Michael Booth Bespoke Gourmet Tours: Japan

For more details contact: ulrikaemergency@hotmail.com

Michael is now offering Japanese food itineraries for both intrepid and casual food lovers.

To outsiders Japan can seem the most impenetrable of countries at the best of times, but its food scene is especially daunting. There are over 20,000 restaurants in Tokyo alone!

Nevertheless, the world is gradually waking up to the fact that the Japanese are the world’s preeminent culinary people (Michelin recently awarded Tokyo twice as many stars as Paris, for instance), with an unparalleled appreciation for the very finest produce and the most refined dining styles.

Having spent a great deal of the last two years traveling the length of Japan researching his new book, ‘Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Food’, (Random House), Michael is now keen to share his knowledge and unrivaled contacts from the Japanese food scene.

To research the book, Michael travelled from Sapporo in the north, to Okinawa in the south. Along the way he made some remarkable discoveries, ate some earth shattering meals and built up an unprecedented bank of experiences and contacts. These include:


The best restaurants to try the renowned local crab cuisine: visit an amazing local market and taste the freshest, most delicious crabs in the world.

Visit the seaweed fields that supply the Japanese royal house with their all-important dried konbu kelp, and learn how to select the very best.

Sample the cuisine of the local indigenous Ainu people.

Take a tour of the city’s dazzling food sights.


Try the greatest sushi, tempura and soba noodles in the world at a selection of Michael’s favorite addresses.

Dine at the ultra-exclusive restaurant Mibu, favorite of world famous chefs Ferran Adria (El Bulli) and Heston Blumenthal (The Fat Duck). Usually only open to members, this is a unique dining experience.

Visit the world famous Tsukiji fish market together with a local sushi chef.

Dine at one of the only whale restaurants in the world.

Take a tour of the atmospheric izakaya (tiny, bar filled alleyways serving incredible yakitori).

Take a tour of the astounding ‘depichika’ food halls – ‘the greatest food show on earth’.

Visit a sumo stable and take lunch with sumos.

Taste 300 varieties of ice cream at the fantastic Ice Cream City.

Learn how to make sushi with your own, private sushi class.

Take a tour of the remarkable Kappabashi kitchen supply quarter, with a local chef.

Visit the extraordinary Ramen Museum, in the company of the Ramen World Champion.


Learn about the astonishing world of kaiseki cuisine – the summit of global gastronomy.

Enjoy a traditional tea service.

Experience a genuine geisha evening service.

Take a class in local Kyoto cuisine.

Learn more about unique Kyoto specialities: tofu, fu and yuba.

Visit the fascinating Nishikoji market – one of the greatest food sights in all Japan.

Visit one of Japan’s finest sake brewers, and enjoy a tasting.

Dine at a nagashi somen restaurant, where diners pluck noodles from ice, fresh mountain streams.


Osaka is the world’s most exciting food city, particularly famed for its fast foods. Learn all about its amazing fast food trilogy: okonomiyaki, tako yaki and kushikastu, and sample them all at Michael’s selection of city centre restaurants.

Visit the world’s greatest cooking school.

Visit the city’s best miso factory and learn the secrets of this amazingly flavorful and healthy ingredient.

Take a tour of one of Japan’s most famous cattle ranches, then dine at their sensational beef restaurant.

Take a trip to the spiritual sanctuary of Mount Koya and stay overnight with the local shingon monks at a luxury monastery where you can try their unique and healthy vegetarian cuisine.

Enjoy a beach front seafood barbecue with the astonishing female free divers, the ‘ama’.

Watch an expert chef prepare the infamous fugu fish, and try some for yourself.


Learn the secrets of the Okinawan’s extraordinary longevity (they live longer than anyone else on earth), and dine at the Longevity Cafe.

Visit the amazing fish market in Naha, where you select from a unique array of seafood and have it cooked for you on the spot. You can even try snake soup, if you dare!

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