Japan with Mark Bitterman
Limited to Just 12 People | May 20 - 26, 2022Book Now
Salt, Earth & Sea
Explore Japan and celebrate its most ancient natural treasure with Mark Bitterman
May 20 - 26, 2022
One exclusive departure limited to just 12 people
7 Day, 6 Nights
Best of Okinawa and Kyoto
You feel Japan’s ancient beauty in each fleeting moment. Each step has been a transient gift connecting you to the present. The azure, mineral-rich sea foaming at your feet, tiered temples alongside a matcha-colored river, misty forests and mountaintop meditations. You’re learning from local masters as you go—all about Japan’s enduring art of the simplest things: ceramics, sake, soy. And salt, at its most ancient, pure and elemental. Japan, like no place, rewards those willing to breathe in, look close and feel deeply.
With you on this seven-day Japanese adventure is Mark Bitterman, world-class selmelier, whose iconic Portland shop, The Meadow, just so happens to have an outpost in Tokyo. Mark is big in Japan—and Japan, with its thousand-year-old salt harvesting traditions, is equally important to him. This is more than just a trip for Mark; it’s a pilgrimage to the source, a chance to share his passions with us in a place where the pure and simple things are so deeply revered.
If you’re passionate about art and design, and the natural world in all its glory, this trip is for you. We’ll be awestruck by ancient rituals and generations of artisans. We’ll explore what makes Okinawa and Kyoto so profoundly unique and uncover how a single salt crystal held in the palm of your hand can be the most enlightening thing in the world. Prepare yourself for a week of wonder.
The ancient traditions and rituals of harvesting salt with our own salt expert
The subtropical beauty, unique culture and rich climate of Okinawa
The artistry of local masters who’ve been practicing their craft for centuries
The philosophy of wabi-sabi, finding beauty in the small and humble
3 Reasons to Travel with Mark Bitterman
Mark is a self-proclaimed “selmelier,” a James Beard Award-winning writer and leading expert on culinary salts. Yes, that is a thing, and he is it. Mark is also founder of The Meadow, a go-to for craft salts, chocolate and handmade bitters operating across four locations, three cities and two continents. Mark is always on the hunt for more of that tasty NaCl. Plus, he’s a world traveler who’s hungry to explore Japan with us!
Before opening The Meadow and writing a whopping five books on our friendly sodium chloride, Mark spent two decades traveling through Europe. He lived in France, restored a chateau and met top chefs who instilled in him a love of salt that obviously never went away.
He's a Food Hero
At least Cooking Light thinks so. He’s also been named a Tastemaker in Food & Wine, and has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Esquire, and on All Things Considered, Bizarre Foods, History Channel and more. People want to know what he has to say about salt!
Sense of Place
Mark loves Japan—one of The Meadow’s four locations happens to be in Shinjuku, Tokyo. And Japan loves salt. Mark’s excited to explore the elemental side of Japan from salt to the aromatics. And he’s the guy to do it with.
With its enchanting views of the China Sea stretching away from nearby Kise beach, this is the perfect place to really feel Okinawa in all its enduring, regal beauty. Follow the bamboo tunnel down a lush garden path to the spa, located on the edge of a primitive forest, where treatments utilize indigenous healing practices and botanicals like the getto plant, a member of the ginger family revered for its rejuvenating properties.
Built on a site favored by Japanese nobility since the 17th century, the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is the epitome of quiet luxury, set against the tranquil backdrop of the Kamo River. Relax with a spa ritual inspired by Japan’s wellness traditions, or head out to the nearby shops and restaurants within easy walking distance. It's the perfect base for us in Kyoto.
Book Japan with Mark Bitterman
What does the price include?
Six nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; internal flight from Okinawa to Kyoto; 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.
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; gratuity for tour leader.
Where does the trip start and end?
Our adventure begins at the Ritz-Carlton in Okinawa, Japan. The closest airport is the Naha Okinawa Airport (OKA). Our adventure ends in Kyoto, Japan. The closest airport is the Kansai International Airport (KIX). Your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 1pm or later from here.
What travel documents are needed?
US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays in Japan of under 90 days. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Japanese embassy or consulate for information and requirements.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
For solo travelers, there is a $2,700 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who is going on this trip?
This Modern Adventure is limited to just 12 people, plus our Modern Adventure team. 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.
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.
What is the cancelation policy?
You may cancel on or before January 20, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after January 21, 2022, there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after March 21, 2022 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).