Japan with Matthew Biancaniello

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Celebrate Every Sense

Experience Japan at its most timeless and delicious with Matthew Biancaniello

Sept 28 - Oct 5, 2023

One exclusive departure — Join the waitlist or call us to check for availability, additional last-minute rooms may be available

8 Days, 7 Nights

The best of Tokyo, Izu, Osaka, Kyoto

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Per person based on double occupancy

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+1 (855) 219-8018

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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 even wasabi. Soon you’ll find yourself outside Kyoto, dining on a platform between waterfalls—the air fragrant with umbrella pine and the boar hot pot on your table. This is Japan, a place like nowhere else on the planet with a culture that rewards those willing to breathe in, look close and savor each moment.

You’re joined by ‘cocktail chef’ and Eat Your Drink author Matthew Biancaniello. He’s known around Los Angeles for shaking up innovative drinks — and dishes — that have garnered the attention of the New York Times, Forbes and the Los Angeles Times among others. (He also happens to be Martha Stewart’s favorite bartender.) Together in Japan, Matthew will introduce us to the art of omakase, a Japanese style of dining that can be interpreted as “chef, I trust you.” We couldn’t think of a better person to curate our culinary exploration on this unforgettable adventure.

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 Matthew Biancaniello.


With Matthew, 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 Matthew

When it comes to a creative philosophy, Matthew Biancaniello fully embraces the Japanese concept of omakase, which translates literally to “I’ll leave it up to you.” For Matthew, being in the moment opens up a world of possibility, one he’s explored behind the Library Bar at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, on screen for his A&E show Good Spirits, and in the pages of his recipe books Eat Your Drink and the upcoming Omakocktail.

Break the Rules

Matthew is the embodiment of the term 'connoisseur.' And he’s a rebellious one at that. If someone tells him certain flavors are not meant to be paired together, he’s going to find the right ingredients and prove them wrong.

Farm to Glass

Matthew is someone who can elevate any drink or dish he creates with the ingredients he’s foraged in the creeks of Malibu’s Solstice Canyon, and the stalls of Los Angeles farmers’ markets. You might even find sea moss sourced from his local beach on his ultra seasonal menus.

The Mad Hatter

A guava and curry infused old-fashioned, hard-boiled quail eggs as a garnish, mushroom-infused bitters. These are just some of the “did I read that correctly?” concoctions that put him in a league of his own.

Your Experience

“Japanese cuisine has a vibrancy and simplicity all of its own.”
Matthew Biancaniello

Tokyo, Izu, Osaka, Kyoto

“I'm looking forward to being surprised and looking forward to trying things I've never tried before.”
Matthew Biancaniello

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 truly special. Thanks to Matthew, we’ve been invited to Michelin-starred Udatsu Sushi. Not only will he introduce us to Chef, Hisashi Udatsu, but he’ll personally mix up a few apertifs to propel us through the tasting menu.

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. What’s in store? It’s technically a surprise, but let’s just say Matthew may be waving a list of his favorite local watering holes on a bar napkin.

Day 2: Tokyo Highlights

  • Lunch at Udatsu Sushi
  • Cocktails at SG Club
  • Dinner at Nogiguchi
  • Stay at Capitol Tokyu

Day 3: Tokyo

Our morning starts with a visit to Meiji Jingu, a tranquil shrine in the heart of western Tokyo and dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the great modernizer who opened up the country to outside influences in the late 19th century. We’ll exit onto residential streets of Sangubashi and Yoyogi Koen, stop for coffee at Little Nap, and set our sights on an immersive food tour through the backstreets of Yoyogi Uehara and Harajuku. Fried takoyaki filled with octopus and pickled ginger or one of Harajuku’s famous crêpes — we promise you’ll find something delicious.

After lunch, the day is yours to relax — possibly with a spa appointment back at the hotel — or to explore deeper in mesmerizing Tokyo. 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

  • Meiji Jingu shrine visit
  • Street food lunch
  • 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.

Next, we’ll immerse ourselves with all things tofu. This is a key moment for Matthew, so we’ll let him the lead the way as we tour a bustling tofu factory. After learning the nuances of preparation, we’ll sit down for a delicious lunch, fresh from the factory kitchen.

After a few hours of downtime, we’ll dine at Itsutsu for simple and sumptuous soba. Buoyed by an array of piquant noodles, we’ll paint the streets of Kyoto with Matthew, stopping for a nightcap at K6 Whiskey Bar.

Day 6: Kyoto Highlights

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Tofu factory visit
  • Dinner at Itsutsu
  • Stay at Mitsui Kyoto

Day 7: Kyoto

This morning we dive straight into Kyoto’s Ohara Market. An outpost for the area’s farmers, this place is teeming with fresh pastries and local produce. Hint: if Matthew seems to be procuring an overabundance of vegetables, it’s because he is. It’s all part of the secret preparation for our farewell festivities this evening.

After absorbing the bustle of the market, we depart to seek out the natural beauty of the region. Just a half hour from Kyoto proper sit the two picturesque villages of Kurama and Kubine; we’ll traverse the stone path between them—pausing to admire ancient bell towers and temples—only to dine among waterfalls. This is literal on-the-river dining and the food couldn’t be more seasonal and the atmosphere more serene.

After some down time in the afternoon, we’ll ready ourselves for a profound last evening in Kyoto. First, we’ll meet for a traditional tea ceremony, considered one of the classical Japanese arts of refinement, and a sacred step on the path to enlightenment.

Next, it’s time for a special happy hour—armed with seasonal produce from this morning’s market run, Matthew will improvise pre-dinner cocktails to whet our appetites for some of the most innovative cuisine in all of Japan.

Our meal tonight is curated by none other than Matthew’s good friend, Jacob Kear, at Michelin-starred Lurra. Expect meticulous and creative fusion. And for Matthew to slip behind the counter for a truly once in a lifetime dinner experience.

Day 7: Kyoto Highlights

  • Market visit
  • A walk between villages
  • Traditional tea ceremony
  • Dinner at Lurra
  • 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 Matthew Biancaniello

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 May 31, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after June 1, 2023 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 30, 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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