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Can anyone recommend a tour company for Japan?

4 replies

Laufeythejust · 07/03/2021 19:01

We are getting married next year and we both have always wanted to go to Japan (we are into video games and are attempting to learn Japanese). Starting to look at planning our honeymoon in Japan.
We would like to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima... which I know means travelling almost the length of the country!
We have seen for roughly £4500pp we can get a guided tour for 2 weeks where they sort out all the travel and hotels and take you to the main sights. I was wondering if anyone had done this? Is it too much in terms of travel or was it as amazing as it sounds?

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Zodlebud · 08/03/2021 15:31

We did it ourselves - was much nicer than being tied to set trips. I used the Japan Travel Centre in London to help me plan the trip and sort out our Shinkansen passes.

We did Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka (visited Nara for the day), Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Ishigaki-jima for some relaxing at the end. It is honestly exceptionally easy to do yourself. The train stations have numerous hotels nearby and are very central.

Whilst in Tokyo we did a few day trips (booked through the hotel concierge) and visited Mount Fuji and Nikko. There is so much to see in these cities you really just need a good guide book and sturdy shoes. I think you’d lose a lot of the cultural aspect by being on an organised tour.

We only stayed in western style hotels too which made it easier to book everything. It’s also useful for recommendations on places to eat etc. Some small cafes and restaurants sometimes refuse to serve westerners (gaijin), not to be rude, but because they do not want the shame of not being able to communicate with you and therefore not serve you to the standard they would like. Plenty of places in these cities have plastic food in the window though so we would just point at what we wanted.

Honestly, work out a route and then get in touch with the Japan Travel Centre to help book everything.

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Laufeythejust · 08/03/2021 17:27

Brilliant thank you! We were tempted to do it ourselves but scared in case we completely messed it up! Will get in touch with the company you suggested thanks again :)

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OllysArmy · 08/03/2021 17:56

We did Tokyo, Kyoto, Tokyo a few years back with our 2 young teens.
Booked everything ourselves and planned the itinerary by ready lots of guides online and adapting to work for us, but I like being a tour guide/planner.
We only stayed at western chain hotels, so we knew what we were getting, that spoken English wouldn't be an issue and if we were concerned about food there would always be western style on offer.
I don't think we ate at the hotels once there was far too much choice in the local area.
There was a tourist pass for the trains that was very good value and we worked our trip so that we had a 7-day pass in the middle of our 2-week break.

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makespaceforgirls · 08/03/2021 18:04

Simply Japan. We went for three weeks in 2018, on a self-guided tour with them, and I cannot recommend them too highly.

Your itinerary sounds like exactly the kind of thing that they would recommend for two weeks, and can be easily done on the bullet trains, which are as amazing as everyone says.

I would use them because Japan is very strange and confusing, but this cuts two ways. One it meant that they could recommend good places to stay, and sort out the bookings, and all of the difficult stuff was easy, but they could also get us into some of the less obvious places. We spent three nights in onsens, the traditional inns with hot water springs. We'd never have done that without them, but these were some of the highlights of our visit.

For me the trip was a perfect balance between organised and not. We weren't part of a tour, but had a huge document which told us exactly what to do, and with cars and train tickets arranged (and believe me, you need instructions to get out of a main Toyko station with 34 exits). We had guides for a half day on some days, on other days we did our own thing. We did have a guide who took us around the manga area, and they also got us tickets for the Ghibli museum, which are really hard to get hold of.

I cannot recommend Japan, and them, too much. It was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip, funded by an inheritance. We are going back next year...

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