Inside Kyoto

Your chance to journey to Kyoto with Quay’s Peter Gilmore.

Photography by Zenbu Tours

08 March 2023


An insider’s guide to Kyoto awaits with your hosts Jane Lawson of Zenbu Tours and Executive Chef Peter Gilmore of Quay and Bennelong restaurants.

Explore Kyoto and its culinary heart in late spring.  Elegant traditional eateries through to contemporary gastro temples have been personally selected by Japanophile Jane Lawson.

Fondle artisan utensils, textiles, lacquerware and incredible ceramics. Meet local culinary and cultural experts and characters. Wander through blissful spring gardens. Sip Japanese sake, whiskey, phenomenally good local wine and painstakingly poured-over coffee, or slurp freshly whisked matcha alongside wagashi – as you explore the sublime Kyoto, one of Japan’s prettiest cities.

This sojourn has been chosen to carefully side-step the jostling, peak tourist madness so you can be immersed in Kyoto’s late spring colours, fragrance and warmth as early summer edges closer enticing a wider range of flowers to show their pretty faces. Think Iris, Azalea, Water Lily, Wisteria and roses – possibly early lotus.


Delight in the young, lime-green Ginko leaves as they wave breezily at passers and be treated to the lesser-known maples glow in shades of red – rarely seen outside the autumn months.

While you will certainly witness a variety of gardens, green spaces and serene mountain vistas, they more-so form a majestic backdrop to the greater cultural experience and, more specifically, the culinary enjoyment.


Your hosts

Jane, former food publisher at Murdoch Books, first met Peter when she acquired what would become the award-winning Quay cookbook around 15 years ago.

During the production of both Quay and the follow-up title Organum, the duo developed significant trust and a strong and binding friendship.

They’ve travelled to Japan together previously, but never before as co-hosts of Zenbu Tours, which Jane has been running since 2013, and they can’t wait to share their combined Kyoto and Japan adoration and insight.

Jane who’s been travelling the length and breadth of Japan for almost 40 years, lived in Kyoto for several years where she studied local cuisine and culture for her book Zenbu Zen – finding food, culture and balance in Kyoto. She also wrote the popular Tokyo Style Guide Yoshoku (her first book) and A little taste of Japan – all for Murdoch Books.

Peter’s deep fascination for Japanese cuisine and aesthetic has a considerable influence on his culinary style. His return to Japan in May 2023 will mark his third Japanese culinary research trip with Jane, and his inaugural venture into co-hosting Zenbu’s luxurious tours.

Peter’s expertise and passion for food, design and Japanese ceramics (fun fact, he’s a whizz on the pottery wheel and designs bespoke tableware for Quay) will add another layer of insight and wonder to this itinerary for the cuisine-curious.



13 to 24 May 2023
12 days (11 nights)
Kyoto Hyatt Regency, King rooms
Per person AUD$26,800 (twin share $26,300 pp)
* 8 people max

To make an enquiry or booking please contact Jane via zenbutravel.com or email janelawsonfood@bigpond.com.au



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