A one-of-a-kind Japanese Sake Tour in the San-in region of western Japan. Being well off the beaten track, San-in - encompassing Tottori and Shimane Prefectures - offers so much insight into the traditional heritage of sake, tea culture, and history.
Enjoy private tours of sake breweries, Japanese sweets makers, a masterful tea ceremony, and visits to artisanal food producers. The tour also offers time to explore the distinctive cultural heritage of the area and to relax at onsen (hot springs). Enjoy this region's delicious cuisine paired with shinshu (just-pressed sake).
Accommodation is in a balanced mix of excellent hotels and luxurious ryokans (Japanese-style inns).
Day 1 - Arrival In Tottori Prefecture
Arrive in Tottori Prefecture (you may fly with the group from Tokyo or join the group in Tottori). Upon arrival at Yonago Airport in Tottori drive to Chiyomusubi Shuzo Brewery. Stop for a delicious local lunch on charming Mizuki Shigeru Road.
Arrive at Chiyomusubi Shuzo and enjoy an introductory lecture by a renowned sake expert. A sake tasting will follow. Afterwards the group will enjoy a seafood and sake dinner at a local izakaya (pub). The town of Sakaiminato is known for Matsubagani crab and seafood. A representative from Chiyomusubi Shuzo will join the group for dinner. Plenty of just-brewed Chiyomusubi sake will be served with crab dishes and other local seasonal catch. After a remarkable meal a private car will return you to the hotel for the night.
Overnight: ANA Hotel Yonago (Western-style Twin) (Dinner included)
Day 2 - Shojin Ryori
Check out from the hotel and depart by car to the Adachi Museum of art. Stroll in the beautiful Japanese gardens and appreciate the collection of Japanese paintings and pottery from renowned artists. Then a car will take the group to Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the tranquil woods in Yasugi. Kiyomizu-dera is famous for the quality of its food, and an elaborate vegetarian meal (shojin ryori) will be served.
After lunch depart for Matsue, approximately 40 minutes away. Check in to the comfortable and convenient Route Inn around 3 pm, located walking distance from all this town. The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy at leisure in this charming town. You may choose to explore the city on your own to visit Lafcadio Hearn’s residence, Samurai Residence or take a Horikawa Boat ride. Catch the beautiful sunset over the Shinji-ko at Shimane Art Museum. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant of your choice. The group may end up together enjoying delicious local food and sake at a local izakaya.
Overnight: Route Inn Matsue (Western-style Twin) (Breakfast and Lunch included)
Day 3 - Sweets, Tea, Sake & Soy
Check out and leave your luggage at Ohashikan, located a block away. Drive to Furyudo, a traditional sweets maker, where you will learn about the intricate world of sweets and tea culture in Matsue. After lunch visit Rihaku Shuzo Brewery, where the group will be welcomed with a traditional tea ceremony. The tea master gives guests insights into the true culture and hospitality of Matsue. Afterwards we will enjoy a tour of the brewery and a sake tasting. Kanemori Shoyu is a soy sauce producer a few blocks from Rihaku Shuzo. The sake brewer will personally take the group to his neighbor to introduce local-style soy sauce brewed in a very traditional method.
We'll walk along the very scenic canals to find our way back to Ohashi-kan, your ryokan for the night. Ohashikan is situated right by the Ohashi Bridge with panoramic view of Lake Shinji-ko, where a river flows into the lake. Relax at the onsen (hot springs), change into your yukata robe, then enjoy multi-course banquet style dinner with local sake. A representative from Rihaku Shuzo will join us at dinner, which will showcase local seafood and sake.
Overnight: Onsen Ryokan: Ohashikan (Japanese-style Room) (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Day 4 - Yunotsu Onsen
Check out of Ohashikan. Prepare an overnight bag for your last night at Yunotsu Onsen. Begin the day with a walk to Yoneda Shuzo Brewery to learn about their sake brewing techniques and philosophy. You will also learn about their unique mirin and jidenshu (sweet cooking sake with umami) unique to this area. Afterwards we will take a local train from Matsue to Izumo. In Izumo we visit the Izumo Grand Shrine and the Shimane Museum of Ancient Art.
A private car will take us from Izumo to your ryokan, Kiunso, which is situated right at the heart of the sleepy town by the sea, Yunotsu Onsen. Relax at the onsen in our ryokan or enjoy the historic public baths across the street, where locals and Japanese tourists soak after long, cold winter days. A multi-course fresh seafood dinner with sake will be served at the ryokan.
Overnight: Onsen Ryokan: Kiunso (Japanese-style Room) (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Day 5 - Transfer to Hiroshima
This morning explore the town of Yunotsu on foot and tramp along a rocky coastal beach or visit a pottery studio where you can see a traditional kiln. After check-out we will visit the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan: Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, where you explore the old mining town accessible only on foot. Enjoy a very simple local homestyle lunch while enjoying a film taken during the restoration work of the 230 year old samurai residence, Abe-ke. The 2-hour round-trip hike to the shaft is optional.
Afterwards a private car will take you Hiroshima Airport for your connecting flight or train. You will arrive in Hiroshima around 5 pm. We recommend ANA flight 684 at 6:00 PM, arriving in Tokyo (Haneda) at 7:20 pm. If you are traveling by train, you can make your own arrangements from the Airport to JR Hiroshima Station by limousine bus. (Please note the flight is not included).
(Breakfast and Lunch included)
ANA Hotel Yonago
A distinct landmark of the San-In area, the ANA Hotel Yonago exudes sophistication and elegance. Dig in to traditional ‘Kaiseki’ cuisine and other local seasonal delicacies prepared with the finest fresh ingredients whilst enjoying the view of a beautiful Japanese garden at Unkai, the in-house Japanese restaurant. Boasting first class facilities and an impressive ambience, a stay at the hotel will be marked and branded with comfort and refined service cultivated through years of global hotel operations.
Route Inn Matsue
Great location close to Matsue Castle and hot spring.
Onsen Ryokan: Ohashikan
Ohashikan is located the heart of Matsue. With Matsue castle and sight seeing areas mostly with-in walking distance. Ohashikan over looks a beautiful view of Lake Shinji and Ohashi River. Relax in the natural hot spring known to be good for the muscle relaxation, blood flow and overall body ache healing. Enjoy traditional style foods and an exciting seasonal menu.
Onsen Ryokan: Kiunso
Stay at the quaint, tiny coastal onsen town of Yunotsu and enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening.