Japan is one of those special destinations we love creating tailor-made itineraries for and with the forthcoming Rugby World Cup and next summer’s Olympic Games being hosted there, demand continues to rise with UK visitors.
Following our spotlight on the land of the rising sun with West Essex Life, we were very excited to host a Japanese lunch and presentation with the fantastic specialists, InsideJapan Tours in collaboration with our friends and partners, Chigwell Golf Club.
Clients and golf club members were greeted with a specialist Japanese plum wine, sushi and tempura prawn canapes to a background of Japanese music before taking their places, each adorned with an exclusive goody bag.
InsideJapan formed in 2000 and have become the UK’s biggest Japan specialist tour operator with offices in four continents. Matt Spiller is Agency Sales Manager and has an extensive knowledge of the local culture having lived in Hagi, a coastal city on the southwest side of Honshu Island, for three years.
Matt is an engaging speaker, clearly experienced with all aspects of Japanese life. He knows how to get the most out of any visit, be it a first or repeat one, and his informal style backed with key information and personal stories was met by a receptive audience.
Part one of his presentation introduced us to this fascinating country, its geography, contrasting islands, the best times to visit and its cultural uniqueness and customs.
We learned about its exciting cities, beautiful landscapes, amazing wildlife, its opportunities for outdoor adventure, delicious food, both traditional and modern art and its warm, welcoming people.
Japan is a safe destination that offers something for all types of travellers with something special to experience in every season.
Of course, the cherry blossom in spring is undoubtedly a huge draw but if a less busy time is attractive then summer offers spectacular festivals, the colours of autumn landscapes are breathtaking and the snowy winter scenery is simply beautiful.
With our appetites for visiting Japan whetted accordingly it was time for a culinary taster to see how they fared with its food.
Chigwell’s in-house chef Gill and her team had prepared a fine tasting menu which included Katsu Curry, Karaage fried chicken, Teriyaki Salmon, vegetable Gyozas, Miso Soup, sticky rice and Udon Noodles.
With everyone fed, Matt commenced with part two where we gained insight into how to get to and around the country. This included the fascinating range of accommodation types available, a basic introduction to how the language works before some detailed looks at the different types of itineraries that can be created for a broad range of budgets and tastes on either a small group tour or self-guided adventure basis.
The time had whizzed by and the afternoon was drawn to a close with the customary prize draw which included a fine bottle of Japanese gin, Japanese restaurant vouchers and a complimentary afternoon tea with a Geisha as part of a tailor made trip.
Many thanks to Matt, to all the staff at Chigwell Golf Club who ensured everything ran smoothly, to Liz for setting up the presentation for us, to Nicky and Sharron for their assistance and of course to those who attended and helped make our first lunch showcase event a great success.
If next summer's Olympics is on your agenda or you are looking to create the perfect itinerary for your Japanese adventure, do get in touch and make an appointment to talk further with us.
Alternatively, if you missed Matt and Japan is on your wishlist, he will be appearing at our autumn showcase at West Essex Golf Club on 7 November. Reserve a place early by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.