Highlights of Japan: Kyoto to Tokyo

10 days
The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is the embodiment of Japanese hospitality, representing harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. You’ll experience this Zen aesthetic every day of your Japanese tour—and not only while drinking tea. Uncover ancient temples alongside futuristic cityscapes and witness how Japan’s art, architecture and day-to-day culture continue to reflect its time-honored philosophies.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Tour group size: 18 - 35 travelers

Tour pace: You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map tour of Japan

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Tokyo today.

Tokyo 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Tokyo

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Japan! Get settled into your hotel before meeting your Tour Director and fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Tokyo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Join your Tour Director and embark on your first tour of Japan’s bustling capital. 

• View the Imperial Palace and its impressive grounds

• Explore Tokyo’s old town, including the ancient Asakusa Kannon Temple, Tokyo’s oldest and most sacred temple

• Peruse a vibrant variety of handmade crafts and local fare at the centuries-old Nakamise Shopping Arcade

• Cruise down the Sumida River 

Enjoy a free afternoon in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Culinary Traditions of Japan: Sushi Making & Lunch $135pp* Details

Join an experienced chef at a local restaurant to learn the art of sushi making. Sushi making in Japan dates back to around the 9th century, and the dish is considered one of the country’s best-known foods. You’ll try your hand at crafting this well-known staple during your cooking class, where you’ll learn to make both sushi rolls and nigiri, which consists of seafood placed on top of rice. Then, sit down to enjoy the sushi lunch that you have created with your group members.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $145)

Day 4: Free day in Tokyo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a full free day in Tokyo or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Kamakura $149pp* Details

Kamakura

Explore the countryside, temples and shrines outside Tokyo on a tour of Kamakura. This guided excursion takes you to the city’s famous Great Buddha and Hase Kannon Temples. During your visit, you’ll also have time to peruse the arts and crafts for sale along Komachi Shopping Street.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $159)

Hakone 1 night Hotel info

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Tokyo

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today, follow your Tour Director on another guided sightseeing tour of vibrant Tokyo before continuing on to Hakone. 

• Start with a visit to the Meiji Shinto Shrine, final resting place of Emperor Meiji

• Wander through the shrine’s Inner Garden, home to irises that bloom in springtime and the spiritually powerful Kiyomasa’s Well 

• Head to the top of the Metropolitan Building to get a bird’s-eye view of the city

Later, make your way to Hakone, a resort town in the Owakudani Valley. En route, make a photo stop at Mount Fuji. This mountain stands an imposing 12,388 feet high, and you’ll take in panoramic views of nearby lakes and villages from the midway-point observatory.

Kyoto 4 nights Hotel info

Day 6: Owakudani Valley & Lake Ashi

  Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Kyoto today, stopping along the way for a guided tour of the Owakudani Valley and Lake Ashi in Hakone.

• Stop in the Boiling Valley to see the “Black Eggs” (weather permitting)

• Soak up the valley’s tranquility during your cruise on Lake Ashi, formed after Mount Hakone erupted 3,000 years ago

• Take in surreal views of Mount Fuji looming in the background

• Pay a visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, with endless sculptures over its 17 acres and a gallery with more than 700 works by Picasso

This afternoon, board a high-speed bullet train to Kyoto.

Day 7: Sightseeing tour of Kyoto, Gekkeikan & Fushimi

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Your Tour Director leads a tour of Kyoto, the city that served as the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years—and is still considered its spiritual capital. 

• Tour the 17th-century Nijo Castle with its intricate architecture and unique alarm system: floors that sound like a nightingale when walked on

• Stop at the Heian Shrine to take photos of the iconic red gate

• See one of Japan’s most famous temples, the glittering Golden Pavilion

• Travel on to Ryoanji Temple, which houses the country’s finest Zen gardens

• Head outside Kyoto to sample another of Japan’s sacred arts at the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, where you’ll learn about sake brewing  and enjoy a tasting 

• See temples honoring the Inari gods of sake and rice at the Fushimi Inari complex

Back in Kyoto, relax at tonight’s traditional shabu-shabu (hot pot) dinner.

Day 8: Half-day excursion to Koga

  Included meals: Breakfast

Discover Japan’s lush countryside as you wind your way to the town of Koga to visit the I.M. Pei-designed Miho Museum, which boasts an excellent collection of Japanese art and an extensive Egyptian collection. (Please note: if the Miho Museum is closed, you may instead visit the Kyoto Museum and Sanjusangendo Hall.)

Enjoy a free evening in Kyoto or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Calligraphy Lesson & Dinner $145pp* Details

Join an expert artisan inside a beautiful Kyoto-style house for an hour-long calligraphy lesson. Learn about the history and culture surrounding this artistic writing technique while you practice making kanji with authentic calligraphy brushes and ink. These Chinese characters are used in Japanese calligraphy writing and each one has a specific meaning. Learn how to properly craft these unique characters on a page during your lesson, then make your way to a nearby restaurant for an included dinner with your group.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $155)

Day 9: Half-day excursion to Nara

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, journey to the former capital city of Nara for a guided tour.

• Tour the local Buddhist and Shinto shrines, including the Todaiji Temple, site of the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue

• Stroll Nara Park, home to over 1,200 wild deer considered sacred by locals

Enjoy a free afternoon in Kyoto or add an excursion.

Tonight, join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner in Kyoto.

Optional Excursion - Arashiyama District & Kyoto Tea Ceremony $139pp* Details

Depart from Kyoto and enjoy a short transfer as you travel west to Arashiyama. This historic district boasts stunning natural beauty, and you’ll take it all in on a guided sightseeing tour. Step inside the UNESCO-listed Tenryu-ji Temple, which was originally constructed in the 12th century and is considered one of Kyoto’s most important sites. Meander through the striking Bamboo Grove, where soaring stalks flank a singular pathway. Finally, look up at rolling, tree-covered hills as you cross the Hozu River on the Togetsukyo Bridge. The bridge’s name means “moon crossing,” and is one of the district’s most iconic landmarks. End your stay in Arashiyama by enjoying one of Japan’s most important and enduring cultural practices: a traditional green tea ceremony at a classic Kyoto tea house.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $149)

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Osaka & departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Continue on to Osaka, the birthplace of many of Japan’s well-known arts, such as Kabuki theater and the tea ceremony. Today’s guided tour offers a look inside the city’s historic sights. 

• Visit the massive Osaka Castle, which houses a museum dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the legendary leader who built it

• Enter the nearby Osaka Museum of History to learn about the city’s rich heritage

This evening, transfer to the airport to board your flight home or choose to continue your adventure with a visit to Hiroshima.

Please note: If you are joining the tour extension in Hiroshima and Osaka, you will spend the evening of day 10 in Osaka.

Add Osaka & Hiroshima Starting from $999 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

Osaka 1 night

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Osaka

  Included meals: Breakfast

Continue on to Osaka, the birthplace of many of Japan’s well-known arts, such as Kabuki theater and the tea ceremony. Today’s guided tour offers a look inside the city’s historic sights.

• Visit the massive Osaka Castle, which houses a museum dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the legendary leader who built it

• Enter the nearby Osaka Museum of History to learn about the city’s rich heritage

Hiroshima 1 night

Day 11: Sightseeing tour of Hiroshima

  Included meals: Breakfast

Board a high-speed bullet train to Hiroshima, which is located on Japan’s largest island, Honshu. Get to know this world-renowned “City of Peace” on today’s guided sightseeing tour. 

• Visit Peace Memorial Park to see the Peace Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome, which was the only structure to withstand the infamous atomic bombing of the city during World War II

• Take short ferry ride to Miyajima Island to view the 12th-century, UNESCO-listed Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Osaka 1 night

Day 12: Free day in Osaka

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer back to Osaka, where you can enjoy a free afternoon or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Himeji-jo Castle & Koko-en Garden $249pp* Details

Zip along the Japanese coast on a Japan Rail bullet train as you travel from Hiroshima to Himeji. This quiet city is home to one of the country’s finest castles, Himeji-jo castle, and you’ll get acquainted with this UNESCO-listed site on a guided sightseeing tour. Himeji-jo is a wooden masterpiece comprised of over 80 buildings, and its white facade and elegant pinnacles make it one of the city’s most striking sights. After marveling at the early-17th century architecture, step outside to meander through the nearby Koko-en Garden. This garden was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Himeji municipality and its nine different gardens are designed to be aesthetically pleasing through all four seasons. After exploring the various sections, including a tea ceremony garden and bamboo garden, sit down to enjoy an included lunch. Then, take the bullet train to Osaka.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $259)

Day 13: Free day in Osaka & departure

  Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Osaka.

Then, transfer to the airport to board your flight home.

Passport & visa requirements

  • In order to enter Japan (and South Korea on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of return. 
  • We recommend having at least two blank passport pages for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa required for U.S. or Canadian citizens.
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact Japan's consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Tour pace

  • You will walk for about 2.5 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads and gravel paths, with few hills.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own luggage at times, as well as getting in and out of trains and small boats.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.

Transportation & arrival information

  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo (or from Seoul on the tour extension). A Go Ahead representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead for an additional cost.
  • A high-speed train transfer from Kyoto to Hakone is included in the price of your tour. (The tour extension also includes a flight from Tokyo to Seoul.)
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.

Baggage allowance

  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.
  • Contact your airline for detailed information regarding baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & packing tips

  • We recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate varying temperatures, as well as a light jacket or rainwear.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers is recommended for sightseeing.
  • Waterproof shoes or sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended for outdoor activities. 
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
  • It is preferable not to visit temples or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (and entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Japan (or South Korea on the tour extension).
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead at least 30 days prior to your departure by logging in to goaheadtours.com and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.

Cuisine

  • Most Japanese meals are based around rice or noodles with fish, meat and vegetables flavored with soy sauce and miso. You may recognize popular dishes like sushi, tempura and hotpot. 
  • (Tour extension) In South Korea, you can expect a wide variety of foods both familiar and exotic—like rice, noodles, the fermented cabbage called kimchi and bugolgi, a popular Korean barbecue dish. At meal time, dishes will be served together; there are no set starters or entrees. 

Electricity & air conditioning

  • Japan operates on 100 volts and uses a Type A plug, the same as in the U.S. 
  • The strength of the air conditioning in Asian hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what one might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed. 

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. 
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches. 
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.

Time zones

  • Japan (and South Korea on the tour extension) is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. 
  • When it’s noon in New York, it's 1am on the following day in Japan. 

Currency

  • You will use the Japanese yen in Japan (plus the South Korean won on the tour extension).
  • Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. 
  • We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks as needed. 
  • You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. 
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.

Tipping

  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD/CAD to $10USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. 
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.

Purchasing excursions on tour

  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for excursions. 
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged. 
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/6/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VT

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A taste of Japan

My review is split in sections. These sections include pros, cons, highlights, and recommendations for free days. Please see below. I have attached pictures to reference. I attached photos of two meals that were included in the cost of the tour; one a sushi dinner and two the shabu shabu (hot pot dinner). Other pictures are from Mount Fuji, the Fushimi Inari, the Golden Pavilion, ryoanji zen garden, Osaka Castle, and a deer at Nara. Pros- You get a lot of bang for your buck visiting 6 cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Koga, and Hakone) in 8 days. The bus driver/tour director/accommodations/entrance fees/some meals are included. There are both planned days and free days to do what you desire. They did a good job at selecting the best temples. Breakfast is included daily (both Japanese style and English style). The tour guide was stupendous. She really went out of her way to ensure every person had a good trip. All of the hotels were located in prime locations. They were very close to restaurants, shopping arcades, and bus/train lines. Cons- Museums. I could have lived without the museums (only exception is the sake brewery). We did not go to the boiling valley and get black eggs like the itinerary said we would (even though the weather was good). There are a ton of temples and there is a lot of walking/stairs. I personally love temples and walking so for me it wasn't a con...however if you do not like seeing temples or do not want to do a lot of walking you may not enjoy this tour. The hotel accommodations are westernized. You will not stay in any ryokans/Japanese style hotels. Since there are many locations to see you do not have a lot of time to doddle. You get 45 minutes-90 minutes at many key locations due to this. Highlights of our trip (included in price)- The deer at Nara, soaking in the hot spring in Hakone, Fushimi Inari, the Golden Pavilion, Shabu Shabu dinner Recommendations for free days: Kyoto: Arashiyama (Bamboo forest, monkey park), Gion District Tokyo: Takeshta Street (Fashion district), Shibuya (5 way crossing), Ferris Wheel (in Odaiba District), Maid Cafe

1 / 8
 

Hi Keeley! We’re glad you feel this tour offers a good value. We appreciate your feedback on the itinerary, as well as your Tour Director. It’s also great to know that you were impressed by the locations of the hotels. We will be sure to let our Operations team know. Regarding museums, we regret that you didn’t feel some were necessary to include in the itinerary. We will be sure to let our Product Development team know. Regarding the stop in the Boiling Valley to see the black eggs, we’re glad you were able to speak with a member of our Quality Control team about this issue. Our Quality team is currently following up to get more information from our Tour Director on why this itinerary item may not have been possible. Our itineraries are largely set in stone; however, there are some logistical challenges that force us to change things from time to time, such as bad weather, bad traffic, holidays, closings, etc. We will be sure to get back with you with more information as soon as possible. In terms of recommendations, you make some great suggestions to future travelers! Thank you for your thoughtful and constructive review. We hope to welcome you on tour again!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | November 14, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 4/21/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Breathtaking

I have been dreaming of Japan since I was in high school and 9 years later, I was finally able to make it happen. This trip was everything and more. The people, the culture, the food and our tour guide was just amazing. Venturing to this part of the world was humbling and just incredibly breathtaking. I would recommend this tour to anyone with an open mind and an eagerness to explore a culture that is different than their own. This trip was not perfect but it was worth it.

 

Hello, We’re so glad your dream of visiting Japan came true! It’s wonderful to hear that this tour exceeded your expectations. Thank you for your feedback and recommendation. We look forward to your next tour!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 08, 2016

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 4/7/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Bad tour

Our tour director knew little about Japanese culture and history. We were only allowed 30 minutes in several castles and museums. The trip to one museum took nearly all day (outside Kyoto). We were lost in Tokyo and saw a high rise but one of our tour members fell but the Director was long gone. We had no idea where she went. The tea ceremony was rediculous. We walked thru a garage to get there. The person leading it had no explanation of what we were seeing and had to rely on the Director to translate--something she was not ready to handle. Those are just a sample of what we had to put up with.

 

Dear James, Thank you very much for your feedback. We regret that your experience did not meet your expectations. We are glad that we were able to speak with your wife about your concerns so that we can improve this tour for the future. Both your and your wife’s feedback has been communicated to our team internally. Again, we are sorry this tour did not provide a good experience for you. Please give us a call at 1-800-597-0350 and ask for Quality Control if you have any questions or would like to discuss your concerns further.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 20, 2016

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 4/7/2016

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: UT

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Tour Tour Tour

Our tour to Japan was full of plenty of ups and downs; the itinerary was packed full of a lot of fun things to do but it seemed like we never had enough time at the locations. Our hotels were absolutely amazing but the meals planned were only so-so. Our tour director was adorable and helpful but was also sometimes difficult to grab her attention. Our group was loud and diverse but also caused some problems and complained often. GoAhead tours was a super easy company to work with and very great to get in touch with; we were never concerned about any accounting issues or travelling needs because we had a step-by-step conversation with representatives. For these reasons, I would consider travelling with GoAhead Tours again, but I would book a private tour rather than choosing to travel with a group. All in all we believe the tour was a good time and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly but as a general FYI to anyone taking any kind of tour, you only get as much out of the tour as you put into it. You have to decide to have a good time yourself and can't expect everything to go the way you want when you are travelling with 30 other people.

 

Dear Traveler, Thank you for sharing your experience. We are happy to hear that your interactions with our team members were thorough and pleasant. We try very hard to prepare travelers for a seamless experience abroad. We are also glad you found the accommodations to be amazing. We regret, however, that the tour did not meet your expectations overall. One of our team members reached out to you this afternoon to discuss your experience. We would very much like to understand where you feel the tour fell short and how we can improve it for future departures. We value your feedback very much and will be sure to report it to our team internally. Please give us a call at 1-800-597-0350 should you like to talk further about your tour. Thank you again for writing a review!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 22, 2016

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 4/7/2016

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: FL

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Not up to Go Ahead Standards

As most of you know, a tour director can make or break a trip. Unfortunately our tour director was a disaster. She did not speak nor understand English very well. She couldn't seem to keep the group (30) together and was very disorganized. One day both lunch and dinner were included, however both meals were "traditional" Japanese fare - raw fish. I had just two small bowls of rice that day because I do not eat raw fish. I took the optional tour to Kamakura but we had to take three commuter trains to get there, one of which was 50 minutes long, standing over half the way. The hotel in Tokyo was outside the city. Several of us wanted to go to a restaurant in the city, but we were told the taxi fare would be $60 EACH way. The only redeeming feature of this tour was that the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.

 

Dear Barbara, Thank you for your review. We regret to hear the tour and your Tour Director did not meet your expectations. We are glad that one of our team members was able to speak with you about your experience and better understand what you thought could be improved. Regarding meals, we do our best to meet everyone’s unique dietary needs. Authentic local fare is what we typically try to include for at least some meals on tour, but unfortunately this does not always appeal to everyone. In your case, we are sorry the Japanese traditional meals did not meet your needs. In the future, it’s best to express this to your Tour Director at the time and then they can arrange for you to get something from another restaurant because we certainly don’t want you to be hungry. Regarding the optional to Kamakura, public transportation is actually the most efficient way to get there. We regret how unpleasant this experience was for you and will reconsider it for future departures. In terms of the hotel in Tokyo, this particular hotel is highly rated among our travelers. Taxi fare in general is quite high in Tokyo, as the cost of living in Japan is one of the highest in the world. Again, we thank you for sharing your experience, and we will be communicating all of your feedback to our team internally for evaluation of future departures. If you would like to discuss your experience further, please give us a call at 1-800-597-0350.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 10, 2016

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 4/7/2016

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: PA

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Marginal

The tour locations (cities) were acceptable, but the itinerary was often rushed; not allowing enough time to see and explore a location. It should be renamed the shrine tour, as that was the bulk of the tour. At one point, our group balked at seeing another shrine. At the tour sponsored lunches and dinners the food was at best marginal. We supposedly went to a famous sushi restaurant in Kyoto, but hardly had any sushi. I've had far better sushi here in the states. Twice we stopped at highway truck stops for lunch. Really??? Our tour director was enthusiastic and a sweet woman, but she really didn't offer up much in the way of information or history about the sites we visited, the culture or the country. We visited mount Fuji, but due to weather couldn't see it. So we went to the visitor center. For what? The tour needs coningency plans for just such situations. The hotels, train rides and buses were all very good, so I can't say it was all bad. However, I came away feeling like I didn't really get a good sense of Japan.

 

Dear Jim, Thank you for your review. We regret to hear the tour did not meet your expectations. We reached out to you last week, in hopes of discussing your concerns. You’re right that this tour is somewhat fast-paced, as it covers a lot sites. Several shrines and temples are among these sites because this aspect of the culture is very significant, and when designing an itinerary, our Product Development team takes a cue from the predominant themes of the local culture. Regarding the meals, we regret that you felt they were unsatisfactory. We strive to include authentic, local fare as much as we can; however, this can be more challenging when the group is in transit. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to arrange for a sit-down meal when the group is traveling from one site to another. We are also sorry to hear that you felt your Tour Director could have offered up more information throughout the tour. Regarding your experience at Mt. Fuji, it is very unfortunate that you were unable to view it due to inclement weather. We thank you for your feedback, and we will be sharing it with our team internally and using it to evaluate this tour for future departures. If you would like to speak further about your experience, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-597-0350 and ask for Quality Control.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 10, 2016

4 / 5

4 / 5

Tour Date: 11/4/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: ON

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Charming Japan

I was reluctant to take this trip given some of the previous reviews. I am also allergic to fish, seafood and shellfish. I am happy that I looked at the value of this tour versus other tours and committed to going. I asked a Japanese friend to write out phrases in Japanese and English for me listing my allergies, which was a life saver. I loved the tour and my trip to Japan. This was a good tour with an ambitious itinerary. Our guide was great. I would recommend this tour to anyone who has never been to Asia and/or who is looking for an introduction to Japan. I arrived a day earlier as I did not think that I could handle getting in 9 hours before starting a long tour (especially after 13.5 hours of flying). I am happy that I did so and I would recommend a pre-night to anyone. Go Ahead arranged the pre-night hotel accommodations, but not the transportation. There is a limousine bus that leaves the ITM airport (not KIX, which is what Go Ahead uses) in Osaka and only costs $6.50 USD. It drops you in the parking lot in the hotel (if the Sheraton remains the hotel) and the walk is only 1 minute. A taxi is $50.00. The majority of this trip as well as the guided portion is spent in Kyoto. Not much is done in Osaka, which is why a pre-day in Osaka is worth it. There are only two guided half days that are part of the tour in Tokyo. This is unfortunate (see comments below re Tokyo). The positives: - Japan is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and polite. They are willing to help notwithstanding language barriers. All of the cities are clean and have the cutest traffic and constructions pylons. The children are adorable...especially when dressed up in traditional clothing. No one shies away from taking a photograph for your collection. -If you are willing to walk and take public transit, you will likely get more out of the country and your tour. The metro is easy to use (in Osaka, Kyoto, and once you get into the metro, in Tokyo as well). The stations have numbers in addition to names. Announcements are made in English and Japanese. What is difficult is figuring out how to exit the metro station to the street. Don't try this on your own as there are 8-10 exits and you might end up 5 blocks away from where you want to go...ask the transit attendants and ask them for an area map as well at each station (in Tokyo). I bought guide books with maps, but they were not useful in some parts of Tokyo. If you buy a tourist day pass, you generally also get discounts at most major attractions or on site-seeing buses. - Our tour guide, Miyo, was excellent. Her level of English was proficient. She was friendly and funny. She was always available to offer help (such as giving directions to places on free days or evenings) and did a good job of trying to keep the group on schedule. She did a lot of teaching while on the bus to assist us in understanding Japanese culture, language and Shintoism. I learned a lot from her and truly appreciated her guiding abilities. - I was fortunate enough to be in a good group. We got along, which made the trip enjoyable. The group was generally in the age range of 60 to 65. There were four people including myself) under 40, and a few people older than 65. - November is the autumn leaves month. The landscape was filled with beautiful yellow, red, and orange leaves, which somehow look better in Japan. The gardens, of which there are many, are all stunning at this time. The weather was mild, but wet. - We were lucky enough to have a clear day for our Mount Fuji visit. Not many people get to see it, so it was a privilege. I wish we had more time, but it is about 9 Celsius up there. -I fell in love with Matcha green tea, roasted green tea, and green tea Kit Kat. The ice cream (any flavour) is great. Sweet potato pastries are also delish. I liked the cold sake from Gekkeikan (where we went on Day 4 in Kyoto to the sake museum). -If you have problems with the local food, McDonald's and BK taste the same there. The Japanese curries are also delicious. The prices in Kyoto are cheaper than Osaka and Tokyo (based on the Big Mac index). -If you are a shopper, you can shop till you drop...unless you are a lady < US size 6 - 8 for clothing or size 8 + shoes. These sizes are non-existant, unless you go to H&M or COS in Tokyo. However, there are many one size fits all clothes which actually do work for "large size" people (such as myself). Oriental Bazaar in Tokyo is a good place to get Western sizes for t-shirts, kimonos, and sandals + other souvenirs. The Hankyu (Osaka + Tokyo) department store and Aoyama district (in Tokyo for mid to higher end shopping) are fantastic. I would not recommend going there to buy clothing from a US label and some European labels which are ompletely overpriced due to import duties. The Japanese labels and other Asian labels are what you should be buying. Walk with your passport to get tax back. At Hankyu, you can also get 5% off if you are a foreigner. -We hit most of the highlights of Japan on this tour. We did more of the gentler and cultural themes. It was a good primer and covered three major cities. -Kyoto is lovely. It seems to be the cultural centre of Japan. There are many shrines and arcades for gamers. It is an easy city to navigate. -Most of the hotels on this tour were very good (with the exception of the hotel in Kyoto, although the location of the Kyoto hotel was the best out of any other hotel). The breakfasts were very good at every hotel and the rooms were comfortable (apart from some temperature control issues). The hotels (apart from Hakone) also had foreign currency exchange machines, so no need to go to a bank or a Forex. -Previous reviewers have doled out a lot of heat for the cultural show in Kyoto. The show is not a "Geisha show". It is a show about an introduction to Japanese traditions and culture. There is a tea ceremony, a music and plant demonstration, a dancer, a maiko (geisha in training) show, a comedy act, and a puppet show. The dinner is an experience. It is a question of your taste. I think the positives were that I had never been to a Teppanyaki house before where you actually cook the food at your table, and the cold sake at that restaurant was really good. What I did not like was that my clothing smelled after, so happily I walked with travel spray. The walk is about 20 minutes to the Geisha (Geiko in Kyoto) district. There is about a 30-minute walk in the Geisha district, followed by about 10-15 minutes of standing in the line for the show. So, this could definitely be difficult for some people. The standing was the worst for me because of foot issues, but at least the line kept moving. I thought that the show was good. The dinner was OK and was an experience. The price is questionable, but you are paying for the guide's time as well. At dinner, it is useful to have a Japanese speaker especially if you have allergies. Since that it the only optional that I ended up doing, I did not have a problem with the price. Narita airport- has a great duty free shop. I am not sure if this is in the JAL terminal only, but it is fantastic. You can literally buy all of your souvenirs there. Be prepared to line up for 15 to 20 minutes to cash out. It also takes about 5 minutes to get into the store...it is that busy! The not so positives: -Hotel in Tokyo - the hotel, the breakfast, and its amenities were great. The location, on Daiba island, about 45 minutes away from most attractions, not so much. The island itself could be a day visit as there is beautiful and there is a lot to do there (it is like a mini version of the strip in Las Vegas)...however, given the fact that there are only two days in Tokyo, I think it is too far. If you want to go into Tokyo, you need to pay for two different metro systems, so a trip could be $16.00 USD per day. It is not terrible, but adds up and the commute is a bit tiring at the end of the tour...lots of stairs at Japanese metro stations. . -The food- Traditional Japanse food is not for everyone. If you have food allergies (especially to fish, seafood and shellfish), you need to make sure that you communicate this properly to Go Ahead before you leave, and to your tour director. Many people on the tour, even those who said that they liked Japanese food, did not appreciate the food. I liked most of it, and I was happy for the experience. I think that the group meals need to be spread out more as having three or four traditional meals in the first 2-3 days is perhaps a bit of a cultural shock. Walk with granola bars, jerky, and Ensure, as these are not North-American sized portions. -Tokyo tour- Tokyo is such an amazing city. I think Go Ahead could do a much better job of having a full tour of Tokyo. I get that this is likely a cost-saving mechanism, but I don't think anyone paid as much money as they did not to get a good tour of Tokyo. This is the only portion of the tour that felt very rushed. It also does not help that all of the places we visited in Tokyo were extremely crowded. Given the crowds, we needed double the time. I would eliminate the visit to the imperial plaza, which was a waste of time. This could have been pointed out in a drive by. I would add more time at the Asakusa Kannon Temple and on Nakimise street. That day should actually start with the cruise (which is from Daiba or close to Daiba) and end in Asakusa. That way, you would already be in Tokyo and would not have to trek back from Daiba. I think that there should be at least 1.5 days of touring in Tokyo versus 2 half days. The other disappointment was the lack of optionals in Tokyo. There was a tea ceremony and a walk in the Ginza district. This was cancelled on day 1 allegedly due to the fact a lot of people did not sign up. I think that many people did not know that they had to confirm optionals before the tour and were disappointed that this was not done. The only other Tokyo optional was to Kamakura...not even in Tokyo. I got much more out of Tokyo by exploring on my own than I did with the tour. -lack of optionals: Hiroshima was cancelled as was the aforementioned tea ceremony in Tokyo. I don't understand why only four optionals were offered in a place as culturally rich as Japan and why the optionals were cancelled on day one. Given the language barriers and some problems travellers might have with walking or taking public transit, I think that Go Ahead needs to either state that the optionals must be booked at least a week in advance before the tour. People who book these optionals should be advised before the tour starts that it is cancelled so that one is not trying to figure out how to fill up a day on the tour. Alternatively, and this is what most tour companies do, have the optionals available for the first three days of the tour. That way, people can ask the tour director questions about the optionals and determine whether it is worthwhile. Our tour guide was good and giving suggestions to people and directing us to these sites. The problem is that this puts a lot of pressure on her and causes some anxiety for people who were banking on doing the optionals. -Bullet train - the speed and ride were smooth and breathtaking...it was also breathtaking because it was so smoky. We were in a non-smoking carriage, but it was too close to a smoking carriage. I am not sure if there was a more smoke-free area, but it was not that pleasant to sit in that. Some people had problems with the odour. I would recommend that Go Ahead looks into securing seats in a truly smoke-free carriage. -Hot Springs in Hakone- these are at the hotel. The Japanese swim in their birthday suits and it is a faux-pas to wear a swim suit. I walked with swimwear for nothing and I was not adventurous enough to do as the Japanese. I do not like pools and I was looking forward to the hot springs. I think that Go Ahead should let people know this so that they did not walk with swimwear for this as it is supposed to be one of the highlights of the hotel in Hakone. -Farewell dinner- this was in the hotel at a buffet. The food tasted like buffet food. I know many people thought that it was the best meal of the trip and genuinely enjoyed it, but not me. There were a few decent items, but for a farewell dinner, I found it to be anti-climatic. Again, if we were in Tokyo vs. Daiba, I am sure that we could have gone to a better restaurant and still had time to get back and pack for our departure. For a city that is world-renown for its restaurants, it was disappointing that an optional at a good restaurant in Tokyo was not part of our tour or was not offered as an optional on the tour.

 

Dear Traveler, We are so glad you enjoyed your tour of Japan, and we are very grateful for your valuable, detailed feedback! It’s great to hear that you didn’t have any food issues despite your allergies and that you generally enjoyed the cuisine. We do our best to balance meals on tour; however, we do our best to select restaurants and menu items that showcase the local cuisine. As you pointed out, there are some western options for travelers to enjoy should they want a break from Japanese cuisine. Regarding the itinerary inclusions, our Product Development team carefully researches and plans these tours to maximize our travelers’ time in each location. As you saw, Tokyo is an amazing and well-loved destination by the many tourists who visit each year. Being that this is a highlights tour, we do our best to include the ‘must-sees,’ but as you know it can be challenging to satisfy the varying interests within each group. We appreciate your itinerary suggestions and will communicate them to our Product Development team! We love that you enjoyed your guide as well as your group. We’re especially happy to hear you had ideal weather for viewing Mt. Fuji – you did get really lucky! Regarding optionals, some tours offer more optional excursions than others. As you pointed out, this is a very ambitious itinerary, as most ‘highlights’ tours tend to be. If you are concerned about missing a key sight or attraction on your tour, you can always brainstorm pre-tour with Customer Service or on-tour with your Tour Director about how to maximize your free time. We’re always here to help! Again, thank you very much for your insightful review. We will be keeping a detailed record of your itinerary suggestions and consider them as we move forward. We hope to see you on another Go Ahead tour very soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 05, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/24/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NJ

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Mind, Body, & Spiritual Trip Ever

Tokyo is noted as the world's most safe city in the world. Indeed it was. Not only it is safe but also clean and people are kind and hospitable consistently wherever you go. It is just amazing. My travelers took advantage of massage, hot spring experience, good eating (inexpensive & healty), and lives of ancient period and modern technology. Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Hakone were all excellent to visit. Seoul, Korea was also great optional. I highly recommend to add Seoul on your itinerary. Hiroshima and Miyajima are another optional to add. Travel as if you would never go back again.

1 / 5

1 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TN

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Loved Japan, Go Ahead not so much

I loved Japan and would go back in a heartbeat. But I will not travel with Go Ahead again. We had a travel delay but you'd have thought we were the first ever to experience a delay while traveling. We got conflicting information with each Go Ahead rep we talked with. In fact, one time we were told to take a taxi between Tokyo airports which could have run $300-$400 when in fact there is a $20 shuttle between airports. We were told all out-of-pocket expenses would be reimbursed when in fact that was untrue. Plus Go Ahead made no effort to unite us with our group even though we arrived in Osaka at 8:05 a.m. The tour director had a cell phone which she used numerous times on the tour. She could have been contacted and we could have met the tour but instead we were shuttled directly to Kyoto and left to fend for ourselves, missing Osaka Castle, the museum and Nara Deer Park. I will travel with a more professional tour company in the future.

 

Dear Pat, Thank you very much for taking the time to review your recent trip with us to Japan. We are pleased to learn that you loved Japan, and dismayed about the negative experiences you described. We thank you for taking the time to discuss your concerns at length with our staff, and most recently with our Customer Relations Management Team. We understand that delays while traveling can cause problems on tour, and we strive to adapt and react to these situations when they arise. We apologize that your experience did not reflect our most sincere efforts to accommodate travelers joining tours late, whatever the reason. We thank you for your continued contact with Go Ahead in a combined effort resolve your concerns, and we hope to welcome you onto a tour again in the future.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 23, 2015

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NC

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Could be much better for so great country as Japan.

Group tours were organized for very fast walk, without any assumptions on the individuals who needed more time for walk, rest, and observation. That diminished the effect of the whole tour participation.

 

Dear Mikhail, Thank you very much for your review. We are sorry to hear that the pace of the guided sightseeing tours were faster than you were comfortable with. Japan is an amazing country with many things to do and to see, and we aim to achieve a pace that both accomplishes a great deal every day, and is comfortable for our travelers. We will be working with our local guides to ensure that more time is afforded where it may be needed. Thank you again for your valuable feedback, and we do hope to welcome you back on tour with us again.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 21, 2015

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Disappointed in Japan

I have found Go Ahead tours to be a good value from a financial point of view. However, I am disappointed at the lack of access to the company while going on a particular tour. They should have a number that is available 24/7 that you can access with any problems. Plus, Go Ahead does not publish the amount of walking that is involved with any of their tours. This information is provided just prior to taking the tour but it is way too late to make an intelligent decision concerning whether this tour is the right fit for me. I could not take an optional excursion because of the amount of walking involved. When I told our tour director, she said that there were no refunds. She also told me to contact Go Ahead with any complaint. I tried on several occasions but could never reach them. I will not be booking any tours in the future with this company because these negatives far out weigh the positives.

 

Dear William, Thank you for taking the time to talk with us about your recent tour to Japan. As a reminder, our Emergency Service line is always available to you while you’re traveling. We can be reached 24/7 at 001.617.619.1911. Additionally, as we discussed, we are working diligently on a way to better display the exact walking information on our tours. In the meantime, we are here to help every step of the way. If there are any questions about the walking on tour, or any mobility concerns you might have, we are always happy to discuss the itinerary in detail with you.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 21, 2015

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 4/9/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: NC

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

Highlights of Japan

We liked the Itinerary published on GoAhead Tours website, and that is why we booked the tour. But a few things went wrong with this tour. First, because of the bad weather our connecting flight got cancelled and we arrived in Japan 1 day later. When things like that happen, you expect Go Ahead Tour assistance to make sure you join your tour group. Although we joined the group on the next day OK, there was so much uncertainty. We did not get confirmation from the Tour Director when we were boarding the flight to Narita, and were not sure how our tour was going to begin. Emergency case was handled very poorly. In the end GoAhead representative met us in Osaka airport and arranged the transfer to Kyoto Hotel. But we did not know about it until very last minute. Second, Optional Tour to Gion District, Kyoto. No transportation was provided to get to Gion from the hotel. Tour Dirctor did not offer any options to get to Gion other than by foot. Under a heavy rain, it was not a walk, it was a race! She made a group of 19 people run for 45 minutes under a heavy rain to get to the Theater just to put us in line for the tickets for the Geisha show (first come first serve). No time for sightseeing, no time to catch your breathe during this run to get to the theater. So we spent 45 minutes running on foot, then 30 min's staying in line for a $13 show. What kind of a tour is that? why transfer was not arranged? and if we had to go by foot, why not give everybody enough time to walk and see around? and you pay extra for that! And the dinner after this tour was such a cheap one. So if you go on this tour, do not buy this optional tour. you would enjoy Gion on your own so much better walking at your paste, choosing a place to see and eat. And you do not need to be in a group to get tickets to the show on a first come first serve basis. Third, Kamakura optional Tour was a walking tour, and a bus transportation from the Hotel to Kamakura was not provided. You had to use public transportation from a hotel in Tokyo to get to Kamakura and then back to your hotel, so the tour was designed like a full day on foot. Fouth, Tour Director did not give enough time for sightseeing, food breaks, and restroom breaks during the entire tour. It was like racing from point A to point B. rush-rush-rush all the time. Not sure if it was a bad design of the tour, or just a poor job by the Tour Director.... But it was very disappointing to pay so much money for this race. The best time we had on this tour - was the 2 free days where we could walk at our own paste. Japan is an amazing country with so much to see and experience. Of course you cannot see everything during an 11 day tour. But you can certainly make your experience better by planning the tour time better. And unfortunately Tour Director was not very helpful.

 

Dear Alla, Thank you for traveling with us on our Highlights of Japan tour, and for taking the time to write this review. We also appreciate you taking the time to discuss your feedback further with our Quality Control Team. We are sorry to hear that at your arrival in Japan was affected by the weather, and that there was some confusion getting you to tour. This is certainly not the experience we hope to provide our travelers, and we do have an emergency line that can be reached 24/7 in cases such as these. The number that can be called from anytime, from anywhere around the world while you are traveling is 001.617.619.1911. We were disappointed to hear that the optional excursions in which you participated did not meet your expectations. We monitor our travelers’ feedback about all of our itineraries very closely, and work diligently to make amendments wherever necessary. We understand that Japan has a lot to offer in terms of sights and activities, and our goal is to pace the tour so that we can share as much as possible with our travelers. We are sorry to hear that you felt that you were rushed while on tour. We have a rigorous selection process for each and every one of our experienced Tour Directors, and they are trained to provide our travelers the highest level of service. No traveler should feel rushed, or that they are not getting enough information from their director. We thank you for your insight into this guide’s performance on tour. As we have discussed, we used your feedback, as well as that from your fellow travelers, to address these concerns internally. Thank you once again for sharing your opinions, and we do hope for the opportunity to welcome you onto a future Go Ahead tour. Best wishes,

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | July 21, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 10/2/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: SK

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Majesty

Good day to one and all. I can honestly say that this trip to Japan was well worth the wait. It took me four years in order to get there, through planning and, yes, paying for this wonderful trip. The people that were with me, were not only kind, but , extremely compassionate and helpful in all the day to day activities that we all enjoyed. The scenery, the mountains, parks, flowers, lakes, rivers, snow even and the people, oh my. The total amount of respect that one has over there is awesome. If anyone wishes to travel to this wonderful country, you will be surrounded by beauty and people , who treat you with respect and understanding also.

2 / 5

2 / 5

Tour Date: 5/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MI

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 2 / 5

GOOD ITINERARY BUT A DISORGANIZED TOUR

We have taken 3 trips with GoAhead and twice have had problems with arranging flights. Not a good track record. We asked to use specific airlines and we were willing to pay extra but we were told they do not have contracts with them. However other people on our tour were able to use these exact airlines. Very Unfair! We were told we could book the optional excursions while on tour. However when we got to Japan we were told a certain excursion was cancelled because there wasn't enough people and that we should've pre-booked it.. We weren't even given a chance to sign up for it on the day we arrived in Japan. Prior to the departure date the only tour we were told HAD to be pre-booked was for Hiroshima. It was NOT clear that this rule pertained to ALL OF THE OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS. We booked this trip because of the option to go to South Korea. This was the most chaotic portion of the trip. Apparently our itinerary had us scheduled to visit sites that happened to be CLOSED on those days. Why didn't the guides know this ahead of time? It was a mad scramble to change the entire Seoul Itinerary at the last minute. We had previously booked a tour to the Korean Folk Museum on our own and received a late night call asking us to change the date because now the city tour and optional Unesco tour was scheduled at that time. Because a DMZ tour was added by most of the group (this was NOT a tour offered by GoAhead) the Secret Garden had to be eliminated from our sight-seeing. Maybe GoAhead needs to offer the DMZ Tour since it seemed so popular and integrate it smoothly into the trip. A lot more work needs to be done for the S. Korea portion of the trip so BEWARE! The Highlight of the trip was going to Hiroshima. Yes, it's expensive but totally worth it. It's very moving and reminiscent of the German Concentration Camps. it's a big part of US and Japanese history and everyone should go there for a better understanding of what happened. GoAhead has good itineraries for their trips but I'm wary of traveling with them again because they won't accommodate flight preferences and because this past trip was so disorganized. Who needs headaches on their vacation?

 

Hello Gail, Thank you for writing your review. We hope that the contact you’ve had with us since your tour has been helpful, and we surely appreciate all of your feedback. We are happy to be able to offer our customers a variety of flight options for our tours, however options and availability can vary depending on destination. We apologize for any confusion in the process of booking optional excursions, but we’re glad that you enjoyed the Hiroshima excursion so much. We are happy to hear that you will be traveling with us again in the near future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | October 07, 2014

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 5/8/2014

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TN

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Disappointing

I had good memories of my previous trip. I did not expect the quality of Vantage or Tauk, but the hotels in Kyoto and Seoul were not up to standard. The staff in Seoul was great, but the rooms not so. My room in Kyoto never cooled and I went to bed sans clothes and on top of my covers. In general there were too many shrines and temples in Japan and not enough other sites. The trip to Hiroshima was a highlight, although expensive. My greatest expectation on the tour was the trip up Mt. Fuji. We traveled to its base, "hoping its would be open" per our guide. A phone call could have given this information and the schedule rearranged to visit after it opened. I think there was too much "free time" particularly since we were in big cities of a totally different culture and language. Some of the free time was for dinner where we had no guidance as on a previous city tour etc. Our first tour guide, except for Mt. Fuji, was good. Michel in S. Korea was great! She had to balance my request to go to the DMZ [which almost all wanted to see] with the schedule already suggested. She picked us up on our first full day. The lady who met us may have laid the groundwork, but whoever did the most work, it was appreciated. The flight schedule was a little tough. After talking to a lady who has traveled with you many times, I found she had certain criteria about her flights to which you agreed. ANA and Korean Air were great! Continental was its usual sloppy self. For instance, the first leg had no ice or coffee cream for its beverage service. ANA allowed selection of beer or wine on two beverage passages and for dinner at no charge. The magazines were fresh and there were two of them along with the catalogue. The planes were spotless with up to date entertainment access. Returning from S. Korea, the seats were badly in need of new cushions, the one magazine was torn and dirty as was the plane itself, wine was allowed at extra expense and both connecting flights were an hour or so delayed. Flight attendants were much more engaged with passengers in little things that made the flights more enjoyable with both ANA and Korean Air. Although my experience with your company over the phone was great, [Thank you!], having to make my own seating was a negative not experienced before with your company or with any. Also, my original booking with Delta was changed to Continental which I only found about through my travel friends. I am sure I would have known later, but I should have been notified by you when the change was made. When I enquired, I met with the only negative reaction by phone as the lady inferred it could not have been originally so scheduled. I mailed a copy of it to my friends who told me it was wrong, thus the call re the change.

 

Thank you very much for your review on our Highlights of Japan tour. Your feedback is very important to the improvement and development of our tours and the services we provide before, during and after your experience. I have taken note on the hotel room quality, itinerary suggestions and suggested points of interest you commented on your review and have sent it along to our product development team. I have also gathered the information regarding your flight experience and will be sending it to my Flights department. I am very happy to hear you were satisfied with the quality of Korean Air and ANA for your flights. They are two of the best airlines in the industry and we are glad to offer these options to our customers. Hiroshima is a great sight to see! Although the price is high, this does include all of the transportation needed from Kyoto to Hiroshima and back. It is a full day excursion we are happy to hear was one of the highlights of this tour for you. If you have any additional commentary you can provide, please contact our Customer Relations Department. Ultimately, we want every one of our customers to feel completely satisfied. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you onto another tour in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 29, 2014

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 4/10/2014

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: VA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Japan in the Spring

I was a little nervous about traveling to Japan, but if your visiting Asia this is the place to go. Beautiful country, very western. Go Ahead Tours did a great job with the hotels. Some of the best hotels I have ever experienced on my go ahead trips. I know Japan has a lot to do with that. The country is so clean. People are so polite. The architecture is so grand especially in Tokyo. There were a couple of meals that were a little too authentic. Americans love their food. Not as expensive as I expected. I also thought the hotels would be small because of the American media. Not so, bigger rooms than Europe and Australia. Our tour director was very knowledgeable and very pleasant. Loved her!

1 / 7

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 6/28/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

A most enjoyable tour

This was a most enjoyable trip, even in the heat of early July; we traveled through a lengthy section of southern Honshu, from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Our tour group of 19, 20 including our entertaining and never-tiring tour guide, Micky-san, seemed just the right number of people. Apparently the tour just before ours had over forty people, and while such a size is due to Go Ahead's priorities, from what I read on this website, it is too large a group to travel together. I had a slight reservation about signing up for the tour for fear of being part of too large a group of tourists. I live in Manhattan and near a number of tourist sites, and I know what an obstacle course it can be sometimes for the locals to be walking past a popular site just as a full bus unloads its people all at once. Our group seemed to avoid this situation. Plus I wonder how difficult it must be for a single tour guide to maneuver so many people around for 10 days. That said, Japan is an attractive country, with a nice mix of old and modern culture. We saw temples nearing 1000 years old and a simply dazzling outdoor museum of modern sculpture and art nestled in the hills around Hakone. It is educating to see how the country's major religions mingle with one another, the various strands of Buddhism with their temples full of deities, some of gigantic proportions like the Buddhas at Nara and Kamakura, or the Sanjusangendo hall in Kyoto with its 1001 statues of the boddhisatva Kannon, and then see the more stark and, from what I could see, the icon-less Shinto shrines, with their decorated altars, torii gates and multiple stone lanterns. Then we add in a few castles, from the imposing and tall, [rebuilt] Osaka castle to the low-lying shogun's palace in Kyoto. And of course, in a number of these sites, are the gardens, whether flora and water, or rock and crushed stone, for which Japanese culture is so famous. The natural sites are attractive, although our one trip to the country to see Mt. Fuji and the Hakone attractions, except for the outdoor museum, mostly got rained or fogged out. On the other hand, there was some entertainment in braving the hurricane winds at the viewing site halfway up the mountain. As to the modern, we rode the bullet train, the Shinkansen, a few times; such a smooth ride cruising along at 120 miles per hours, considered the past and future at the Hiroshima Peace Museum and surrounding park, and encountered the strange architectural maze of walkways and art pieces sitting atop the Kyoto train station. There is a wrap-around view of Tokyo you get to see from the 45th-story observatory of the city's metropolitan building that can leave even a New Yorker with his mouth a bit agape. Western companies seem to dominate the shopping malls, with the local shops tucked inbetween, and probably every American fast-food chain is there, from Starbucks to McDonalds. And if you love Japanese food, well, you've come to the right place. Restaurants, and not just those serving Japanese food, abound in the cities, many tucked away in narrow, pedestrian side streets. It is common for restaurants to have pictures or models of their menu items, each numbered, so that you can point to, or say the number of your preferred dish. For those perhaps a bit nervous about sightseeing on your own during free times, there is a considerable amount of English used in the cities; it's not just spoken in the major hotels where you would normally expect a multilingual staff. Most signs in the cities are also in English, not merely in Western script, and public announcements are made in Japanese and English. Plus, I found many local people quite helpful in guiding you on the street as best they could, and as such you can maybe with only a minimal trepidation strike out on your own or with your friends to see the sights by taking the subway. If there is a negative to the trip, it is one often shared by tour groups in general, and that is the pace. In 10 days we saw an amazing number of places; perhaps too many. There was some free time in which we could set our schedule, but the toured parts had something of a rushed feeling to them. Again, I would say this is Go Ahead setting priorities as to what we should see; our tour guide really did a great job of passing on as much information as she could and keeping us on schedule. It would have been preferable, I think, to spend more time at a smaller number of places to see and not make the tour a test of how many sights we can visit in 10 days. Some attractions, such as the Hakone outdoor museum, for instance, really require that you spend several hours taking it in. And, to me, sights have a cultural context to absorb in order to appreciate it fully. It really helps to be able to watch a place for a while, see how it and the people who live and tour it interact with it. Sometimes, you could get a small bit of that, such as in watching people enjoy feeding [and being pestered by] the hundreds of deer at Nara that walk about freely while on your way to see the temple. Some of the Shinto shrines encompassed a large amount of open space within their walls which practically begged for at least some contemplation, and rushing through a Japanese garden sort of defeats the purpose of seeing it. It was a great experience; on the positive side for Go Ahead, the planning and execution of the trip went off without a hitch. Airplane flights, hotel reservations, buses, trains, meals, all were handled with a meticulous care and we had no delays or problems moving about the country whatsoever. Hats off to Go Ahead for that. And thanks again to our tour guide, Micky; when all is said and done, no matter how well planned and executed the trip may be as to its details, your pleasure in the tour ultimately rests on your guide's personality and hers was a pleasant company for those 10 days. It would be nice if Go Ahead sometime in the future would look into touring the other Japanese islands; Hokkaido looks beautifully rugged and from what I have read, Shikoku has its own set of charms.

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 4/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Good tour, excursions slightly misleading

Overall, it was a good tour. 44 people with only 1 tour guide is too much. Certain people on a tour this large need more attention than the others from the tour guide. This makes it hard for the tour guide to get to everybody when needed. Miyuki (tour guide) did a great job with what she had to work with. The most wonderful dinner we had with the group was the first night's dinner in Osaka! Kyoto was an absolutely beautiful town, Mt Fuji was great, and Tokyo was immense! Not enough time in Tokyo. I think we needed another 2 days to do everything we wanted there. Hiroshima was the best optional excursion. The bullet train was amazing and Hiroshima was very touching. Some of the tour excursions are misleading: 1) Giesha Tour in Kyoto - We did not get to see a Geisha. We saw a "Geisha in training" show. Also, don't be fooled: Dinner was not in the Ginza District (where all the Geisha's are), it was a walk out of the beautiful area to a congested part of town. We would recommend foregoing this option and going to Ginza on your own instead. It was only a 15 minute walk from our hotel. 2) Tempura Dinner and Tea Ceremony - Please be advised that the Tempura is all seafood. If you do not like fried seafood, this optional excursion is not for you.

 

Dear Anthony, Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your trip to Japan. We are so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your dinner in Osaka, and your time in Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, and Tokyo! Japan is an amazing country, and we are so happy to be able to share with our travelers to some of the highlights it has to offer. We have listened to your feedback, and have made some necessary changes since this review was written. Every tour that Go Ahead has to offer now comes with the Right Size Advantage. This means that each tour has a maximum capacity that is specifically chosen for that tour to give each and every traveler the space and attention they deserve. We have also made some changes to our optional excursions, and are sorry to hear that two you participated in did not meet your expectations. With the optional excursions available, we aim to provide our travelers the ability to customize their tours and make use of our local expertise. We are continuously evaluating these excursions based on your feedback, and will continue to strive to improve them overall. Thank you again for your review, and we hope to travel with you again in the future.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | May 06, 2013

3 / 5

3 / 5

Tour Date: 4/5/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

too many people

way too many people-restuarant quality went down to accommodate that many people!!!! originally 13 days went to 11. United airlines sucks!!! will never use them!!!!! overall i don't feel i got my moneys worth.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Tour Date: 9/20/2012

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

It was great experience I liked it very much it was well organized kept the schedule on time I loved it I already planning another trip

I would recommend to my friend & my family this company. Go ahead tours. This was well organized,the accommodation Hotle was very good & was good choice. Tours are managed timely manner. I would recommend traveling bus tour need more comfortable seating, and spacious I loved Bullet train experience. I am looking forward to travel with Goaheadtours again Snehalatha. Somareddy

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