4 independent reviews for vacation in Japan

These full and frank independent reviews are from travelers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travelers below.


review 9 Oct 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Climbing Fuji at night to get to the top for sunrise. Absolutely brilliant. Additional mention to the 'off the beaten track' aspect - accommodation, food, etc. Annamarie did have really good knowledge of where to go, what to do, etc.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Two main points on this one. 1. Fuji. The website says we climb in the day, we climbed at night. Definitely the best way to do it - but you need to tell us beforehand so that we bring proper kit. I didn't take a fleece, as thought that I'd take the chance as to whether it would be cold at the top during the day. If I'd have known that I was going to be at the top at 5am, I'd definitely have taken it. 2. Transport. The website says get a 14 day rail pass, we looked at the itinerary, deduced that we'd only use it for 7 days. We then CHECKED with 'you' by email as to whether we really needed the 14 day - you said no, so we bought the 7 day. Turns out we needed the 14 day for two reasons: we took the train to Fuji instead of the bus, and it gets you from Kyoto to Tokyo. Definitely put on the website that you need the 14 day one as itinerary is subject to change. ALSO, put on there that the best way to get from Kyoto to Tokyo is by rail. We booked a flight for that, which actually took a lot longer than the train would have done, and was more expensive (it would have been free if we had the 14 day pass). Annamarie was surprised that we'd booked a flight, we were surprised that we hadn't been told not to....

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Minimized impact in the best way that you can when you fly half way around the world. Carbon footprint was huge. Yes, I feel that it benefited local people: staying in ryokan, eating at local places, etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Superb. Would recommend it wholeheartedly. Thanks very much.

review 5 Jan 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

A lot of good experiences - elephant ride on Christmas day - meeting a monk for meditation - Thai massage (ouch ouch ouch) and some great pampering. Food was often an adventure too. The train ride was memorable - so well organised as it turned into a little dorm for the night and we were well taken care of.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

This is a small group vacation - things donít always go to plan - this happens - try to learn something of the Far Eastern culture before arriving to prepare yourself.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I think so - we ate locally and used the train and were encouraged to use local shops, rather than more expensive hotel facilities. I was surprised at the amount of plastic bottles - no one seemed to carry water carriers or have a place to fill them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

A memorable experience.

review 26 Feb 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

So many... Really enjoyed visiting the ethnic minority villages in Sapa - our tour leader Hue enabled us to visit the villagers and take part in their new year celebrations.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Pack more warm clothes!!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

As much as possible, yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Overall I would rate it very highly - the trip was very well organised with every effort made to make the most of each experience. I think a large degree of the success of our trip was thanks to our great tour leader Hue Tran... She was fantastic!

review 1 Apr 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Getting my fortune at a temple in Tokyo. According to the translation, my wish will not be "ranted".

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Do your own reading about the cities so that you can help the guides show you things that are of interest to you, and not just the generic tourist attractions.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

As this was a city vacation, I don't feel that the impact I had was any greater than in the city I live in.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Attached are two pictures from the Heian Shrine in Kyoto. I'm officially cherry-blossom obsessed now.

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Unedited reviews from other travelers

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
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