We offer limited-edition, small group private tours personally conducted by us to selected spots in Japan. We call them Japan Getaways. The Getaways are designed around the Japanese concept of Kisetsu-kan, a sense for the changing seasons. Available only four times a year, these tours are hand-crafted by us to visit a mix of bucket-list and off-the-beaten-path attractions chosen for their beauty in the season, combined with seasonal events and activities that let you truly experience Japanese culture. Each season’s tours are different.
As photographers, we always remember one of our earliest lessons in the art: the difference between just looking and truly seeing. We want to help you see Japan to the fullest, so our tours are slower-paced, designed around leisurely walks through beautiful byways where the bus-tour groups don’t go, and since they’re fully private tours with just you and your family or friends, we can take as long or as short at any stop as you like.
We bridge the gap between the easily available but rather generic big-group tours, and the difficulty of planning and organizing everything yourself and finding your own way around, making it easy for you to have the experience you want. As lifelong fans of Japanese culture, history, art and food, we want to share our fascination with this beautiful land and its kindly people with you in a way you’ll always remember.
Our Japan Getaways are only available four times a year. The next Getaway will be from November 14-December 9, 2018, and features tours of Kyoto, Nara, Shiga Prefecture, Kobe and Himeji. After this, the next tour season will be from March 14 to April 10, 2019, bracketing the plum blossom and cherry blossom seasons across Kansai.
Photo Tours are designed specifically for photography enthusiasts of all levels. These feature an itinerary of interesting, photo-worthy sites selected for their beauty in the season, many of them off-the-tourist-track spots to give you better chances of nailing that classic travel photo. The tours usually start much earlier and may end later than our standard tours to take advantage of the best light or catch a specific photo op. We’ll be on hand to provide tips and instruction, specially if you’re new to photography.
Our Photo Tours are available in 3-day and 5-day sets, and any of our other tours may also be converted into a Photo Tour for a small additional fee. We also created Photographer + Family tours that allow you to indulge your hobby and have plenty quality time with your family too.
Our Seasonal Highlights tours are designed around what’s best to see, eat or do during specific seasons. Enjoy the ever-changing face of nature in the mountains and temple gardens of Kyoto and nearby prefectures as we take you around some of Japan’s most spectacular sights.
Every place peaks in appeal at a different time for each season, so contact us for recommendations on what tour to take. This autumn, we recommend that you take the tours going to Takao or Kurama if you’re coming to Japan earlier in November, and to Arashiyama or Southern Kyoto if you’re coming later in November or early December.
Escape the crowds with us on our Byways and Secrets tours to the less-visited yet still easily accessible but no less magical spots in and around Kyoto. We’ll take you to explore quiet mountain temples, many of them steeped in history and legend, lovely corners and byways in the cities that the tourist herds just bypass in their buses, and go on side trips out of Kyoto. We even have no-temple tours for the templed-out!
We also offer private portrait sessions at selected locations in and around Kyoto. Dress up in elegant kimono or yukata and save your precious memories of a lifetime bucket-list trip with a photo album of your best pictures. Perfect for couples and families.
Our sightseeing and photo tours are priced per person. Prices for most of these tours scale down as more of you join the tour. This pricing scheme allows us to handle very small groups, even solo travelers, at reasonable rates. Tour fees include all transportation (by bus/ subway/ train), admission fees, our personal services as your tour guides (at least one of us will accompany you on the tour), and usually include a lunch, dinner or snack.
Photo Sessions are priced per session, regardless of the number of participants. We will however charge a small additional fee per person if your group exceeds 10 persons.
To book our tours, please fill out our contact form with your contact info, the tours you want and the dates desired, and how many you are in your party. Please let us know also if you have any special concerns like access for disabled persons, dietary restrictions, allergies and the like so we can prepare for them.
Please book as early as possible so you can get the dates you want. We only require a deposit of 50% of the total tour fees or 200 USD per person, whichever is lesser, to book your dates. We only accept one booking per tour day.
Payments can be made through Paypal or bank deposit. If you’re booking a tour anytime after the start of the season (for this autumn, November 13), we require full payment in Japanese Yen at the start of the tour.