Tokyo, Matsumoto, Kiso Valley, Kyoto and Hiroshima
We owe you sincere thanks for planning such a superb itinerary for us. It was very varied and everything worked like clockwork! The HIS in-house team were waiting for us at the airport and took great care of us driving us to our hotel in Tokyo. The sumo tickets were waiting for us as we checked in and the staff made sure we knew where we had to go for our first pick-up point the following morning. But the maps you sent were very clear anyway and we were able to get to all of our tours on time. All of the tours were very professionally organised and we saw all of the venues as itemised on the schedules.
Japan lived up to all of my expectations - the food, cities, history, traditions, countryside, temples etc. - and I particularly admired the respectful and courteous behaviour of the Japanese people. We felt very sad when the HIS team dropped us off at Narita on our final evening taking the time and trouble to ask us if we'd enjoyed out stay and hoping we would like to come back to Japan again. (We would love to go back and hope we will be able to repeat the experience one day). Please give our thanks to the HIS Office and to the drivers who took us to and from the airport.
Thank you for helping us have an unforgettable holiday, Hayley - it was a memorable way to celebrate my 60th birthday/
KAGOSHIMA, NAGASAKI, YUFUIN
We had (again) wonderful time in Japan, as l kept saying there, l love Japan, everything works like clockwork, its clean, safe and friendly.
Kuyshu Island has loads to offer and l think many Japanese use it as holiday destination, especially Yufuin area.
Kagoshima and the volcanic island Sakurijama very interesting, as the volcano is active daily, one can follow it at the Sakurajima visitor centre.
One of the high lights of our tour was the Kinzangura ex-gold mine shochu brewery. We all really enjoyed it very much. Without the guide it would not have been as enjoyable because everything was in Japanese and the tour in the “cellar” was in Japanese, so he translated the main points to us. The main building/reception was beautiful wooden building, with little stream and fish, very peaceful and relaxing. We used an old (renovated) mine train to the tunnel and brewery, very nice. Then back to the shop and some tasting.
On the way to Nagasaki a little stop at the Kumamoto castle, very interesting and beautiful. Arrival to Nagasaki was late afternoon, so once we got to the Peace Park we did not have time to visit the museum, but the history of the atomic bomb devastation was on the signs and boards, available in English.
Arita was a disappointment. The reason for that might be the wrong weekday to do the tour, most of the places of interest were closed, many shops were open.
Yufuin, what can l say, what an experience. Beautiful town. The journey from Tosu to Yufuin with an old fully renovated train was absolutely beautiful, through the mountains and valleys. The hotel had a pick up service between 3-5 pm, so we were picked up, no need for taxi. The hotel itself was a bit old fashioned and worn out, but very clean and friendly, the dinner and breakfast were excellent (as long as one likes Japanese food, and we do). I recommend for a real Japanese experience.
So to put that short, Kyushu would be a good destination, possibly similar programme we made. Local guide helps to get around faster and a great language help, especially places like the brewery. I cannot recommend the Japan Rail Pass value enough, excellent value.
TOKYO, TAKAYAMA, KYOTO, HIROSHIMA
We had the most amazing time, and you were right you can get by with the signs and time tables – we managed it with about 4 words of Japanese! I was amazed at how often we were the only Europeans around, even in Tokyo, but we did not feel uncomfortable. We managed to do everything we wanted and more thanks to your tips. The kids adored the wild deer on the island near Hiroshima. The whiskey tour is something I would definitely recommend to your clients who like whiskey.
HIROSHIMA, KUMAMOTO, KUROKAWA ONSEN, KYOTO, TOKYO
We were very impressed by the schedule of our stay that you put together for us. All the train names, times and platform names were perfect and we actually took exactly the trains you mentioned. We even caught all the trains to Hiroshima on the day of our arrival following your schedule. One exception was that we stopped in Osaka for 2 hours on our way to Kyoto to see the nightlife. All other arrangements: Kokedera tickets, luggage, bus to Kurokawa Onsen also arrived on time to respective hotels and were very useful. Our trip would not have been the same without all these advanced reservations. We used every single of your maps and directions to get to our hotels. So all in all, you contribution to our trip was extremely valuable. We loved Japan and really want to come back in a few years. Maybe see the Japanese Alps and Hokkaido this time and stay again in an onsen.
KYUSHU, HIROSHIMA, KYOTO, TOKYO
We have enjoyed a comprehensive tour of Kyushu. It’s a very beautiful island and we feel that we have savoured the best it has to offer. A major contribution to our safety, comfort and enjoyment was our bus driver. He was unfailingly courteous, helpful and reliable. We admired his professional skill and we felt safe and secure in his capable hands. His driving was a model of all what is best. We are grateful to him and we wish him well in the future. Our guide worked without reservation to ensure that we maximized our holiday enjoyment. We marvelled at her dedication. She worked from early morning to late evening and was always planning ahead to smooth our way. She was informative, friendly and very good company. She kept us fully informed on the history, culture and sociology of Japan. We learnt a great deal from her and she was always happy to answer our questions. She is dedicated and tireless in her commitment to the enjoyment and well being of her clients. She became our friend and we will remember her with fondness. A good guide makes a real contribution to the success of the holiday. Heidi is exceptional and we benefited from her dedication and hard work. We commend her for her work and we are very grateful. We congratulate the people who drew up the itinerary and we are happy to report that our tour of Kyushu was a resounding success.
OSAKA, KYOTO, TOKYO
Just got back from Japan and wanted to drop a note to say thank you very much for helping us organise the trip. We had a wonderful time in Japan! It was so good to not have to worry about transfers and hotels and the directions and itinerary you gave us were so useful! Hope we can go again in future!
TOKYO, TAKAYAMA, KANAZAWA, KYOTO
We had an absolutely fabulous time! Yes, the autumn colours were so pretty, I think we probably went at the best time of year. Lovely colours, but not quite as packed as at cherry blossom time, I guess.
It was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had -we loved Japan!
Many thanks again, we would definitely recommend you to anyone else considering a holiday to Japan.
TOKYO, KYOTO, HIROSHIMA, KOYASAN, WAKAYAMA, NAGOYA
The holiday was really excellent….very very grateful for your advice and happy to recommend you to others – I have a few friends wanting to go to Japan and have no hesitations in recommending your company.
The Imperial was a great hotel and I think you did very well to book that for us. The Komano Kodo has wonderful hikes…from a few hours to several days. The leaflet you gave us was very helpful. The hikes were not very strenuous but some very lovely and secluded. Yunomine was a great choice… it is a very charming little village with a true onsen.
We all felt that this area was very worth visiting. Koyasan was great also. The temple accommodation was more basic but a great experience and the cemetery at Koysan well worth the detour.
TOKYO, HAKONE, KYOTO, HIROSHIMA
Everything that ViaJapan organised worked like clockwork, and the detailed itinerary was extremely helpful, and accurate, even down to which train platform we had to leave from!
Before our two week encounter with Japan, there were expectations of a completely different country, with likely culture shock. On arrival in Tokyo, however, there were many things that seemed familiar as well as many contrasts. Like London, Tokyo is a big, heaving city, with a mix of historic sites, high-end shops, sky scrapers, a busy transport system and beautiful parks. Striking differences that we met everywhere that we went in Japan included the exceptional cleanliness of streets and transport, great organisation and punctuality and, most of all, the polite, respectful, friendly and helpful manner of the Japanese people (we met much kindness in helping us navigate complex street layouts and railway stations – especially the world’s busiest – Shinjuku Station). Health consciousness was a theme that we met first at Tokyo airport when we were passed through a body temperature scanner to prevent the landing of fevered visitors, and then we encountered many locals wearing face masks to avoid infection. Hotels and restaurants made sure that we were kept clean with hand wipes before every meal. We enjoyed the comfort of heated ‘western style’ loo seats, but were less keen on the traditional hole-in-ground option, which was sometimes all that was available; and finding soap, loo roll and hand towels was a novelty in most public conveniences which seemed to contradict the general standards of cleanliness. As for the food, Japanese cuisine presented a few challenges, from mastering chopsticks to chewing raw fish and chicken gizzard, as well as swallowing sweets made mostly of bean curd. We appreciated some new tastes but were also happy to divert to the familiarity of Indian, Italian, Mexican and Chinese menus, all of which had a rather strange local spin.
Definitely a trip to remember. Many thanks once again – I will certainly recommend your company to others.