Upcoming Sake Safaris

The rarest koshu sake collection in the world.

The rarest koshu sake collection in the world.

Sake Safari 2016: March 8-20, 2016

Alright Everybody – Secure your passports and prepare to Kanpai because we have an amazing trip in store next year. WARNING: This trip is likely to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster because we will be in Niigata, the epicenter if the 7.9 tsunami aftershock on the 5th anniversary of the tsunami that so devastated this beautiful country. You can expect that over the weekend, we will bear witness to solemn reverence, and joyous celebration.

As always, the trip begins in Tokyo with time to acclimate in the comfort of luxury accommodations, accompanied by outstanding cuisine, a visit to Asakusa Shrine, a visit to Shimbashi for an evening with the world’s most complete library of rare koshu sakes, and a trip to Akihabara, (Japan’s electric City). In addition, for the first time this year we will experience a very special underground dinner for our group alone, with one Chef Keller’s personal favorites.


Nagano Mountain Ryokan

From Tokyo, we depart for Nagano for two days in small mountain town comprised completely of hot springs and spas. As we walk the streets in Yukata (traditional Japanese spa attire), and stay in a 200 year old Ryokan (that’s Japanese for the most traditional style of hotel, complete with paper walls, stunning scenery, exceptional service, and natural healing hot springs), we will dine on 10 course meals in the most traditional style of Japanese cuisine, visit the Miyasaka & Masumi breweries, along with a stop at the tasting Room for Aruga Branca winery. You’ll wake up each morning to beautiful snow covered scenery of the Nagano Mountains, and will leave wanting more.

From Nagano, we head to Niigata for two days at the Annual Sake no Jin festival, a national sake appraisal, with a selection of more than 1,000 of the most exquisite sakes brewed each year in Japan. The festival showcases Geisha performances, Taiko drummers and musicians, traditional cuisine, and educational sessions on sake and other Japanese beverages. While in Niigata, we’ll dine on sushi caught fresh just a few miles away, we’ll enjoy a visit to the Ichishima brewery, home to a museum collection of sake artifacts dating back more than a thousand years and traditional wedding kimonos that are beyond exquisite. We’ll visit a traditional pottery studios where we will design pottery in the same style that’s been crafted for more than 800 years by generations in the same family, we’ll visit the Tedorigawa fish market, and dine on seafood you select yourself from the Sea of Japan. We’ll continue on to visit Kirinzan Brewery, and stay in two of the most spectacular Ryokan in the snow covered countryside. With exceptional meals, and beauty everywhere, I always have a hard time saying goodbye.  Fair warning – we never make it out of Niigata without at least one late night round at a Japanese karaoke house.

Gion District in Kyoto

Gion District in Kyoto

From Niigata, we depart for Kyoto on a beautiful train ride down the western coast. Once there , prepare for two days of luxury hotel accommodations, traditional tea ceremony, the most amazing Kobe beef dining experience from beef raised a few miles away, a visit to the old geisha quarters in Gion and attend Meiko and Kabuki performances. The ladies joining us on the trip will have the option to spend an afternoon enjoying an authentic geisha experience, complete with make-up application, traditional silk kimono dressing with assistance, hair design, and professional photos, followed by a walk through the Kyoto gardens and a rickshaw ride through the old Gion Geisha district. For those not attending the geisha experience, they will enjoy a free day in Kyoto, a city with no shortage of interesting activities and outstanding cuisine. You could take in a visit to National Bamboo forest, or take in a sumo match. During this leg we will pay a visit to The Yamazaki distillery, home to the number one rated Whisky in the world. While there we will taste through their line-up of exceptional Japanese Whisky, visit the distillation house, and of course do a bit of shopping. We will have an optional outing arranged to see a live Japanese baseball game later that evening. The Chunichi Dragons fans are sure to provide you with an experience to remember, because the Japanese are SERIOUS about their baseball!

The Yamazaki Tasting Room in Kyoto

The Yamazaki Tasting Room in Kyoto

Asaba Ryokan in Shizuoka

Asaba Ryokan in Shizuoka

We’ll depart Kyoto for the eastern coastal region of Shizuoka, a region known for exquisitely aromatic sakes, beautiful scenery, and exceptional hot springs. I find it hard to contain my excitement about this leg of the trip – I absolutely cannot wait! While in Shizuoka, we will visit Isojimon, the brewing house that is home to one of the most highly allocated sakes in the world. We will stay in the most famous traditional Ryokan in Japan, a location I scarcely can find the words to describe. Suffice it to say that we will be surrounded by some of the most serene beauty in all of Japan. While staying at the Ryokan, we will enjoy 12 course meals, visits to the hot springs, spa services, breakfasts on the water, and evening traditional musical and dance performances. You’ll never want to leave.

From Shizuoka, we return to Tokyo and spend a day preparing for departure. We’ll shop, dine, and visit one of the most historical shrines in Japan. For those choosing to stay an extra day, we will head to Tokyo Disneyland to blow off a little steam. The people watching alone is worth that visit!

As of today, we can safely project that the trip will cost $5950 per guest for double occupancy, with a $650 supplement for single occupancy. However, if the yen continues to decline, the costs will decline further, a savings I will obviously pass on to you. The first deposit of $1350 per person would be due no later than July 1, 2015. I hope we still have enough interest to make this trip a reality. If you are interested, please let me know right away – You can contact me here.

Looking forward to this amazing adventure with each of you,



*The cost includes all transportation while in country including your JR Rail Pass, all hotel & ryokan stays, breakfast each day, several lunches, and all dinners with the exception of the free day. It includes our private driver, advance transport of all baggage for up to 1 large suitcase for each traveler between each of the major cities, all performances and included experiences. It also includes your tickets to the Sake no Jin festival. Optional additions include the traditional Geisha experience, the Chunichi Dragons baseball game, and a Green Car upgrade for your rail pass. Some activities subject to substitution based on availability at the time of commitment.

**All deposits will be held in Escrow accounts pending receipt of minimum required registrations. Once minimum registration threshold has been received, all notifications will be emailed so that airfare may be booked. In the event minimum registrations are not received within registration period, all deposits will be returned in full.

***Payment Schedule: Initial deposit due at time of registration | Second Installment of $1700 per adventurer due no later than September 15, 2015 | Third Installment of $2000 per adventurer due on December 1, 2015 | Final payment of balance due per adventurer no later than February 1, 2016. | ALTERNATIVE MONTHLY ARRANGEMENT ALSO AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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