This tour is conducted in partnership with Great Rail Journeys (a British Company) and our smaller than usual group comprised 9 Brits, 6 Australians, a Scottish Tour Director and a Japanese local guide. We travelled by both rail (regional and bullet trains) and bus, giving us a pleasant variety. When we travelled by train, our luggage was transported separately by bus so that we didn’t need to struggle with large cases on those journeys.
The tour itinerary had a wonderful mix of culture and scenery, despite Mount Fuji being shrouded in cloud. A bad back dictated that we couldn’t choose a tour that used ryokans and the hotels we stayed in were excellent. While some rooms and bathrooms might be considered a little on the small side by Western standards, they were all a very generous size for Japan.
Electric pots or kettles were provided everywhere, though sometimes only with green tea and no milk. Breakfasts were all quite good, and the included dinners were excellent. They gave us a variety of culinary experiences that enabled us to understand which specific Japanese food we loved and which we might not bother with again. We found the more rustic food just delicious but the “haute cuisine”, though exquisitely presented, was less to our taste.
Our Tour Director was very well organised and everything went exactly to plan. Our local guide was a delightful man with exceptional local knowledge and gave us some wonderful insights and experiences. We would certainly travel with either company again.