11 Days | 05 – 15 September 2019

$AUD8565 per person twin share. Tokyo to Osaka.

Discover Japan’s Unique Cocktail Culture
with Phillip A. Jones, our Martini Whisperer.

Our program is a world first and will appeal to both the newcomer to Japan, and those already familiar with the country as we explore another aspect of Japan’s culture.

Tour Overview

Japan is recognised as a land steeped in history with a unique cultural background. Visitors find centuries old religious and festival activities amidst modern cities and more traditional farming villages. This, exemplifies the vast contrasts found in Japan, contrasts that make Japan unique and a popular destination.

The typical Japan bar scene is characterised as tiny places serving sake, beer, spirits and snacks catering for business men late into the night.

A stunning change in recent years has seen numerous cocktail bars featuring highly skilled mixologists, both veteran and a new wave, designing exquisite world class drinks that challenge the stereotypical bar scene. These bars are very influential for their innovation and expertise around the world.

The same dedication to craft that is the hallmark of Japanese arts is now applied to the making of some of the world’s finest cocktails and craft spirits. 

Phillip will introduce you to his hand-picked selection of small elite bars where you will experience top class mixologists prepare your cocktail. We‘ll also learn recipes and skills at our Martini Masterclass, visit sake brewers and craft gin and whisky distillers, shop at specialist bar equipment and spirits stores, and enjoy a cooking class.

We arrive into Tokyo for four nights, visiting iconic sights, visit several bars and meet their mixers, shop for bar hardware, and visit the Suntory Distillery.

Speed to Kyoto by shinkansen train for three nights exploring the Kyoto bar scene and perhaps some jazz. A range of sightseeing and related activities are included.

After a night of luxury at our special ryokan we travel to Kobe, the sake centre of Japan, and discover new ways of using this iconic spirit.

Our final place is Osaka and we explore their approach to cocktails, visit brewers, museums, and tourist sights.

Japanese mixologists have developed numerous ‘Japanese’ cocktails each of which are stunning and objects of art. During the tour we’ll also encounter the makers of fine Japanese spirits, including the new wave of superb Japanese gins and whisky.

Of course, we include many ‘must-do’ activities, suggest suitable dining, and set you shopping with time to relax along the way.

11 Days | 05 -15 September 2019 | $8565.00AUD per person twin share. Single room supplement: $989.00 AUD.

Tokyo to Osaka. Group of between 12 and 15 guests ensuring personal attention.

Itinerary

Day 00: Wed 04 September – Australia to Japan

At the appropriate time depart Australia for Tokyo. A day flight arrives this evening requiring an extra night’s accommodation. An overnight flight arrives breakfast time tomorrow.

Day 01: Thursday 05 September – Arrive Tokyo

On arrival make your way to accommodation. Depending on arrival time you may avail of our single transfer from airport to hotel. Full details will be provided on how to reach your hotel if you need to use the limousine bus or train.

This evening, an optional visit to Ginza nightlife is available.

Day 02: Friday 06 September – Tokyo

By the efficient public transport, we have a busy day that includes iconic Tokyo attractions including the Edo museum, Asakusa Kannon temple and the Imperial grounds. Additionally, we visit specialist glass, liquor and bar implement stores. In the evening visits to two famous cocktail bars are included. (B)

Day 03: Saturday 07 September – Tokyo

Continue our sightseeing with the impressive Meiji shrine, and ‘hipster’ Harajuku and Omotesando. Lunch today follows our hands-on sushi workshop which will then eat. After we can fit in Department store or two.

This evening our bar set includes both old and new businesses, each with their own strong characteristics. (BL)

Day 04: Sunday 08 September – Tokyo to Hakushu

A wonderful day trip into the hills as we drive to Hakushu to visit and tour the Suntory Distillery, a substantial establishment set in picturesque mountain setting. Tour, shop, and restaurant. Return to Tokyo in late afternoon. (B).

Day 05: Monday 09 September – Tokyo to Kyoto

The adventure continues with a shinkansen train to Kyoto and visit some of the sights, followed by a cocktail or two.

Phillip will conduct his Martini Masterclass in Kyoto. (B).

Torii gates

Day 06: Tuesday 10 September – Kyoto

Today visit a sake distillery for tasting and lunch. Return to Kyoto and explore the bar scene. (BL)

Day 07: Wednesday 11 September – Kyoto and Uji

Today, travel out of town to focus on green tea from manufacture to use in cocktails at our Green Tea cocktail class. Whilst in Kyoto we’ll also experience the wonderful Ki No Bi gin from the Kyoto Distillery. (B)

Day 08: Thursday 12 September – Kyoto to Tsuyama

Depart Kyoto for our night at a lovely traditional Japanese style ryokan. Enjoy superb dinner. (BD)

Day 09: Friday 13 September – Tsuyama, Kobe & Osaka

Drive to Kobe, the centre of sake for distillery tour and tasting. Continue to Osaka and explore Dotonbori tonight (B)

Day 10: Saturday 14 September – Osaka

First, we visit Yamazaki Distillery followed by sights of Osaka. Our last night features two iconic bars of Osaka. (B)

Day 11: Sunday 15 September – Depart Osaka

All good things end and transfer to Osaka airport for flight home. (B).

The trip price includes:

  • Services of Phillip Jones as your Tour Host and cocktail Master.
  • Local Guide.
  • Airport transfer in Tokyo and Osaka.
  • All local transport.
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in hotels and ryokan.
  • Meals and sightseeing as indicated.
  • Selected cocktails and Master Class.
  • Entrance and tour fees.

Itens Not Included are:

  • Visa fees, travel insurance (compulsory on all trips).
  • Arrival transfer in Tokyo.
  • Additional meals and drinks.
  • Optional tours.
  • Spending of a personal nature, laundry.
  • Tips for guides.

Additional Expenses:

You should allow around US$10‐$15 for a light lunch and around US$25‐$30 for dinner. It is possible to spend much more at nice restaurants or your hotel. In addition, you should allow for any personal shopping you may wish to do. You should also allow extra funds to tip your local guides.

What We Provide

Accommodation

Throughout we use comfortable hotels, well-located to restaurants and activities. Our ryokan stay uses ‘futons on the floor’ with western and Japanese bathrooms and great meals. A western bed can be arranged. Rooms are twin share with a single supplement for sole use.

Food and drink

Breakfast is included every day at our accommodation. Also, two lunches and one dinner are included. 

Food in Japan is good, and visitors are often surprised at the quality available in the many small cafes. The diversity is wide and western dishes can be easily found. Low-cost meals and snacks are available at convenience stores and vending machines found everywhere. Tap water is safe to drink. All manner of beverages are available throughout the country.

Passport and Visa

You must have a passport with at least six months validity. Visas are not required for Australian and a number of other nations, but check if you are not sure.

Flights

We recommend flying overnight to arrive early on Day 01 so you have a fairly full day this day. As well, a late departure means more time in Osaka.

Contact our office for Flight suggestions. Premium Economy and Business Class seats are available.

You may require, depending on your choice of airline, an extra night at the beginning or end of your journey which we can arrange for you.

Arrival Transfer in Tokyo. We have one coach which will be used for the main arrival group. If you arrive at another time instructions will be provided to enable you to use the airport limosine bus or rail.

Extra nights or travel in Japan. Extra nights can be reserved but you must advise us well in advance. As well, if you wish to extend your travel, we can arrange a program for you.

Documentation

Trip notes, itineraries, country background information and other documents will be sent to you about three weeks prior departure.

Reservations

Email to: robert@intent.id.au to send an inquiry. Or, click here and download our Reservation Form.

Our travel programs often sell out so please register your interest ASAP in order to secure your place. A non‐refundable deposit of $500 per person is required with final payment due in July 2019.

Is this program for me?

Apart from the comprehensive exploration of the cocktail phenomena of Japan, we visit many important sights to round out your experience.

Accommodation is in 4-star hotels with western bathrooms and larger rooms than a ‘Japanese Business style’ hotel. All breakfasts are included along with two lunches and a dinner. This allows you a greater choice of dining style.

Our local Guide, who has accompanied all our programs to Japan, is extremely efficient and pleasant, adding another great experience to your journey.

Group size is between 12 and 15 guests ensuring personal attention, and shorter queues and waits.

We endeavour to add the ‘extra’ to the ‘ordinary’, providing you with a good value program enhanced with insights into the culture, history, cuisine and people of our destination.

Your Expert Tour Host

Phillip is an Australian advocate and writer about craft spirits with an international reputation. Through his website and regular appreciation events and masterclasses, he provides independent insights into the making of the new wave of spirits, and the people who are inspired to create them.

He’s an Associate Member of the Australian Distillers Association and also provides services to the industry such as product development and market testing. 

He is also developing a world first TV series about craft distilling in Australia, and is frequently interviewed in the media to comment on the fast-evolving industry and the ecosystem that enables it and challenges it faces.

Phillip is a National Judge for the QANTAS Tourism Excellence Awards and the Australian Hotels Association Awards in two States.  Phillip’s background in restaurant and hotel management, and business consulting brings insights into the business of cocktail bars, and distilling.

On the tour Phillip guides you in the arts of some of the finest cocktail making in the world, craft distilleries and more in a carefully curated program.

Find out more about Phillip at martiniwhisperer.com  and via his social media @themartiniwhisperer on Instagram and Facebook.

Phillip says, ‘Some of the bars we visit are very small, so we’ll arrange the visits in such a way to ensure everyone will have the opportunity to experience them in turn.’ Plus, you’ll be given options by Phillip for other nearby excellent cocktail experiences each night to explore further.