We’re all about having authentic local experiences when we travel, and there’s no better way to meet the locals than over a few drinks, right? By that logic, nearly two weeks of dining and drinking should make you practically an expert in Japanese culture.
That might explain why we’re salivating over Tiffany Dawn Soto’s Sake Safaris – her next trip is planned for March 10 – 22, 2015. Normally these sell out months in advance, but a few last-minute openings mean that you too can learn how to sip, not shoot, Japan’s favorite spirit with the guidance of a Master Sake Sommelier or kikzake-shi. Soto is responsible for curating most of the United States’ top sake lists, as well as for working with names like Four Seasons and the James Beard Foundation to help bring sake to the masses.
The 12-day trip starts in Tokyo with a visit to the Asakusa Shrine and visit to Shimbashi for an evening with the world’s most complete library of rare koshu sakes, as well as a trip to Akihabara, (Japan’s electric city).
You’ll then don traditional yukata, Japanese spa attire, for two days in Nagano, where you stay in a traditional ryokan and dine on 10-course meals and enjoy visits to breweries, wineries and more.
In Niigata, you’ll visit during the annual Sake no Jin festival, where more than 1,000 sakes are rated and appraised each year, enjoying Geisha performances, Taiko drummers, and traditional cuisine. Stops in Kyoto and Shizuoka follow, with a return to Tokyo to complete the trip.
We’ve long loved Tiffany for the way she helps explain and guide participants through the understanding and enjoyment of sake culture and can only imagine the depth of understanding we’d have after nearly two weeks of intense, hands-on learning.
The cost? $5,800 per person, double occupancy, not including airfare to and from Tokyo and your home city.