Japan Travel company recommendations

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#1
We usually go places with Discover the World. They don’t do Japan. I would welcome your recommendations for travel which includes Tokyo and Hokkaido.
 
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Ricky
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#2
I can't recommend Trailfinders enough; they make things so easy for you & the staff are very knowledgable. The first time we used them it was to go to Costa Rica and the person who initially answered took some basic info like time of year we were considering, length of trip etc. and said that whilst she could help we'd be better wiaitng for a call back the day after form one of her colleagues as he'd only come back less than a fortnight before from a 1 month long trip there.

We've booked a couple of holidays with them each time it's been tailored to our requirements and they've gone to specific towns/hotels they don't 'usually' go to.

We've even phoned them up before regarding one holiday which they couldn't supply us with anything within our budget however the agent spent an hour on the phone providing advice and guidance & gave loads of information so we could arrange things ourselves directly.
 
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#3
We organised our own two week holiday using the high speed trains - shinkansen. We booked our first few nights from the UK and then the rest while we were there.

I have quite a few links I can share if you're interested, but here is a good one to start with - https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2400_best.html On that site you will find other itineraries suggested too.

We didn't do Hokkaido - next time! Definitely want to go back.
 
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#4
We did two weeks in Japan all self booked last spring.
Accommodation was mostly booked through Agoda and paid before we travelled. Be aware all bookings add tax to the prices displayed.

The Shinkansen trains are as good as you have heard buy a JR Rail pass voucher before you travel to Japan for all inclusive cheaper travel. Prebook your seats at the station either all at once or the day before if you’re travelling at busy times. The green car first class is all prebooked only.

Japan is very safe, the people are lovely and will go out of their way to help. English signage is common and a surprising number of people speak English.
I have a bunch of images on Flickr and posted a day by day over at AVForums. They also have an excellent long thread on Japan in the travel section. Worth a read.

I wouldn’t worry about booking a tour unless you have some particular reason to.
 
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#5
Thanks for your replies. We will talk about doing it ourselves. We have used Trailfinders for Oz visits (my brother lives here) and will also consider this. It’s good to know that the trains are as good as we have heard. Any more input would be very welcome.
 
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liz
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#6
I haven’t been to Japan yet but have used wendywu travel for China and they were excellent and do cover japan so maybe worth a look..
 
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Bazza
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#7
we are doing Japan this year as well but via a tour company. It is a fly/cruise with a stay in Tokyo. Can't be bothered with a DIY Japan holiday . One thing with an arranged tour you learn a lot from tour guides which one may miss if you don't do a lot of studying on a place first
Went to China with Anatolian Sky company. First class++ service from start to finish. Own car and driver +own personal tour guide both cities . Not one of these hope on the great wall and off on the great wall but right out into the country and a ski lift to the mountain ridge

on the ski lift half way up



the wall

 
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nandbytes

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#8
We went to Japan 5.5 years back. We mostly planned it ourselves and extensively used the JR pass for travels. Things we did... (In order)

Nara (1 evening+day) - the standard touristy stuff in the morning and in evening we attended a light festival that was very very pretty.
Koyasan (1 evening+day) - we didn't know what to expect and TBH didn't expect much but it ended up being one of our favourite points in the trip. You basically stay at a Buddhist monastery on top of a mountain. You get to attend their daily ritual if you wish in the morning and you dive at the monastery with the monks. It can all be a bit formal but fun, relaxing and eye opening at the same time.
Kyoto (1 evening + 2 days) - surprisingly our least favourite bit. The touristy bits are very nice and pretty. The outskirts are quite nice too but the city itself is a bit grey. We also attended the daimonji festival here, it's not for the faint of hearts but great fun.
Hiroshima (2 days) - very pretty place and an interesting place to visit. The history of this place and museum hits your feels quite hard. The museum especially is very hard to get through but you'll be glad you did it none the less. We also did a day in the miyajima island just off Hiroshima.
Mt. Fuji (2 days) - hiked to the summit. Enough said :D
Tokyo (3 days) - lots to do here. We went shopping, went on Odiba which is a man made island (saw Asimo here), went up the world trade center, the isn't shortage of stuff to do here..... Just pick your favourite in the time you have left (that's what we did otherwise you'll end up spending all the time here lol)
I have never felt as safe anywhere else as I felt in Japan inc. London (ok don't laugh, London is kinda safe!). For the main issue was finding vegetarian food but if you don't have this issue then finding good food is not hard at all. My friends tell me even the McDonald's is actually decent in Japan. Their standards is definitely a level above in terms of service and quality.
 
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#9
Now I'm at a computer here are a couple of links.
Hope it's OK to link to another forum, if not please let me know and I'll edit
My pics and itinery
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-2018.2165848/

Not my thread but I learned a lot and contributed too
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-travel-thread.2005694/

Japan is not very card friendly. You'll find VISA is not as widely accepted as in Europe and the USA and cash is king.
You charge your prepay subway cards in machines that only take notes.
Foreign cash cards only work in some ATM machines - thankfully they're usually found in the numerous 7-11 etc. convenience shops.

If you are visiting Tokyo then I heartily recommend booking a Tokyo Free Guide. We met a charming woman who gave up her whole Sunday to show us around Ueno in exchange for a reasonably priced lunch.
http://www.tokyofreeguide.org/
 
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Raymond
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#10
Now I'm at a computer here are a couple of links.
Hope it's OK to link to another forum, if not please let me know and I'll edit
My pics and itinery
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-2018.2165848/

Not my thread but I learned a lot and contributed too
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-travel-thread.2005694/

Japan is not very card friendly. You'll find VISA is not as widely accepted as in Europe and the USA and cash is king.
You charge your prepay subway cards in machines that only take notes.
Foreign cash cards only work in some ATM machines - thankfully they're usually found in the numerous 7-11 etc. convenience shops.

If you are visiting Tokyo then I heartily recommend booking a Tokyo Free Guide. We met a charming woman who gave up her whole Sunday to show us around Ueno in exchange for a reasonably priced lunch.
http://www.tokyofreeguide.org/
Excellent thread there and photos :)
 
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Raymond
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#11
Now I'm at a computer here are a couple of links.
Hope it's OK to link to another forum, if not please let me know and I'll edit
My pics and itinery
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-2018.2165848/

Not my thread but I learned a lot and contributed too
https://www.avforums.com/threads/japan-travel-thread.2005694/

Japan is not very card friendly. You'll find VISA is not as widely accepted as in Europe and the USA and cash is king.
You charge your prepay subway cards in machines that only take notes.
Foreign cash cards only work in some ATM machines - thankfully they're usually found in the numerous 7-11 etc. convenience shops.

If you are visiting Tokyo then I heartily recommend booking a Tokyo Free Guide. We met a charming woman who gave up her whole Sunday to show us around Ueno in exchange for a reasonably priced lunch.
http://www.tokyofreeguide.org/
Just looked through your thread on AVF in more detailed and I have a TON to say should you plan to go back which might help you with things like ordering food, what to expect, the confusion etc which makes the whole experience less alien but still fun.
 
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#12
Just looked through your thread on AVF in more detailed and I have a TON to say should you plan to go back which might help you with things like ordering food, what to expect, the confusion etc which makes the whole experience less alien but still fun.
Cheers - We had a brilliant time. We expected to make mistakes, mess things up and look like fools. We weren't disappointed but we didn't mind :)
If you do feel like contributing more then the general Japan thread in the Travel forum has a broader audience and more people would benefit from your experience.
 
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Raymond
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#13
Cheers - We had a brilliant time. We expected to make mistakes, mess things up and look like fools. We weren't disappointed but we didn't mind :)
If you do feel like contributing more then the general Japan thread in the Travel forum has a broader audience and more people would benefit from your experience.
I am no mean an expert but I am fascinated by their culture. I can read a bit of Chinese so I know some of the Kanji characters in Japanese which makes things infinitely easier for me, things like EXIT, Male/Female in toilets comes naturally to me without having to translate in my head. I know the words like for Alcohol so I know when something has alcohol in it or the word for meat. The japanese often uses the chinese characters for these instead of katakana (their own alphabet). I have also been watching vlogs on YouTube from people who lives in Japan for around 5 years, so picked up on things that wouldn't be any guide books or travel guides and also etiquette. For example things like the Japanese don't blow their noses, they would snot it back up. They find blowing their nose extremely rude thing to do.

I went in November 2017 for 2 weeks. Started in Fukuoka, then to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Hakone then Tokyo. It was a packed schedule and I walked everywhere and because I was travelling alone it was easy with no one to hold me back or waiting for the gf to do her makeup etc. I walked an average 15-18km per day.

Food wise it was an adventure but not as much as for you I expect. I already love sushi and by this point I had tried all kinds of things in my life before including raw prawns so there isn't much that would put me off. What I discover from Japan is that Sushi isn't my favourite Japanese cuisine, but Ramen. I have come to really appreciate a good bowl or ramen, the complicity that can go into a bowl of noodles, the skill and time that it takes. A good bowl of ramen can take a few days to prep and make. So I find a £10 bowl of ramen very good value compared to sushi.

p.s. which Japan thread?
 
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Paul
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#14
At a slight tangent : I recently finally got around to picking up a copy of Michael Kenna's Forms of Japan. It's stunning from cover to cover.
 
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Mike
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#17
Hey, I’ve done Japan twice in the last 2.5 yrs and are already planning our next trip. It’s actually not too difficult to do self-guided as long as you plan well, and bring a sense of adventure :D

We visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone, Miyajama, Hiroshima, Himeji, Takayama, Kanazawa, and a road trip around Shikoku (including a day on Naoshima Art Island, which is absolutely stellar, btw). Happy to assist with more detail if useful!
 
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