Kimkim Trip Reviews for Japan

Reviews from actual kimkim travelers. We publish all reviews.
4.7
(23 reviews)
Read 23 reviews by travelers who booked their trip on kimkim

Japan tour, Japan - Apr 14 - Apr 27, 2019

Traveler: Brittany N. - Local specialist: Tuck Sermkhun

Awesome suggestions and super friendly guides throughout our trip - we really had the vacation of a lifetime.

Tuck Sermkhun, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your feedback! 😊
It is my pleasure to assist you with the trip and I am very glad to hear that you are having a lovely time with us.
I look forward to be at your service again in the near future!
Best Wishes, Tuck

Ninja trip, Japan - Mar 31 - Apr 12, 2019

Traveler: Linda O. - Local specialist: Natalie Collar

I liked working with KimKim because I always felt in control of our trip. I liked being able to add experiences which allowed us to make the trip personal. We could make decisions along the way and not have a tour guide telling us to get on the bus.
Our first tour guide in Tokyo (name?) was wonderful. She interacted with the children and they learned so much. She took the time with them and let them set the pace somewhat, making adjustments to places and time easily if needed.
The second... read more

I liked working with KimKim because I always felt in control of our trip. I liked being able to add experiences which allowed us to make the trip personal. We could make decisions along the way and not have a tour guide telling us to get on the bus.
Our first tour guide in Tokyo (name?) was wonderful. She interacted with the children and they learned so much. She took the time with them and let them set the pace somewhat, making adjustments to places and time easily if needed.
The second tour guide in Kyoto was very nice but seemed more intent on getting us through everything rather than creating an experience.
The experiences such as tea ceremony and ninja lessons, and cooking lessons were wonderful. One of the highlights of the trip.
Our only complaint was the time schedule in Hakone. We were unable to fully enjoy the area due to the bus schedule. We didn't realize how far away from the train station was the hotel. We figured we would drop off our overnight bags and then explore. But we were 25 minutes out of town. However, the inn was wonderful and the children had a great time playing in the room and attached hot spring bath.
The support team was wonderful in helping along the way with questions and suggestions.

I loved that my grandchildren were immersed in the culture and loving every minute. My grandson even asked if he could live in Japan ! We bowed at every torii gate, prayed at every shrine, admired the cherry blossoms, and became pros at public transportation.
Thanks for a wonderful trip.

Natalie Collar, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for writing about your trip in great detail, Linda! I enjoyed reading through your travels and how everyone enjoyed them. Thank you for also sharing pictures from the trip, I can see the enjoyment in your grandkids' faces! It really sounds like you all were able to have rich, cultural experiences that will last for many years to come--how amazing that your grandson grew so fond of Japan that he wants to live there! I recommend it :)

Having a one-night stay in Hakone makes it tough... read more

Thank you for writing about your trip in great detail, Linda! I enjoyed reading through your travels and how everyone enjoyed them. Thank you for also sharing pictures from the trip, I can see the enjoyment in your grandkids' faces! It really sounds like you all were able to have rich, cultural experiences that will last for many years to come--how amazing that your grandson grew so fond of Japan that he wants to live there! I recommend it :)

Having a one-night stay in Hakone makes it tough to fit in sightseeing as well as relaxation at the ryokan accommodations. This is great feedback for future trips, and I am glad to hear you all enjoyed the hot springs.

Again, it was a fantastic experience working with you and your family, Linda! Please don't hesitate to contact us again if you take a second trip to Japan.

Naomi

Sadie's bat mitzvah trip, Japan - Apr 14 - Apr 24, 2019

Traveler: Naomi B. - Local specialist: Nicole Rhoden

My granddaughter became a Bat Mitzvah and my gift to her was a trip anywhere in the world. She picked Japan. Nicole Rhoden helped me plan the most spectacular adventure I could have imagined. My granddaughter loves anime and manga and we were able to include a visit to the Ghibli museum on our first day (tickets are hard to get, but Inside Japan Tours was able to secure them for just the right day and time) and an amazing full day tour in Tokyo with Chantel Furbert in Akihabara, Harajuki... read more

My granddaughter became a Bat Mitzvah and my gift to her was a trip anywhere in the world. She picked Japan. Nicole Rhoden helped me plan the most spectacular adventure I could have imagined. My granddaughter loves anime and manga and we were able to include a visit to the Ghibli museum on our first day (tickets are hard to get, but Inside Japan Tours was able to secure them for just the right day and time) and an amazing full day tour in Tokyo with Chantel Furbert in Akihabara, Harajuki and Shinjuku. If you are traveling to Japan with a teenager you should definitely ask for Chantel or if you are traveling without a teenager you should definitely ask for Chantel! After Tokyo we went to lovely ryokan in Hakone and had a lot of fun exploring all for two days including a memorable hike on the Tokaido Trail. Shipping luggage was as easy as promised so we were able to travel light to Hakone. We loved Kyoto! In addition to the International Manga museum, we fed monkeys and deer, rented bikes and best of all, toured the Nishiki Market with a guide from the Women's Association of Kyoto and bought ingredients which we used when we cooked a dinner at the WAK townhouse--one of the most delicious meals on our trip--among so many delicious meals.

Nicole was so responsive and helpful. The travel packet gave us all the information we needed. It was a trip for the memory books. I cannot recommend highly enough!

Debra

Self guided cycle trip, not too arduous, Japan - Apr 8 - Apr 15, 2019

Traveler: Debra D. - Local specialist: Adam Platt-Hepworth

Norman (local rep) and Takuro (bike support/baggage transfer) were both friendly and helpful. Tech guy tried to help with missing route, this didn't go so well. We liked all the accommodation arranged for us and Pedro, at the Ryoken in Yoshino was particularly helpful and informative. We were lucky to hit peak cherry blossom time also.

Hike japan's kumano kodo trail - 4 days, Japan - Apr 10 - Apr 13, 2019

Traveler: Kalina J. - Local specialist: Tuck Sermkhun

We had an amazing time hiking the Kumano Kodo! The scenery is beautiful and the trip was very memorable. We really enjoyed taking breaks at all of the shrines on the path, as well as collecting all of the stamps along the way (and are now looking forward to hiking the Camino de Santiago as well)! The Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha areas were excellent places to explore and spend a decent amount of time in.

The places that we stayed along the way were all very nice. We... read more

We had an amazing time hiking the Kumano Kodo! The scenery is beautiful and the trip was very memorable. We really enjoyed taking breaks at all of the shrines on the path, as well as collecting all of the stamps along the way (and are now looking forward to hiking the Camino de Santiago as well)! The Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha areas were excellent places to explore and spend a decent amount of time in.

The places that we stayed along the way were all very nice. We particularly loved our night at the Hibiki rental house. The women that ran the place were incredibly accommodating, engaged, sincere, and hospitable! We had a few wonderful conversations with them using Google Translate. The property itself is beautiful, and we were awed by how large and comfortable our suite was! Highly recommended.

Tuck Sermkhun, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you for your great feedback! 😊
It is my pleasure to assist you with the trip and I am very glad to hear that you are having a lovely time with us.

I look forward to be being at your service again for your future trip!

All the best, Tuck

Trip to japan, Japan - Mar 27 - Apr 6, 2019

Traveler: Cris B. - Local specialist: Jeff Aasgaard

Firstly we would like to thank Jeff for such wonderful communication throughout the planning, all the information we received before we began the trip and all the info in our packet on arrival. Everything worked like clockwork( except running for the wrong bullet train) because of the attention to fine details such as every ticket for transport, cards for each check-in and particularly the pocket wifi.
We had two guides, one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto . Ms Junko Dogauchi was helpful and we... read more

Firstly we would like to thank Jeff for such wonderful communication throughout the planning, all the information we received before we began the trip and all the info in our packet on arrival. Everything worked like clockwork( except running for the wrong bullet train) because of the attention to fine details such as every ticket for transport, cards for each check-in and particularly the pocket wifi.
We had two guides, one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto . Ms Junko Dogauchi was helpful and we enjoyed our day which helped us with the subway,but it was difficult to understand her English. Ms Fukiko Teramachi was excellent with good English and conversation. We had a different kind of day at her village as well as a couple of tourist spots. She was also helpful with places to eat.
The most memorable experience was at Yamanochaya in Hakone. It was a lot of fun with such pleasant staff. Mikoto Aoki as our attending staff was wonderful. She helped us with our 'little' Japanese and we helped her with her English. We managed to use theHakone free pass on both days which made it simple to travel around. We really liked Kyoto and enjoyed doing our own thing there. Did some shopping in the markets which was reasonable as most things in the department stores etc too expensive for us.
On our last day in Tokyo we got to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. It was beautiful weather and one street was closed with groups partying and the Rugby players interacting with the public. Very different.
Hotels were great, usually good location but we did not like the hotel in Takayama the Hotel Associa Takayama Resort. It was huge and definitely catered for big tourist groups. At any one time there were up to 10 buses. Consequently we could not get into the buffet restaurant. We used the shuttle bus for one dinner but when it started to snow we decided to stay in. The breakfast was chaotic in the restaurant with so many people. We would have preferred to stay in a smaller hotel.

Jeff Aasgaard, local specialist, responded to this review:

Chris,

We were so happy to read that you had a great time in Japan. It really is an amazing & beautiful country.

Sorry about Hotel Associa Takayama Resort. One of the problems with visiting Japan during high season is the herds of bus tours in the most popular locations. I wish there was a way to clear out the people for our travelers.

I am so glad you liked your guides and could see the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo. This really is an amazing sights and the Japanese know how to... read more

Chris,

We were so happy to read that you had a great time in Japan. It really is an amazing & beautiful country.

Sorry about Hotel Associa Takayama Resort. One of the problems with visiting Japan during high season is the herds of bus tours in the most popular locations. I wish there was a way to clear out the people for our travelers.

I am so glad you liked your guides and could see the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo. This really is an amazing sights and the Japanese know how to celebrate the coming of spring.

Thank you for your very kind words about our service. My team and I look forward to working with you on your next trip to Japan! Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!

Thank you,
Jeff

Kumano kodo self-guided tour - 6 days, Japan - Mar 30 - Apr 6, 2019

Traveler: Ralph A. - Local specialist: Patrick Marsh

Another great trip with Kim Kim. Accommodations were great, trail instructions accuracy, food amazing.
Well organized.

Cultural and scenic honshu, Japan - Oct 21 - Nov 4, 2018

Traveler: Julian H. - Local specialist: Kana Van Sandt

Firstly, Kana (who you've asked us to rate above) initially handled our booking but we were then changed to Shakira when Kana went on maternity leave and then had no one specifically for the last week when Shakira went to Japan herself. These changes did not cause any problems but were a bit disconcerting. Obviously dealing with one consultant all the way through would be preferable.

And certainly one of the things we really liked was your responsiveness when we had a query, including one... read more

Firstly, Kana (who you've asked us to rate above) initially handled our booking but we were then changed to Shakira when Kana went on maternity leave and then had no one specifically for the last week when Shakira went to Japan herself. These changes did not cause any problems but were a bit disconcerting. Obviously dealing with one consultant all the way through would be preferable.

And certainly one of the things we really liked was your responsiveness when we had a query, including one when we were in Japan. This was excellent.

Overall the trip was great and everything went very smoothly. The only hiccup was on Day 20. Because of flooding our train from Kii-Katsuura was 4 hrs late getting to Nagoya which meant we well and truly missed our connecting train to Tokyo. However JR were very efficient in getting us on to another train once we had arrived in Nagoya.

Your organisation was excellent. All of our train and bus journeys, our accommodation and pre-arranged guides and events happened exactly as planned. The accommodation you booked for us included traditional ryokans as we had requested and these were a great experience. Your advice re on-forwarding of luggage proved to be spot on and we ended up really appreciating not having to lug it all around all the time. All our guides and pre-arranged experiences (e.g. tea ceremony, Kyoto bike ride) were excellent.

Your documentation was really excellent, very comprehensive. The key Itinerary document was comprehensive, well laid out and very useful. The booklets for each location (Tokyo, Kyoto etc) were also really comprehensive and useful.

There are a few comments etc we would like to make, not necessarily in any order.

Your book said the Daiwa Roynet in Kanazawa might not want to assist with filling out of Takkyubin forms. In fact they could not have been more helpful. Maybe they have had a change of attitude.

Your documentation suggests tipping in Ryokans. This seems to be at odds with other advice, e.g. from Japan Tourism who say no. This needs some clarification.

The map and location description for our Minshuku in Tsumago were hopelessly inadequate. A much more detailed map and description are needed. Noting that it is very close to the Tourist Information Centre would be a good start. We only found it after enquiring there.

The itinerary said to get to our hotel in Kyoto to take exit 22 from Shijo station. There is no exit 22. This should read exit 2.

The itinerary says the train from Shin-Osaka to Kii-Tanabe is "as scenic ride along the coast for nearly the whole route". That's a bit misleading. In fact it is nowhere near the coast for most of the journey and you really only get the odd glimpse of coast.

The information on Shirakawago is a bit misleading if you take the public bus from Kanazawa as we did. The Shirakawago booklet implies that the public bus stops adjacent to the open air museum at the south end of town and talks about immediately crossing the suspension bridge. This is where all the tourist buses stop but not the public bus which stops at the information centre at the north end of town, nowhere near the suspension bridge.

We would suggest changing how you organise the Nakasendo walk section - days 9 and 10 of our itinerary. You had us taking a limited express train from Matsumoto to Nakatsugawa then a local train back up the line to Nagiso then walking from Nagiso to Tsumago that afternoon. Next day walking to Magome and catching a bus to Nakatsugawa. After reviewing this a day or so before day 9 I decided we would do it the other way around. Thus on day 9 we took the train to Nakatsugawa, then took the bus to Magome (there was a bus essentially immediately) and then walked to Tsumago. On Day 10 we walked Tsumago to Nagiso, took a local train to Nakatsugawa and then continued on as originally planned. I think this works better for a couple of reasons. Firstly it gives you all afternoon to walk to Tsumago without any time pressure due to having to catch a bus. The other way around you are under time pressure to get to the Magome bus in time, and in fact we met another couple organised by Inside Japan Australia who did it the way you planned and due to reasons associated with their accommodation had to really hurry to get the Magome bus. Secondly, doing it Magome to Tsumago is easier in that it is more downhill than uphill. Doing it this way then makes for a very leisurely walk to Nagiso on the second day and plenty of time to explore Tsumago if needed and Nagiso. There is a bit of wait in Nagiso to catch a local train to Nakatsugawa but there are things to see there - the historic wooden suspension bridge, impressive river and an excellent park on the other side of the river. Overall I was very happy that we switched this around and would recommend that you consider doing so yourselves in future.

Having the pre-organised shuttle bus to get from Narita to our hotel on arrival was a good thing but for the return journey to Narita on departure I would suggest that you offer catching the train as an option. By this stage we were very familiar with how the trains worked etc and this would have been an easy and quicker (and presumably less expensive) option than the shuttle bus.

So what did we really like? Everything! The Japanese people are so friendly, efficient and helpful. The food was a great experience although Japanese food for breakfast was not really to our liking! The language was challenging but we always coped with a mix of Google translate (having a translate app on our phone was very useful), signs and what little language each of us had. The autumn colours up around Takayama and Matsumoto and other places were spectacular. We loved all the gardens and the temples, shrines and castles are amazing. We thought Kanazawa was fabulous with so many and varied things to do, We thought that Arashiyama was a better place than Nara - we did the Hozu River boat ride and that was a real highlight - thoroughly recommend it. Although you did not organise it, the five day trek along the Kumano Kodo trail was also a highlight for us. We loved it. We don't know if you offer that as an option but if not we would highly recommend that you do for appropriate (fit and healthy - it's quite challenging!) clients.

Would we recommend Inside Japan to others? Absolutely.

50th get away, Japan - Oct 12 - Oct 21, 2018

Traveler: Tanya C. - Local specialist: Alice Volkmar

We had a lovely time in Japan and enjoyed getting to know the culture and the people. We now know the people of Japan are very polite and patient people willing to help us when we needed, even though language was not always possible they were very helpful. Our first guide was Seiichiro Hara which we knew as Hara walked our legs off for 8 hours which we have discovered was not necessary as we could have done a few taxi for some of the walks between some of the places Hara took us. We also... read more

We had a lovely time in Japan and enjoyed getting to know the culture and the people. We now know the people of Japan are very polite and patient people willing to help us when we needed, even though language was not always possible they were very helpful. Our first guide was Seiichiro Hara which we knew as Hara walked our legs off for 8 hours which we have discovered was not necessary as we could have done a few taxi for some of the walks between some of the places Hara took us. We also were a bit shocked that we had to not only pay for our tickets on one tour but we had to pay for Hara's as well maybe that was not the right thing for Hara to do. Our guide for Kyoto was Wakako Nakagawa and she was amazing she listened to us and took us to places we were interested in and even took us shopping to the right places to get the things we were looking for and told us about other places we could go to get other things. Still taking us to see all the places we wanted to see about Kyoto. Our guide for Nara was Reiko Karita who was very knowledgeable on Nara and its history and had great suggestions for us to see and wasn't worried about taking a taxi when needed. Reiko was also very easy to talk to about life in Japan. One highlight for us was speaking to school children who were learning English and wanted to ask us questions they were delightful.

Louise

Discover the nakasendo trail, Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Louise I. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Thanks to kimkim, our 4-night, 5-day Nakasendo adventure in October was amazing. We have been highly recommending it to friends and family. All arrangements were professionally, efficiently and patiently handled by our pre-travel contact Andy, our trip guide Atsuko-san and our local guide from Usui Toge to Yokokawa, Riki-san. The online information was very helpful and was among the deciding factors for joining our Nakasendo group. A delicious kaiseki dinner in Kyoto with Atsuko-san on... read more

Thanks to kimkim, our 4-night, 5-day Nakasendo adventure in October was amazing. We have been highly recommending it to friends and family. All arrangements were professionally, efficiently and patiently handled by our pre-travel contact Andy, our trip guide Atsuko-san and our local guide from Usui Toge to Yokokawa, Riki-san. The online information was very helpful and was among the deciding factors for joining our Nakasendo group. A delicious kaiseki dinner in Kyoto with Atsuko-san on the night before our hike for our group of 12 set the tone for the beautiful breakfast and dinner settings we experienced during the entire trip. The accommodations were comfortable and full of atmosphere, whether the inn we stayed at was rustic and charming (Tsutamuraya in Otsumago and Iseya in Narai) or refined and charming (Komanoyu Ryokan outside of Kiso-Fukushima and Nakadanaso Ryokan in Narai). All the towns we passed through were so enjoyable to explore, but I especially loved the historic beauty of Magome and Tsumago. We were so impressed by Atsuko-san's attention to every detail, like arranging four different options on the last day to meet the needs of those traveling directly to Tokyo, those who chose to visit Karuizawa first, those who wanted a longer hike and the rest of us who chose to ride up to Usui Toge and then hike down to Yokokawa. Atsuko-san even escorted us from Tokyo Station to the frenetic and huge Shinjuku Station in order to point us in the right direction. Well done, kimkim and Oku Japan!

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Louise, thank you again for choosing to travel with us along the Nakasendo trail - we're very happy to know the group enjoyed staying with the locally-run inns along the trail. We've also communicated your kind words to Ako-san and Riki-san. Please don't hesitate if we can assist with a future trip.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Gwen

Discover the nakasendo trail, Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Gwen P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

We planned our trip with Andy who was accessible and communicated clearly. He made special arrangements for those that needed them. Once we got to Japan, our trip was amazing.
Akosan was such a gracious, accommodating, professional, knowledgeable guide. Despite the disparate needs of our group, she never made us feel that we were asking too much and always accommodated us. She took the time to listen and then shared her wonderful cultural and historical wisdom. She made the trail come... read more

We planned our trip with Andy who was accessible and communicated clearly. He made special arrangements for those that needed them. Once we got to Japan, our trip was amazing.
Akosan was such a gracious, accommodating, professional, knowledgeable guide. Despite the disparate needs of our group, she never made us feel that we were asking too much and always accommodated us. She took the time to listen and then shared her wonderful cultural and historical wisdom. She made the trail come alive! We had different hiking abilities-all were accommodated with sometimes as many as 4 options in a day provided. We transited with ease between locations, as Akosan was always organized and on schedule. SHe is a master at time management and set reasonable expectations for all of our schedule.
from the WE all had little needs and accommodations were top notch. We enjoyed

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Gwen, we are very happy to know the group had an excellent time along the Nakasendo - we've also communicated your kind words to Akosan.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Discover the nakasendo trail, Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Clarence P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

It was a wonderful experience from the start of the planning with the Kimkim team through the actual hike with Ako-san. Andy and the team were very responsive to our needs and went out of their way to celebrate my wife's birthday with a cake at our initial dinner. Our guide was fantastic in her service and knowledge of the trails and the history. She explained fully what was happening and gave us many options to take. If we do another hike or tour in Japan (which we will) we will request... read more

It was a wonderful experience from the start of the planning with the Kimkim team through the actual hike with Ako-san. Andy and the team were very responsive to our needs and went out of their way to celebrate my wife's birthday with a cake at our initial dinner. Our guide was fantastic in her service and knowledge of the trails and the history. She explained fully what was happening and gave us many options to take. If we do another hike or tour in Japan (which we will) we will request specifically for Ako-san. I would highly recommend to anyone to use this company and their guides. Thank you for a wonderful time.

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Clarence, we are happy to know the group had such a fantastic time in Japan, and has made many good memories along the trip. We've also passed along your kind words to Ako-san.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Leslie

Discover the nakasendo trail, Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Leslie K. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Akko-San was an incredible guide - she literally anticipated our every need and was such a delightful, thoughtful person. She is truly perfection! We were all bowled over by her professionalism and warmth. It was a sad moment when we had to say goodbye.

The tour was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. The Nakasendo is fascinating and the post towns chosen for the tour were beautiful and interesting. The accommodations were terrific. The first night was quite rustic which... read more

Akko-San was an incredible guide - she literally anticipated our every need and was such a delightful, thoughtful person. She is truly perfection! We were all bowled over by her professionalism and warmth. It was a sad moment when we had to say goodbye.

The tour was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. The Nakasendo is fascinating and the post towns chosen for the tour were beautiful and interesting. The accommodations were terrific. The first night was quite rustic which really fit the trail and made the next two nights’ accommodation all that more special and luxurious. And the food! The breakfasts and dinners in all of the accommodations were excellent and over the top plentiful. The service at each of these places was gracious and friendly. The side trip to Matsumoto was such a highlight - it was a gorgeous fall day and the castle literally gleamed in the sunlight. The town of Narai is the prettiest and more delightful of the post towns.

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Aloha Leslie, we are very pleased to know the group had such an enjoyable time on your trip with us and Akko-San. Thank you for your kind words, we hope to welcome your group back to Japan on a future occasion! Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Vanessa

7 days japan experience with multi-day hike, Japan - Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2018

Traveler: Vanessa S. - Local specialist: Mirka Niemi

Our trip was mix of cosmopolitan Tokyo and tranquil, green Japanese countryside along the Kumano Kodo trail. Our itinerary started and ended in Tokyo, with its skyscrapers, nightlife, busy streets and great food. In between we took Shinkansen to the southern part of Japan, where time slowed down: Breathtakingly beautiful vistas, forests, rice and tea fields, traditional Japanese inns, fantastic food and relaxing natural hotspring spa’s. Most important: hospitable & very kind people. Truly an unforgettable trip.

Joost

7 days japan experience with multi-day hike, Japan - Oct 1 - Oct 7, 2018

Traveler: Joost S. - Local specialist: Mirka Niemi

Our 7-day trip in Japan was amazing. Thanks for Mirka for putting together a flawless trip. The contrasts between modern and ancient Japan made this an unforgettable trip. Too many highlights to easily summarize: Great hike along the Kumano Kodo trail, amazing food, fabulous onsens (hot springs), great Japanese hospitality and high energy Tokyo neighborhoods all made this trip.

Day 1: Evening arrival in Tokyo (Mitsui Garden Hotel), followed by a quick hunt for late night food that led us... read more

Our 7-day trip in Japan was amazing. Thanks for Mirka for putting together a flawless trip. The contrasts between modern and ancient Japan made this an unforgettable trip. Too many highlights to easily summarize: Great hike along the Kumano Kodo trail, amazing food, fabulous onsens (hot springs), great Japanese hospitality and high energy Tokyo neighborhoods all made this trip.

Day 1: Evening arrival in Tokyo (Mitsui Garden Hotel), followed by a quick hunt for late night food that led us to a cool little bar that served clams and beers. The trip plan in a handy small format, and other documents that we received were useful, and we ended up referring to the info throughout the trip.

Day 2: Very early morning departure by bullet train towards the Kii peninsula via Osaka, zipping by Mt Fuji. Great way to see Japan while enjoying a nice breakfast and reading up on the trip ahead. Arrived at the Kumano Kodo trailhead around 2pm after a bus ride from Kii Tanabe station. About 2 hours of hiking on steep trails to the first overnight, which was just off the main trail in the valley in the small town of Kurisugawa. We were the only guests in the Ryokan, and got very well taken care of by the old innkeeper.

Day 3: Great day of hiking through forests with occasional sweeping views of the valley. About 4 hours of hiking. Met about 20 other hikers (mainly from Canada and Australia, only 1 Japanese). Arrived in the pretty town of Chikatsuyu around 2pm, and visited the Oku Japan office there. Great to chat with Oku staff Noriko and Satoe about how interest in the Kumano Kodo is reviving the local economy. We stayed in Minshuku Chikatsuyu, which is run by a young innkeeper who cooks amazing food. Onsen was pretty good (but the best Onsen was yet to come the next day).

Day 4: Rainy day, so we decided to take the shortest hiking option. First section by bus, which seemed to make many loops before dropping us at the trail. Hiked through beautiful hills and villages while rain was on and off, and then arrived at Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the main shrines along the Kumano Kodo. We were early for the 2.30pm bus, but still ended up missing it, so we walked the final 4km along the road to Yunomine Onsen (which actually ended being a nice walk, glad we did it!). The small town of Yunomine was one of the highlights of our trip, with a river and hotspring that gets tapped to fuel the various Onsens. We stayed in Azumaya Ryokan, an old inn with lots of character and a great indoor / outdoor Onsen. Food served in our room was very good.

Day 5: After another great early morning Onsen session we took the 8.40am bus to Shingu. Visited the temple and strolled through town. Had a great lunch next to the station before boarding train to Nagoya. Great ocean views again from the train. Changed to the super fast Nozomi bullet train in Nagoya for final stretch to Tokyo. The Gate hotel in Asakusa was great. Amazing views from 13th floor lobby. Had dinner in nearby Shabu Shabu restaurant on 4th floor of a highrise.

Day 6: Early morning breakfast with great views on Tokyo Skytree, then off to Tokyo National Museum on foot. Really enjoyed strolling through Tokyo and see families on bicycles going about their life. At noon met with our friend Ryo at the Senso Ji Gate and started an epic exploration of Tokyo neighborhoods. Dinner at a hotpot restaurant with more friends and finally a late night drink in Hoppy Street near our hotel.

Day 7: Early morning shopping spree for presents for the kids, and then a cooking class with CookJPN. Great to see a Japanese apartment from the inside will cooking local dishes. After some final shopping off to the airport. Goodbye Japan, see you again very soon!!!

Japan family vacation posner anderson family, Japan - Aug 5 - Aug 18, 2018

Traveler: karen a. - Local specialist: Van Milton

Van was wonderful- very well versed in Japan, gave us good advice about what we could do realistically with 3 kids in tow! He was very helpful in getting us to scale back on some of the more expensive things we thought about doing (like some pricey restaurants) that really would not have been fun when we were jet lagged or for the kids in general.

All our guides were very informative and great with engaging our kids.

We loved all the destinations Van chose for us- we got just the right... read more

Van was wonderful- very well versed in Japan, gave us good advice about what we could do realistically with 3 kids in tow! He was very helpful in getting us to scale back on some of the more expensive things we thought about doing (like some pricey restaurants) that really would not have been fun when we were jet lagged or for the kids in general.

All our guides were very informative and great with engaging our kids.

We loved all the destinations Van chose for us- we got just the right mix of urban Tokyo fun and rural/seaside experience. All the accommodations were wonderful, we really felt like we traveled to a foreign country, not just staying in generic hotels. We did not rent a car and felt that the train and bus travel was all fairly easy.

The only event (and this was such a minor thing) we did not really enjoy was the Monster Cafe in Tokyo- our 13 and 15 year olds thought it was kind of silly, and our 9 year old was amused for a few mintues but then bored. The food was really average and overpriced. Would not rec this.

Japan, Japan - Aug 8 - Aug 23, 2018

Traveler: wilma b. - Local specialist: Adam Cobain

Adam chose very quiet, scenic routes which we loved. The accommodation he chose was also very good. We never would have found these incredibly peaceful roads on our own.

Soaking up some rural culture without breaking our necks!, Japan - Jul 27 - Aug 2, 2018

Traveler: Bill P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Fantastic trip and organisation ran like clockwork... the trains.. the buses...the timetable and so on. No corners were cut, as is often the case. Each ryokan visited over-delivered. This trip allowed us to get below the surface of Japan's big cities and let us experience the real Honshu. Simply fantastic.

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Bill, we are very pleased to hear that you had such a memorable time on your trip with us. Thank you for your kind words, we hope to welcome you back to Japan on a future adventure! Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

First time japan trip, Japan - Jul 2 - Jul 17, 2018

Traveler: Jessica C. - Local specialist: John McMillen

Our experience with kimkim was smooth and easy right from the start. We filled out some simple questions with regards to what we were looking for in our trip, our travel dates, budget, etc. and they hooked us up with a local specialist that worked with us to plan our trip down to the minute! All the accommodations were beautiful, convenient and exactly what we had asked for, and we were even able to stay in some traditional lodgings including a Buddhist temple which was super cool! The whole... read more

Our experience with kimkim was smooth and easy right from the start. We filled out some simple questions with regards to what we were looking for in our trip, our travel dates, budget, etc. and they hooked us up with a local specialist that worked with us to plan our trip down to the minute! All the accommodations were beautiful, convenient and exactly what we had asked for, and we were even able to stay in some traditional lodgings including a Buddhist temple which was super cool! The whole time, we felt like we were getting to see places and experience aspects of the culture we might not have if we were planning the trip ourselves. The most amazing part though was their crisis management- while we were there, Japan had a catastrophic amount of rain, with landslides and flooding of rivers and even loss of life, it was a real tragedy. We couldn't take some of the transportation that had been planned because of the flooding, so we called Inside Japan, our kimkim specialist, and they handled EVERYTHING- they switched all our accommodations, rerouting us to different places, telling us exactly how to get there and what to do so that we could bypass any areas that were inaccessible and still have a great trip! We didn't end up feeling like we missed out on anything, which was amazing. We can't wait to take our next trip! Thanks kimkim!

John McMillen, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you so much for your feedback! It certainly can be tough when the unexpected happens, and I'm so glad that you had a great time despite nature not cooperating. We look forward to the next go 'round and we'll keep our fingers crossed for clear skies!

Couple exploring japan for the first time!, Japan - May 9 - May 30, 2018

Traveler: Nicola C. - Local specialist: Kana Van Sandt

Fabulous accommodation selections and great planning of all transport requirements. We did self guided option which we loved as we had all the info we needed to navigate Japan but still felt like we were adventuring ourselves. The opposite of a “group tour” which is what we were trying to avoid.

Highly recommend inside Japan!!

Kenneth

Culinary ryokan and hot spring tour., Japan - May 15 - May 20, 2018

Traveler: Kenneth W. - Local specialist: Andy Carroll

The ryokans hotels were cheap 2-3 stars rating the most. Should not cost more than USD $200 for 2 for one night. Kim Kim charged us over USD$ 600 for 2 for one night. It was a rip off. We feel this is a lesson we learned and it will be our last dealing with your group, in the meantime we will warn other about your deceptive practice.
I you have any decency you should refund us for over charging us.
Ken and Katherine Wong

6 day walk, Japan - Feb 8 - Feb 18, 2018

Traveler: Andrew T. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

All in all a wonderful experience very well managed, thank you.
Day 1: the first climb was almost a deal breaker. The path was not clear and we should have been warned that is was incredibly demanding.
Takahara ryokan was good. Private facilities and food were probably the best of all on the walk. Excellent packed lunch. To be able to fit around the tire at night after a private onsen was great.
Day 2: good walk with no surprises although the cold was extreme
Chikatsuyu food was good and... read more

All in all a wonderful experience very well managed, thank you.
Day 1: the first climb was almost a deal breaker. The path was not clear and we should have been warned that is was incredibly demanding.
Takahara ryokan was good. Private facilities and food were probably the best of all on the walk. Excellent packed lunch. To be able to fit around the tire at night after a private onsen was great.
Day 2: good walk with no surprises although the cold was extreme
Chikatsuyu food was good and private onsen enjoyable. Lack of private facilities was inconvenient although with only two other guests not a big problem
Day 3: this was an incredible trek, we did the entire 24kms, with ice and snow a real challenge, last 3 hours in rain made the achievement even more admirable. Knowing we had shorter options was comforting. Suggest it should end at Hongu as we had no time to sightsee given the bus timetable. Yunomineso was ok but again Hongu probably a better overnight stay. Hotel pick up and taxi drop off, enabled a later start after the exhausting walk, for next day were very convenient,
Day 4: good walk and enabled a little recovery. Momofuku was quaint but lack of private facilities was a little problematic. Nice hosts but we were over the food, especially the breakfasts by this stage.
Day 5: great walk and wonderful views on the way and just superb as we approached Nachi san. We should have stayed in Nachi san again to see more of the sites.
Kii-Katsuura, my choice, was disappointing. By this stage should have chosen a western hotel. Should have stayed in Nachi san. Lovely town to stroll around behind the train to Osaka.
Overall far more challenging than I thought but an incredible experience and achievement.
Directions, train abc bus connections all first class.

Karuizawa extension: fair to say we, especially Paula, were over ryokans at this stage again I should have requested a western hotel closer to the ski fields. Nevertheless the two days were saved by lovely snow falls and the outlet shopping, Paula was in heaven. Do highlight this in the future, some real bargains.
Food at tsuyaya was good and the buffet breakfast good fir westerners. Service was excellent here. If only the library had an open fire!
Travel by train back to Tokyo was again excellent, Japanese railways are impressive.
So all in all a great trip
Thanks for your planning, availability on the phone the only time needed, and efficient responses in preparation.
Our next walk will hopefully be coast to coast hopefully a little less demanding and not as rushed as I retire in a few months

Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Andrew,

We are delighted to know you and Paula had an enjoyable trip in Japan (the walk to Nachi is perhaps one of my favourite walks in Japan). We greatly appreciate your feedback and have shared this information among our tour development team. We know that feedback from clients is the best way for us to improve our products and services.

We hope we may have the pleasure of welcoming you and Paula in Japan on another occasion in the future.

Kind regards,
Andy
Oku Japan

Japan trip | 2016, Japan - Nov 15 - Nov 24, 2016

Traveler: Sam D. - Local specialist: Kishiko Shimizu

We had a great trip! It made planning easier as we could focus more on what we wanted to see and less about what hotels to stay in. One of the hotels in particular, the ryokan in Kinugawa, was definitely not something we would have chosen ourselves and was a highlight of the trip.

One of things that could have been improved would have been a clearer picture of how the process worked. It wasn't clear when hotels would be booked, when final payment would be required, and expectations of what... read more

We had a great trip! It made planning easier as we could focus more on what we wanted to see and less about what hotels to stay in. One of the hotels in particular, the ryokan in Kinugawa, was definitely not something we would have chosen ourselves and was a highlight of the trip.

One of things that could have been improved would have been a clearer picture of how the process worked. It wasn't clear when hotels would be booked, when final payment would be required, and expectations of what I could ask for before/during the trip.

In addition to suggested places/attractions, it would also have been handy to have restaurant/food recommendations that are culturally unique.

Kishiko was very helpful and cordial throughout the planning process. Her travel plan was very thorough and certainly came in helpful. The extra mile she went to ensure our train tickets were sorted during the trip was really appreciated!

What could have been improved was more upfront communication throughout the planning process. It wasn't always clear where things were at and it was left up to me to periodically check in.

Kishiko Shimizu, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Samsan,
Thank you very much for your review.
Sorry for some unclear parts, but I am glad that you seemed to have good time in Japan.
Best regards,
Kishiko