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Alan Williams

I want to provide you with the best experience that you can possibly have while in Japan. My aim to help you dive deep into the culture and to see Japan from every angle. From its high-speed, futuristic cities to its relaxing and inviting villages, we promise a well-rounded itinerary that delivers a full experience of Japan and all it has to offer.

We also endeavor to shine light on some of the lesser known sides of Japan, sharing that knowledge and passion that we have with the rest of the world. Whether you’ve been to Japan before, or it’s your first time visiting the country; whether you’re an anime and manga otaku, a wabi-sabi lover, a history buff, a fashion aficionado, or just someone wanting to experience something new and exciting, rest assured we have the most authentic tours of Japan available.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I think that we really shine on visits to lesser-known towns and villages in Japan. If I could reduce this specialty even further, I would have to say islands! Small island communities are great ways to get a feeling for an authentic Japanese lifestyle that does not exist in the cities. Each are great! We have a strong appreciation for both.

May sound a bit strange, but I think I can say that we love trains too! I was born in the US, and so trains aren't really common there. When I came to Japan, I was amazed by the amount of trains that they have and their efficiency! You can take a train, almost anywhere in the entire country, and the themed trains guarantee that your ride will be interesting.

Oh and festivals! Not necessarily music festivals, but matsuri! I don't think anyone should visit Japan without having seen, or participated in a matsuri festival while here. There are soooooo many amazing festivals here that are unlike anything that can be experienced anywhere else in the world. Visiting the festivals also gives you a unique perspective on Japan's spiritual heritage, which is very rich.

So, in closing, we specialize in many things, but if I had to name 5, they would be:

- Islands
- Matsuri Festivals
- Smaller towns, and communities
- Traditional Japanese martial arts
- Japan's pristine Nature locations... going to add a 6th

- Food (we have a whole database of good eats all around the country)"

How did you get involved in travel?

"I worked for a company that offered tours in Japan as their guide for several years. I would often be asked by guests for my recommendations for things to do after the tour and also for activities to do in addition to the ones that were booked for them. A lot of times, people would tell me that my suggestions were more enjoyable than the activities that were planned for them by their agent. I love traveling, exploring and discovering. I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of excitement and freedom when being in a new environment. I'm also very big on photography, so I love finding the beauty in new places. Traveling has opened up my world up to things that I could not have imagined before it, and has matured my world view!

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Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"For Japan, when I first participated in one of Kyushu's local festivals, I was blown away. It destroys the common stereotypes that most people have in their minds when they think of Japanese people. Everyone was... sufficiently lubricated on sake, and out to have a good time, and what a time it was!

The festival starts off with elementary school-aged kids sumo wrestling. The older kids and adults all have a go at it, and then from their two newly-wed ladies dressed in full formal kimonos play what I can only compare to ping pong, but with no table, and they do it while standing on top of two sake barrels. From there, a divination tug-o-war ceremony is held, followed by the carrying of a large straw sandal (maybe 12 or so feet long) throughout the town. All of the women who are single are placed on the sandal, and then thrown into the air three times for good luck. This is of course all done by the men who were sumo wrestling earlier, and they are still wearing the typical sumo mawashi.

Of all of the fascinating festivals I've been to in Japan, this one is the most memorable. "

Alan is part of the following groups: Japan Travel Agents
Best of Old and New Japan
Best of Old and New Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, & More - 14 Days

The combination of historic and modern beauty makes Japan the ideal vacation destination. On this journey of old world-meets-new world, you will explore the progressive city of Tokyo, along with strolling through pockets of old Japan. Excursions into the hot springs of Gero Onsen and the gardens of Kanazawa will allow you to experience the preservation of nature. Even still, you can channel Japan’s past–in present-day–by taking up residency in a thatched-roof farmhouse in Shirakawa-go, connecting with long-time local artisans in Takayama, and exploring the ancient temples of Kyoto.

Magic of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima - 12 days
Magic of Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima - 12 days

Discover both the traditional and modern sides of Japan as you visit various shrines and temples, witness technological innovation at an amazing digital art exhibition and crazy (in a very good way) robot show, and get involved in a few hands-on cooking and craft classes. For a trip which aims to give you the best overview of Japan as possible, you can't do any better.

Stop in Mount Fuji on your way to Kyoto
Japan Golden Route - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary follows the path of Japan's ancient Tokaido Highway (the Golden Route) from the skyscrapers of ultra-modern Tokyo to the cultural heart of Kyoto. In between the two cities, you'll stop in the beautiful town of Hakone to soak up Mount Fuji views, hot springs, and excellent museums. Traveling by bullet train, your flexible Japan Rail Pass offers plenty of day-trips for a truly customizable adventure.

The torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days

On this two-week journey to the four corners of Japan's main island, Honshu, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy its unmissable attractions. You'll visit sacred temples and shrines, go bike riding through the countryside, and roam around the capital's most famous neighborhoods. From the modern cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima, the wonders of ancient Kyoto and beyond, there is so much to see, taste, and discover.

Recent trip reviews for Alan

Trip to Japan · Japan - Sep 24 - Oct 2, 2019

Traveler: Meghan G. - Local specialist: Alan Williams

We had a fantastic 10 day trip throughout Japan! Alan, Gibwa, and Katherine were wonderful to work with. They were quick to respond and very thorough. They created a custom journey with many of the must-see highlights as well as some hidden treasures. Some highlights were our bike tour through Takayama with our guide Taka. The festival float exhibition hall exceeded expectations and we'd love to go back and experience the exhibition. Our cooking class in Kyoto was a blast! We had a wonderful... read more

We had a fantastic 10 day trip throughout Japan! Alan, Gibwa, and Katherine were wonderful to work with. They were quick to respond and very thorough. They created a custom journey with many of the must-see highlights as well as some hidden treasures. Some highlights were our bike tour through Takayama with our guide Taka. The festival float exhibition hall exceeded expectations and we'd love to go back and experience the exhibition. Our cooking class in Kyoto was a blast! We had a wonderful conversation and long walk through Nishiki Market, a surprise stop at a sake brewery followed by an informative and delightful class where we made sushi and miso soup. The Edo Wonderland was a bit underwhelming for us, but might be a great activity for a family. We would've been happy using that time to explore more of Tokyo. Overall it was a fantastic trip and we would highly recommend Kim Kim and Kichi Japan in the future. Gibwa and Katherine it was wonderful to meet you in person! Thank you for everything!