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Highlights of Japan: Kyoto to Tokyo

11 days
Immerse yourself in ancient customs on this sweeping tour of Japan, where a multifaceted culture shines. Discover all the beauty the country has to offer as you travel from historic Kyoto to the bustling streets of Tokyo. As you go, you’ll uncover ancient temples alongside futuristic cityscapes, and witness how Japan’s art, architecture and day-to-day life continue to reflect the country’s 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

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of tour to Japan

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Osaka today.

Osaka 1 night Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Osaka

Welcome to Japan! Enjoy a free evening to settle in to your hotel in Osaka.

Kyoto 4 nights Hotel info

Day 3: Sightseeing tours of Osaka & Nara

  Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Although it’s now known as an industrial powerhouse, Osaka is also distinguished as the birthplace of many of Japan’s most 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

En route to Kyoto, stop in the former capital city of Nara for a guided tour.

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

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

Arrive in Kyoto in time for a welcome dinner with your group.

Day 4: Sightseeing tours of Kyoto & Koga

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, 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. 

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

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

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

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

Day 5: Sightseeing tours of Kyoto, Gekkeikan & Fushimi

  Included meals: Breakfast

Continue exploring Kyoto on a sightseeing tour this morning. 

• Enter the 17th-century Nijo Castle, home to intricate architecture and a unique alarm system— floors that sound like a nightingale when walked on

• Make a photo stop at the Heian Shrine, a Shinto site with a towering red gate 

This afternoon, head to the scenic, historic town of Fushimi. 

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

Day 6: Free day in Kyoto

  Included meals: Breakfast

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

Optional Excursion - Hiroshima $459pp* Details

Destroyed by an atomic bomb dropped by American forces in 1945 to end World War II, Hiroshima has since rebuilt itself into a revitalized, modern metropolis. This full-day excursion to the historic city offers countless, moving reminders of that fateful day. Drive along tree-lined boulevards to Peace Memorial Park at the city’s center. Here, you’ll visit the A-Bomb Dome, the remains of a building that partially survived the atomic blast. You’ll also see the Peace Memorial Museum, a two-building museum featuring displays of Hiroshima before the bomb, after the bomb and on the day the bomb dropped. Afterward, pay a visit to Miyajima, a beautiful island in the Seto Inland Sea. View the dazzling Itsukushima Shrine, which has a colossal red torii (entry gate) that appears to float in the ocean during high tide.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $469)

Hakone 1 night Hotel info

Day 7: Owakudani Valley & Lake Ashi

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Board a high-speed bullet train to Hakone, a resort town in the Owakudani Valley, where you’ll discover the area’s notable sites with your Tour Director. (Please note: You will need to pack a small overnight bag for your stay in Hakone, as the bulk of your luggage will be transported directly to your hotel in Tokyo.)

• Stop at Owakudani, also known as the Great Boiling Valley, which is a fascinating volcanic area with steaming hot springs (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

• Wind down in Hakone’s famous thermal hot springs

Tokyo 3 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Tokyo via Mount Fuji

  Included meals: Breakfast

Make your way to Mount Fuji, which stands an imposing 12,388 feet high, to take in panoramic views of nearby lakes and villages from the midway-point observatory. Then, continue on to Tokyo to embark on your first tour of Japan’s bustling capital. 

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

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

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

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Tokyo

  Included meals: Breakfast

Today, your Tour Director leads another tour of vibrant Tokyo.

• Cruise down the Sumida River 

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

• View the Imperial Palace and its impressive grounds

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

Enjoy a free afternoon in Tokyo 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 10: Free day in Tokyo

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

Rejoin your group this evening for a farewell dinner.

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)

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home or continue your adventure in South Korea.

Add Seoul Starting from pp

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

In South Korea, ancient tradition blends seamlessly with contemporary optimism, which you will discover as you travel from lush rice paddies to modern metropolises, from palatial pagodas to towering skyscrapers. Get to know the capital of South Korea—Seoul, a vibrant 600-year-old city the locals call the “miracle on the Han.”

Seoul 3 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Flight to Seoul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Seoul, South Korea.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Seoul

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get to know the South Korean capital on a guided tour.

• Step inside Gyeongbokgung, the imposing royal palace made up of 7,700 rooms

• Learn about the country’s history and art at the National Museum of Korea

• Enter Jogyesa Temple, the city’s largest Buddhist temple, which features a collection of giant Buddha statues

Enjoy a free evening in Seoul or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Evening on the Han River $159pp* Details

Evening on the Han River

Before sailing along the Han, pick up your chopsticks and enjoy an authentic Korean dinner. Savor delicious Korean barbecue and mixed rice dishes such as bibimbap while sipping on sweet sikhye (rice punch). After dinner, embark on your cruise, winding your way through the heart of Seoul. As the sun sets over the water, you’ll see some of the city’s most beautiful and historic sites in a whole new light.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $169)

Day 13: Free day in Seoul

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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

Later, rejoin your group for dinner.

Optional Excursion - History of the Korean War: DMZ Visit & Lunch $119pp* Details

History of the Korean War: DMZ Visit & Lunch

Get an authentic look at the relationship between South and North Korea on a visit to the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone. Travel out of Seoul and begin your tour in Imjingak Park, where you’ll view the Freedom Bridge. Board a military bus and continue on to a theater to learn about the fascinating history of the Korean War and the heavily fortified border. While in the DMZ, visit the Dorasan Station, the last train station before North Korean territory. Take in panoramic views of North Korea’s landscape from the Dorasan Observatory and then enjoy an included barbecue pork lunch before returning to Seoul. Please note: Soldiers will be screening tour participants at the entrance gate. You must bring your passport in order to register at this checkpoint.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $129)

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport to board your flight home.

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, 1 lunch, 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, Lunch

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, relax in a dayroom as you prepare for your overnight 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.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 11: Travel day

Arrive home today.

Add Osaka & Hiroshima Starting from $999 pp

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

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

Relax in a dayroom as you prepare for your overnight flight home.

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 14: Travel day

  Included meals: Breakfast

Arrive home today.

Passport & visa requirements

In order to enter Japan and South Korea, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Japanese consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. 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 luggage 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 internal 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 carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. For you stay in Hakone, you will need a small overnight bag, as your luggage will be transferred to Tokyo separately.

Clothing & packing tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended. Footwear that is easily removed is advisable, as you will frequently be required to remove shoes, such as when visiting temples. You’ll also need a small overnight bag for your one-night stay in Hakone. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant, you might want more formal clothing. Please be respectful and avoid visiting religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling in Japan or South Korea. Sushi and sashimi do not pose a risk, although eating other raw meat dishes is not recommended. No vaccinations are required for entry into Japan, but it is a good idea to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

When visiting restaurants in Japan or taking part in some of this tour’s included dinners, be prepared that you may be asked to remove your shoes and may be seated at low tables.

There are many distinct types of regional Japanese cuisines. A classic dish is tempura, fish and vegetables coated in batter and then deep-fried. Okonomiyaki is a pancake filled with meat or fish, shredded cabbage and vegetables. Sukiyaki is sliced beef cooked in a stock with vegetables. It’s similar to shabu-shabu, beef and vegetables cooked by the diner in a clear broth. Other dishes include yakitori, skewered chunks of chicken basted in a sweet soy sauce, and kamameshi, a rice casserole served in individual-size cast-iron pots.

Even sushi comes in various forms. Sashimi is raw seafood eaten alone. Maguro, or lean tuna, is also popular. Nigiri-zushi is raw fish or vegetables served on vinegared rice. Popular sushi offerings include maguro, flounder (hirame), squid (ika), octopus (tako), shrimp (ebi), scallop (hotategai) and eel (anago).

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo. On the tour extension, your flights will arrive in and depart from Seoul, South Korea. Included transportation on “Highlights of Japan” is by high-speed rail from Kyoto to Hakone and private motorcoach. Most of the destinations on tour are best explored on foot, but in Tokyo and Kyoto, you may want to take advantage of the excellent subway systems. There are also numerous taxis available (note: all licensed taxis have green license plates), but they tend to be expensive.

Electricity

Japan and South Korea operate at 100 volts and the outlets are compatible with those from North America, so an adaptor isn’t necessary. However, the difference in voltage means appliances will run slower.

Time zones

Japan and South Korea are nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 2am (the next day) in Japan. Daylight-saving time is not observed in Japan. Therefore, the time difference is one hour less when other countries observe daylight-saving time.

Currency

The yen is the currency used in Japan. The won will be used in South Korea during the tour extension. Normal  banking hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, although currency is generally exchanged after 10 a.m. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Japan, but it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. As ATMs are not always readily available, we advise that you take a combination of USD/CAD currency, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks or at your hotel. Credit cards can be used at larger stores and restaurants, but many shops and markets will only accept cash. We suggest that you inform your credit card company of your plans, so that your international purchases won’t be mistaken for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional 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 the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.

Passport & visa requirements

In order to enter Japan and South Korea, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Japanese consulate for your specific entry requirements.

Baggage allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. 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 luggage 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 internal 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 carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag. For you stay in Hakone, you will need a small overnight bag, as your luggage will be transferred to Tokyo separately.

Clothing & packing tips

Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended. Footwear that is easily removed is advisable, as you will frequently be required to remove shoes, such as when visiting temples. You’ll also need a small overnight bag for your one-night stay in Hakone. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an elegant restaurant, you might want more formal clothing. Please be respectful and avoid visiting religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling in Japan or South Korea. Sushi and sashimi do not pose a risk, although eating other raw meat dishes is not recommended. No vaccinations are required for entry into Japan, but it is a good idea to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.

Cuisine

When visiting restaurants in Japan or taking part in some of this tour’s included dinners, be prepared that you may be asked to remove your shoes and may be seated at low tables.

There are many distinct types of regional Japanese cuisines. A classic dish is tempura, fish and vegetables coated in batter and then deep-fried. Okonomiyaki is a pancake filled with meat or fish, shredded cabbage and vegetables. Sukiyaki is sliced beef cooked in a stock with vegetables. It’s similar to shabu-shabu, beef and vegetables cooked by the diner in a clear broth. Other dishes include yakitori, skewered chunks of chicken basted in a sweet soy sauce, and kamameshi, a rice casserole served in individual-size cast-iron pots.

Even sushi comes in various forms. Sashimi is raw seafood eaten alone. Maguro, or lean tuna, is also popular. Nigiri-zushi is raw fish or vegetables served on vinegared rice. Popular sushi offerings include maguro, flounder (hirame), squid (ika), octopus (tako), shrimp (ebi), scallop (hotategai) and eel (anago).

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo. On the tour extension, your flights will arrive in and depart from Seoul, South Korea. Included transportation on “Highlights of Japan” is by high-speed rail from Kyoto to Hakone and private motorcoach. Most of the destinations on tour are best explored on foot, but in Tokyo and Kyoto, you may want to take advantage of the excellent subway systems. There are also numerous taxis available (note: all licensed taxis have green license plates), but they tend to be expensive.

Electricity

Japan and South Korea operate at 100 volts and the outlets are compatible with those from North America, so an adaptor isn’t necessary. However, the difference in voltage means appliances will run slower.

Time zones

Japan and South Korea are nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 2am (the next day) in Japan. Daylight-saving time is not observed in Japan. Therefore, the time difference is one hour less when other countries observe daylight-saving time.

Currency

The yen is the currency used in Japan. The won will be used in South Korea during the tour extension. Normal  banking hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, although currency is generally exchanged after 10 a.m. Better rates of exchange are usually available in Japan, but it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. As ATMs are not always readily available, we advise that you take a combination of USD/CAD currency, which can be exchanged for cash at local banks or at your hotel. Credit cards can be used at larger stores and restaurants, but many shops and markets will only accept cash. We suggest that you inform your credit card company of your plans, so that your international purchases won’t be mistaken for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/ CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

Purchasing excursions on tour

If you have not yet purchased your optional excursions, you may be able to do so while on your tour. Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa or MasterCard as payment for optional 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 the separate “Optional Excursions” sheet for more information.up close.

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

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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

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