Why choose Journey to the East

Japan made personal!

At Journey to the East we are committed to providing authentic and most memorable experiences in Japan – for both Small Group Tours and custom-built Private Tours. Whether it is your first visit or you have been several times  to Japan, you will always find something new and have special experiences with Journey to the East. Our travel style is chosen to immerse you in the culture and landscape of the country and expose you to a rich variety of unique experiences. 

We do this by taking you beyond the tourist hotspots to explore the lesser known parts of Japan. Our tours are designed to strike the right balance between the classic highlights and local secrets, the urban and the rural, the historic and the contemporary, and in doing so, reveal the true heart of Japan.

With Journey to the East, you will have fun and be safe on your deeply rewarding journey through this endlessly fascinating country!

Reason No. 1 - Extra small group size

Enjoy a more intimate and personalised journey through Japan with our extra small group tour format.

The typical  maximum of eight people per group is lower than the industry standard, even among other small group operators. The result is a more intimate immersion into Japan’s culture, and more flexibility to respond to travellers' specific interests.

The extra small group format allows us to take a spontaneous detour down an interesting backstreet, pick our way along a country path to see an exquisite local temple, or visit a small family-run restaurant instead of the tourist venues serving mass produced food. We can also explore protected cultural sites which are often off-limits to larger groups.

Reason No. 2 - Knowledgeable Japan specialist

Whether you want to walk a sacred pilgrimage route or meet  amazing craft people, participate in a local festival or view special landscape, we know the right place and timing. 

Far from running cookie-cutter tours throughout the year, each of our tours is unique taking advantage of the magic of local and seasonal features. A great deal of thought goes into planning and road-testing our itineraries to give you enough time to truly savour an experience using the most efficient travel path. Our travel style is typically relaxed and considered – we are not into rushing from one sight to another! You can also enjoy locally owned friendly  accommodation and charming restaurants hand-picked by us. Our knowledge will assist you achieving your wish list while saving you time and money.

Reason No. 3 - Directly managed

Feel secure and comfortable knowing that your tour is directly managed by Journey to the East. We don't outsource to other operators and we aim to 'pre-test' every experience before we offer it to you.

Journey to the East is owner-operated by its founders – Yuki Takano and Col Beardmore. By managing all aspects of the business ourselves, we can ensure you have a top quality experience from arrival through to departure. 

We communicate directly with hotels, restaurants and tour guides, and make sure they understand our expectations and your individual needs. 

Reason No. 4 - Unique experiences

Take advantage of our relationship with local artisans and experts and enjoy specially arranged sessions  for first-hand experiences of Japan’s cultural traditions.

A long association with Japan has allowed us to develop a rich network of experts and artisans who love to share their knowledge or craft. Depending on your itinerary, you might join a private reception with a Buddhist monk, experience a chado tea ceremony with a Japanese tea master, learn about the intricacies of making soy sauce in a centuries-old family business, or chat over a late-night bowl of noodles with a yatai street-cart vendor. 

Meeting local people and sharing stories is a characteristic of our tours and is rarely possible for self-guided travellers or even large groups.

Reason No. 5 - Well Supported

We remove every possible travel stress from your experience by ensuring you’re properly briefed and well supported.

Like every country, Japan has its own mix of the quaint and quirky, which may sometimes take you by surprise. We have a dedicated client support officer who answers all your pre-departure questions as well as providing comprehensive materials with practical advice about things like the banking or mobile phone system, as well as background notes on cultural customs. 

While on the road, all our tours are attended by Japanese government qualified guides whose local knowledge is second to none. They will make sure your safety and comfort as well as providing additional information on things like what you can do on your free time. We are also ATAS accredited too!