Happy Birthday to us!!
- October 2013 marked an important milestone for Samurai Tours. It was our 10th anniversary of providing tours to Japan. All of us here at Samurai Tours want to thank all of those people who have traveled with us in the past. We realize that this anniversary would not have been possible without you. You put a lot of trust in us, and we hope we lived up to that trust. And secondly, we want to extend a warm “Irasshaimase” (Welcome!) to those of you who are either scheduled to travel with us soon or are thinking of traveling with us in the near future. We are ready to show you our side of Japan.
While thinking about the last 10 years, in some ways it is hard to believe it has been 10 years. It seems like just a short time ago when we started the company. But then, I start to think about all of the friendly people we have had the good fortune to meet and the good times and all the good food and drink, and I started to realize that it really has been quite a long time.
But not everything was so good. There were economic downturns, recessions, and worst of all, earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear power plants that at times cast a gloomy outlook on the future of the company (and Japan). But we were able to “endure” (as the Japanese would say) these things. And as the saying goes, those things that don’t kill you make you stronger.
We hope the second ten years will be as memorable and wonderful as the first 10 years. And we hope to see you in Japan soon.
Rail and Drive Tour Packages
- Announcing our new Rail and Drive Tours – The public transportation system in Japan is one of the best, if not the best in the world. However, if you want to travel to the remote areas of Japan, public transportation is sometimes either non-existent, too infrequent or too slow to be practical. Automobiles are the best way to access these remote areas. Our Rail and Drive tours are a convenient combination of public transportation and 8-seater vans, allowing us to really get “off the beaten path”. (Because of seat limitations, these tours are limited to a maximum of 6 people.) We replaced our popular Hokkaido tour with this new format.
Among the Japanese, Hokkaido has become synonymous with sensational food, stunning scenery and some of the best onsens in Japan. Because of this, Hokkaido has become a popular vacation destination for the Japanese. We slow the pace down on this tour to allow you to relax and to really enjoy and appreciate Hokkaido to its fullest.
Our new web site
- We are proud to announce the roll out of our new web site. In addition to a new look and feel, the new web site features the following:
– New redesigned menu to allow easier navigation
– The ability to see pricing in 18 different currencies and the ability to pay in 18 different currencies
– A new mobile web site to allow browsing using a smartphone or tablet
– Updated tour itineraries
– Printer-friendly PDFs of toursAnd many other features.
Celebrating 9 Years!!
- October marks 9 years of Samurai Tours offering tours to Japan.
1st Annual Guide meeting in Kyoto
- All of our guides got together for a lunch meeting in Kyoto recently. After which, we visited Nijo Castle (even tour guides are tourists sometimes). During this time, many items were discussed as to how to improve our tours. Everyone enjoyed the meeting so much, everyone asked to repeat it every year, which we will do.
Celebrating 8 Years!!
- October marks 8 years of Samurai Tours offering tours to Japan.
Announcing our new Cultural Activities
- We are excited to announce our new cultural activities. We are offering many different activities including tea ceremony, samurai sword fighting, meeting a maiko (geisha in training) to name but a few. See our web site for more details.
Resumption of Tour Schedule
- After having to cancel the Cherry Blossom tours in late March and early due to the issues of the earthquake, and resulting issues of the tsunami and nuclear power plants, we are resuming our full tour schedule as of our Spring Best of Japan tour in May. Anyone wishing to cancel or reschedule their tour will be accommodated.
NHK Films one of our Tours
- NHK (the Japanese equivalent of PBS) followed our Best of Kyoto tour one day. They were creating a program about kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi). We were the only tour group they were able to find, so they asked if they could tag along. You can find the video on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/samuraitours.
Cancellation of Cherry Blossom Tours
- Due to the problems with the Great East Earthquake and tsunamis, and the resulting problems at Fukushima Daiichi power plants, we will have to cancel our Cherry Blossom Tours in March and April. Until further notice, all other tours will be operated.
We’re on Facebook!
- Visit our new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/samuraitours.
Announcing our new Independent Packages
- For those of you who wish to travel independently, these packages offer the perfect way to explore Japan. Whether you customize one of our pre-defined itineraries or create your own itinerary from scratch, our Self Guided Independent Packages include detailed, easy-to-follow directions allowing you to navigate Japan on your own like a local. Working closely with you, we will help make your dream Japan holiday become a reality. We can cater to any budget or any special interests. Select from the available sightseeing and Optional Cultural Activities to round out your tour. A little structure with a lot of flexibility may be the perfect combination for you!
Announcing our new 23 Day Best of Japan Tour
- If you don’t want to miss anything in Japan, then this is the tour for you. From Sapporo to Nagasaki, you will enjoy the best Japan has to offer including some of Japan’s best onsens, gardens, castles, natural scenic areas, historical districts, temples and shrines, cultural activities and much, much more in a tour that will create travel memories to last a lifetime. For more information, please visit http://www.samuraitours.com/tours/bestOfJapan23Days/.
Interview on NextTripRadio.com
- On March 9 (at 4AM Kyoto time), Mike was interviewed by NextTripRadio.com, an Internet radio station specializing in travel. “I was really nervous”, said Mike, “but once it started, it was over before I knew it. They wanted me to talk about Samurai Tours and Japan. Anyone who knows me knows I can talk about of either of these subjects for hours. So it was easier than I thought once it got started.” There are two 9-minute segments. You can hear the first segment here, and the second segment here.
Recommend Magazine and on Recommend.com website
- Our Best of Kyoto and Beyond tour was suggested as an escorted tour of Kyoto in the August 2008 edition of Recommend magazine and on their website. Recommend Magazine, and its associated website, Recommend.com, is written exclusively for travel agents.
Announcing our New Self-Guided Independent Packages!
- For those of you who wish to travel independently, these itineraries, available to start at any time, offer the perfect way to explore Japan. Pre-defined itineraries with detailed, easy-to-follow directions allow you to navigate Japan on your own like a pro. Select from the available sightseeing and cultural options, design your own custom daily itineraries using our Custom Independent Travel Adventure Package services or create your own daily itinerary. A little structure with a lot of flexibility may be the perfect combination for you!These packages are designed to take all the time and worry out of planning your trip so you can concentrate on getting the very most out of your trip to Japan and your travel investment. We’ll organize all your accommodations and transportation, and meet you upon arrival at the airport. You’ll have the full back up of our English-speaking office staff in Japan to make sure every aspect of your trip goes according to plan and all of our itineraries also include private guiding from a licensed, English-speaking guide on your first full day in Japan. These reassuring services will help introduce you to Japan and give you extra confidence for traveling the country independently.Click here for more information regarding our Self-Guided Independent Packages.
Japanese Travel Agency License
- Its official!! We have acquired our Travel Agency License in Japan. The ID is Kyoto-ken Chijitoroku Ryokogyo 3-576, or Kyoto Prefecture Travel Agency License #3-576 in English. The agency is fully licensed and bonded as dictated by Japanese law. This is another step in our plans to provide a wide range of travel products in Japan.
Announcing our Custom Travel Services
- If you would prefer to tour Japan independently, our Custom Travel Services can provide you with whatever you will need to visit Japan. Whether you are looking for someone to create a custom Japan independent travel package, or you just need someone to buy tickets to a Sumo tournament, use our vast knowledge of the Japan travel environment to your advantage. You decide how much or how little of our services you need, and we take care of the rest.We will work with you to find just the right options to suit your preferences, interests and budget. Because Japan is our focus, and not just another one of many destinations, we are able to suggest and offer things others can’t. Because of this, you will get more value out of your travel investment, while enjoying your trip even more. Your vacation time is limited, so make the most out of it by letting us assist you.Click here for more information regarding our Custom Travel Services.
Celebrating Five Years!
- In October, we will be celebrating our 5th anniversary of providing tours to Japan. “It certainly doesn’t feel like 5 years. It feels like we just started yesterday.” says Mike. “While thinking about the last 5 years, at the risk of sounding cliche, I couldn’t help but think what a long, strange trip it’s been (my apologies to the Grateful Dead). But seriously, when I started to think about all the wonderful people that have been on our tours, it was hard not to become somewhat nostalgic. There is no possible way I can express my feelings to our former tour members. All I can think to say is thank you for choosing to travel with us, and thank you for being such good travelers. I hope our paths cross again someday.”
New Back Door to the Japan Alps Tour
- “We are happy to announce our new Back Door to the Japan Alps tour. This new tour is similar to the Best of the Japan Alps and Central Japan, but provides more emphasis on the older, more traditional side of the Japan Alps.” according to Mike. “From a personal standpoint, if I had to choose one tour to go on, this would be the one I would choose.” The tour is a 15 day/13 night tour visiting Tokyo, Magome, Tsumago, Matsumoto, Obuse, Yudanaka Onsen, Kamikochi, Hirayu Onsen, Shirakawa-go and Takayama. Learn more about the Back Door to the Japan Alps Tour.
- We are happy to introduce our first monthly newsletter. We are looking forward to bringing a small piece of Japan to everyone. The topics will include What?s New@Samurai Tours, The Road Less Traveled, Japanese Travel Tips, Culture Corner, Japanese Language 101, Photo of the Month and Tour Member Photos and more. Click here to browse our Newsletters.
- “I am excited to announce we have created a “Kabukshiki Kaisha” (literally translates to Stock Company) in Japan” according to Owner Mike Roberts. “Initially the company will only support our tours, but soon we plan to create an inbound travel agency for independent travelers going to Japan. The legal process to create the company has been a lot of work, and we still have much left to do. But the flexibility this gives us makes it very worthwhile.”
New Winter Wonderland Tour
- Samurai Tours is pleased to introduce its new Winter Wonderland Tour. According to Owner Mike Roberts, “Although many people don’t think of going to Japan in the winter, winter travel in Japan offers a number of unique opportunities. After all, on a cold winter day, what could be better than a bowl of hot noodles with hot sake, followed by a hot outdoor bath in the falling snow. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
New Website Design
- “While the old web site was designed well, we hadn’t done a major redesign in over three years, and it was getting a little ragged around the edges.” according to the Owner, Mike Roberts. “The new web site, designed and created by PivotPoint, LLC in Denver, CO has an organic feel, and represents who we are and what we do.”
New Hokkaido tour
- Samurai Tours is excited to announce the addition of our new Back Door to Hokkaido Tour. Owner Mike Roberts says “Hokkaido is Japan’s final frontier. Rather than just create another introductory tour, we wanted to create a comprehensive package that took full advantage of everything Hokkaido has to offer, and I think we have succeeded.”
Move to New Office
- “We are finally are getting much needed extra room. “, according to Owner Mike Roberts.
Office Creation in Japan
- Owner Mike Roberts says “This was a big step for us, and allows us to be more flexible and attentive to our client’s needs, and opens the door wide open for bigger improvements in the future.”