Private visits to traditional artisans, making sushi with a master, hiking in unexpected pristine mountains, find out how to take a deeper dive into Tokyo’s cultural and natural treasures…
Now is the time for inspiration
Tokyo misses you, and excitement about the return of travel to Japan’s capital has been taken to new heights with the packed agenda for 2021. As the world counts down towards the Olympic competitions next summer in Tokyo the city has been preparing itself.
In true Tokyo style, the practice of excellent general hygiene has utmost priority with the city continuing to implement stringent measures that are helping to contain the spread of the global pandemic COVID-19. With no shortage of incredible experiences to be had in the metropolis of contrasts, today we introduce some classic Tokyo highlights…
History & Tradition
When the Japanese capital moved from Kyoto to Tokyo (then called Edo) in 1869, many of the country’s top artisans followed the Emperor to set up shop in the new capital. Older parts of Tokyo still have family-run businesses that carry on generations of craft traditions.
To get a feel for the history of the city you can visit one or more of the many ancient temples or shrines. And there are plenty of firsthand experiences to help immerse you in the traditions of Tokyo, here are just a few favourites.
Experience the “Way” of Tea
There is decadence in the quiet simplicity of a tea ceremony. During your stay in Tokyo, take the opportunity to appreciate a private tea ceremony experience and immerse yourself in this unique art form and special method of host-to-guest communication. Surely the ultimate expression of Japanese “omotenashi”(hospitality).
Visit an Edo Kiriko glass maker
How this specialised glass is made is fascinating. Edo Kiriko is known for its many traditional patterns—some resembling fish scales or the weave of a bamboo basket. After a pattern has been transferred to the surface with a marker, artisans use grindstones to slowly and painstakingly remove the top layer of coloured glass to reveal the clear glass below. The process requires not only a steady hand but patience and a keen eye for detail.
Try your hand at making Sushi with an Edomae-style Sushi Master
Sushi looks so easy, a simple affair; fish on rice, but there is far more to sushi than meets the eye. Take the opportunity to enjoy sushi whilst in Tokyo and you will discover it is another deep world. A customised experience with a master sushi chef can reveal there is so much more to classic Tokyo Edomae-style sushi.
Better still, start your day by accompanying your chef early in the morning to select the fish at the fish markets. You will discover that sushi is a hard-learned art form. And the art is not limited to the creation of food, your chef is also expected to be a master of friendly conversation, the signature of Tokyo’s sushi culture.
If you are keen to escape the crowds in downtown Tokyo, head west to Tokyo’s Okutama region. The area is a hikers’ paradise and also home to Tokyo’s highest peak, Mount Kumotori (2,017 m), forests and picturesque waterfalls. Also in Okutama are the Nippara Limestone Caves, and the quiet Lake Okutama, an important water source for the Tokyo metropolis. Walking around and enjoying the abundant nature of Okutama, it is hard to believe that you are still within Tokyo city limits. The contrast of this natural wonderland to the urban hustle and bustle of the city centre is precisely what makes Tokyo so exciting.
The Tama River starts from Lake Okutama and continues all the way to Tokyo Bay near Haneda Airport. Several tour operators offer both kayaking and wild-water rafting tours that make for adventurous outings in these lush natural surroundings.
On your way back to Tokyo, why not make a stop at a traditional sake brewery for a tasting. The region is known for its plentiful pristine water, a vital ingredient of good sake! Centuries-old breweries offer a window into the history of sake culture where you can learn the fascinating brewing process followed by “kikizake” or sake tasting to sample the many varieties available. The tours are usually conducted in Japanese only, but check the website for dates as English tours are also sometimes provided.
To learn more about the experiences like these and more visit : Tokyo Luxury Travel Website: Timeless Tokyo
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