Inspirato members know they have access to an exclusive and extensive list of homes, hotel partners, and experiences. But what about when it comes to planning a completely customized vacation, uniquely catering to members’ requests to create the trip of a lifetime?

That’s where Bespoke comes in, and how Inspirato member Karen Woo began planning her bucket-list trip to Japan to see the cherry blossoms in late March.

Karen, a third-generation Japanese American, or “sansei,” wanted to explore her cultural roots. That, and the timing of seeing the cherry blossoms in early spring, were what propelled she and her husband to book the trip she had been dreaming of, she said.

With about four months to start planning, Karen and Inspirato Bespoke Travel Lead Kelsey began the process of nailing down exactly what she and her husband would do during their trip.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to see initially,” Karen said. “My main focus was cherry blossoms, and then (Kelsey) came back with … some ideas. I said yes to some, and no to others.”

Karen said she was impressed at the quickness with which the trip came together, and was pleasantly surprised at the activity ideas, some of which she wouldn’t have thought of herself—like a Zen meditation with a Buddhist monk.

“That was kind of fun—to try something that we would have never even thought of,” she said.

She also mentioned that the Bespoke process allowed her to feel like she had a lot of say in exactly what she did on the trip, catering it to her interests. She specifically requested, for example, an onsen—a Japanese natural hot spring—with a view.

When she and her husband actually touched down in Tokyo, a plethora of adventures awaited. Activities throughout their 10-day itinerary across the country ranged from sake tasting to exploring Shinto shrines. In between, they toured temples, sipped tea in a 400-year-old Kyoto teahouse, and golfed the coveted Fuji Course on the Izu Peninsula—a bucket-list destination for any international golfer—as the course’s namesake mountain loomed in the distance.

And though they knew they would see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Karen and her husband were able to follow the path of the bloom beyond the city and throughout their entire journey across the country, an unexpected but beautiful addition to the trip.

The country has such a contrast: You’ve got Tokyo, which is a big, bustling city, and then you’ve got these other (areas), that are so serene and beautiful and tranquil—it’s just amazing.

Karen WooInspirato member

One of Karen’s priorities when traveling is taking in as much nature and animal life as possible. She loved catching glimpses of Mt. Fuji on the horizon, and paid a visit to “Monkey Mountain” in Kyoto, where visitors can feed the macaque monkeys that inhabit the area. And a stopover in Nara afforded her the chance to meet some of the hundreds of friendly deer that bow for treats from humans, living among the trees and temple there.

At the end of their trip, Karen said it was more than she’d ever imagined. From exploring her cultural heritage to the perfect timing of the cherry blossom bloom, everything surpassed her expectations, she said.

“Every night we would come back and say, ‘Wow. What a great day this has been.’ We just saw so much, we experienced so much—we were tickled pink. We just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “We had the trip of a lifetime.”

(Photos 2 through 5 courtesy of Karen Woo.)


  • michelle brenes says:

    I am interested for 2020

  • Gladys says:

    AWWWW, loved all your photos, would love a trip like this, will need to add Japan to my travel bucket-list. After living in Washington, D.C. for a few years, I really loved watching the cherry trees blossom every spring, it was such a treat.

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