10 independent reviews for Japan golden route vacation

Reviews for Japan golden route vacation

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review 7 Oct 2017

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

The japanese alps, Miyajima, Hiroshima, cooking class, visit to Maiko, cycling - actually. Everything! The trip was fantastic, really well organised - we just had to arrive and enjoy!

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

Do activities and take opportunities to meet and engage with locals: we did cooking class with the equivalent of the women's institution, talked to a maiko, cycled with a local guide... learn a few phrases of japanese and use them - very much appreciated by the locals... take a small typical gift from your country for guides - they liked being thanked with something personal (we took hand made sweets and a ceramic jar made by a local company) and when people asked where we were from, we showed them photos of our home town and our dog which they loved as it kick started conversations beyond the simple hello how are you. ...and if you enjoy or appreciate something, tell the locals - who does not want to hear nice things about their country? It seems to be a japanese custom to thank you for visiting their country, and we used it as an opening to engage lastly, travel light ! half way through our vacation we forwarded our big suitcase back to the last hotel we were staying in, and travelled with little wheelie suitcases - very easy and convenient on trains and public transport

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Traveling by fantastic trains, clean and on time, what a dream of what well, organised and efficient public transport looks like

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

Fantastic! all the organisation was taken care of, so no stress

review 31 May 2017

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

The boat ride down the Hozugawa River, starting at Kameoka, a JR train journey from Kyoto that is reasonably short. Great views, and we had three real characters guiding and punting the boat down the river. I wish I understood more Japanese than I do. On a par was the hike from Magome to Tsumago, with a night's stay before moving onto Nagiso. Part of this trail featured on the mini series that Joanna Lumley recently did about Japan.

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

Relax. The level of detail and information in the pack you will get is absolutely first class. Make good use of the IC card you get in the pack. Very useful for underground, some bus and tram journeys, as well as the ubiquitous vending machines. Easy to top up, as there is an English Language option on the machines used for topping up. We also made use of a wifi dongle that connected to the phone cell network. Small enough to carry easily, lasted over two days on a single charge, and decently fast with a good signal.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The transport network in Japan is first rate, and apart from the odd taxi, it was all public transport or walking. This is bound to lower the environmental impact. We had plenty of opportunity to meet ordinary Japanese people, and supported many small shops and cafes along the way, as well as two instances of family-run ryokan and bekkan accommodation.

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

Heaps of praise. Couldn't fault anything. Nothing. It was a real experience, and made worry free by the superb back-up of the tour operator. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend them.

review 17 May 2017

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

It's hard to identify just one most memorable or exciting part - everything was amazing. The culture, the people, the food, the scenery, the transportation. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

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

Do plan an itinerary in advance - this is where Responsible Travel really helped me. I had a schedule to follow, but it was flexible enough not to be constrictive.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - I fell tourism is well supported in Japan and the people go out of their way to make visitors welcome

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

Beyond execellent.

review 1 May 2017

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

Himeji Castle with cherry blossom in full bloom!

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

Try everything. Locals are very friendly and helpful, with a surprising number of transport staff speaking at least a little English. As general advice to future tourists, double beds are inevitably with one side against a wall so not as practicable as two singles. If you follow the itinerary and provided guide books there is a lot of really good advice on places to visit. Additionally I would recommend seeing Kyoto station at night - light shows on the stairs and the views from the skywalk are awesome!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Only to the extent that we spent in small local restaurants and shops wherever possible.

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

Absolutely wonderful. The pre planning and preparation that Kester advised us on made the vacation run really smoothly. I took a party of 8 with all of them being first time visitors other than me. After a few days of using the JR passes and Manaca cards everybody was comfortable to go off exploring on their own, these passes really make it easy. The follow up by Kester and his staff during the vacation just to ensure that everything was ok was also reassuring. I would certainly use them again.

review 17 Oct 2016

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

Knowing that I was actually in Japan! Always dreamed of going.

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

If you can, definitely go the self guided route. I was covering so much ground on a daily basis and it is so easy to get around. The people are very helpful too.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I believe so. I only used public transport throughout the vacations. Stayed in a family guest house and ate at family owned restaurants in areas such as Hakone.

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

It blew away all my expectations in all honesty. I will definitely be booking my next trip through Responsible Travel again. The question is where to next??

review 25 May 2016

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

Staying in the traditional hotel ryokan with the onsen and experiencing the traditional dinner and breakfast. The fantastic rail network of shinkansen was fabulous.

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

The package was very well put together, but do not try and do it all. There is so much to see, do and learn that I would advise to try and do less but in more depth. The information in the pack was useful and relevant and up to date, with lots of good ideas and tips. There was a lot of information on culture, local custom and practice and places to see and visit and I would recommend anyone to make use of the information to plan their day. We found the mobile WIFI dongle that we got at the airport very good and we had constant access to google maps, email, phone etc as often the WiFi in hotels is weak.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we found all the hotels had 'green options' and locals were performing the various services that we had requested.

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

We would recommend everyone to use this vacation provider for a first trip to Japan as the package was very well put together and executed. Everything was right, correct and we did not have any single disappointment. All the transport arrangements, tickets and timings were perfect. The hotels were cleverly chosen to reflect the various different specialties of the area, and were of a high standard at a reasonable cost. We did not find any language barriers, and even the private tour guides had outstanding English. There was always someone to speak to from the company if you needed any further assistance or advice. We found their advice and planning resulted in us having the best vacation ever.

review 11 Oct 2016

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

Two highlights - 1. taking a leisurely stroll from the 'Silver Temple' in Kyoto along the Philosopher's Walk where we met few others, totally peaceful and a lovely escape from the sightseeing crowds of Kyoto. Collecting my 'stamps' along the way when we did a tiny part of the Kumano Kodo 2. Walking between small villages where the villagers nod gently then carry on tending their smallholdings, then dipping into the shade of the forest for the next bit of the trek.

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

Use this tour operator to help you plan and guide you.....Tim made our trip so easy to navigate and we became increasingly confident using the the Shinkansen (bullet trains), local buses, trains and the subway and he had identified some great places to stop and explore so when time was tight we didn't 'dither' about what to explore.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We frequently used small local restaurants where the locals went to eat and chat therein supporting local business.

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

Excellent and an experience we will remember for a long time.... we have told the Mume hotel in Kyoto ( super tiny hotel with 7 bedrooms and a fabulous owner and staff ) we will come back! Over 300 photos taken.... an indication of our enthusiasm to capture the glorious sights.

review 18 Sep 2016

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

My visit to Japan has reset my stereotypical views of the Japanese people I am ashamed to say. My previous experience has been of the large groups that travel with tour operators all over the world and don't appear to interact with 'foreigners'. However, we found them to be so friendly, welcoming and helpful even when not asked! This was such a lovely thing to experience and I feel an apology is due. Aside from thisKyoto was wonderful and would have loved more time thereThe Shinkansen are such an amazing experience, quite easy to become a train spotter as witnessing their speed is spectacular

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

Please use the public transport it is such an amazingly easy way to travel, seems daunting at first but will soon become second nature. Signs are in English, certainly in Kyoto, hakone and Tokyo. The equivalent to an Oyster card is amazing, can use on all the hundreds of vending machines and we emptied ours at the 'family Mart' at our final destination buying a sandwich

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly we used all local services and businesses. Entrance fees of course continue to contribute to upkeep of historical sites

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

Simply spectacular! So well organised, thorough guidance on itinerary and rail links, cannot fault it.

review 2 Nov 2014

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

Our time spent in Hakone. Despite not being able to see much due to a Typhoon the Gora Tensui was a fantastic Ryokan and great place to relax in a storm.

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

Leverage the baggage transfer service. It made traveling on the train much simpler as we could forward our large bags and use smaller suitcases for shorter 2 day stays.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes and taking the Shinkansen is a great way to travel.

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

Excellent and good value for money

review 19 May 2014

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

We enjoyed it all. The travel arrangements all worked perfectly. Hotels were fine. Amy at the tour operator was terrific.

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

6 hour day tour of Tokyo was a bit stressful for seniors, in the amount of stairs and walking particularly between subways. The guide could have given us more options for traveling. Two tour guides to Geisha district were poor and overly talkative The tour and experience was great. The two tour guides in Tokyo and daytime Kyoto were wonderful.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

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

Excellent

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