Small Group Tour FAQs
If you are thinking of joining one of our small group tours, we are sure you will have a few questions. The most common are answered on this page but if yours isn't answered here then please contact us using one of the forms on the site, by email or on the telephone.
How many people are there on each of your tours?Our small group tours have a maximum of 12-14 people, plus the Tour Leader. Our tours are very popular and therefore almost always sell out!
What sort of people go on your small group tours?
All sorts of people! We have people of all ages on our trips, and usually a mixture of couples (husband/wife, brother/sister, father/daughter etc) and single travelers. The bulk of our customers come from the UK and USA, but we have had past customers from all over the globe! There is always a very pleasant atmosphere on our tours, because our customers all have a genuine interest in Japan, so find they have a lot in common with others on the tour. We occasionally have children on our tours, as part of a family group.
Do you charge a single supplement for single travellers?
For many of our tours we do NOT charge a single supplement and for these tours we guarantee single rooms at all of the western-style hotels for no extra cost. However, in the Japanese-style accommodation we use we may ask you to share a room with another tour member of the same sex. This is because most Japanese inns (ryokan) do not have rooms designed for single travellers.
For the Spring Elegance, Japan Enchantment, Kyushu Elements, Spirit of Honshu, Winter Highlights and Hidden Japan tours there is a single supplement which is mandatory. This gives you a single room at ALL night stops.
What is included in the price of the tour?
The price of our tours always include accommodation, transport between destinations in Japan and breakfast each morning (except for Japan Unmasked which does not include breakfast every morning). Most tours also includes a number of evening meals (varies depending on the tour) and the full-time services of your tour leader. Please check the details of each particular tour for other inclusions.
The main exclusions are international flights and local transport at each destination, such as taxi, subway and bus fares. On each tour there are several evening meals that are not included, in order to give maximum flexibility. Lunches and personal expenses such as snacks and souvenir shopping are also not included.
Do you require a local payment?
No. No further payment for the tour is required once you arrive in Japan, except to cover personal day-to-day expenses as discussed above. As our tours include transport between destinations in Japan, you also do not need to buy a Japan Rail Pass or any other transport passes separately.
What standard of accommodation do you use?
On all of our tours we use a mixture of western-style hotels and traditional Japanese-style accommodation. Japan does not use the star rating system for its hotels, but as a guideline, on our IJT Essential Tours accommodation is 2 to 3 star, our IJT Classic Tours are generally 3 star and our IJT Superior Tours are around 4 star. The IJT eXplorer tours vary a little more but are generally around 3 star. We always select accommodation for their comfort, friendly and helpful staff and convenient location for sightseeing and transport links. Please see the information below regarding bathroom facilities.
Does all of the accommodation have attached bathrooms?
All of the western-style hotels we use have full ensuite facilities. The majority of the Japanese-style places we use either have en-suite, or have shared bathrooms that can be used privately. Please see the relevant tour page for details of bathroom arrangements on each tour.
Who is the Tour Leader?
Your Tour Leader will be a Japanese speaking Brit or American. All of our tour leaders have extensive experience of living and working in Japan, so you will be in good hands. Our Tour Leaders are in their 20s and 30s. The Spirit of Honshu tour is led by a Japanese tour leader.
Which airport should we fly into?
The majority of our tours start and end in Tokyo, so you will need flights to and from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) or Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND).
The exceptions are the Hidden Japan and Kyushu Elements tours which start and finish in Kyoto for arrivals at and departures from Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) and the Spirit of Honshu tour which starts in Tokyo and finishes in Kyoto. On any of these tours it is easy to arrange add-ons for extra time in Tokyo (or elsewhere) and for arrivals / departures in Tokyo.
Will we be met at the airport?
On our IJT Essential Tours you will need to make your own way from the airport to the start hotel. We will provide full instructions in advance and the tours are designed with easy transfers in mind.
All of our other tours include a meet and greet at the airport and transfers both ways.
What are the arrangements for baggage handling?
On all of our tours you will be expected to carry your own luggage between destinations. For this reason we urge all our customers to pack light and not bring more luggage than needed. If you wish to forward baggage on to a forthcoming destination this is no problem at all as Japan has an excellent baggage forwarding system which is very reliable and affordable. Many of our tours include some luggage forwarding as standard.
Can you arrange extra nights for us before or after the tour?
Yes. We can book additional nights for you in the same accommodation so you can arrive before the tour starts or stay on after it ends. Many people choose to arrive a day or two before the tour, in order to settle in and get over jet-lag before the tour gets going. Many people also like the flexibility of an extra day or two after the tour finishes in order to check out a few more of the sights.
We can also arrange a tailor-made add-on for you after the tour if you would like to visit a few destinations not covered by the tour itself.