If I could give 4.5 starts, I would. The staff at this tour company took time to listen to our interests and provide an itinerary that matched nearly perfectly. During our trip, the travel planners were able to assist with any questions we had. One amazing feature of their trip was pdf version of our itinerary, sent through an app, that had live links to all train stations and destinations that would directly link to google maps with directions. Everything on the itinerary went flawlessly.
Our biggest concern was during the planning stages of the trip. Our travel planner got a good sense of who we were and what we'd like to see, to his credit. However, there were some conversations when we thought we had decided on something (adding or excluding activities to our itinerary, for example), but our next update wouldn't reflect those changes. Our trip still ended up being great, though we had to backtrack a few times while planning the trip.
Finally, we thought some of the descriptions of our activities were exaggerated. For example, “staying with monks” in Tsuruoka was more like a traditional ryokan, but the husband was a priest. We were under the impression that Monks would be hiking the Dewa Sanzan mountain(s) with us. Another example is that we were told we’d have a private room on a ferry ride, but it was a bunk shared with a bunch of other folks. We enjoyed both the ferry and our stay in Tsuruoka, but the description didn’t match the reality.
The only change we would make would be to make sure we went snorkeling while staying at Hachijojima. Our host told us the island is known for it, but we found out too late. Otherwise, I don't think I would change much.
Travel Company Comments
Thank you for the review and the constructive feedback! I’m very glad to hear that overall you enjoyed the trip! I was slightly sad to hear about the ferry issue. We actually took a look at the receipt from the ferry company to make sure that there was no issue on our end when booking the ferry. Upon doing so, we confirmed that we did indeed book the correct room that we had mentioned to you guys in the planning phase of the trip. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but had we been informed, we would have definitely handled that situation immediately and corrected it.
I apologize for any inconvenience during the planning phase of the trip. We were at the time deciding roles internally, and I’m sorry if there was any confusion due to that. And also thank you for the feedback on the shukubo stay with the monks. We’ve actually switched the temple that we are partnered with now, to make sure that our clients receive a better experience when they visit that area.
Again, thank you for the feedback, we appreciate it and will implement these changes moving forward.
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