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This exciting and luscious small group journey led by chef Michael Ryan, takes you through a fascinating culinary and cultural discovery of Japan with time spent in the vibrant cities.

This exciting Japanese food tour led by chef Michael Ryan will take you on an exploration of this dynamic country’s cuisine. Michael is one of regional Australia’s most respected and highly awarded chefs. His passion for Japanese cuisine is evident in his culinary style at Provenance and regular pilgrimages to Japan.

Concentrating on revealing the culinary and cultural highlights in the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Kanazawa, the tour will be also include some relaxation time on the Izu Peninsula as well as a brand new location selected by Michael.

We will dine in a variety of fabulous restaurants chosen by Michael from traditional local bars to Michelin star restaurants and modern cutting-edge establishments that are expanding the boundaries of traditional cuisine.

We spend time exploring local food markets and the extraordinary food halls in Tokyo’s most elegant department stores. We learn the pleasures of home style cooking at a private cooking class in the comfort of a relaxed environment.

In Kyoto we visit the Nishiki market, the Gion District of old Kyoto and enjoy a day at riverside Arashiyama exploring the stunning gardens.

Accommodation includes the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo and Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto.  We’re whisked around the country using the hi-speed Shinkansen or bullet trains, enjoying the exemplar system Japan is world renowned for.

This is an enchanting journey of luxury, culinary adventure and cultural encounter; a complete immersion into Japanese culture and cuisine and not to be missed.

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is one of regional Australia’s most respected chefs. With his partner Jeanette Henderson, Michael is the owner of Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth, in north-east Victoria. Provenance, in its first year of operation, picked up a chef’s hat in the Good Food Guide and was awarded Best New Country Restaurant in the same publication. The restaurant has since gone on to receive two hats every year. In 2013, Provenance won Best Regional Restaurant and Michael Ryan was named Chef of the Year. In 2014, Provenance was awarded Regional Restaurant of the Year by Gourmet Traveller.

Michael initially studied Science at Adelaide University and after several years working in the field of chemistry, was drawn to cooking. After a six-month break travelling in Japan and developing a passion for the food, Michael commenced restaurant work in his home town of Adelaide. His experience since then has spanned the Greville bar in Melbourne, The King River Café in Milawa, The Milawa Cheese Factory and his first venture with partner Jeanette, Range in Myrtleford where he won two chefs hats from the The Age Good Food Guide, as well as Country Restaurant of the year in 2008.

At Provenance, Michael has expanded his culinary style by exploring textures and investigating different techniques of food preparation. While continuing to balance the aspects of the culinary traditions in which he has worked, Michael has also proceeded to incorporate more Asian influences in his food, always remaining respectful of the cuisines from which they are drawn. In particular, regular trips to Japan have proved a constant source of new inspiration. Aside from maintaining the integrity of his food, Michael states that his aim is to avoid stagnation, and to keep moving forward through experimentation.

* Please note – The restaurants outlined in the day to day itinerary below may change prior to departure. As Michael travels regularly to Japan researching new food opportunities, he may wish to introduce you to his new culinary discoveries.

How itUnfolds


Arrival day in vibrant Tokyo.
At 6pm we meet in the foyer of our spectacular hotel for a welcome and meet with tour leaders, Jennifer Wilkinson and Michael Ryan, before dinner together.


This morning we venture out with our guide to visit the gardens of the Imperial Palace as well as the Meiji shrine in the forest of 120,000 trees of 365 species, as well as a casual lunch.

Tonight is an intimate and delightful affair at one of the first restaurants to bring casual fine dining to Tokyo.


Today we visit the outer section of the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market before a sushi making workshop.

There is a free afternoon and evening for you to enjoy at your leisure.


After breakfast we transfer to Tokyo Station to ride Japan’s renowned Shinkansen bullet train to Kanazawa.
Kanazawa is positioned between the volcanic soils of the Japanese Alps and the abundant Sea of Japan,
offering an incredible array of seasonal food choices.
We spend the afternoon exploring the Higashiyama district, with its restored tea houses and tranquil Shinto shrine Utasu, taking time for lunch.


We begin our exploration of vibrant Kanazawa with a walk to the Omi-cho market, which local people regard
as the 'Kitchen of all Kanazawa People'. See, smell and taste the freshest seafood from the Sea of Japan.
From here we continue on to the magnificent Kenrokuen garden, reputedly one of the three most beautiful
landscape gardens in Japan.


Our next destination is a boutique sized hotel nestled on the edges of Lake Biwa in rural Shiga prefecture. Opening less than 12 months ago, the drawcard to Hotel du Lac is the hotel's renowned restaurant, Sower.


Long regarded as the cultural and historical heart of Japan, the thousand year old city of Kyoto was once the
nation’s capital and enjoys a reputation for housing some of Japan’s most beautiful shrines, gardens, castles and galleries.
After checking in to our beautiful hotel, we head out to explore the Nishiki Market, which lines a narrow road for almost 400 metres. Dating back to 1311, the market stretches to encompass over 100 shops and stalls. Everything from sweets, pickles, dried delicacies, fresh seafood and vegetables as well as cooking utensils can be found here.
There is some free time this afternoon before dinner together.


The Arashiyama district is a popular tourist and recreational area with temples, gardens, restaurants, a silk crepe workshop and a mystical bamboo grove. The area warrants a guided exploration before a delicious lunch.


This morning after breakfast we travel by train to the Izu Peninsula. The Izu Peninsula, with its scenic and mountainous interior dotted with thermal baths, offers an experience in sharp contrast to the pace of Tokyo.


After a relaxed breakfast we join our guide for a day of touring through the verdant interior to the south eastern Izu Peninsula.


After a leisurely breakfast, we travel by Shinkansen for our journey back to Tokyo.
This afternoon you have free time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before our farewell dinner this evening at one of Tokyo's finest restaurants.


After breakfast and check out, the day is enjoyed at your own leisure ahead of departures for your onward journey.

Meet your Guide:

Michael Ryan – Japan & North East Victoria

Michael Ryan is one of regional Australia’s most respected chefs. With partner Jeanette Henderson, he is the owner of Provenance Restaurant in…

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Meet your Guide:

Jennifer Wilkinson Owner / Director

Jennifer has a life-long passion for food, wine and travel. Following a successful career in economics and industrial relations, she…

Meet more of our guides

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  • If you want to grow to love Japanese culture and cuisine you can do no better than travel with Michael and Jennifer. Eclectic group with lots of laughs. The hotels, Michelin starred restaurants and local restaurants chosen with care and the most wonderful locations selected to stay outside Tokyo and Kyoto. All our questions about food and places handled with a freshness that suggested they had never been asked before!

    Culinary Japan with Michael Ryan, Glenn and Hazel Rees May 2019

  • From the initial booking to the farewell drink at the New York Bar in Tokyo at the Park Hyatt, we could not of hoped for a better experience. A pleasure to travel with Jennifer, who lead us on a journey of a lifetime, to places and restaurants we could not imagine. New friends made and incredible memories forever.

    A Culinary Journey to Japan with Michael Ryan – Danny and Cindy Gilbert May 2018

  • A great way to sample the food and culture of an amazing country.

    A Culinary Journey of Japan with Michael Ryan – David Baker May 2018

  • Michael Ryan is an excellent host and provided his guests with insight into Japanese customs and culture as well as enabling us to enjoy outstanding restaurant experiences which would not otherwise have been available to us. His gentle, insightful comments and willingness to share his deep knowledge of Japanese cuisine were much appreciated and it was clear that he is held in very high esteem by the top Japanese chefs who welcomed us warmly. Tour Leader Jennifer ably managed all logistics and was charming company in addition to having chosen outstanding accommodation. This was a really special tour experience.

    A Culinary Journey to Japan with Michael Ryan – Jane Garvey

  • Despite having lived in Japan for 2 years, the trip was a fantastic cultural experience that exceeded my expectations. Michael Ryan was a warm and engaging host, he was very generous in sharing his deep knowledge of and passion for Japan. We were privileged to meet his network of local food and sake experts, who showcased the best of modern and traditional Japan. Overall, the trip was great value!

    Stephen Jones – A culinary journey to Japan with Michael Ryan