The trip was amazing and the attention to the little details by our travel company really added to the whole experience like the travel booklets assembled for our trip that not only included our itinerary, but detail maps to our accommodations, pictures of our local guides, and numerous suggestions for sights and restaurants at each new destination. The accommodations selected by our agency proved to be more than excellent like the charmingly old school hotel that had very helpful staff that went above and beyond to help us fix our untimely luggage problem and handle all our dinning requests. Or the nice facilities in the Tokyo and Kyoto hotels that both timely had coin operated laundries and reasonable laundry services. The one time there was a slight problem, our agency's local travel contact was easily reached and the problem quickly resolved.
The most enjoyable parts of our trip were the amazing local guides. Every single one was not only very experienced and professional, they all went above and beyond to accommodate our requests and make our trip memorable. For example, the local guide in Tokyo was kind enough to make sure that we would get to the proper Japanese Rail kiosks, so that we could get our travel passes and reserved the correct seats for our future rides. Then after a long day, she stayed an extra hour past her required time and personally called the hard to find and almost hidden restaurant to make sure that we would get there in time for our dinner. Another example, the local guide in Kyoto altered her plans for us on the fly to accommodate our desires to visit more shrines that ended up with us fortuitously stumbling upon a local religious festival. Then afterwards, on her own time, she remembered our earlier request to go to a local pharmacy and spoke to the pharmacist on our behalf. Lastly, the local guide in Osaka made sure to take us to an area that were less touristy, so that we could get the authentic Osaka food experience we requested, and then he proceeded to end our night with the most amazing dinner even though he was not required to do so.
First, we would meet our Tokyo local guide earlier in the trip, so that we would have gotten our Japanese Rail (JR) passes faster. The Tokyo subway system is very convenient, but multiple trips on various lines can add up and some of that cost could have been saved by using the JR passes. Second, I wish some one told us that if we wanted to go to the tuna auctions at the Tsukiji Fish Market that the only way to ensure a place in the first 120 people was to not go to bed, stay out late drinking and eating somewhere nearby until 1:45 am and then walking over to get in line by 2 am. Taking a taxi from your hotel is not only expensive, but probably won't guarantee you a spot. The 3 am time listed on most travel blogs will likely be too late. Third, when forwarding luggage, make sure to do it around 24 hours before you need your luggage. So, if you need your luggage the next day, then be sure to forward it the night before. Lastly, when in doubt on where to eat, ask a local (or a very helpful concierge or local guide) and do not go to where the other tourists go. Those restaurants will likely be more expensive and not as good.
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Get Your Trip Planned
"Well planned trip overall. Guides showed up on time and were knowledgeable. Good accommodations and transportation."
"This travel agency was extremely organized and planned a perfect 8-day visit in Japan."
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