Japan with Michael Cimarusti

One Departure | Limited to 12 Guests | June 19 - 25, 2022

Heritage & Tradition

Experience Japan at its most timeless and delicious with chef Michael Cimarusti

June 19 - 25, 2022

Limited to just 12 people to maximize our local access!

7 Day, 6 Nights

The best of Kyoto, Miyazu, Ine Village, Sea of Japan

Price from

$9,750

Per person
Based on double occupancy

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

With every step you feel Japan’s ancient Wabi-sabi sense of finding beauty in fleeting moments, transient gifts connecting you to the present. You take in buttery cuts of fresh sashimi, tiered-temples alongside a matcha-colored river, misty forests and mountaintop meditations. You’re learning from local masters as you go—all about Kyoto’s enduring art of the simplest things: tea, miso, soy, sake, calligraphy. Kyoto, like no place, rewards those willing to breathe in, look close, feel deeply.

You explore with incredible company: chef Michael Cimarusti, a star of the Los Angeles food scene, whose brilliant takes on seafood have won him Michelin stars and James Beard awards. Michael studied in Kyoto under renowned chef Yoshihiro Murata. In our week together in Japan, Michael will introduce us to some of his favorites: local delicacies, markets selling the freshest ingredients, restaurants anchored in tradition and craft. Yes, we will be eating very, very well.

If your idea of the perfect vacation involves slowing down and experiencing a place deeply—and if you love really good sashimi—this trip is for you. We take it at a village-like pace, dining in traditional restaurants, reflecting in lush gardens and staying in traditional ryokan inns. If you’re fascinated by ancient rituals and artisans who’ve been perfecting their crafts for centuries, join us in Japan!

Savor

The best of Japanese cuisine with award-winning chef Michael Cimarusti by your side

Experience

Kyoto’s layers of history, escape to local fishing villages and quiet lesser-seen temples

Embrace

The quest for a perfectly imperfect life at serene ryokans and mountaintop meditations

Honor

Buddhist shrines, traditional tea ceremonies, and the timeless rituals of an ancient civilization

3 Reasons to Travel with Michael Cimarusti

Think of Los Angeles seafood and one name comes to mind: Michael Cimarusti. He's credited with taking LA's fine-dining scene to another level when he opened his modern American seafood restaurant, Providence, in 2005. His creativity and dedication to craft have earned him a James Beard award, two highly coveted Michelin stars, top spot on Jonathan Gold’s “101 Best Restaurants” list and a Gourmet magazine Top 50 Restaurants nod. Best of all he's personable, passionate and he loves Japan.

Passion for Seafood

“Seafood has inspired me in a personal way from the very start,” says Michael. “It is my duty to support its conservation and best practices, and it’s my privilege to showcase it on a nightly basis.”

He Loves Japan

Michael first visited Japan on a culinary fellowship, going deep into seafood with Michelin-starred Kyoto chef Yoshihiro Murata. Since then, Michael’s only become more inspired by Japanese culture and cuisine.

Focus on Tradition

A native of New Jersey, Michael grew up fishing with his grandfather and eating his grandmother’s Old World Italian dishes. His interest and appreciation for tradition, heritage and respect for food has grown into a storied career.

Your Experience

“Kyoto feels like an egg that takes a while to crack. Every time you go, you learn and see a little bit more.”
Michael Cimarusti

Kyoto, Miyazu, Sea of Japan

“There’s a greater reverence for seafood in Japan. They’re so good at caring for wild seafood and bringing it to market.”
Michael Cimarusti

Day by Day

Day 1

Yōkoso to Kyoto! Our journey begins early, as we meet Michael, then go deep into timeless Kyoto. A ginkgo tree-lined path leads us into the fabled Imamiya Shrine, where we make a wish with the ahokashisan stone then try aburi mochi, a roasted rice cake that’s been served here for a thousand years. Then we take a meditative stroll through the sprawling Zen gardens of the Daitoku-Ji Temple and feel a connection to the Buddha. We’ll cap off lunch at a local restaurant with a traditional tea ceremony led by a local master who will teach us the intricacies and history of the practice.

This evening, we peek into the Geisha’s world by wandering past theaters, teahouses and restaurants in Kyoto’s iconic Gion district. Appetites raised, our welcome dinner will be unforgettable. Surrounded by gardens and pines, our restaurant looks like a temple, with rooms peering over the skyline. As we feast and toast cups of sake, traditional performers pluck the three strings of the long-necked shamisen. What a start!

Day 1 Highlights

Visit ancient temples and “Geisha District”

Traditional lunch and dinner

Temple tea ceremony

Stay at Park Hyatt in Kyoto

Day 2

Everything is art in Kyoto. First we drop by a miso brewery and learn how this fermented paste of soybean and koji mold has ancient origins—and is used more than just as an earthy base for ramen! Afterwards we visit a four century-old soy sauce factory that artfully bottles highest quality sauces tailored for dishes, salads or soups. We’ll sample both, while learning of the city’s fetish with custardy yodofu tofu, at today’s traditional restaurant, then spend the afternoon exploring on our own. 

Brace yourself for an epic night. Japanese cuisine changed Michael’s life, and will change ours during our dinner feast created by Michael—and us! He’ll walk us through how to build a masterpiece, beginning by choosing local ingredients, then assembling a banquet step by step. Then, we eat in an unforgettable setting as the Kyoto night envelops us.

Day 2 Highlights

Visit traditional miso and soy sauce factories

Michael’s personalized cooking demo and locally sourced dinner 

Stay at Park Hyatt in Kyoto

Day 3

Our journey into serenity deepens today, as we relocate to the nearby Sea of Japan coast and settle into our ryokan—a traditional inn with attentive staff handing out slippers and ushering us into rooms overlooking the lush gardens.

Few foreign visitors make it here, but the scenery around Miyazu is of Japan’s most storied. We’ll feel it deeply with a meditation ceremony at the celebrated, mountain-top Nariaji Temple dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. We follow by immersing ourselves in the art of rice vinegar at one of Japan’s most famous breweries. We’ll see how the artisanal vinegar is made, and sample how it’s used. Back at our ryokan, we’ll dine together on a traditional kaiseki, a meticulously plated multi-course feast designed to embody omotenashi, or wholehearted hospitality.

Day 3 Highlights

Transfer to Miyazu 

Meditate at Nariaji Temple

Visit artisanal rice vinegar brewery

Stay at Monjuso Ryokan in Miyazu

Day 4

We all love sashimi. Today we see where much of Kyoto’s is sourced by visiting the quiet fishing village of Ine, almost a secret to most area visitors. We’ll walk along some of the 200 funaya boathouses huddling along a snaking bay below a skyline of lush mountains, then drop by the Mukai Sake brewery to see (and taste) how its iconic rice wine is made. Lunch is a feast of fresh seasonal fish and thickly sliced sashimi in a waterfront restaurant overlooking the bay’s gentle, clear waters.

Back in Miyazu, we’ll admire one of the fabled “Three Views of Japan.” The meandering Amanohashidate, or “Bridge to Heaven,” is a natural land bridge between mountainous coasts connecting Tango peninsula. It’s lovely to see, even if locals prefer seeing it upside down from the matanozoki platform!

Day 4 Highlights

Explore Ine fishing village

Learn how to make sake

Visit land bridge of Amanohashidate

Stay at Monjuso Ryokan in Miyazu

Day 5

Today, we pack up and say sayonara to the sea and return to Kyoto, where we set up in its leafy fringes on the riverside, the perfect base for temples and personal reflection. We begin our welcome back with a traditional vegetarian Buddhist lunch, or shojin-ryori, inside the grounds of a Tenryu-ji Temple with stellar views of its Zen garden. Then, it’s a visit to hilltop Okochi Sanso, the beloved villa of late actor Denjiro Okochi (who starred in the film version of the classic Kyoto-based novel, The Tale of Genji). We’ll peek into the home and amble about the intricate gardens with towering views of the city. 

Next, we move on to the atmospheric Gio-ji Temple to meander over its stepping stones through bamboo forests where moss gardens loom in the mist. Washed over with a tranquil feeling, we head back to the hotel for dinner on our own tonight.

Day 5 Highlights

Transfer to Kyoto

Visit Okochi Sanso mansion and gardens

Explore Kyoto’s famed Gio-ji Temple

Stay at Park Hyatt in Kyoto

Day 6

It’s our last day together, but our Kyoto immersion is far from over. As with food, handwriting is a beloved art. In our lesson of shodo calligraphy, we learn beauty and balance comes not just in what you write, but how you make flowing strokes with a deft brush. Afterwards, we’ll take our freshly dried scrolls, and drop by Kyoto’s iconic five-block Nishiki market, where we’ll pass the hundred food stalls serving the city’s freshest snacks, like the savory, pork-and-shrimp okonomiyaki pancakes topped in dry seafood.

But don’t snack too much! We’ll have a traditional lunch, then get some free time for last-minute souvenir hunting, before setting off for an all-timer dinner finale. We’ll enjoy a last meal together capped with sake toasts and enjoy how nightfall breathes Kyoto into a new mystic light.

Day 6 Highlights

Calligraphy lesson

Nashiki markets

Farewell dinner 

Stay at Park Hyatt in Kyoto

Day 7

After a thrilling experience, we meet for breakfast, then pack our things and newly made impressions, and transfer to the airport for our flights home where we’ll approach every endeavor with a new sense of calm and care. Until next time!

Day 7 Highlights

Transfer to airport

Thank you.

Where We Sleep

We blend the luxurious, modern world with ryokan-style rooms of tatami mats and sliding doors. And it all comes with a restoring dose of Japanese shibui, that notion of striking a peaceful harmony with nature.

Park Hyatt

Kyoto

Our Kyoto hillside retreat is an architectural beauty. This unique luxury hotel offers tranquil rooms highlighting local craftsmanship and garden views tucked away from the bustling Higashiyama streets. Integral to the Park Hyatt experience is harmony: with local landmarks and temples, spiritual gardens and the seasons. It’s their brand of distinctive hospitality and attention to detail that will make you feel right at home in Japan’s ancient capital.

Monjuso Ryokan

Mizuya

A night in a traditional Japanese ryokan is like an ancient ritual, where staff in kimonos offers slippers as you’re whisked to minimalist rooms of tatami mats and polished wood beams and sliding doors that opens to the lush gardens. The Monjuso is a perfect set-up for the experience, with delicious meals of freshly caught seafood and nice looks over the neighboring Amonohashidate, the natural land bridge that’s wooed Japanese artists for centuries.

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 Modern Adventure.
Elizabeth Z.
Everything was perfectly planned and amazing. We were able to explore places that most people never see.
Jennifer G.

Book Japan with Michael Cimarusti

Number of Travelers

Payment

$9,750

Per person
Based on double occupancy

Can't travel on these dates?
Call us at

+1 (855) 219-8018

Questions?

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?

    Six 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; gratuity for tour leader.

  3. Where does the trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins at the Park Hyatt Kyoto in Kyoto, Japan. The closest airport is the Kansai International Airport (KIX). Our adventure also ends in Kyoto, Japan. Your flight home from KIX airport should be scheduled to depart at 2pm or later on our final day.

  4. What travel documents are needed?

    US citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Japan for visits under 90 days, however they are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. 

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

    For solo travelers, there is a $2,500 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.

  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 February 19, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after February 20, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after April 20, 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).

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