These are small, escorted group tours that enable our guests to travel as “temporary Japanese” and to experience a true cultural immersion into Japanese traditions and hospitality. Our groups are small (maximum of 16 tour members) allowing us to stay in centrally-located, family-run lodging, use public transportation and eat in smaller, intimate restaurants that are off-limits to large groups.
We prefer to use traditional, Japanese style ryokans for lodging. We carefully select ryokans and hotels in the middle of the sights and culture rather than convenient to transportation hubs. (All of the ryokans and hotels we use, with the exception of the Buddhist temple on Koya-san have en-suite bathrooms with western-style toilets.)
Since all of your group transportation costs, admission fees, all breakfasts, half of your lunches and dinners, tips and more are included, there are no hidden costs. And with our included tour cancellation/interruption protection coverage, your travel investment is protected giving you peace of mind.
These packages feature:
- Small groups (16 members maximum) with a friendly atmosphere
- Well-rounded and creative itineraries
- Experienced guides and tour leaders
- Centrally-located, family-run lodging
- Public transportation
- Well-balanced cultural activities
- Guaranteed prices with no hidden costs
If the fun, friendliness and flexibility of small, escorted group travel appeals to you, join us!
“Traveling small” gives our groups a congenial atmosphere. 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. 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.
Experienced Tour Leaders and Guides
You will enjoy the full-time services of our experienced, bi-lingual tour leaders who will ensure your Japanese experience goes off without a hitch. And our licensed, English-speaking Japanese guides, well versed in Japanese culture, history, art and architecture, provided at the appropriate times during the tour will bring Japan alive with their insights.
Centrally-located, Family-run Lodging
We prefer to use traditional, Japanese-style ryokans for lodging. These unique Japanese accommodations provide a unique Japanese experience. Whenever possible, we prefer to stay in smaller, more intimate family-run ryokans that are off-limits to larger groups. Many of the ryokans we stay in have as few as 10 to 15 rooms and are located on quiet, narrow side streets. Their owners take tremendous pride in their facilities, service and cuisine. Whenever we do use hotels, we prefer to use smaller, local hotels primarily used by the Japanese that blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, rather than the larger chain hotels catering to western tourists. We carefully select ryokans and hotels in the middle of the sights and culture that are within walking distance of what you came to see. This saves you time and money, and gives you lots of independence. All of the ryokans and hotels, with the exception of the Buddhist temple on Koya-san, have en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms will include a bath/shower combination, sink and toilet, while the Buddhist temple has shared bath and toilet facilities “down the hall.”
We use only public transportation for these tours. We use the same trains, subways, buses, taxis and ferries that millions of Japanese use every day. By traveling this way, you will get much closer to the people and culture you traveled thousands of miles to discover. You won’t view Japan through a tour bus window on a whirlwind bus tour. And no trip to Japan is complete without at least one ride on the fast and convenient Shinkansens (bullet trains).
We include many well-balanced cultural extras in our tours such as tea ceremonies, zen meditation, geisha walking tours and meeting a Maiko, an apprentice geisha. This way you won’t miss anything on your visit to Japan.