Q: Are you a travel agency?
We are a tour operator, not a travel agency. We create tour itineraries and facilitate them, but we do not handle hotel and airline bookings, nor do we handle visa applications.
Q: What services do you offer?
We offer private, small-group tours to selected destinations in Japan, at set times of the year. We personally create and facilitate all our tours, that is we plan and organize them and at least one of us will accompany you on the tour. Please refer to our Japan Getaways schedule for our available tour dates.
Q: Why should we get you and not a travel agency?
We complement the services of travel agencies, and they complement us. We specialize in local knowledge of the tour area, which lets us tailor your itinerary and activities to your preferences, and show you around personally. Travel agents specialize in giving you a range of airline and accommodation options and assisting you get your visas, but their tour offerings are usually limited to the generic canned big-bus tours. So please let us handle your tours, and use a travel agent if you need to for your other requirements.
Tip: Please talk to us first. We’ll help you choose a flight schedule, and identify hotels or other accommodations that are well-located for your desired activities, are within your budget range, and have positive reviews. If your travel agent recommends a different hotel, you can call us to check its location and reviews.
There’s another good reason to get us: we’re photographers. You can opt to have your tour converted into a Pictorial Tour, which means we’ll be taking photos of you and your group and compile the best shots into a photobook, delivered right to your door, or you can simply download the photos from our website. You can even book us for a private Photo Session at any of several lovely and romantic locations in our tour area (usually Kyoto).
Q: Do you only offer tours to Japan?
For now, yes, and only to Kyoto and the surrounding areas of Kansai (Nara, Osaka, Himeji, and Shiga Prefecture). There’s so much to see and do in this, the heart of the heart of Japan — culturally, historically, and even food-wise, so we are specializing in the Kansai region.
Q: How do I choose a tour?
Please check the menu under Japan Getaways. We have Photo Tours for photography enthusiasts of all levels, in 3-day and 5-day sets; Discovery Tours suitable for anyone, specially those who’re visiting Japan for the first time, in 3-day sets; and Focus Tours, which are one-day tours that explore our destinations in greater depth or let you pursue interesting Japanese activities like cooking lessons, ikebana lessons, tea ceremony, or going farther afield than usual.
The Focus Tours are modular, each tour being a one-day trip. Choose as many as you like and string them together to create a custom experience! For example, if you’ve been to Kyoto before and want to experience something different you may want to take our Lake Biwa Floating Temples, Takao Mountain Hike, and Himeji-Kobe tours.
Q: How do I book a tour?
Clicking on the “Book this tour” button at the bottom of any tour page will bring you to our contact form, just fill it up to send us an email. Please refer to our Japan Getaways schedule for the available tour dates. We will send you payment instructions according to your preferred payment method.
Q: How do I pay you?
You may pay us via PayPal, bank deposit, or wire transfer. We will send you payment instructions when you contact us. And yes, we give official receipts. Philippine residents may pay in Philippine pesos at the current exchange rate (we’ll give you the peso price of your tours when you book).
Q: When should I book?
As early as possible, please. Our tours are timed for seasonal occurrences and events that are usually in high demand, and our tours are available on limited dates only. Booking early guarantees your tour dates and lets you avail of hotel and flight discounts for early bookings. We ourselves book our Japan trips six months to a year in advance.
Q: When do I pay?
We charge a reservation fee equal to 50% of your total tour fees or USD 200.00 (per person), whichever is lesser, on booking to secure your desired tour dates. The balance is payable 30 days before the start of the tour period.
Q: How do we get around?
Our tours use Japan’s excellent and super-efficient train, subway and bus network to get around, for economy and for you to experience Japan like a local. Our tour fees include your transportation.
Q: Where do we eat?
Most of our tours include lunch at selected restaurants along the way. We will mostly be eating Japanese food for the local experience, but we can change the dining arrangements on request.
Q: Can you arrange private transportation?
We can do so on request. Your tour fees will be adjusted accordingly.
Q: Can you accommodate disabled/ wheelchair-confined persons?
Many of our tour destinations have stairs, slopes, or rock/gravel paths, but we can give you a tour that features only wheelchair-friendly destinations and use private transport. Please contact us for your requirements and rates.
Q: Can I change my chosen tours?
Please contact us if you would like to exchange one or more of your chosen tours for others. If your previously chosen tour required reservation fees, or if we have already bought your train/bus tickets or passes, you may forfeit those that we can’t use.
Q: Can I cancel my chosen tours?
Yes you may cancel a tour if you have to. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for our cancellation and refund policies.
Q: Can I change the dates of my tours?
Please contact us if you wish to change tour dates. We cannot guarantee that we can fulfill these requests, as your desired tour dates may already be booked.
Q: Can I join a group tour?
All our tours are private, exclusive bookings. We can accommodate solo travelers and very small groups, though, so there’s no need for you to join another group.
Q: Can my friend join me? Can we add more people to our group?
Certainly. Just contact us and pay the additional fees.
Q: Can I reserve a date? How long can I reserve a date?
We require a reservation fee equal to 50% of your total tour fees or USD 200.00 per person, whichever is lesser, upon receipt of which we close off that date for you. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for cancellation and refund policies.
Q: How do I get discounts on your tours?
We offer discounted rates for more people. The base price on our tours is for 1-2 persons. We give increasing discounts on most tours for larger groups. You can find the full price list under each tour.
Q: Do you give senior citizen discounts?
We will rebate any senior citizen discounts we can avail of to you (in Yen). Please bring your passport with you on the tours as proof of senior status. Senior citizen privileges vary from place to place in Japan, so we can’t give you an exact senior citizen rate. By the way, senior discount in Japanese is “Koureisha waribiki.” When dining by yourselves you can ask that and show your passport to see if you can get any concessions.
Q: If our family/group is more than 10, can you accommodate us?
For some tours, yes. If your group is more than 15 persons you may want to have us arrange for private transportation, for your convenience.
Q: What happens if I cannot finish my tour? Do I get a refund?
We can refund you the cost of the following services not availed of: meals, admission and special transport tickets bought on-site, and activity fees less any reservation fees.
Q: What times do your tour start and end?
Start and end times are variable depending on the tour and your preferences; whole-day tours are usually from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. Photography tours usually start earlier and end later to catch the best light or specific photographic opportunities. Please let us know if you’d like to start a tour earlier or later than usual.
Q: Where do the tours start and end?
We usually begin our tours from a convenient meeting point where we can easily get transportation to our destination, and end in the same place. In Kyoto, this is usually Kyoto Station. Please consult with us on booking so we can help you find a hotel near our designated tour start area. We can also arrange for different start and end points on request.
Q: When will I know exactly where we are going?
We’ll send you a PDF tour briefing file once you’re fully paid, listing our destinations along with tips on what to pack and what to prepare for. We keep some destinations unlisted because we may go to any of several in the same area depending on which is best at the time.
Q: Do you speak Japanese?
Yes, we speak and can read/write basic Japanese.