Frequently Asked Questions
How many people are there on each of your tours?
Our Tours are limited to a maximum of 16 tour members plus a tour leader, with an average of 10-12 tour members. Local, licensed guides are also included where indicated on the itinerary.
What sort of people go on your tours?
Because of the way we organize our tours, and the way we travel, we tend to attract friendlier, more flexible and fun-loving people for our tours, giving our tours a congenial atmosphere. If you are interested in learning about Japan, its culture, people and want to have fun at the same time, you will fit right in.
What is included in the price of the tour?
The price of our tours include the full-time services of the tour leader, accommodations, transport between destinations in Japan, breakfast each morning and about half of the lunches and dinners (See the itinerary for details.).Local transportation during group travel and sightseeing on subways, buses, etc. is included. Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks are included at the Welcome and Sayonara dinners only.
Airfare is not included.
What standard of accommodation do you use?
We use smaller, neighborhood hotels and traditional Japanese-style accommodations. Japan does not use the star rating system, but most of the accommodations we use would be considered 3-stars. We select ryokans and hotels for their comfort, friendly and helpful staff and convenient location for sightseeing and transportation links.
Do the hotels and ryokans have "en-suite" facilities?
All of the hotels and ryokans have en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms will include a bath/shower combination, sink and western-style toilet.
Who are the tour leaders?
Your tour leader will either be Japanese-speaking Americans or English-speaking Japanese, with extensive experience leading tour groups. All of our tour leaders are in their 40s and 50s, giving them the maturity and experience to handle any situation.
Will we be met at the airport?
Yes. We will meet you at the airport on the start date of the tour. If you will be arriving before the start date, we can meet you but we do charge a $100 fee, or we can give you detailed instructions on how to get to your first accommodation.
How do I sign up for a Samurai Tours tour?
After thoroughly reading our Terms and Conditions, fill-out the tour registration form (see the Tour Registration page). We will need a $500 deposit per-person to hold a seat on the tour. All deposits are refundable within 14 days of Samurai Tours receiving the payment. Exception: Deposits received within 60 days of the tour departure are non-refundable.
What does it mean to be on a waitlist for a sold-out tour?
We are happy to add your name to as many as three waitlists. Please provide your address, a daytime telephone number where we can reach you if something opens up, and the number in your party. There is always a chance that a seat will eventually open up on one of the tours you are interested in, as we receive cancellations or changes for a variety of reasons throughout the year. Although cancellations can happen at any time, they most often occur close to 60 days prior to departure, when the final tour payment is due. We will contact you immediately if and when something opens up.
You may also want to consider signing up for a tour with openings currently available, to guarantee you have a reservation on one of our tours. Then if a opening becomes available on your first choice tour that you have waitlisted, we will contact you and discuss your options.
Are your tours non-smoking?
All trains except the Shinkansen (bullet trains) and express trains are non-smoking. The Shinkansen and express trains have both smoking and non-smoking cars. (Some Shinkansen trains are completely non-smoking.) However, the Japanese generally do not have separate smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants. We will try to honor any requests for non-smoking hotel and ryokan rooms, however we cannot promise non-smoking rooms because some ryokans do not have non-smoking rooms.
How strenuous are Samurai Tours tours?
Our tours are physically active with a lot of walking, standing while sightseeing, and stair-climbing. Elevators and escalators can be hard to find in train stations, especially the smaller ones. Shrines and temples usually have quite a few stairs at their entrances. Age is not a concern as long as you are physically fit, and are able to carry your own luggage. It is not always convenient to take transportation everywhere, so be prepared to walk up to 10 minutes with your overnight bags. Rollerboard suitcases work fine in Japan, but keep in mind there may be times when you may need to carry them up or down stairs.
Do you charge a single supplement for solo travelers?
We do charge a single supplement for solo travelers. If you wish to avoid the supplement, we can room solo travelers (of the same gender) in a room together, usually in twos or threes. This is strictly on a volunteer basis. If there is not another solo traveler available to share a room, you will be required to pay the single supplement.
Do you have age restrictions for your tours?
Travelers must be at least 18 years-of-age to travel unaccompanied by an adult. We recommend that children be at least 12 years of age. Our tours are heavy on "adult things" (art, history, architecture, etc.) that kids often find boring. Our tours allow flexibility, so squeezing in activities for younger children is possible but can still be overwhelming.
Do you offer discounts for children?
We offer a 10% discount to children under 12, and 5% for ages 12 to 16.
Can you help plan my pre- or post-tour travel?
We offer a consulting service at Samurai Tours for your plans to start your travels before or continue your travels after the tour. Contact us as soon as possible for our recommendations.
Will I have to carry my luggage on the trains?
While traveling to and from the airports by train, you will be responsible for your luggage. The trains servicing airports do have luggage racks for suitcases. However, during the tour, we use a service called "Takkyubin" (baggage transfer). This "door-to-door" delivery service allows us to send our large suitcases ahead, traveling with overnight bags only from city-to-city, making train-travel much easier.