General tour information
Your scheduled tour can be extended towards the end of your visit to leave more free time or to visit somewhere of particular interest. Our staff in Kyoto and Tokyo can arrange escorted extensions or make some suggestions for more independent visits to suit your interests. On our flight inclusive tours, we will happily change the date of your return flight at no extra charge, discuss your plans and provide a personalised quote. Almost anything is possible so please feel free to ask!
British nationals do not require a visa and will normally receive a 90 day permit on entry. For other nationalities please check HERE
There is a huge variety of food available in Japan including European and other world cuisines. Most visitors enjoy traditional Japanese food but strict vegetarian dishes are not always easily available.
Breakfast is included at all accommodation during the tour with hotels usually offering a breakfast buffet including English, continental and Japanese dishes. Ryokan accommodation offers traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner comprising lots of small, immaculately presented dishes.
For other meals during the tour, we can offer guidance on the best local restaurants and delicacies if you would like to explore on your own. Alternatively, we can usually join you for dinner if you are unsure and need help deciphering the menu! We can also recommend local European, American or Asian restaurants if you prefer something more familiar!
Food is very good value in Japan, despite what you may have heard! You can easily find good quality lunches for £5 and dinner for just £10. Dining in hotels or more exclusive restaurants can be much more expensive but in general you will get much better quality for your money than in the UK.
We have included a brief guide to the most popular Japanese dishes. If you have a particular dietary concern, please contact us.
We understand that single supplements are a considerable extra cost so we offer the option of sharing with another member of the group. Some tour companies are beginning to waive single supplements but unfortunately, Japanese hotels still charge considerably more, forcing increased prices across the board without the single supplement.
In most cases, you are joined by a member of our Japan staff on arrival who is your tour leader throughout your stay. We also use the services of local guides so there are generally two members of staff with you at each location.
Your luggage is couriered between hotels so you need only carry a small bag during your trip. When moving on to the next location, you either prepare your suitcase the day before or in the morning before breakfast and leave it in your room. It will be sent to the next hotel during the day and will be available for you after dinner. Carrying luggage on trains can be difficult in Japan where storage space and lift access is limited. Surprisingly, luggage forwarding services are not included on many tours but we view this as a basic requirement for a relaxing tour!
Most hotels offer a laundry service which is very straightforward to use as we stay at least two nights in each location. The cost for laundry services is similar to hotels in the west and can be quite expensive.
There are no particular health or immunisation requirements for travel to Japan. However, it is worth noting that the flight is quite long usually about 11-12 hours. Our scheduled tours are intended to be relaxing and enjoyable with a few hours of free time each day before dinner. We stay for at least two nights in each location so you can easily take a day to yourself if you want to rest and recover from jet lag. Our tours are specifically designed for people who enjoy a relaxed holiday avoiding anything too physically demanding!
Climate and clothing
All scheduled tours are in the spring and autumn when the climate is very pleasant. The latitude is further south than the UK so the sun is quite warm (similar to Spain) and afternoons are generally sunny. You do not necessarily need formal clothes and it is perfectly acceptable to bring comfortable, casual clothes for your entire stay as there are no religious or cultural taboos regarding dress. Mornings and evenings can be colder especially in March and November and we would recommend bringing some warmer clothes. Rain is not common in spring or autumn but a light raincoat or fold-up umbrella is a sensible addition to your day-bag. All such clothing and equipment can be bought easily and cheaply in Japan, although the sizes are small, have a slightly different cut and large sizes are quite rare.
Our scheduled tours include a two-night stay at a Ryokan and this is one of the special Japanese experiences that most people will treasure. However, sleeping on a futon on the floor may be a concern to some people but we would like to reassure you that Japanese futons are softer than those sold in the UK. They are placed on special tatami mats for extra cushioning rather than the rigid wooden frames often used in Britain. The overall affect is similar to harder western bed. If you remain unconvinced, we can usually arrange alternative western style accommodation nearby.
Meals are taken sat at low tables on the floor but back supports can usually be supplied to make it easier. We may be able to arrange alternatives if this is going to be particularly difficult for you and if you have any other concerns regarding the stay in a Ryokan, please feel free to discuss it with us.
Bathing and bathrooms
Japanese hi-tech bathrooms are slightly different to British versions and sometimes include reheating baths, digital temperature control pads and heated loo seats! In general, bathing is very thorough, typically including a vigorous shower before stepping into a hot bath. Baths are shorter but much deeper and very relaxing. In addition to standard facilities, some hotels and ryokan offer traditional communal bathing in large hot pools an experience not to be missed if once you get used to the idea! Traditional Japanese WCs are also somewhat different but there is usually a combination of Japanese and British styles in most places.
UK connections & Flight upgrades
We will advise you about flights, depending on your preferred class of travel, departure airport and airline. British Airways, All Nippon Airways, and Japan Airlines fly direct from Heathrow to Tokyo with connections on to Osaka. If you wish to depart from Edinburgh or Manchester then Air France, Lufthansa and other European airlines can be good options. We will happily arrange a separate airport meeting and escort for you if required. You are not restricted by group flights in any way.