Japan with Michael Cimarusti

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Heritage & Tradition

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

June 18 - 24, 2023

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7 Day, 6 Nights

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

Price from


Per person based on double occupancy

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+1 (855) 219-8018

Join our waitlist, and we will contact you if and as space becomes available.

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 seafood—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!


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


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


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


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, Shodoshima, 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. We begin with one of the city’s beloved arts. 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.

Buoyed by the joy of the workshop, we’ll float down the street for a bento lunch and Michelin-starred, Shimogamo Saryo. After savoring dishes like steamed tilefish and grated turnip, we’ll make room for gratitude and contemplation at the 6th-century Shimogamo shrine.

To round out this exquisite introduction to Kyoto, we’ve been invited to Honda Miso, the exclusive provider to Japan’s royal family since the 1400s and with a miso-brewing program that changes according to the seasons.

As the evening descends on tranquil Kyoto, there’s still one more thing—a elaborate welcome dinner designed to awaken our senses to the dazzling intricacies of Japanese cuisine.

Day 1 Highlights

  • Calligraphy lesson
  • Lunch at Shimogamo Saryo
  • Shimogamo shrine visit
  • Stay at the Hotel Mitsui

Day 2

We start the day in pious repose at Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto. Whether you choose to stroll the serene grounds lost in thought or immerse yourself in meditation, we’ll have ample time to reset and relax.

Our minds clear and hearts full, we’ll follow Michael to one of the region’s most renowned tofu facilities, and we’ll learn the nuances behind its meticulous preparation. After an immersive tour, we dive right back into the bustle of Kyoto for a walking tour of the always vibrant Nishiki market. In the late afternoon, we’ll return to the hotel for some relaxation, for a truly epic evening awaits us.

Japanese cuisine changed Michael’s life, and will change ours during our dinner feast created by Michael! 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

  • Meditation at Keninji
  • Visit traditional tofu factory
  • Michael’s cooking demo and dinner 
  • Stay at the Hotel Mitsui

Day 3

Our journey into serenity deepens today, as we relocate to Shodō island and settle into our truly stunning ryokan—a traditional inn and the epitome of elevated minimalism: our lodging embodies the effortless grace of Japanese onsen culture. Its pine accents are understated, its kaiseki meals, simple and exquisite and the spa, serene and restorative.

Before we check in, however, we’ll make time for a visit to a soy sauce factory. Here, Michael will talk us through the myriad uses for this miracle marinade. 

We’ll have the afternoon to recharge at our ryokan before indulging in a meticulously plated multi-course feast designed to embody omotenashi, or wholehearted hospitality.

Day 3 Highlights

  • Transfer to Shodoshima
  • Soy sauce factory visit
  • Dinner at ryokan
  • Stay at Shimayado Mari

Day 4

We wake to a light and lively breakfast, and we’re promptly out to explore the dizzying sights of Shodoshima—from art installations and olive groves to staggering ocean vistas.

Our appetites worked up, we’ll duck in to a local cafe for one of Japan’s most famous exports, sashimi. With memories of yesterday’s soy sauce experience, we’ll treat ourselves to slice upon slice of this raw delicacy.

Our adventure continues as we go behind the scenes at a local Sake brewery to see (and taste) how its iconic rice wine is made. Our next stop on our thematic afternoon, is another local brewery, but this time we’ll dive deep into the burgeoning beer scene on the island. We’ll learn the ins and outs of the fermentation process and sample a flight of truly original beers. 

After a few toasts with the local brewmaster, we’ll cozy up to a no-frills, casual izakaya dinner—here we’ll cast aside the formality of fine dining and belly up to the counter for the ultimate Japanese comfort food.

Day 4 Highlights

  • Shodoshima tour
  • Brewery visits
  • Izakaya dinner
  • Stay at Shimayado Mari

Day 5

Today, we pack up and say sayonara to the sea and return to Kyoto with one special pit stop along the way. First, we ferry to Himeji for a guided tour of the best preserved castle in Japan. Completed in 1609, Himeji castle has never been destroyed, and it’s the most elegant of the country’s original 12 castles.

After spending some time on these majestic grounds, we’ll take the bullet train back to the city. Soon enough, Kyoto will welcome us back with open arms, and the afternoon and evening is yours to embellish.  See you in the morning.

Day 5 Highlights

  • Himeji castle
  • Transfer to Kyoto
  • Evening on your own
  • Stay at The Hotel Mitsui

Day 6

It’s our last day together, but our immersion is far from over. Today, we’ll spend the morning exploring the fabled Arashiyama district. Located on the fringes of towering mountains, we’ll visit the photogenic bamboo grove and seek out the district’s lesser known majesties like the poet’s house, imperial villas and monkey-filled parks.  

To commemorate our last full day in Japan, we’ve arranged a meditative lunch and tea ceremony at Daitokuji Temple. There’s nothing quite like the quiet beauty of a tea ceremony in Japan. It’s considered one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement, as well as a transformative practice that’s a fundamental step on the path to enlightenment.

After sharing our gratitude for such a rewarding week, we’ll finish the ceremony with a light lunch. The afternoon is yours to explore Kyoto and say your goodbyes to this magical city.

In the evening, we’ll meet up at the hotel and walk to our farewell dinner at Michelin-star restaurant, Koke. Expect a few rambling toasts and course upon course of simple and exquisite cuisine.

Day 6 Highlights

  • Arashiyama tour
  • Lunch and tea ceremony
  • Farewell dinner 
  • Stay at The Hotel Mitsui

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

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.

The Hotel Mitsui


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.

Shimayado Mari


The epitome of elevated minimalism, the Mari embodies the effortless grace of Japanese onsen culture. Its pine accents are understated, its kaiseki meals, simple and exquisite and the spa, serene and restorative.

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 Michael Cimarusti

Number of Travelers


Reserve your spot today with a $2,500 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?

    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 currently required to have a visa for tourist visits to Japan for visits under 90 days. We will reach out directly with full details and requirements.

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

    For solo travelers, there is a $2,750 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 February 18, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after February 19, 2023 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after April 19, 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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