sleepy streets of the city. Feel free to join him or to sleep in and revel in the creature comforts of our Tokyo sanctuary.

Just make sure you’re up for lunch as it’s truly extraordinary. On the 7th floor of the Four Seasons, inside a dining  room designed by André Fu, we’ll be honored guests at Sézanne, a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Justin’s friend, Daniel Calvert.

After this intimate meal, the afternoon is yours to embellish. You can follow our guide to Meiji Jingu, a tranquil shrine in the heart of western Tokyo, or you can simply roam the streets on your own. With its Blade Runner-like highways, towering skyscrapers lording over quiet back alleys and a dazzling kaleidoscope of shops and restaurants, there’s no such thing as a ‘wrong turn’ here.

Day 3: Tokyo Highlights

  • Optional jog with Justin
  • Lunch at Sézanne
  • Optional Meiji Jingu shrine visit
  • Stay at Capitol Tokyu

Day 4: Tokyo to Izu

We wake early to the organized chaos of the wholesale fish market in Toyosu. Each day chefs from Tokyo and beyond purchase more than 3,000 tons of fresh fish and seafood. We’ll wander the market floor and select our own sashimi for our lunch in Izu.

After a short Shinkansen (bullet train) journey we’ll arrive in Izu. This is the wettest part of Japan, and the climate is ideal for cultivating wasabi (Japanese horseradish) in uniquely designed water terraces. We’ll tour behind the scenes at a local wasabi farm, and sit down to a family-style meal of sashimi and fresh seasonal vegetables.

The cable car up to Panorama Park gets us one of the finest views of Mount Fuji (assuming the weather is kind). After admiring her sacred summit, we’ll head to our lodging for the night: a traditional ryokan (inn). It’s a stunning 150-year-old architectural museum surrounded by nature, with its own natural hot springs. Here, bathing in the traditional baths, we commit ourselves to pure relaxation. Dinner is a traditional kaiseki meal, each small dish jewel-like in its presentation.

Day 4: Tokyo to Izu Highlights

  • Toyosu fish market
  • Wasabi farm tour & lunch
  • Hot springs & kaiseki dinner
  • Stay at Arai Ryokan

Day 5: Osaka & Kyoto

We’ll board the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka; traveling at 200 miles per hour, it’s a no-hassle, two-hour journey. Osaka’s reputation as the culinary heart of Japan is built on its concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants (99 at last count), its excellent street-food scene, its openness to foreign cuisines, and two delicious indigenous snacks: okonomiyaki (yam-flour pancakes filled with seafood, pork, kimchi) and tako yaki (octopus doughnuts). We’re here specifically for the street foods — our lunch is a delicious movable feast on foot.

In the late afternoon we’ll head out for Kyoto, Japan’s capital from the 12th to 19th centuries and one of the most visually stunning cities in the country. After we settle in to our gracious hotel in the heart of Kyoto, adjacent to Nijo-jo Castle, the evening is ours to explore the city’s graceful waterways and shrines, or to wander the back lanes of the historic Gion district, famous for its geisha culture.

Day 5: Osaka & Kyoto Highlights

  • Bullet train to Osaka
  • Street-food lunch
  • Transfer to Kyoto
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 6: Kyoto

For an overview of Kyoto, we’ll venture just outside the central districts to Fushimi Inari Shrine. There’s time to explore the mountain trails, or simply to admire the thousands of bright red torii (wooden gates), curving in parallel rows along the trails. At this time of year the leaves are turning to autumnal scarlet. It’s a stunning sight.

It’s said that Zen monks first brought green tea from China to nearby Uji some 800 years ago. We’ll explore the history — and taste a variety of traditional teas — at a local tea farm, before a traditional and highly seasonal tempura lunch.

Before returning to Kyoto proper, we’ll make time to explore the stunning grounds of Byodoin Temple, built in the 11th century by Buddhists to mark the beginning of the end of the world. We’ll have ample time to stroll the grounds and contemplate. To cap off our day, we’ll dine at Honka Owariya, Japan’s oldest Soba house. Over plates like stir-fry lotus root and Chinese cabbage and pork belly stew, we’ll reflect on a magical day of quiet inspiration.

Day 6: Kyoto Highlights

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Uji farm & tea tasting
  • Dinner at Honka Owariya
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 7: Kyoto

We’ll explore craft and artisanship in three different forms this morning. First in food, at Honda Miso, exclusive provider to Japan’s royal family since the 1400s and with a miso-brewing program that changes according to the seasons. At House of Hosoo the focus is fabrics and textiles of unequaled beauty. We’ll wrap the morning at Raku Museum, next door to the Raku family home and workshop, with a collection of ceramics made by successive heads of the Raku family for more than 450 years.

The afternoon is yours to explore Kyoto on your own. We’ll reconvene in the early evening for a traditional tea ceremony, considered one of the classical Japanese arts of refinement, and a sacred step on the path to enlightenment.

Our farewell dinner tonight — in the Myoshinji Temple complex, with its manicured pathways and graceful gardens — is equally rooted in tradition: a classic winter nabe (traditional clay hotpot) prepared by Justin, restorative and warming. We’ll share a joyful toast  and celebrate our week of adventure and connection.

Day 7: Kyoto Highlights

  • Meet-ups with masters of craft
  • Traditional tea ceremony
  • Dinner at Myoshinji Temple with Justin
  • Stay Mitsui Kyoto

Day 8: Kyoto

Alas, our journey has come to an end. As we say goodbye to our new friends, we know that we’ll have to return, and soon. In the meantime, the soul of Japanese cuisine and craft will travel home with us, helping us find the beauty wherever we look.

Day 8: Kyoto Highlights

  • Final breakfast
  • Group transfer to Osaka's KIX airport for flights home

Where We Sleep

We blend the luxurious, modern world with ryokan-style rooms with a restoring dose of Japanese shibui, that notion of striking a peaceful harmony with nature.

Capital Tokyu


This skyscraper hotel boasts panoramic views of the city below, with traditional Japanese-style architecture design that lets guests rearrange the sliding doors and shoji paper screens to suit their changing moods. It’s the perfect oasis for resting and recovering from a long flight and the tumult of the buzzing city streets below.

Arai Ryokan


Ancient traditions are alive and well at this luxurious 150-year-old ryokan, its traditional architecture and sleeping quarters providing an oasis of calm and a respite from the cares of the world. Legend has it that this ryokan's on-site hot spring was brought forth 1,200 years ago to allow a devoted son to wash his ailing father’s back. Today the gentle, mildly alkaline waters continue to soothe the spirit.

The Mitsui Kyoto


An ode to ancient Japanese tea ceremonies, each room translates centuries of tradition into quiet luxury—spacious bathrooms carved with stone and artisanal cypress accents flow into the hotel’s majestic courtyard and breathtaking spa. It's a true sanctuary in the heart of Kyoto, with the historic Nijo-jo Castle just across the street.

Unique access to people and places. This was a trip we could not have done without Modern Adventure.
Scott F.
One of the best weeks of my life. I definitely want to do another trip with MO/AD.
Elizabeth Z.
Everything was perfectly planned and amazing. We were able to explore places that most people never see.
Jennifer G.

Book Japan with Justin Cogley

Number of Travelers


Reserve your spot today with a $1,500 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs


Per person based on double occupancy

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That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What does the price include?

    Seven nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals.

  2. What does the price not include?

    International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in itinerary; all gratuities for tour leaders and local guides.

  3. Where does the trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins at the Capital Tokyu Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. There are two airports servicing Tokyo – Narita International Airport (NRT) and Tokyo International Airport, Haneda (HND). Our adventure ends in Kyoto, Japan. Your flight home from Kansai International Airport (KIX) should be scheduled to depart at 2pm or later on our final day.

  4. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens do not need a visa to visit Japan for Business or Tourism purposes. Requirements are subject to change and we will reach out directly with full details and updates.

  5. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    For solo travelers, there is a $2,950 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. These spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    This adventure has a maximum of 12 guests. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.

  7. Who is leading this trip?

    This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure trip leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.

  8. What is the cancellation policy?

    You may cancel on or before July 6, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after July 7, 2023 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after September 4, 2023 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being cancelled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details). Please note that your cancelation terms may differ if you are being transferred from a prior departure; see your correspondence from Modern Adventure for details.

  9. Do I need Travel Insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

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