I loved Japan! Wonderful is the only word I would use to describe my trip. Everyday was so exciting and action packed. I want to go back already. Japanese people are so polite and helpful, the country is so modern and impeccably clean, and the temples inspiring.
Steve was very helpful if you had any questions and flexible if you wanted to go and do your own thing. Steve's choice of activities were of a good variety and really interesting. At times Steve didn't seem in a very positive mood but overall it didn't matter, I just got the impression we weren't catching him at his best, but he's got a good sense of humour and I was super impressed with his planning and attention to detail. I enjoyed hearing snippets about life in Japan - he has a wealth of experience to share and I think tours could build a bit more in terms of imparting info about life in Japan, for example we looked at apartment rental boards in Tokyo, and Steve explained the letting process. I found anything like this really interesting - it's a good way to see the country from an insiders perspective. The tour guide is a real competitive advantage for the company I think - it was my main reason for choosing a tour (I thought I'd get more out of a tour than if i went alone, and I'm convinced I did).
David was very helpful whenever I had any questions; this was the first time I had gone abroad by myself so I valued his input. Replies were prompt.
Beds very hard in Toyoko Inns but room standard is very good. The Fuji Hakone guest house was a great experience, I really enjoyed staying there. The hotel in Kamakura was not so good. Common areas great and staff were very nice, but my room was in a poor state. For example, walls very badly marked, mould around vents, heavily stained lampshades and bedding had some hairs on it.
All fine, no problems. Like the use of public transport.
I didn't enjoy the group meal. There was no choice so if you don't like it you go hungry! As I did.
I liked so many things! To name a few - the spare time in Kyoto. It's nice to have some freedom to do things every now and again. I went to Nara and temple hopped in Kyoto. Nara is beautiful! The park is a must in autumn to view the trees in amazing colours. I loved Kamakura, what a great place to explore. I thought the amount of time in each place was ideal. Asakusa is a fantastic base for arrival - good choice! Its cultural yet not overwhelming like Shinjuku. I didnt like Shinjuku all that much, too busy and not all that interesting, especially as we had already gone there on the day 1 Tokyo tour. I went back to Asakusa and Ueno in the end as there's more to see I think.
Value for money on essential tour - are you considering offering more essential tours? I'm backpacking and have mentioned your tour to a few others. Possibly you could look to explore a gap in the market here as other companies e.g. STA travel don't offer any reasonably priced trips to Japan? I would choose a tour again as its a great way to get the most out of a short period of time.
I'm glad you had such a good time in Japan, Steve is great at giving the inside view and we make sure we're on top of everything with up-to-date info here in our Uk office. I hope you can travel to Japan again some time! Regards, David