Superbly located opposite the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park in the Marunouchi district, and within minutes’ walk of the shopping capital of Ginza, The Peninsula Tokyo offers commanding views of the Japanese capital skyline, sophisticated facilities, extraordinary dining options, and the legendary Peninsula service.
The Peninsula Tokyo was once again named a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel in 2022, the seventh consecutive year that the hotel has received the coveted ranking in the publisher’s annual announcement of the world’s finest properties. The hotel’s Peninsula Spa also received Forbes Five-Star status for the eighth year in a row.
Anime (Japanese animation) and manga (comics) are loved throughout the world and are just as important a piece of Japanese culture as more traditional arts. On this half-day tour, a local guide will take you around to discover a place that has appeared in anime in the past.
The first stop is Yotsuya Suga Shrine which was used in the final and most emotional scene of Makoto Shinkai’s hit anime movie “Your Name”. Spend some time exploring the shrine and note all the “ema” votive tablets featuring fan-drawn pictures of the characters from the movie.
Next, visit Tokyo Station’s “Character Street”. Located in its basement find numerous shops dedicated to hundreds of recognizable anime characters. From Pokemon to Studio Ghibli, Sanrio to Shonen Jump, there are sure to be many shops that suit your interests.
Let your guide know what interests you and they will take you to the shop in question. Your experience includes some free time to do a little shopping. Upon the conclusion of your tour, you will be dropped off back at your hotel.
Modern Tokyo is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, but nearby Kamakura once held that title. Kamakura was the former de facto capital of Japan and was the seat of the Shogunate during the Kamakura period, from 1185 – 1333, but today is a small, sleepy seaside town renowned for its numerous temples, shrines, and other historical attractions. Travel with your local guide for approximately an hour outside of Tokyo by private vehicle to discover this historical and spiritual side of Japan.
Start with a visit to Kotokuin Temple, home to the Daibutsu, a giant sitting bronze Buddha towering 43 feet high. Next, explore Hasedera Temple, belonging to the Jodo sect and famous for its 30-foot tall gilded wooden statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The statue depicts Kannon with eleven heads, each representing a characteristic of the goddess, and it is one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.
Delve into the spiritual heart of Kamakura at the 12th-century Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, one of the city’s most popular attractions. The shrine was originally founded by Minamoto Yoriyoshi in 1063, then enlarged and moved to its present site by Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura government, in 1180. The shrine was dedicated to Hachiman, the Shinto god of war and patron of the Minamoto family. End the day at a leisurely pace browsing for local souvenirs and delicacies on Komachi Street.
Visit the small town of Sawai to visit a traditional sake brewery.
Ozawa Brewery was first founded in 1702, making it one of the oldest breweries in the region. Their casual name is “Sawanoi”, taken from the area, Sawai, which is synonymous with some of the clearest waters you can find in the Tokyo area. Their “Okutama” sake is renowned as being one of the most beloved by Tokyoites for generations.
You will take a local train to Sawai with a guide (as these are local trains, please be aware that seats cannot be reserved) and after exploring the local area, you’ll be taken to enjoy an early but delicious tofu-based lunch before being taken on a tour of the brewery with the help of a brewery employee who will reveal the secrets of creating sake.
The tour is in Japanese, but your guide will be on-hand to translate for you. Afterward, enjoy a cup of sake before visiting the brewery’s sake-tasting center, where you will have the chance to try three to five cups of their delicious sake. Before returning to Tokyo, there will be time to peruse the brewery’s sake shop or explore the beautiful nature of the area.
You will visit a typical Japanese home to learn the art of sushi making. Meet your guide at your hotel, and transfer by private vehicle to the local home for your class. Your guide will answer all your questions about Japanese culture and everyday life in Tokyo during the transfer.
Learn to prepare maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkan maki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish). You will then get to enjoy your homemade sushi for lunch. At the end of the sushi lesson, transfer back to your hotel. Afterward, time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Good luck with the Marathon!!! You’ll meet our local ramen expert at your hotel and set out for a night of discovery and discernment for this seemingly humble meal. Born in Tokyo, and raised on ramen, you are paired with our go-to expert in Tokyo for this world-famous delicacy.
You will head to two, top recommended ramen shops and you will be able to enjoy four, mini-bowls of steaming hot ramen. Your guide will be happy to share their passion for noodles with you and explain why these particular restaurants are some of the best in town as different cooking and serving styles, different ambiances, and techniques are highlighted.
You’ll soon find no two ramen shops are the same — they all have a specialty whether it’s the deep flavor of their broth or the texture of the noodles.
* Note: Please let your Destination Expert know should you have any dietary restrictions or are vegetarian. Accommodations can be made where possible. The tab for your first round of drinks is covered in the tour — additional drinks or snacks are to be paid for on the spot.
A sky-high stay with river views! Conrad Osaka is on the highest floors of the Nakanoshima Festival West Tower. Festival Hall is next door via an underground link, and we’re connected to Higobashi and Watanabebashi rail stations.
Umeda is within walking distance, and Osaka Castle is three kilometers from our hotel. They offer a spa, five restaurants, and floor-to-ceiling windows in every room.
ACTIVITIES in OSAKA, JAPAN
Osaka is one of Japan’s most vibrant cities and is especially known for its lively people – and its food. Your guide will introduce you to the splendors of Osaka’s casual cuisine, venturing into the epicenter of street food culture in Osaka: Dotonbori.
Dotonbori is a famous pedestrian-only restaurant street in Osaka’s boisterous Namba district. Famous for its vast array of culinary options, Dotonbori is known as a food paradise throughout Japan. This is where Kansai people come to celebrate! Colorful eateries and bars line the neon-filled streets: hole-in-the-wall takoyaki stands and street-side ramen bars rub shoulders with upscale eateries serving the finest wagyu beef – and everywhere, people – young and old – out to enjoy the culinary pleasures of the nation’s most famous restaurant district. You’ll have the chance to sample a variety of local foods, including the famous and ubiquitous takoyaki (commonly known as “octopus balls”) and kushikatsu (skewered meats and vegetables).
Your guide can also take you to a huge variety of other establishments, from ramen noodles to izakaya bars. The cost for your orders here will be on you. Afterward, your guide will take you back to your hotel, or direct you elsewhere nearby if you prefer to keep eating and drinking!
With your guide, journey by Shinkansen and local train to Uno Port (1 hour, 45 minutes) where you will catch the ferry to Naoshima. Spend the day exploring the island. Honmura, a small port town on Naoshima’s eastern coast, is home to the Art House Project, a collection of abandoned houses, workshops, a temple, and a shrine, all of which have been converted into venues for contemporary art by artists from Japan and abroad.
The art houses are scattered throughout town, and most of them are unassuming from the street, blending into the surrounding traditional Japanese neighborhood. The interior of each, however, has been given over to artists to convert into whatever suits their artistic vision. The Chichu Art Museum is a unique modern art museum built on a hillside overlooking the southern coast of Naoshima.
The museum building, designed by Ando Tadao and itself a work of art, is mostly located underground and solely utilizes natural light to illuminate the artwork creating a viewing experience that is heavily influenced by the surrounding natural environment. You will also visit the Benesse House Museum before getting back onto the ferry to Uno and taking the train journey back to Osaka.
Enjoy a tour of Kobe with a knowledgeable local guide. Take a leisurely stroll in the historical, hilly Kitano district, where the first houses of Western merchants and diplomats still stand, then head to Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum, where you can see how Kobe’s famous “Sake” is made and how the brewing history started.
In the afternoon, after a stroll through Kobe’s famous Chinatown, visit the Hanshin-Awaji Disaster Centre, documenting the quake that nearly destroyed Kobe in 1995 and the complicated relationship between Japan and earthquakes.
If there is time, the tour will end with a pleasant walk in the Kobe port district before returning to your hotel.