A Culinary Exploration of Japan
With an array of regional cuisines, cooking styles, and centuries-old culinary traditions, and with Tokyo boasting more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, Japan is the ultimate foodie destination. This unbelievable small group trip has been designed to be as delicious as it is luxurious.
Traveling through Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka, explore hole-in-the-wall restaurants on hidden backstreets and locals' only food markets, learn how to make noodles, sushi and elaborate kaiseki meals from master chefs, discover the art of sake brewing and have a traditional dinner with a geisha, all complimented by the incredible colors of the changing autumn leaves.
At a Glance
Dive into Japanese culture with a private visit to a sumo stable training session, take a calligraphy lesson and learn the art of taiko drumming.
Head out with an expert guide to visit locals only markets in search of hand-crafted kitchenware, fresh seafood, pickled vegetables and barrels overflowing with Japanese sweets.
Filled with seriously special cooking classes galore, roll up your sleeves to make soba noodles, take part in a sushi course and learn the tradition of preparing an elaborate kaiseki meal.
Experience exclusive foodie tours in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka, sampling takoyaki dumplings, okonomiyaki pancakes and so much more.
A privileged opportunity typically only available to Japan's elite society, join a geisha for a special dinner and traditional dance performance.
Spend a Spooktacular Halloween spotting weird and wonderful costumes and parades in Osaka.
Go on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park with a local volunteer from Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace.
Explore some of Japan’s most beautiful shrines, temples and historic districts with a knowledgeable local guide.
Throughout your journey you'll be joined by an expert English-speaking guide who knows Japan like the back of their hand and a Scott Dunn host.
$12250 per person (in double occupancy rooms)
Solo travellers welcome, single supplement cost is $3650
This program has a maximum of 16 paying participants
San Sebastián has a high concentration of Michelin stars. The city has the second most Michelin stars per capita in the world.
The Spanish royal family made sophisticated San Sebastián their summer base in the 19th century.
Since the fifties, the Hollywood elite have flocked to San Sebastián for their annual film festival. A smaller, artier alternative to Cannes.
Meet Your Hosts
Having run a successful safari company for nearly 20 years, John Spence is an expert at designing one-of-a-kind trips for guests all over the world. Now as President of Scott Dunn USA, he oversees a growing team of experts, sharing knowledge and passion for travel at every opportunity. He’s lived and worked in Africa and explored the continent on various madcap adventures. John's looking to expand his horizons beyond Africa, after recent inspiring trips to Greece, Peru, Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, Indonesia and Iceland. A true safari junkie, John is constantly on the lookout for every opportunity to have a new wildlife encounter. Spotting tigers in India has always been on his bucket list and he can't wait to experience it with all of you.
After working as a city banker in London, Jon took a holiday to San Sebastián and shortly after dropped everything to live in this beautiful city by the sea. While working in hospitality at Villa Soro he recognized the city’s need for a food tourism hub and San Sebastián Food was born. What started as a dream quickly grew from pintxo tours to a bricks-and-mortar location. In autumn of 2014, he moved San Sebastián Food into its new home in the famed Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, with the inauguration of a luxurious gourmet shop and in April 2015, he opened a cooking school. Always hungry, he has expanded the business to include Mimo Sevilla and Mimo Mallorca, under the new name of Mimo. Jon has worked alongside Scott Dunn to create this exclusive and unique journey around the Basque Country. You will have the opportuniy to spend time with Jon in San Sebastián.
Your morning will begin with a culturally fascinating museum visit. Then, amble through the streets of the old city where your guide will take you into bars beloved by locals for their specialities. Your masterful guide will weave a tale of the tastes of Madrid, taking you to both modern and classic bars with contrasting atmospheres that will give you a true flavour of one of Spain’s favourite pastimes. By the end of the tour, you will be a professional tapas hopper. Save room for dinner because this evening you’ll dine at one of Madrid’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
Today, you’ll be treated to a guided visit of the Guggenheim Museum. Next, you’ll head to the area’s best-kept secret for lunch, Landa Restaurant. This off-the-beaten-track local gem represents the traditional cooking of the Basque Country. Later in the day, you’ll start your private pintxos (Basque tapas) tasting tour. You’ll dive straight into the culinary heart of the city for a night of eating and drinking unlike any you’ve ever experienced. From fresh prawns to line-caught baby squid to perfectly charred steak, the pintxo hunt changes nightly but always features a range of traditional spots and chic, avant-garde bars. Come thirsty, too, because each pintxo will be paired with the perfect pour, from cider to local whites and reds.
A private pintxo cooking class at renowned Mimo Food is first on your itinerary for the day. Finding (and eating) the best pintxos in town is a local sport, and in this class, learn how to replicate these sophisticated snacks at home. You’ll be guided on a cooking journey through the recipes of the most famous streets and bars of San Sebastián’s Old Town, and you’ll learn how to replicate its most talked-about pintxos, from the shrimp kebab at Goiz Argi to the beef cheek at Borda Berri. This night you’ll have the rare opportunity to dine at a gastronomic society (txoko). One of Basque Country's remaining culinary mysteries, these dining societies are curious to outsiders in the know, but remain a fully local secret. Our insider guides, however, have opened their society for you.
This is a day packed with culture and food. In the morning, you’ll head to Chillida Leku Museum, where you’ll receive a private tour from the son of world-renowned sculptor Eduardo Chillida. After, you’ll head Just down the coastline from San Sebastián to a beautiful, unique village. Getaria is rich in food culture and history. You’ll start your visit to this little-known gem with a stroll through its cobblestone streets, making your way to its working port. Then, go from the seaside to the countryside, learning about the roots of Basque cuisine at a very special farm. The owner grows some of the rarest heirloom produce in Basque Country. End your day with dinner at a three-Michelin starred restaurant that’s ranked 8th in the world, Arzak.
After all the delicious food and cultural experiences, you’ll need some downtime. This morning you’re free to go at your own pace, exploring the city or sailing, golfing and pampering yourself with spa treatments. In the evening, you’ll be treated to an entirely new experience at the Mimo luxury cooking school in San Sebastián. This combines the expertise of Mimo’s full-time sommelier with their head chef, live and in action. Five special wines are perfectly paired with original pintxo creations made with fresh produce, purchased daily at La Bretxa market.
Today is all about leisure. Stroll through the glamourous, chic coastal streets of Biarritz, France. Local experts will lead you through Les Halles de Biarritz, the famous food market, whose selection of regional cheeses, wines and seasonal bounty is on another level. You’ll break for a midday aperitif with a distinct local flavour before moving further south to St. Jean de Luz. An enchanting fishing village, where you’ll enjoy an elegant seaside lunch featuring French Basque cuisine and techniques. You’ll have the entire evening to do as you please.
You’ll start your morning by exploring the areas of Espelette and Ainhoa in the French Basque Country. Ainhoa is widely considered one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its quaint architecture and lovely surroundings. You will also visit Espelette, a village famed for its pepper. For lunch, you’ll eat at one of the area’s finest restaurants, featuring a menu of typical Basque dishes with a French twist.
Wine is the emphasis of today. Take a tour of the Rafael Moneo winery in Spain's Rioja region, the historical buildings that dot the grounds, and ride around the estate in a 4x4 to look at the vines and the surrounding countryside. The visit will be followed by an exclusive lunch planned around the freshest vegetables of the season, which is Navarra’s claim to culinary fame. Next, you’ll visit Hotel Marques de Riscal. Designed by Frank Gehry, this hotel and ‘Wine City’ gleams impressively over the Rioja landscape. Cap off your day with dinner at the prestigious Michelin- Starred Marques de Riscal Restaurant.
Visit Laguardia, the medieval Riojan town, and glimpse the other side of Riojan winemaking at one of its traditional bodegas. After this visit, you’ll keep expanding your palate at a second winery, whose tasting will be accompanied by lunch. Then you will move onto nearby Haro, the center of winemaking in the Basque Rioja. You’ll pop into a special winery here, before enjoying dinner at Terete Restaurant.
Sadly, this is the final day of your trip. You’ll check out from the hotel, bid adieu to Spain and head to the Bilbao Airport.