You might fancy yourself as an unflappable urbanite, hailing from the big city. But it only takes one night in Tokyo to disabuse you of that notion and make you feel like you've parachuted in from a very small town indeed. Where do you even begin to make sense of the epic, blazing metropolis that is the Japanese capital? You could start with Bespoke Tokyo. The brainchild of two British journalists, this new tour company hacks a path through the urban jungle to lead you directly to the experience you're after, be it dinner in a converted bathhouse, helicopter night flights, cooking classes at local homes or karate lessons with black-belt champions. What the company calls "bespoke safaris" itineraries tailored to your interests are offered from about $85 an hour. Luxury programs are put together for roughly $2,180 a day (plus a $170 booking fee) for up to three people, with a limo, chauffeur, guide, gifts and other extras.
That certainly isn't cheap, but it buys you the encyclopedic local knowledge of Bespoke Tokyo's founders, Nicole Fall and Charles Spreckley, respectively the editor of the Luxe Tokyo guide and the former editor in chief of Metropolis, the city's English-language listings magazine. The two have 18 years of residence in Japan between them, as well as an enviable black book of contacts. "Our focus at Bespoke is creating memories by giving clients one-off experiences that they could not find in a guidebook or through other companies," says Fall. Customized tours of Kyoto are also offered. For more details, visit www.bespoketokyo.jp.
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