Kimkim Trip Reviews for Japan

4.6
Based on 150 ratings
Read 150 verified reviews by travelers who booked their trip to Japan on kimkim. You can also read reviews about kimkim on 3rd party sites including Google, TrustPilot and Yelp.

Japan's Golden Highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka - 10 Days
Japan | May 5 - May 18, 2024

SHIVI
SHIVI S.
Mineola, NY | Reviewed on May 20, 2024

Excellent organization and help throughout my multi-city stopovers in Japan. Fei was in touch throughout my stay with daily updates. I will be in touch again soon for another memorable trip.

Local specialist: Fei He
Fei
Fei He
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 20, 2024

Thank you for your kindness and trust. You are my angel client, and all the best wishes to you. Keep in touch and take care ,see you next trip.

Experience the best of Japan
Japan | May 6 - May 16, 2024

Lorraine
Lorraine H.
Kuwait | Reviewed on May 19, 2024
The overall trip was great. The first three days in Tokyo were relatively unplanned, but Myaen offered wonderful suggestions for visiting sights. We enjoyed having the unscheduled time. Leo, our tour guide in Kyoto, was knowledgeable and friendly. Visiting Nara was one of the highlights of our tour. The bowing deer were adorable and the Toda-ji Temple was my favorite temple. I also thought the Golden Pavillion in Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest were trip highlights. The Iwatayama... Read more

The overall trip was great. The first three days in Tokyo were relatively unplanned, but Myaen offered wonderful suggestions for visiting sights. We enjoyed having the unscheduled time. Leo, our tour guide in Kyoto, was knowledgeable and friendly. Visiting Nara was one of the highlights of our tour. The bowing deer were adorable and the Toda-ji Temple was my favorite temple. I also thought the Golden Pavillion in Arashiyama and the Bamboo Forest were trip highlights. The Iwatayama Monkey Park was not my favorite experience, the trek up is rigorous for minimal interaction and is very crowded. Our favorite guide was Ako, who took us to Miyajima Island. She was a thoughtful, knowledgeable guide, even bringing tea and snacks up to the top of the mountain for us to enjoy the beautiful view.

We requested a minimum of four-star hotels, and they were, for the most part, very nice. The hotel in Hakone, Hakone Airu, is traditional and a beautiful facility. The food was amazing! In a traditional hotel room, we slept on mats and didn't have raised seating, which might be physically uncomfortable. The ensuite onsen was delightful. I wish we had more time in the town because it was truly charming.

My least favorite hotel was the Hotel Vishio, only because the hotel had no restaurant or bar. The shared baths were very nice, and the room was large and comfortable, but since we were out all day on tours, we could have used some on-site dining. It is conveniently located across from a shopping center with a large Don Quixote (worth checking out).

I highly recommend the JR pass. Taking the trains was incredibly easy, affordable, and comfortable. Be sure to have your passports to make seat reservations through the kiosk.

Having your passport for shopping is also necessary because many stores will not charge tax if you have your passport.

Hotel Reviews
Hotel GrandBach Tokyo Ginza
Tokyo

Like most rooms in Japan, it is small but comfortable. The bathroom is great, with a full bathtub. The staff here were super helpful and friendly. The breakfast menu is limited.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Close to subway lines
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hakone Airu
Hakone

The hotel facilities are beautiful, and the dinner and breakfast were amazing. However, it was very slow to check in and check out. We had limited time in Hakone, and a significant portion of the time was spent waiting for service support. This hotel has a lot of potential.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
It took a long time to check in and out
Cleanliness & Comfort
It's an authentic traditional hotel, which means sleeping on the floor and floor seating. Therefore, it may not be easy for anyone with physical needs.
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA

The hotel room was spacious for Japanese standards. It is new and modern. It doesn't have an on-site restaurant (except for breakfast—which was GREAT!) or bar. There are shared gender-specific bathing facilities. The staff is less helpful. For example, they couldn't help us with dinner reservations or suggestions.

Location
Near a shopping mall with plenty of food choices and a wonderful Don Quixote.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
THE KNOT HIROSHIMA
Hiroshima

This hotel has a beautiful rooftop bar with a great view—perhaps the best thing about the hotel. Breakfast is a set menu and wasn't really to my liking. The restaurant on the first floor is quite good but book ahead for reservations. Having the reception area on the 14th floor is a bit inconvenient, and only having access to toiletries on the first and 14th floors was a bit of a pain.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Within walking distance of the Peace Park.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Cordia Osaka Hommachi

The rooms were very small, and the beds were against the wall. However, the bathroom and shower are amazing. This was the only hotel with a coffee maker in the room. The bed was also the softest and most comfortable. Most hotel beds in Japan are pretty hard.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Close to the subway
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Myaen Verzosa
Myaen
Myaen Verzosa
Local specialist in Tokyo | Replied on May 20, 2024
Hi Lorraine,
Thank you so much for your detailed feedback and kind words!
I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed your trip overall and that my suggestions for Tokyo were helpful.
I’m glad Leo-san and Ako-san made a positive impact on your experience, especially with their knowledge and thoughtfulness. Your feedback on the Iwatayama Monkey Park and Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA is very much appreciated and will be taken into consideration for future recommendations.
Thank you again for...
Read more

Hi Lorraine,
Thank you so much for your detailed feedback and kind words!
I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed your trip overall and that my suggestions for Tokyo were helpful.
I’m glad Leo-san and Ako-san made a positive impact on your experience, especially with their knowledge and thoughtfulness. Your feedback on the Iwatayama Monkey Park and Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA is very much appreciated and will be taken into consideration for future recommendations.
Thank you again for sharing your experience, Lorraine. It was a pleasure assisting you with your trip, and I look forward to helping you with your future travels to Japan!
Many thanks again from me and the whole Japan Travel KK team!
Best regards,
Myaen

Overall a good overview of Japan’s highlights...
Japan | May 5 - May 12, 2024

A
Alex C.
Thailand | Reviewed on May 19, 2024
Overall a good overview of Japan’s highlights.Mie has been by far our most helpful and caring guide especially at time we had a health care issue with my mother.Overall the drivers delivered well ( accuracy and flexibility). Other guides were actually quite unhelpful, falling short on understanding our group’s needs, logistics and providing insights on the sites visited. Some logistics opportunities of improvement ( ex: pick-up planned far too early last morning we had to change, meeting... Read more

Overall a good overview of Japan’s highlights.Mie has been by far our most helpful and caring guide especially at time we had a health care issue with my mother.Overall the drivers delivered well ( accuracy and flexibility). Other guides were actually quite unhelpful, falling short on understanding our group’s needs, logistics and providing insights on the sites visited. Some logistics opportunities of improvement ( ex: pick-up planned far too early last morning we had to change, meeting point for food tour in Tokyo unclear causing 1/2 h delay).Some days could have been less packed allowing to better benefit from nice hotels and enjoy some experiences: Hakone’s busy day was leading to very early diner ( 5 pm) so postponing the onsen experience to a timing not relevant with the kids.Hope this will help.

Local specialist: Dan Gao
Dan
Dan Gao
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 21, 2024

Thank you for your suggests. Best wishes to your and your family.

A 10 day journey to Japan.
Japan | May 9 - May 18, 2024

A
Adrian C.
Martinsburg, WV | Reviewed on May 19, 2024

We had such a great time in Japan with the itinerary Simon sent our way. He always responded quickly to any concerns and had our backs with any questions we asked. He was a great agent to have during our one year anniversary. Would greatly recommend him to anyone who wants to get a great tour of Japan.

Local specialist: Simon Huang
Simon
Simon Huang
Local specialist in Ashburn | Replied on May 20, 2024

Hello Adrian,

Thank you so much for your kind words! I am thrilled to hear that you had a wonderful time in Japan and that the itinerary met your expectations. It was a pleasure assisting you with your anniversary trip, and I'm glad I could help make it special.

Your recommendation means a lot to me, and I truly appreciate your trust and support. If you ever plan another trip or need any travel assistance in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Wishing you both many more happy anniversaries and memorable journeys!

Best regards,
Simon

Amazing journey!!
Japan | Apr 28 - May 11, 2024

Jolija
Jolija R.
the Netherlands | Reviewed on May 17, 2024
Visiting Japan was a lifelong dream of ours. Since we’ve been together, we’ve talked about it, dreamt about it, and saved money for it. Finally, after 20 years, we decided to make it happen. Initially, we considered planning a self-guided trip, but after attempting to organize a two-week itinerary, we felt overwhelmed and decided to seek professional help. We found KimKim online after reading numerous positive reviews, and it turned out to be a fantastic decision. Our trip organizer, Fei,... Read more

Visiting Japan was a lifelong dream of ours. Since we’ve been together, we’ve talked about it, dreamt about it, and saved money for it. Finally, after 20 years, we decided to make it happen. Initially, we considered planning a self-guided trip, but after attempting to organize a two-week itinerary, we felt overwhelmed and decided to seek professional help. We found KimKim online after reading numerous positive reviews, and it turned out to be a fantastic decision.

Our trip organizer, Fei, was amazing. Her attention to our needs and her involvement made the trip easy and worry-free. Fei was always present and responded quickly to any questions we had. Thank you, Fei, for everything!

We also want to mention our great guides who gave us their undivided attention. First, Yumi in Tokyo: we greatly enjoyed our conversations about the Japanese language and its intricacies. Then came Yuki: thank you for your wonderful sense of humor and the thoughtful gifts! My book for temple stamps is now full. Even though Mount Fuji didn’t show her face, we had a fantastic time and shared many laughs.

To Son, who showed us around Kyoto and Osaka: thank you for the deep and interesting conversations about history and religion, and for taking us behind the temples! In Osaka, we cannot forget Tea. During the Foodie tour, he left us with smiles, full bellies from the incredible food, and great conversations about movies. We even enjoyed a drink together after the tour.

In Hiroshima, we had Masako, who provided a very detailed and informative day. Thank you!

Overall, it was an unforgettable journey. Thank you, everyone! We left with full hearts, full stomachs, and a wealth of new knowledge. KimKim was worth every cent.

Local specialist: Fei He
Fei
Fei He
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 21, 2024

Hi Jolija R.
Thank you for your trust and support in our work. I send my best wishes to you and your family and hope to see you on our next trip.
Best Regards
Fei

Fun Trip
Japan | May 12 - May 15, 2024

L
Lani A.
Hendersonville, NC | Reviewed on May 16, 2024
Angel was our local specialist who planned our 3 days in Kiso Valley in Japan. She was always very helpful, fast to respond and provided us lots of details to guide us through the trek. She arranged for Summer to transport us one day and we had a good time talking with her during the drive. We had a very positive experience working with KimKim on our trip. Read more

Angel was our local specialist who planned our 3 days in Kiso Valley in Japan. She was always very helpful, fast to respond and provided us lots of details to guide us through the trek. She arranged for Summer to transport us one day and we had a good time talking with her during the drive. We had a very positive experience working with KimKim on our trip.

Activity Review
Hike to Kiso-Hirasawa From Narai
Hike to Kiso-Hirasawa From Narai
Japan

This was more of a walk along roads, not a trek. It was not a long walk to the train station.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Angel Tang
Angel
Angel Tang
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 16, 2024

Dear Lani,

Warm greetings from Angel. Thank you so much for your kind words regarding your Japan tour with us.

It's great to hear that you had such positive interactions with Summer. It's always a pleasure when travel arrangements go smoothly and you get to connect with friendly locals along the way.

Wish you continued happiness and memorable adventures.

Best regards,
Angel

Overall a good overview of Japan’s highlight...
Japan | May 5 - May 12, 2024

Vincent
Vincent C.
France | Reviewed on May 13, 2024
Overall a great overview of Japan’s highlights giving insights for future more focused trips.Mie has been by far our most helpful and caring guide especially at time we had a health care issue with my wife.Overall the drivers delivered well ( accuracy and flexibility).Some logistics opportunities of improvement ( ex: pick-up planned far too early last morning we had to change, meeting point for food tour in Tokyo unclear causing 1/2 h delay).Some days could have been less packed allowing to... Read more

Overall a great overview of Japan’s highlights giving insights for future more focused trips.Mie has been by far our most helpful and caring guide especially at time we had a health care issue with my wife.Overall the drivers delivered well ( accuracy and flexibility).Some logistics opportunities of improvement ( ex: pick-up planned far too early last morning we had to change, meeting point for food tour in Tokyo unclear causing 1/2 h delay).Some days could have been less packed allowing to better benefit from nice hotels and enjoy some experiences: Hakone’s busy day was leading to very early diner ( 5 pm) so postponing the onsen experience to a timing not relevant with the kids.Hope this will help.Vincent

Local specialist: Dan Gao
Dan
Dan Gao
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 14, 2024

Dear Vincent,
Hope you are doing well and thanks a lot for your sharing your feedback with us. We truly appreciate your honesty and suggestions.

Where to start on our Mother & Daughter trip ...
Japan | Mar 30 - Apr 21, 2024

Sheryl
Sheryl M.
| Reviewed on May 11, 2024
Where to start on our Mother & Daughter trip to Japan... My daughter Rose and I were fortunate enough to spend just over 3 weeks travelling to Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Mount Koya, Okayama, Naoshima and Hiroshima.
I came across KimKim when looking for Japan travel itineraries while trying to plan this excursion myself. Apart from the fact I had left it very last minute in an extremely busy Cherry Blossom season we also had specific experiences and attractions we wished to...
Read more

Where to start on our Mother & Daughter trip to Japan...

My daughter Rose and I were fortunate enough to spend just over 3 weeks travelling to Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Mount Koya, Okayama, Naoshima and Hiroshima.
I came across KimKim when looking for Japan travel itineraries while trying to plan this excursion myself. Apart from the fact I had left it very last minute in an extremely busy Cherry Blossom season we also had specific experiences and attractions we wished to incorporate; I decided to give Kimkim a ring!!
The best decision I made as was put in touch with Sandy who put together an itinerary which included accomodation, travel and daily schedules, amazing.
Sandy took into account and included all our travel requests and more linking it all up in a comfortable travel package. I also liked the fact that even though this was a planned itinerary we also had a lot of free self-guided time, this made it more relaxing and gave us extra time where needed.
I cant thank or recommend Sandy enough as we would not have seen or had the experiences we did if we had of planned ourselves.

Hotel Reviews
ICI HOTEL Asakusabashi

Very handy, nice atmosphere, comfortable. Loved seeing the little dogs as was a dog hotel as well!!

Authenticity & Character
Loved the fact it was also a dog hotel, very cute.
Location
I was a 3 minute walk to the Asakusabashi train station which was the local line, handy.
Staff
Any queries were no problem.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Good beds, nice and clean.
Hotel Forza Kanazawa
Ishikawa

Good location, sunny area for brreakfast. Comfortable and reasonable size room.

Authenticity & Character
Nice modern hotel.
Location
Easy walk from train station and nice walk to attraction. Close to local market which was interesting.
Staff
Helpful Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Comfortable beds, reasonable size room, and very clean.
Minshuku Takenoya

Very basic accomodation. We were only the one night and out most of the time so it didn't matter so much.

Authenticity & Character
Relaxed place, very basic accomodation.
Location
Good location for walking around.
Staff
Only saw owner at the start when instruction was given, pretty relaxed.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Personally not a fan of the futon bed.
Hotel Granvia Okayama

Nice front desk staff, polite. Very comfortable, nice size room and bathroom a little larger which was nice. Good breakfast.

Authenticity & Character
Quite grand looking, marble etc. just nice atmosphere and staff.
Location
2 minute walk from train station, good mall next to hotel. We had lovely weather so walking to and from was pleasant.
Staff
Very helpful Staff, gave good information on travelling to Naoshima.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Room was very clean and comfortable, nice beds.
ASAI Kyoto Shijo

This hotel was pleasant, staff were really nice and restaurant good. Room was a little small and felt a bit strange as was in the basement level. I booked this one so no reflection on Kimkim!!

Authenticity & Character
Hotel was ok however felt a little closed in as rooms were located in a basement.
Location
Good location, we walked enjoyed walking most of the time and had no trouble find our way to and from.
Staff
Helpful, obliging staff.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Small room, felt cramped
Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel
Osaka

Hotel in need of a refurbish, especially carpet. Room smaller than usual and quite stuffy, beds and pillows not very comfortable. Breakfast was good and staff very helpful. Luggage service to Okayama was brilliant and much appreciated.

Authenticity & Character
Hotel just looked older, needed a refurbish.
Location
Good location
Staff
Front desk were very attentive and helpful.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel was clean however comfortable beds and pillows would have been a game changer
福智院(Koyasan Onsen Fukuchi-in)
Wakayama

The temple stay was as we expected; still, found the sleeping arrangement i.e.: futons pretty hard going and the food was interesting... However, this was part of the authentic experience!!

Authenticity & Character
This was a temple stay so yes a pretty authentic experience. Did think it was strange they had vending machines, especially ones selling alcohol.
Location
In the middle of town, Koyasan is very small so couldn't have been better. Nice and quiet even so.
Staff
Staff were all very helpful ensuring we were in for our dinner (which was always explained to us) and advising us on sleeping arrangements etc.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Definitely clean but not a great comfort level. This is not a complaint as it is what is expected!!
Hiroshima Tokyu REI Hotel
Hiroshima

Hotel is nothing special but all that is required. Rooms were comfortable and good size, breakfast a bit of a strange mixture of food types!

Authenticity & Character
Good size rooms, again a little bit tired.
Location
Was a little too far out from main train station and excursions.
Staff
No complaints, just didn't have much interaction.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Room was clean, just a bit stuffy.
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 13, 2024
Dear Sheryl, Hope you are doing fantastic and thank you very much for your considerate feedback about your tour to Japan with us. It sounds like you and Rose had an incredible adventure exploring Japan. From Tokyo to Hiroshima, your journey covered some truly remarkable destinations. It's great to hear that we were able to assist you in creating such a memorable itinerary, especially during the bustling Cherry Blossom season. I'm glad to hear that you appreciated the balance between... Read more

Dear Sheryl,

Hope you are doing fantastic and thank you very much for your considerate feedback about your tour to Japan with us.

It sounds like you and Rose had an incredible adventure exploring Japan. From Tokyo to Hiroshima, your journey covered some truly remarkable destinations. It's great to hear that we were able to assist you in creating such a memorable itinerary, especially during the bustling Cherry Blossom season.

I'm glad to hear that you appreciated the balance between planned activities and free time for self-guided exploration, allowing for a more relaxed experience. Your detailed hotel reviews provide valuable insights for future travelers, highlighting the strengths and areas for improvement of each accommodation.

Thank you again for sharing your journey, and I hope you and Rose have many more unforgettable adventures ahead.

Best regards,
Sandy

We went thru a lot of iterations. Sandy was ...
Japan | Apr 28 - May 3, 2024

W
William W.
East Honolulu, HI | Reviewed on May 04, 2024
We went thru a lot of iterations. Sandy was very flexible and invariably polite and responsive. Both guides were excellent. Mr. Tan went above and beyond to help me deal with the logistics of additional adventures in Japan. Read more

We went thru a lot of iterations. Sandy was very flexible and invariably polite and responsive.

Both guides were excellent. Mr. Tan went above and beyond to help me deal with the logistics of additional adventures in Japan.

Hotel Reviews
Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kanazawa-Eki Nishiguchi
Kanazawa

very nice but nothing really special. Rooms small for US but nice for Japan. Great bathroom. Good restaurant.

Authenticity & Character
standard westernized hotel. No complaint but nothing special
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
love the pajamas
Mitsui Garden Hotel Jingugaien Tokyo Premier
Tokyo

we were pleasantly surprised by how big the room was

Authenticity & Character
it's ok. Standard westernized hotel without much character but no problem
Location
Location is fine. Only thing better would be closer to Tokyo station. Not really possible to take subway with luggage. But no complaint. Tokyo is so huge that we can't really comment on location. Near a very nice park which we enjoyed.
Staff
very helpful with some addtional requests
Cleanliness & Comfort
everything
Activity Reviews
Full Day Kenrokuen, Kanazawa Castle  Tour
Full Day Kenrokuen, Kanazawa Castle Tour
Kanazawa

Really nice to walk around with Summer

Full Day Mt. Fuji with Lake Kawaguchiko Cruise and   Oshino Hakkai
Full Day Mt. Fuji with Lake Kawaguchiko Cruise and Oshino Hakkai
Tokyo

We loved being in the nice private car. Definitely an upgrade from a bus. The driver really knew the area and took us to a great small local restaurant

Guides, Drivers and Staff
so nice
Transport
big comfy private car
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
Tokyo

Mr. Tan was super nice and knowledgeable. He changed the experience since we'd already been to the imperial gardens

Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on May 06, 2024
Dear William, Warm greetings from Sandy. Thank you immensely for sharing your positive and comprehensive feedback regarding your recent trip to Japan with us. It sounds like you had quite an adventure. It's fantastic to hear that Mr. Tan and the driver on Full Day Mt. Fuji were so accommodating and helpful throughout your journey. Your insights and comments about the various hotels are invaluable to us and will greatly assist in enhancing our future arrangements.It is my great honor and... Read more

Dear William,

Warm greetings from Sandy. Thank you immensely for sharing your positive and comprehensive feedback regarding your recent trip to Japan with us.

It sounds like you had quite an adventure. It's fantastic to hear that Mr. Tan and the driver on Full Day Mt. Fuji were so accommodating and helpful throughout your journey.

Your insights and comments about the various hotels are invaluable to us and will greatly assist in enhancing our future arrangements.It is my great honor and pleasure to assist you during your trip and welcome you back to Japan in the future.

Best regards,
Sandy

Kanazawa, Nagoya, Takayama, Japan tour
Japan | Apr 13 - Apr 22, 2024

R
Richard S.
Canada | Reviewed on Apr 24, 2024
We contracted KimKim when other tour operators in Japan advised that they were fully booked during the popular Cherry Blossom season. KimKim outsourced our Japan trip to Asia Highlights. We provided Asia Highlights with some suggested destinations in Japan that we would like to visit outside of the major tourist cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and they developed a varied, well-paced 8 day itinerary that met our interests and budget. Heidi, our tour planner, was understanding of our needs... Read more

We contracted KimKim when other tour operators in Japan advised that they were fully booked during the popular Cherry Blossom season. KimKim outsourced our Japan trip to Asia Highlights. We provided Asia Highlights with some suggested destinations in Japan that we would like to visit outside of the major tourist cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and they developed a varied, well-paced 8 day itinerary that met our interests and budget. Heidi, our tour planner, was understanding of our needs and very responsive to any questions that we had along the way. She connected us with our guide Nina and drivers (principally, Lyo) who were attentive, prompt and kind. Nina and Lyo went out of their way to show us the highlights of each of the attractions and destinations we visited. They quickly recognized our interests and would not rush us when we wanted to take extra time. Outside of our tour schedule, Nina helped us make dinner reservations and placed some meal orders for us when we encountered language challenges. Overall we had a wonderful time and highly recommend the services of KimKim and their subcontract Asia Highlights.

Activity Reviews
Full day Nagoya Tour by Private Vehicle
Full day Nagoya Tour by Private Vehicle
Nagoya

The Nagoya Castle grounds and Tokugawa Garden were very nice and the Nabano no Sato Illumination was an unexpected bonus to end our day.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full day Nagoya Tour by Public transfer with guide: Inuyama Castle, Meiji Mura, Inuyama Karakuri Museum
Full day Nagoya Tour by Public transfer with guide: Inuyama Castle, Meiji Mura, Inuyama Karakuri Museum
Nagoya

The day was special because we had the opportunity to tour Inuyama Castle, one of Japan's few remaining original castle structures. We also enjoyed the demonstration of dolls and puppets in the Inuyama Castle Historical Museum annex, Karakuri Exhibition Room. Truly an unique Japanese experience.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Kanazawa Traditional Crafts Experience by Private Car(Gold Leaf, Kimono Cloth Dyeing) :
Half Day Kanazawa Traditional Crafts Experience by Private Car(Gold Leaf, Kimono Cloth Dyeing) :
Kanazawa

This day involved two craft projects - chop stick gold leaf design and kimono cloth painting recommended by Asia Highlights that were outside our normal vacation day activities. We enjoyed the creative challenge and appreciated the guidance of the shop staff and the support from our guide Nina. These activities also generated souvenirs that well serve as great memories of our time in Kanazawa.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
🚗Unforgettable Day in Kanazawa: Kenroku-en Garden, Kagayuzen Kaikan, Nagamachi Samurai District, Higashi Chaya District, Shima Teahouse (Private Vehicle+Private Guide)
🚗Unforgettable Day in Kanazawa: Kenroku-en Garden, Kagayuzen Kaikan, Nagamachi Samurai District, Higashi Chaya District, Shima Teahouse (Private Vehicle+Private Guide)
Kanazawa

We suggested Kanazawa as a city to Asia Highlights that we would like to visit and it more than exceeded our expectations. It is a beautiful city and after having experienced the crowds in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, a welcome change. Kanazawa Castle and the neighbouring Kenrokuen Garden are must sees when travelling to Japan.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Takayama & Shirakawago Tour by Private Car(Miyagawa Market, Takayama Jinya, Shirakawa-go region )
Full Day Takayama & Shirakawago Tour by Private Car(Miyagawa Market, Takayama Jinya, Shirakawa-go region )
Takayama

The market streets of Takayama were historic and interesting and we did a lot of shopping, causing us to be a little delayed in reaching Shirakawago. Shirakawago is beautifully situated and it gave us a glimpse of Japanese country life from centuries ago. Our guide Nina and driver Lyo recognized that we were enjoying ourselves, were very patient and put in extra time.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Heidi Li
Heidi
Heidi Li
Local specialist in Aberdeen | Replied on Apr 24, 2024
Dear Richard and Mary, I am delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time visiting Kanazawa, Takayama, and Nagoya. Your positive feedback means a lot to us, and we truly appreciate you sharing your experience with us.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Your kind words are a great source of encouragement for us, and we are thrilled to know that you enjoyed your trip.
Should you decide to visit our region again in the future, please do not hesitate to reach out. We look forward...
Read more

Dear Richard and Mary,

I am delighted to hear that you had a wonderful time visiting Kanazawa, Takayama, and Nagoya. Your positive feedback means a lot to us, and we truly appreciate you sharing your experience with us.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. Your kind words are a great source of encouragement for us, and we are thrilled to know that you enjoyed your trip.
Should you decide to visit our region again in the future, please do not hesitate to reach out. We look forward to welcoming you back for another fantastic experience.
Once again, thank you for your feedback and for choosing to explore Japan with us. Wish you a wonderful day!

Best,
Heidi :)

Trekking the Nakasendo Trail with Stops in Kyoto and Tokyo
Japan | Apr 6 - Apr 14, 2024

Weston
Weston L.
AZ | Reviewed on Apr 23, 2024
Angel was super responsive both before and during the trip. She helped us curate the experience we wanted by combining aspects of a couple different trips. The price was worth it and by changing up some hotel accommodations, she was able to get us in the price range that we wanted. During the trip, Angel checked in daily with us to give us information regarding the next day and to make sure everything was going smoothly. This is our third trip with Kimkim and we have enjoyed every single... Read more

Angel was super responsive both before and during the trip. She helped us curate the experience we wanted by combining aspects of a couple different trips. The price was worth it and by changing up some hotel accommodations, she was able to get us in the price range that we wanted. During the trip, Angel checked in daily with us to give us information regarding the next day and to make sure everything was going smoothly. This is our third trip with Kimkim and we have enjoyed every single one, we will definitely continue using their service.

Hotel Reviews
Hotel Fukinomori

Easily the best hotel we stayed at on our trip. The shuttle to get to and from was easy and arrived/departed as expected. The onsen was incredible and the meals (both dinner and breakfast) were personalized, adventurous and delicious.

Authenticity & Character
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
APA Hotel Ningyocho Ekihigashi
Tokyo

Hotel was clean with friendly front desk staff. Rooms were incredibly small but well kept. Location was not ideal but with a close stop to the subway, we were able to get anywhere we wanted to go. Hotel was unable to store our bags for a couple days despite us staying at the same location on our way out of town which made us have to pay for luggage storage elsewhere.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Angel Tang
Angel
Angel Tang
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 24, 2024
Dear Weston, Hope you are doing fantastic.It's wonderful to hear about your positive experience with us.It is my great pleasure to play a part of tailoring your trip to your preferences and ensuring everything went smoothly.It's also great to hear that you found the price worth it and that my adjustments helped to meet your budget. Your feedback on the hotels is greatly appreciated. It's fantastic that Hotel Fukinomori exceeded your expectations with its convenient shuttle service,... Read more

Dear Weston,

Hope you are doing fantastic.It's wonderful to hear about your positive experience with us.It is my great pleasure to play a part of tailoring your trip to your preferences and ensuring everything went smoothly.It's also great to hear that you found the price worth it and that my adjustments helped to meet your budget. Your feedback on the hotels is greatly appreciated. It's fantastic that Hotel Fukinomori exceeded your expectations with its convenient shuttle service, incredible onsen, and personalized meals. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with luggage storage at APA Hotel Ningyocho Ekihigashi. Some hotels offer complimentary luggage storage, while others may not provide this service. We'll take note of this when arranging accommodations for our travelers in the future.

Thank you for your continued trust in Kimkim for your travel needs. We look forward to assisting you with your future adventures.

Wishing you all the best.

Warm regards,
Angel

First Solo trip to Japan
Japan | Apr 16 - Apr 22, 2024

Laura
Laura C.
Canada | Reviewed on Apr 23, 2024
Fei helped me curate the solo trip to Japan of my dreams. It was like she could read my mind! I saw so much in a short amount of time including Kyoto tea ceremony, sake tasting, temples and shrines and riding the Shinkansen. She replied quickly to me during the trip and while planning despite being on the opposite side of the world. I felt safe and well cared for the whole time. I have no regrets and am so grateful to Fei and the Kimkim team. Read more

Fei helped me curate the solo trip to Japan of my dreams. It was like she could read my mind! I saw so much in a short amount of time including Kyoto tea ceremony, sake tasting, temples and shrines and riding the Shinkansen. She replied quickly to me during the trip and while planning despite being on the opposite side of the world. I felt safe and well cared for the whole time. I have no regrets and am so grateful to Fei and the Kimkim team.

Hotel Reviews
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kyoto-Kiyomizu Gojo
kyoto
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Helped me when I forgot my key card or mixed up breakfast tickets.
Cleanliness & Comfort
So clean and comfy
Sotetsu Fresa inn Yodoyabashi
Authenticity & Character
Had everything you need, nothing in excess
Location
Close enough to Dotonbori but also the calm river
Staff
Made checkin easy and greeted me for breakfast.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Bed was comfy, bathrooms were clean and he window let in fresh air
Activity Reviews
Kyoto Night Foodie Tour
Kyoto Night Foodie Tour
Kyoto

Amazing group and guide. Food was unreal

Quality of Experience
Food was beyond what I would have tasted by myself
Food
Authentic traditional dishes. Simple and delicious
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guide was helpful, funny and patient
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Kyoto

I saw so much!

Quality of Experience
I felt so special and the tour was really custom to me
Guides, Drivers and Staff
My guide Ho was the most experienced, patient and I learned a lot. Had much fun .
Transport
Thanks to a driver we saw so much in little time with no stress from bussing. The van was cool and comfy.
Half Day Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour (Join-in)
Half Day Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour (Join-in)
Kyoto

Saw much more than bamboo forest. Better than expected.

Quality of Experience
Custom tour since I was the only one booked that day
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Hiroko was a very enthusiastic and experienced guide
Transport
Easy to find meeting point.
 Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Kyoto

Was on my own. Was hard to get pictures. Staff helped sometimes.

Quality of Experience
Authentic tea ceremony
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Very experienced, patient and took it seriously.
Sake Tasting + Brewery Tour (Join-in)
Sake Tasting + Brewery Tour (Join-in)
Kyoto

Nobu was the greatest tour guide. It was solo because only me.

Quality of Experience
The other tourists were jealous that I was getting better information. He was so interesting and cool. Sake was delicious.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Nobu was very patient, took pictures and was very interesting. Joined in tasting sake with me
Learn the Secrets Behind Sushi in a Cooking Class
Learn the Secrets Behind Sushi in a Cooking Class
Osaka

Learned that I loved making sushi and are very good at it. Will take these lesson home. Exceeding my expectations.

Quality of Experience
Beat quality ingredients and teachers for all ages
Guides, Drivers and Staff
They spoke enough English and loved sushi making
Local specialist: Fei He
Fei
Fei He
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 26, 2024

I feel incredibly fortunate to have you as such an angelic guest. Sending all the best wishes your way. Let's meet again for our next trip.

Where do I start regarding our trip to Japan??
Japan | Apr 6 - Apr 18, 2024

Reynaldo
Reynaldo M.
Baltimore, MD | Reviewed on Apr 22, 2024
Where do I start regarding our trip to Japan. Firstly it was so far a trip of a lifetime!!! From the moment we landed to the sad moment we left my son and i could not have had a more memorable experience.. Sandy our local specialist did a great job hitting the high points of each of the 4 cities that we visited. Every reservation went off without a hitch including our tickets on the Shinkansen bullet train and our Universal and Ghibli Museum tickets. The hotels picked were conveniently... Read more

Where do I start regarding our trip to Japan. Firstly it was so far a trip of a lifetime!!! From the moment we landed to the sad moment we left my son and i could not have had a more memorable experience..

Sandy our local specialist did a great job hitting the high points of each of the 4 cities that we visited. Every reservation went off without a hitch including our tickets on the Shinkansen bullet train and our Universal and Ghibli Museum tickets. The hotels picked were conveniently centrally located allowing us to get around easily either walking or using the excellent subway system.

Each of our tourguides were excellent and really made our trip very informative and helped so much given the language barrier we experienced. Satomi was helpful a helped me purchase kitchen knife from a knife shop in Dotonbori. She had lived a while in the US and knew what we were all about. She balanced touring with shopping and was flexible regarding our schedule. Naoko was a wealth of knowledge in Kyoto and went above and beyond in trying to explain the dense history of the various temples and shrines we visited. Kyoto was one of our favorite cities. The other one being Tokyo. Kyoji was our guide for beautiful Mt. Fuji and even took us to a special local Ramen shop where we were treated to a wonderful customary meal. Keiichi, our guide in Tokyo took us to a Sumo practice session which was a treat to be a part of. Having lived quite a while in Tokyo he was very familiar with the different Tokyo districts and provided us with local knowledge of the areas. Finally, Yuki was both our driver and guide during our trip outside of Tokyo to Nikko and really showed us the beauty and splendor of rural Japan. Everyone was so kind and obliging. It made our trip so much more informative and special.

We especially enjoyed Mt. Fuji and couldn't get over the grandeur and beauty of the site. Kyoto had its own special vibe which was really to our liking. Finally Tokyo was a wonderland!!! The subway system was so easy to use that we had not problem getting wherever we need to go. And did I mention the food! We did not have a bad meal. We tried to try it all and were not disappointed.

This is my second trip planned with KimKim . The first was to Portugal and was a private tour with my wife. This was a trip with my son and although I didn't think it was a private tour it might as well have been. The attention to detail was on point and it was comforting knowing that any problems were only a phonecall or text away to solve. I will definitely be using KimKim again for future trips.

Activity Review
World Heritage Himeji Castle & Kobe Tour
World Heritage Himeji Castle & Kobe Tour
Osaka

Being on of the few original Castles not devasted by war or fire this was a wonderful site to see. You got to see all floors all the way up to the shrine at the very top. The castle itself was beautiful but the grounds were even more beautiful.

Quality of Experience
One of first sites we saw.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 26, 2024
Dear Reynaldo, Hope you are doing fantastic and thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful experience with us. It's so pleased to hear that it was a trip of a lifetime for you and your son. It's very pleasant to hear about your experiences with the tour guides in each city. Satomi, Naoko, Kyoji, Keiichi, and Yuki all seem to have contributed immensely to making your trip informative and enjoyable. From exploring the dense history of Kyoto to experiencing the grandeur of Mt. Fuji and the... Read more

Dear Reynaldo,

Hope you are doing fantastic and thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful experience with us. It's so pleased to hear that it was a trip of a lifetime for you and your son.

It's very pleasant to hear about your experiences with the tour guides in each city. Satomi, Naoko, Kyoji, Keiichi, and Yuki all seem to have contributed immensely to making your trip informative and enjoyable. From exploring the dense history of Kyoto to experiencing the grandeur of Mt. Fuji and the vibrant atmosphere of Tokyo, it sounds like you had a diverse and enriching experience.

Japanese cuisine delights the senses with its vibrant array of colors and flavors, making it an irresistible highlight of any culinary journey.It's so happy to hear that you were not disappointed with any of your culinary experiences.

It's fantastic that your experience with KimKim has been consistently excellent, whether it was your trip to Portugal or your recent adventure in Japan. And there are many more unforgettable adventures in the future, welcome you to be with KimKim once again.

Wish you and your family all the best.

Warm regards,
Sandy

Japa
Japan | Apr 2 - Apr 16, 2024

J
Jay B.
San Jose, CA | Reviewed on Apr 21, 2024
Under ordinary circumstances, I would have given the tour four stars, but as Robert Belafksy reported to you the day spent with Michi, driving two and a half hours each way to see the Edo village (not very interesting; boring in fact) was an absolute waste of time. Michi, as a guide was lack luster at best. The unfortunate thing was that there were so many other things we could have seen in Tokyo, for example the Tsukiji Market, that it was a shame we lost the day.
The hotels you booked us...
Read more

Under ordinary circumstances, I would have given the tour four stars, but as Robert Belafksy reported to you the day spent with Michi, driving two and a half hours each way to see the Edo village (not very interesting; boring in fact) was an absolute waste of time. Michi, as a guide was lack luster at best. The unfortunate thing was that there were so many other things we could have seen in Tokyo, for example the Tsukiji Market, that it was a shame we lost the day.
The hotels you booked us in were fine, though personally having been in the Ginza I would have preferred that upscale atmosphere.
Notwithstanding the one day mishap, I believe that the trip was a good value for the money

Local specialist: Angel Tang
Angel
Angel Tang
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 24, 2024
Dear Jay, Hope you are doing well and thanks a lot for your sharing your feedback with us. We truly appreciate your honesty and we regret that this particular excursion to the Edo village did not meet your expectations. Your comments regarding the alternative sights in Tokyo, such as the Tsukiji Market, are duly noted, and we will take them into consideration for future trips.
We're glad to hear that overall, you found the hotels satisfactory and still believe the trip offered good value...
Read more

Dear Jay,

Hope you are doing well and thanks a lot for your sharing your feedback with us. We truly appreciate your honesty and we regret that this particular excursion to the Edo village did not meet your expectations. Your comments regarding the alternative sights in Tokyo, such as the Tsukiji Market, are duly noted, and we will take them into consideration for future trips.
We're glad to hear that overall, you found the hotels satisfactory and still believe the trip offered good value for the money. We strive to continuously improve our services, and your input helps us do that. Thank you for choosing us, and we hope to have the opportunity to assist your next adventure in the future.

Wish you and your family all the best.

Warm regards,
Angel

Our Japan travel experience
Japan | Apr 2 - Apr 16, 2024

Robert
Robert B.
Haverhill, MA | Reviewed on Apr 18, 2024
Overall we had a wonderful experience visiting Japan. We were 4 senior adults, one with a bad knee problem. We notified Angel well before our arrival and except for one guide our expectations were either met or exceeded. Before the second day of our Tokyo visit I notified both Angel and our guide for the day, Michi, that we had been informed that wheelchair access to the Nikko Toshugo Shrine was not available. Both Angel and Michi had ample time to modify our schedule. However, we ended up... Read more

Overall we had a wonderful experience visiting Japan. We were 4 senior adults, one with a bad knee problem. We notified Angel well before our arrival and except for one guide our expectations were either met or exceeded. Before the second day of our Tokyo visit I notified both Angel and our guide for the day, Michi, that we had been informed that wheelchair access to the Nikko Toshugo Shrine was not available. Both Angel and Michi had ample time to modify our schedule. However, we ended up that day spending over5 hours in our vehicle while visiting a lake and tourist trap for which we paid an additional entrance fee of $40 per person. We were not given any options for that day either by Angel or our appointed guide, Michi, who did not offer us any potentially more enjoyable alternatives.
We found that during our trip planning, that Angel needed to be prodded into appropriate responses to our questions and concerns thus creating some overall doubt in her abilities to create the seamless, quality experience on the ground that we had been used to with Kimkim. Our doubts were justified through the experience described above.
Otherwise our KimKim experience met our expectations and we immensely enjoyed our travel in Japan. Our guides and drivers were professional and enjoyable. The transportation schedule was well planned and booked properly.
We will certainly consider KimKim again when planning travel.

Hotel Reviews
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
Tokyo

A bit touristy for our taste but otherwise a decent spot to stay n Tokyo. Great hotel staff. We used concierge services to book restaurant reservations and were very pleased.

Authenticity & Character
Perhaps a hotel that catered lees to large tour groups would have been more to our liking.
Location
The Shibuya location was a good spot from which to experience Tokyo.
Staff
All staff and concierge services were great.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hakone Kowakien TEN-YU
Hakone

Hakone Kowakien Ten-Yu is a quality Japanese Ryokan experience. The Tenyu dinner included in our stay was an excellent dining experience.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Kyoto

Great location at the Kyoto Station complex

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
All staff professional and courteous. We used concierge services for dinner reservations and all were very acceptable and met our requests,
Cleanliness & Comfort
Best hotel bathroom during our visit to Japan.
The Westin Osaka
Osaka

Located in a relatively quiet neighborhood of busy Osaka.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Quiet neighborhood with walking access to good restaurants.
Staff
We again utilized the concierge for dinner reservations and were very satisfied.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi Tour
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi Tour
Hakone
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Osaka
Kobe Sake brewery Visiting and Kobe Beef Sampling
Kobe Sake brewery Visiting and Kobe Beef Sampling
Osaka

Fair sake tasting experience at a touristy factory museum. Something more personal and better researched would have improved the day.

Quality of Experience
More personal sake tasting experience. This was dissappoionting.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Great driver as per usual.
One Day Miyajima Island and Hiroshima Tour (Round Trip From Osaka)
One Day Miyajima Island and Hiroshima Tour (Round Trip From Osaka)
Japan

A great day on our tour. Yuji Abosji was a great guide.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with Meiji Jingu Shrine
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo

Yuki was a very enjoyable guide and a good introduction to tour Japan travel experience.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Kyoto
Full Day Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Kegon Falls & Lake Chuzenji Tour
Full Day Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Kegon Falls & Lake Chuzenji Tour
Tokyo

Already shared in previous review. No options to this handicap inaccessible location.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Driver excellent. Guide poor.
Transport
Full Day Tour to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Full Day Tour to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Kyoto
Local specialist: Angel Tang
Angel
Angel Tang
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 19, 2024
Dear Robert, Greetings from Heidi, the customer care manager. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughtful feedback. We're glad to hear that overall you had a wonderful experience visiting Japan. It is our great pleasure to play a part in customizing your Japan tour to your preferences. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused during your visit to Nikko Toshugo Shrine and for the lack of alternative options. We understand the importance of seamless and quality experiences for... Read more

Dear Robert,

Greetings from Heidi, the customer care manager.

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughtful feedback. We're glad to hear that overall you had a wonderful experience visiting Japan. It is our great pleasure to play a part in customizing your Japan tour to your preferences.

We deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused during your visit to Nikko Toshugo Shrine and for the lack of alternative options.

We understand the importance of seamless and quality experiences for our travelers. It is a pity to know that the performance of Angel didn't meet your expectation during your trip planning. Please allow us some time to review the whole process and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

We are very pleased to know that our KimKim experience met your expectations and you immensely enjoyed your travel in Japan.

Thanks again for your feedback. We appreciate it a lot and look forward to welcoming you come back to Japan again.

Best regards,
Heidi

Never enough time to experience it all
Japan | Apr 5 - Apr 15, 2024

Paige
Paige L.
San Jose, CA | Reviewed on Apr 17, 2024
Thanks to Kate for assisting in the coordination of the trip. Overall you were very responsive during the planning and reached out several times during the trip to check in. My only wish is that the daily itineraries were really evaluated and questioned from a time and location perspective, especially in Kyoto, as there was no way to actually achieve the intended itinerary in the time allocated. Tokyo with Allan-san was fantastic!, our favorite of the trip -- he really set a high bar which... Read more

Thanks to Kate for assisting in the coordination of the trip. Overall you were very responsive during the planning and reached out several times during the trip to check in. My only wish is that the daily itineraries were really evaluated and questioned from a time and location perspective, especially in Kyoto, as there was no way to actually achieve the intended itinerary in the time allocated.

Tokyo with Allan-san was fantastic!, our favorite of the trip -- he really set a high bar which was unfortunate for our future guides. He took us on a walking/subway city tour of the city one day and then again for a van-trip to Hakone. Both days were seamless. He was super knowledgeable, friendly, patient, and helpful. We modified the day based on what made the most sense rather than the pre-determined itinerary. We started in Asakusa, then took my teenage son to some gaming centers, and ended with Meiji Jingu. Then the next day we headed to Hakone with our driver Ho and enjoyed Hokone Jinja, the pirate ship (fun, but shorter than I would have liked), the tram and black eggs (they taste like totally normal hard boils) from the sulfer springs, Oshino for lunch and back to Tokyo. It was a long day, but gorgeous with all the sakura blooming (only caught one quick glimpse of Fuji). Before we left Tokyo, Allan went to great length to organize all the rest of our shinkasen tickets and explain how to properly navigate with multiple tickets. We can't thank him enough for that as when we got to the first station and made a small mistake, his explanations made sense and we were grateful as can be. Also loved our hotel in Tokyo.

Our time in Takayama wasn't as successful. First, ALL 7 of the restaurants in the hotel were fully booked before we even arrived, so we were required to venture out for dinner after arrival. Takayama is a bit sleepy and finding something open was a bit of a challenge. We walked to multiple places before finding someplace open on both nights there. Our guide was a sweet young lady, but came all the way from Osaka and had only been to Takayama once before and her English was weak. She had to use her phone to find her way around (we could have done the same on our own), and didn't really have anything to offer in the way of history, insights, or recommendations for our day in Takayama and Shirakawago. This was disappointing as I think Takayama was a really interesting and quaint town that we didn't really get a good feeling for. The highlight of Takayama was definitely the onsen at our hotel, my husband and I really enjoyed going each day. We also stayed in a Japanese-style room and although grateful for the experience, we would all probably not choose to do it again as we missed having comfy beds or chairs to lounge on before heading to dinner.

On to Kyoto, which is my favorite city in Japan and I was looking forward to the most. Unfortunately, there was some kind of confusion regarding our guide. We were told our guide would be a gentleman, but then changed to a woman the night before -- and then, the morning of the meeting, we discovered that the guide was at the wrong hotel about 30 minutes away from where we were. I think perhaps the two guides were exchanged by accident (maybe another group had the same happen?). It took about 45 min for us to adjust and meet somewhere in between. Our guide, was a lovely young lady full of energy and smiles, but again from Osaka. She knew Kyoto alright, but still not the level of expectation for a private guide fee and we often would listen in to tour group guides to get more details during our day. Additionally, there was no way that we could have gone to all the places on the initial itinerary as they are too far apart. (I wish this had been pointed out during the planning). Getting to the Kinkakuji Temple, Nishiki Market and then Fushimi Inari Shrine would have spent several hours in transit as they're quite far from one another. So unfortunately we only got to the Market and also Kiyomizu-dera Temple with the time we had. Guess I'll have to come back to Kyoto another time. (poor me - lol)

Our van-trip from Kyoto to Osaka included Slash as our guide -- and he was great! We had a lot of fun talking about music and guitars on our drive and then had lots of interacgtios with the deer and the amazing Todaiji Temple (just WOW) and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Kudos to Slash for hanging with us as our family was starting to get on each other's nerves a bit after 9 days. He handled it with class and realized when to let us have a bit of space for our bickering. Luckily ice cream solves lots of problems. Slash renewed our faith in guides again and we're grateful for his energy and rocknroll spirit. The hotel was very comfortable, also with an onsen and an incredible massage chair (best 300 Yen spent on the trip). However, there was no restaurant for dinner (only breakfast) I think in the future I'd stay closer to Gion/Pontocho so we'd be a bit more central to the night life and key destinations.

Our last days were on our own in Osaka. This was the least favorite hotel of our trip -- small rooms, and lots of late night noise from the Dotonbori. We definitely had fun exploring the Dotonbori at night, but would be willing to travel a bit for a quieter space.

Overall, we appreciated all the coordination of the hotels, planning, guides, and drivers that KimKim provided. Except for the one confusion in Kyoto -- all guides/drivers communicated well about timing, meeting places, and were on time each day.

This trip cost over $1000/day BEFORE our lunch & dinner meals & non-KimKim activities -- which is high, even for Japan. We didn't stay at luxury hotels -- I can see that our hotel rooms could be booked online directly for between $250 to $550/night, and I can also see the shinkansen fees on the internet, and most of the entry fees to places were fairly minimal, seems like the majority of this cost was towards our guides/drivers, so I would expect those to be top notch/excellent in every regard. Allan definitely met the bar and Slash was close, but the other two, although nice and genuine people, just didn't meet the bill. This is the area where I felt most let down as we rely on guides to provide more than we can do ourselves as seasoned travelers. That means providing history, insights, and secrets hidden among the tourists, restaurant suggestions, recommendations for other experiences for our "own" time, well-thought-out plans for the day, etc. We'll probably give KimKim another chance in the future, but my expectations will be stricter in the planning phase regarding guides and what we want to achieve each day.

Hotel Reviews
Hida Takayama Onsen Takayama Green Hotel
Takayama

The onsen was wonderful, but part of our stay. The Japanese style room is difficult to judge as this is our only experience. The futon beds were comfortable and the bed setting service was done well. The breakfast was excellent! Unfortunately we were unable to dine at any of the restaurants for dinner as they were all fully booked before we arrived.

Authenticity & Character
Not charming, just normal in all ways. Nice gift shop that had a ton of great Japanese crafts and food.
Location
A bit far from the more traditional parts of town. Made for walking a lot for dinner each night or getting a short cab ride.
Staff
Helpful
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Onsen and breakfast were the best part of this stay. I would come again just for the onsen.
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA

Comfortable room. Good breakfast buffet. No other restaurant on site.

Authenticity & Character
Appreciated the onsite onsen as that brings Japanese culture easily to life
Location
Appreciate being right by the main train station, but realized that many of the key attractions are too far to walk, so constantly on subway or bus.
Staff
Friendly and helpful
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cross Hotel Osaka
Osaka

Too noisy at night from partiers at Dotonburi. Rooms small.

Authenticity & Character
A bit dark inside. Color scheme of red/black isn't appealing to me.
Location
Too noisy due to construction and Dotonburi closeness.
Staff
The staff was fantastic. One of the front desk staff helped me with a massage reservation. The Concierge found us a wonderful omakase sushi restaurant just a few hours before service. And then she searched for a specific store for my husband to buy lucky cats....then waited for us to come down to the lobby for dinner to deliver the name/directions. That's great service. Thank you. By the way, he bought some cats!
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Kate Long
Kate
Kate Long
Local specialist in China | Replied on Apr 23, 2024
Dear Paige,
Thank you for taking the time to write and share in-depth how your visit to Japan went with us!!:)
We appreciate you making a special commendation for Allan-san who was your favorite guide and set the benchmark high for the other guides to follow in pursuit. We are always encouraged to receive such high praises and that he was attentive to your needs. We were also pleased that you enjoyed the company of Slash where you were able to talk about music and guitars, as well as being... Read more

Dear Paige,
Thank you for taking the time to write and share in-depth how your visit to Japan went with us!!:)

We appreciate you making a special commendation for Allan-san who was your favorite guide and set the benchmark high for the other guides to follow in pursuit. We are always encouraged to receive such high praises and that he was attentive to your needs. We were also pleased that you enjoyed the company of Slash where you were able to talk about music and guitars, as well as being sensitive to your family’s needs.

We are, however, very sorry that the other guides did not meet the same caliber, had misinformation of arrangements, did not provide you insights into places as well their English level was not to standard. We recognize that our guides are the key to all tours, and we will follow up on the guides to ensure that further training will be provided for them.

When traveling it’s always a good opportunity to experience some local culture and glad that you did stay in a Japanese-style Room, but as you said, it may not be for everyone. We do appreciate your comments on the hotels and are sorry to learn that on the last day of your trip, the least favorite of your hotel was in Osaka where the rooms were small of noisy at night.

We value your feedback and we will re-evaluate the issues you have raised with regards to the itinerary arrangements as well as providing more training and support for our staff. As mentioned above, we acknowledge that our guides are the face of the company and that they are key in fulfilling and meeting our customer's needs to ensure that they have the experience they deserve when traveling – to capture the heart and essence of the places they visit. Once again we sincerely apologize that some aspects of your trip did not materialize in this manner. We also appreciate that you are willing to give us another chance in the future, and when you do come again, we do hope that you will get the full experience and enjoyment.

Thank you again for sharing and highlighting your trip with us.
Katie :)

All our guides were great!
Japan | Apr 6 - Apr 14, 2024

C
carolyn w.
Lancaster, CA | Reviewed on Apr 16, 2024
All our guides were great! Read more

All our guides were great!

Hotel Reviews
Genji Kyoto
Kyoto
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Aoyama Grand Hotel
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Claudia Martinez Sierra
Claudia
Claudia Martinez Sierra
Local specialist in Tokyo | Replied on May 01, 2024

Planning Carolyn's dream trip to Japan was a nice experience, we are delighted to hear you had a great time in each location as well as enjoyed the private tours, accommodations and restaurant selection planning. Hope we see you again in Japan anytime soon!

Trip to Japan
Japan | Apr 4 - Apr 14, 2024

K
Karlo Z.
Japan | Reviewed on Apr 16, 2024
We had wonderful time in Japan. This was our first trip to Japan, so we wanted to see main attractions with some focus on 'hidden' Japanese treasures. Fei really did great job in organizing everything to tinny detail. Fei was also supportive during our trip, responding to some of the questions or small additional requests quickly. Communication via KimKim platform and response from local agency was good.
We had few days organized with local guide &driver while for few days we joined smaller...
Read more

We had wonderful time in Japan. This was our first trip to Japan, so we wanted to see main attractions with some focus on 'hidden' Japanese treasures. Fei really did great job in organizing everything to tinny detail. Fei was also supportive during our trip, responding to some of the questions or small additional requests quickly. Communication via KimKim platform and response from local agency was good.
We had few days organized with local guide &driver while for few days we joined smaller group. We had also enough time to do some things by ourselves.
Highlights:
- Katana Sword Making in Kyoto
- Half Day Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour (Join-in)
- Osaka Highlights Bike Tour
- Full Day Mt.Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Tour - it is a bit longer drive from Tokyo. We were unlucky that road to 5th station on Mt. Fuji was closed and traffic to the place was challenging so we spend a lot of time in car that day.

Few things that could be improved:
- few of our guides were actually more help to go around the place, rather than being really guide explaining things around the place we were visiting. We felt they didn't have much of the local knowledge, which was something we were expecting. They were mostly students living in Japan for several years. The guide that we had in Tokyo was really knowledgeable and was able to share more details.

Altogether, if you want trip without too much of worry, highly recommended. Make sure you stress out importance of having local guides.

Hotel Reviews
Cross Hotel Kyoto
Kyoto

Nice place, close to center. you can walk around and see many places without hassle of taking taxi or public transport.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
The Royal Park Hotel Iconic Osaka Midosuji
Osaka

good location

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Fei He
Fei
Fei He
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 19, 2024

Dear Karlo,
Thank you for your objective and insightful evaluation, as well as your affirmation of my work. I will certainly work even harder and look forward to seeing you again on our next trip.
All the Best wishes
Fei

Japan Trip Highs & Lows
Japan | Apr 5 - Apr 14, 2024

S
Smita S.
Atlanta, GA | Reviewed on Apr 16, 2024
What went well: 1) Shona did a great job planning our trip and making sure we were enjoying our itineraries every day! Our biggest highlight was being able to do all tourist special attractions in one trip across cities. 2) She added things to the itinerary, per our request (Team Labs Borderless), which we are so glad we did and a big thanks to her for organizing it! 3) Louisa (Tokyo guide) gave us some great restaurant recommendations. 4) And the location of hotel in Tokyo was... Read more

What went well: 1) Shona did a great job planning our trip and making sure we were enjoying our itineraries every day! Our biggest highlight was being able to do all tourist special attractions in one trip across cities. 2) She added things to the itinerary, per our request (Team Labs Borderless), which we are so glad we did and a big thanks to her for organizing it! 3) Louisa (Tokyo guide) gave us some great restaurant recommendations. 4) And the location of hotel in Tokyo was AMAZING.

What could be better - 1) The tour guides we got were not very knowledgeable nor experienced. They were nice people, but it was hard to get much touristy/historical information from them about our destinations. Shu (Kyoto/Osaka guide) didn't even enter most of the places with us; he would just wait outside. We felt like we always had to ask him to explain history / significance of places we went to, as he offered very little details/stories. 2) For the amount of money we paid, we should have received much better and experienced guides. e.g., we met some other guides (via Viator) who have been doing this for more than 10 years and really knew about the history and cultural significance of places - we feel like we didn't get that at all! 3) We also felt like we walked needlessly to fill time in Kyoto / Nara - the distances were very spread out and we had to walk miles (within a single day at times) that we believe should have been a private car experience for the amount of money we paid. We were exhausted by the end of the trip given how much we had walked every single day. Plus, it was very hot in both Kyoto/Nara and Osaka. That wasn't value worth our money spent!

Overall, I think the trip was fine and Shona did a great job checking in and following up on our whereabouts and making sure we were comfortable. But, the guides (especially Shu) really made us think that we didn't get the experience we deserved!

Hotel Reviews
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
Tokyo

Location, location, location!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Amazing location, right in the heart of the city, next to a Metro
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA

Location is good but there were no in-house restaurants or bars!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Osaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
Osaka

The Osaka Excel Hotel Tokyu was conveniently located near the train station, but it felt slightly distant from key attractions like the fish market, and always needed to take a cab to move around. Overall, it was a satisfactory stay

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Spot Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
Spot Early-Blooming Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
Tokyo
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Her knowledge and storytelling
Transport
Full Day Tour to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove & Sagano Scenic Railway
Full Day Tour to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove & Sagano Scenic Railway
Kyoto

Sagano Scenic Railway was a fine day tour, but the train ride was not as spectacular as it seemed, the main attraction was supposed to be a boat ride which was canceled due to the weather conditions. Overall, it was a pleasant day.

Local specialist: Shona Zhang
Shona
Shona Zhang
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Apr 17, 2024
Dear Smita, Warm greetings from Shona and thank you for sharing your thoughtful feedback with us. We're delighted to know that you have an enjoyable tour and are happy to be able to do all tourist special attractions in one trip across cities, especially with Team Labs Borderless. We're also glad that Louisa's restaurant recommendations and the fantastic location of the Tokyo hotel added to your experience. We are very sorry to know some of our guides didn’t meet your expectations and also... Read more

Dear Smita,

Warm greetings from Shona and thank you for sharing your thoughtful feedback with us. We're delighted to know that you have an enjoyable tour and are happy to be able to do all tourist special attractions in one trip across cities, especially with Team Labs Borderless. We're also glad that Louisa's restaurant recommendations and the fantastic location of the Tokyo hotel added to your experience.

We are very sorry to know some of our guides didn’t meet your expectations and also failed to uphold our service standards. We will arrange more specific training for them in the coming time to make sure they can be more experienced, helpful, and knowledgeable, especially with the history and culture.

We regret any inconvenience caused by the extensive walking in Kyoto, Nara, particularly in hot weather conditions. In Japan, As we talked about before, we usually provide three different travel styles, including Private Car + English-speaking driver, English-speaking Tour Guide + Local Transportation, and Private Car + Driver(Japanese only) + Tour Guide, which may be mixed and used in one tour. Private transfer in Japan is much more expensive compared to other countries, so the tour price can be very high if using private transfer for the whole trip. Therefore,to keep the budget in a suitable range , we usually recommend our travelers to use some public transportation in the major cities with convenient public transportation systems.

I'm glad to hear that you had a positive overall experience with your trip to Japan. It's my great pleasure to provide support by checking in on you and ensuring your comfort throughout. Thank you again for sharing your feedback, and we hope to welcome you back for more memorable adventures in the future

Wish you a happy life all the time.

Best regards,
Shona

Hotels were good. Transport between different...
Japan | Mar 30 - Apr 12, 2024

Zoka
Zoka M.
United Kingdom | Reviewed on Apr 15, 2024

Hotels were good. Transport between different places with the van was good.
Tours guides took us from the hotel to the van and to the planned destinations. We had too many tourist guides, some of them were very unexperienced and they lacked any deep knowledge of the places that they took us to. It seems that the language was a barrier, too.
This trip was overpriced for the quality that we had.

Local specialist: Alisa Liu