If our FAQ don’t give you the information you need please use the ‘enquiry’ box and we will come back to you. Please also note that private (custom) tours often vary from the answers below because that is what the client wants.
Q: What sort of accommodation can I expect ?
A: Our usual target is 3-4+ star equivalent accommodation
We take advantage of our extra small tour size, and generally use more intimate accommodation where we can avoid the masses of tour buses. Where possible, we use locally owned and operated boutique accommodation that matches the character of the locality. By mixing different types of accommodation (such as Western style, resort style and Japanese style, large and small) we try to give you variety in your experience.
Focus is on cleanliness and comfort, convenient location and character and our preference is for the equivalent of 3-4+ star accommodation. Importantly, we look for rooms with private Western style toilet and helpful staff.
Note: Some of our tours travel to less populated areas, where we select the best available but in any case not less than 3 star.
Following is a few examples we frequently use for our small group tours and private tours.
Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier
Park Hotel Tokyo
Royal Park Hotel the Shiodome
Brighton Hotel Kyoto
Royal Park Hotel the Kyoto
Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto
Q: Are your Small Group Tours fully escorted?
A: Are your Small Group Tours fully escorted?
Our small group tours are limited to 10 people and not designed to have a full time tour escort accompanying the group. Most of the time you will be accompanied by a qualified guide who can easily look after 10 people. Although we do not expect our guides to assist with general travel needs (e.g. immigration, check-in and the like) they often do. Our guides will help you get around with ease, provide you with better insights and especially to answer your questions about the things you see around you, the culture etc
Generally speaking a guide will escort you at all times except :
- During free time
- When you are travelling between major destinations (eg Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train).
Q: How do we get from the airport to the Hotel?
A: You will be met at the airport
Our aim is to meet our guests at the airport when they arrive. On occasions there are too many arrivals at different airports at the same time, in which case we provide full instructions. (We also aim to have accommodation that will enable you to be dropped at the door of your hotel.)
Q: What transport do you use?
A: When possible we use the excellent public transport
Transport is part of the experience. That is why we use the high quality clean Japanese public transport to give you a feel for the life at destinations. We recommend you pack light because there are a lot of escalators/stairs at the Japanese rail stations. (There are usually lifts too although not always as conveniently placed.) The small numbers in our groups enable us to avoid the restrictions of coaches without hindering mobility.
Q: Who are your guides?
A: Only experienced fully qualified local guides are used
Our qualified guides are chosen for their unrivaled knowledge of the destination and their passion for showing the best of their country to visitors. The extra small group size enables the experienced English speaking guides to better cater for your comfort, safety and enjoyment. Although each day has an agenda, the guides are experienced enough to ‘read’ the group and tailor the day to best reflect the needs and interests of the group.
Note: In the main, our guides are there to assist you to understand the sight, local life, tradition, history etc as well as minimise language based challenges.
Q: Do you use third party tour operators?
A: We design and operate all our tours
We will not ‘on sell’ our clients to other third party tour operators. Neither will you be expected to pay any such tour operators. ( Naturally we do use the likes of rope way and river cruise operators etc.) Cheekily, we like to think it better if we take all the credit for your holiday.
Q: What airlines do you suggest?
A: We do not offer International airline tickets
We are not set up to offer international airline tickets. We are very happy to talk to you about client experiences (and any specials we hear about from time to time) so please contact us. However, we cannot offer you tickets and our information should be verified before you make a decision. We also have the names of travel agents if you get stuck.
Q: What sort of fitness level do I need?
A: A moderate level of fitness is required
Although our tours are not designed as an adventure tour, a moderate level of fitness is necessary on all our tours. You should be able to walk on flat and sometimes uneven or undulating terrain and go up a reasonable number of stairs over the course of 2-3 hours with opportunities for rest.
Q: How can I compare your tours with others?
A: Some things to look at
There are a lot of tours to Japan, and each tour operator presents their tours differently. To compare apples with apples and ensure you are getting the best value for money, pay attention to the following areas.
- Does the price include international airfare? JttE tours -no.
- How many meals are included? What quality are they? JttE -typically a higher percentage of and of high quality meals are included as we aim to demonstrate the variety of food available in Japan.
- Is the standard of accommodation comparable? JttE -3.5 to 4+* star equivalent boutique accommodation.
- Is the tour fully escorted (i.e. a full time tour leader with you all the time from departure to return)? JttE – no, we use guides who are qualified in each city. Please the the FAQ specifically on this question
- During the guided tours, does your group have its own private guide or you are put on someone else’s large day-tours where you share a guide with bus load of other tourists? JttE – our tours always have your own private guide We do not use third party tour operators.
- Does the tour have interesting visits and activities rather than just following regular tourist trails? JttE – often takes tourists to the same cities as other tours but offers special experiences off the regular tourist trails – this is an aspect most commonly referred to by our clients.
- The price may vary depending on departure date and room arrangement (eg. twin-share, with private facilities). Make sure you understand the correct price for your preferred departure date and room requirements. JttE – each tour is individually priced and the price is stated for the nominated departure date.
- Some tours spend far too much time travelling from one place to another; You will visit a lot of places but you will not ‘see’ a lot of places . JttE – objective objective is to spend more time at destinations (less time travelling) and also by careful planning and choice of transport.
- You may also find our blog: Choosing the right tour helpful.
Q: What is your group size?
A: Maximum of 8 people on our small group tours
Our small group tours are generally capped at 8 travellers. This means you share your guide amongst a fewer people to get maximum benefit. The size also allows access to boutique accommodation, restaurants and authentic cultural sites that are often off-limits to large groups.
Q: When is the best time to visit Japan?
A: The best time to visit Japan is anytime
Japan has four very distinct seasons, and each season has its own beauties and attractions. Well known seasonal features include cherry blossom of spring (March-April), highland hiking in summer (June-September), autumn colours (October-early December) and winter snow wonderland (December-February). This means you can visit the same place in different seasons and get a completely different experience. Japan is also geographically and climatically diverse and you can find good places to visit at any time of the year.
You may also find our Blog ‘when is the best time to visit Japan’ of value.
Q: Do I need to tip in Japan?
A: Tipping guideline is similar to Australia
Tipping is not customary and not expected in Japan although some people leave a few coins on the pillow in hotel rooms for housekeepers, as well as handing over a gratuity in a little envelope to ryokan staff who looks after their room.
Q: What are your terms and conditions?
A: Terms and Conditions
Our full Terms and Conditions are set out at the following link: Terms and Conditions.
The most common questions (and short answers) are:
1) Payment arrangements – $300 per person with booking the balance 60 days from departure.
2) How can I pay – credit card or bank transfer for your deposit; Bank transfer for the balance (or credit card but it will incur a 1.5% fee).
3) Is the price fixed – yes with the proviso that if the exchange rate goes outside our limits we may ask for a contribution.