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Sandy Ren

I have been working as a travel specialist since graduating from college twenty years ago. Travel is my lifelong passion. It was such a thrilling thing to venture into a new world full of unknown surprises and soak up the unique sounds, sights, and scents. As a Japan enthusiast, I can't wait to help you create your memory in this country that boasts a myriad of fascinating explorations!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Japan!Just let me know what will make your stay in thiscountry unforgettable, perhaps a sensational Wagyu beef culinary experience, a hiking trip to see the traditional Japanese countryside, a luxury afternoon tea with Tokyo’s skyline right in front of your eyes, I will help you truly experience these destinations at your own pace."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I majored in Tourism English in college. That was when I fell in love with travel. After graduating, I was lucky to find a job at a travel company and have been working as a local travel specialist since. Travel keeps people young and I always have full passion for travel."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"It was during the cherry blossom season. I went on a trip to Oshino Hakkai and the vista was breathtaking-blooming cherry flowers creating a sea of pink, Mt. Fuji with its snowy peak standing tall in the background - the beauty has always lingered in my mind."

Sandy is part of the following groups: Japan Travel Agents
Top itineraries and travel advice
Family itineraries
Luxury itineraries

Recent trip reviews for Sandy

Japan April 2024
Japan | Mar 30 - Apr 7, 2024

Victoria
Victoria S.
San Rafael, CA | Reviewed on Apr 13, 2024
Sandy was very easy to work with and incorporated all our input into the itinerary. She helped us plan a really well-rounded Japan trip! We got extremely lucky while we were there as the cherry blossoms were delayed in their blooming and therefore coincided perfectly with our travel dates! Additionally, we had great weather. Read more

Sandy was very easy to work with and incorporated all our input into the itinerary. She helped us plan a really well-rounded Japan trip! We got extremely lucky while we were there as the cherry blossoms were delayed in their blooming and therefore coincided perfectly with our travel dates! Additionally, we had great weather.

Hotel Review
Watermark Hotel Kyoto
Kyoto

Rooms at the Watermark are quite small, but it was very comfortable for the four nights we stayed there. There are really pretty lighting options in the rooms (lantern and wall lighting), which was a fun feature. The buffet breakfast was an excellent way to start the morning! There are both western and Japanese options. The hotel is not located very close to restaurants or epicenters, but is close to a subway line or a 25-30 minutes walk to more exciting areas.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
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

Our tour guide, Meiji "May," made this day particularly special. He has a great personality and was clearly a very experienced guide, navigating crowds and transportation like a pro. He also recommended an AMAZING restaurant for lunch, Asakusa Tsurujiroh Hanare.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi Tour(join-in )
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi Tour(join-in )
Hakone

Mt Fuji is beautiful! The drive up was a great way to see the countryside, but where we stopped up the mountain was very crowded. The boat ride wasn't our favorite part, though Lake Ashi is lovely. The gondola ride offered great views but also wasn't a highlight.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Shibuya Sky and  Sumida River Cruise
Shibuya Sky and Sumida River Cruise
Tokyo

Shibuya Sky is very cool; even our Tokyo-based guide was impressed. It was his first time visiting and he thought the view was more expansive than some other vantage points in the city, like Tokyo Tower or Skytree. The Sumida River Cruise was a bit underwhelming in our opinion, but a unique opportunity and cool way to see architecture along the river.

Day Trip to Nara and Uji
Day Trip to Nara and Uji
Kyoto

This was a long day with lots of driving! The temple is very impressive with it's scale, but at this point of the trip we had seen so many shrines and temples. The dear were cute, but we both felt we didn't need to go back to see them. Good food in Nara! We really liked our guide. Very helpful, positive, and fashionable!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Bamboo Grove and Monkey Park Tour with a Boat Ride
Bamboo Grove and Monkey Park Tour with a Boat Ride
Kyoto

The Bamboo Forest was very crowded which made it feel less magical. The garden at Tenryu-ji Temple right near the forest however is beautiful! The monkey park was very fun; it's a bit of a hike to get up there but subsequently offers a great view of the area. Lastly, the boat ride (Arashiyama Tsusen) was one of our favorite experiences! It's very cool to see how the boat is propelled with a bamboo stick, and there's a motor powered boat that comes up halfway through the trip to sell food and beverage.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our Kyoto guide, Tomoko, was lovely! We enjoyed spending the day with her.
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren

Sandy organized some amazing local things for seeing a lot of sights in a short amount of time
Japan | Feb 28 - Mar 10, 2024

Shelby
Shelby S.
Dallas, TX | Reviewed on Mar 11, 2024
Sandy organized some amazing local things for us. We especially loved the Tea ceremony and Fushimi Inari hike in Kyoto and our half day tour in Nara. Todai-Ji is an absolute must see in Nara. Read more

Sandy organized some amazing local things for us. We especially loved the Tea ceremony and Fushimi Inari hike in Kyoto and our half day tour in Nara.

Todai-Ji is an absolute must see in Nara.

Hotel Reviews
Onyado Nono Namba Natural Hot Spring
Osaka

This place was great! Very clean, the staff was super healthy, great breakfast and a great onsen. The location was right near the Dotonbori, so no shortage of food and entertainment options. If you have an outside room, you might hear some noise from the street, but it was never enough to cause any problems. In fact we slept great both nights we were there.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
Tokyo

Great location, large room, and excellent breakfast. A bit dated in the look but had everything we needed and we could walk to Shibuya Crossing for some shopping.

Authenticity & Character
Standard hotel that's a little dated, but was clean and had everything we needed.
Location
Right next to Shibuya crossing, but not in the thick of traffic.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Mar 12, 2024
Dear Shelby, Hope you are doing fantastic. Thank you for your positive feedback.We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the experiences I organized for you, especially the Tea ceremony, Fushimi Inari hike in Kyoto, and the half-day tour in Nara. We all love Todai-Ji and it's our great honor to recommend it for you. We are so delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay at Onyado Nono Namba Natural Hot Spring in Osaka. I'm glad the cleanliness, friendly staff, and relaxing onsen contributed... Read more

Dear Shelby,

Hope you are doing fantastic.

Thank you for your positive feedback.We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the experiences I organized for you, especially the Tea ceremony, Fushimi Inari hike in Kyoto, and the half-day tour in Nara. We all love Todai-Ji and it's our great honor to recommend it for you.

We are so delighted to know that you enjoyed your stay at Onyado Nono Namba Natural Hot Spring in Osaka. I'm glad the cleanliness, friendly staff, and relaxing onsen contributed to a fantastic experience for you.I'm pleased that despite some street noise, you were able to enjoy restful nights during your stay.Thanks a lot for your understanding.

Thank you once again for your kind words and for choosing kimkim to organize your Japan trip. If you ever need assistance with travel arrangements in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Warm regards,
Sandy

Overall, we had a memorable experience in Osa...
Japan | Feb 9 - Feb 13, 2024

Jaslyin
Jaslyin Q.
Singapore | Reviewed on Feb 18, 2024
Overall, we had a memorable experience in Osaka and Kyoto and we're glad we opted for the private tour and driver. The accomodations recommended were authentic and excellent in service, especially the Imperial Hotel Osaka. The Ryokan in Kyoto gave us a really good feel of the traditional way of living. The guides were all really polite, attentive and knowledgeable. The driver himself was good and acknowledged his minor technical hiccup and went out of the way to get it sorted. Overall we... Read more

Overall, we had a memorable experience in Osaka and Kyoto and we're glad we opted for the private tour and driver. The accomodations recommended were authentic and excellent in service, especially the Imperial Hotel Osaka. The Ryokan in Kyoto gave us a really good feel of the traditional way of living.

The guides were all really polite, attentive and knowledgeable. The driver himself was good and acknowledged his minor technical hiccup and went out of the way to get it sorted. Overall we had a great experience and impression of the places we went.

Hotel Reviews
Imperial Hotel Osaka
Osaka
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Momijiya Honkan Takaosansou
Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Osaka
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Traditional Tea Ceremony KYOTO
Traditional Tea Ceremony KYOTO
Kyoto
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Bamboo Grove and Monkey Park Tour
Half Day Bamboo Grove and Monkey Park Tour
Kyoto
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Kyoto Cooking Class
Kyoto Cooking Class
Kyoto
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Kinkakuji and Nijo Castle Tour
Half Day Kinkakuji and Nijo Castle Tour
Kyoto
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Nara Tour
Half Day Nara Tour
Nara
Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Feb 19, 2024
Dear Jaslyin, Hope you are doing fantastic. I'm thrilled to hear that you had such a memorable experience in Osaka and Kyoto! It's great to know that the accommodations recommended are authentic and provide excellent service, particularly the Imperial Hotel Osaka. Experiencing the traditional way of living at the Ryokan in Kyoto must have been truly special. I'm glad to hear that the guides were polite, attentive, and knowledgeable, and that the driver handled any technical issues... Read more

Dear Jaslyin,

Hope you are doing fantastic.

I'm thrilled to hear that you had such a memorable experience in Osaka and Kyoto! It's great to know that the accommodations recommended are authentic and provide excellent service, particularly the Imperial Hotel Osaka. Experiencing the traditional way of living at the Ryokan in Kyoto must have been truly special.

I'm glad to hear that the guides were polite, attentive, and knowledgeable, and that the driver handled any technical issues professionally. It sounds like you had a wonderful overall experience and left with a great impression of the places you visited. If you ever plan to return or explore other destinations, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Wish you a happy life now and future.

Best regards as always,
Sandy

Thank you so much for making our trip to Japa...
Japan | Feb 9 - Feb 14, 2024

Maricris
Maricris S.
Glendale, CA | Reviewed on Feb 16, 2024
Thank you so much for making our trip to Japan memorable and fun. Our guide Lay-la in tokyo, mt. Fuji was also nice to work with. Dennis in Kyoto is very informational too.
Our accomodation locations are also great right in the center of the city.
Read more

Thank you so much for making our trip to Japan memorable and fun. Our guide Lay-la in tokyo, mt. Fuji was also nice to work with. Dennis in Kyoto is very informational too.
Our accomodation locations are also great right in the center of the city.

Activity Review
Osaka Foodie Walking Tour at dark
Osaka Foodie Walking Tour at dark
Osaka

Okini Osaka! Aina-san is the best guide in this tour. She is so jolly and educational which made our trip enjoyable.

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Feb 16, 2024

Dear Maricris,

Thank you for your kind words! We're thrilled to hear that your trip to Japan is memorable and enjoyable. Lay-la in Tokyo and Mt. Fuji, as well as Dennis in Kyoto, are indeed fantastic guides who strive to provide valuable insights.

We're glad you found the accommodations centrally located and suitable for your needs. It's wonderful to know that Aina-san made your time in Osaka enjoyable with her cheerful demeanor and educational approach.

We appreciate the opportunity to be part of your journey and hope to welcome you back in the future!

Best regards,
Sandy

Great trip to Osaka and Kyoto
Japan | Feb 9 - Feb 13, 2024

K
Kevin C.
Singapore | Reviewed on Feb 14, 2024

We had the privilege of having 2 different guides for different days, Shu and Dennis were both incredibly friendly, knowledgable, and accomodating. Guides provided facts and knowledge about the various planned stops on our trip as well as general local info about Japan. Behind the scenes Sandy was a great coordinator and helpful every step along the way. The level of service from KimKim is great. We hit an issue due to a technology failure, but the team fixed everything quickly and were very professional.

Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Feb 16, 2024

Dear Kevin,

Thank you so much for sharing your memorable experience with us. We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed the services of our guides, Shu and Dennis. It's wonderful to know that they provided you with valuable insights about the planned stops and Japan in general.

We're pleased that you found our level of service to be great overall.Sorry for the unexpected technology failure again and thanks a lot for your kindness and understanding.

We look forward to serving you again in the future.

Best regards,
Sandy

Fantastic Itinerary, Excellent Travel Agency -- Highly Recommended!!
Japan | Dec 27 - Jan 7, 2024

Rob
Rob B.
San Jose, CA | Reviewed on Jan 22, 2024
Our family has travelled to more than 30 countries and all seven continents. We have used various travel agents for trips to Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Antarctica. I can say without hesitation that Kimkim is the best travel agency, and our local specialist Sandy is the best individual travel agent, that we have ever worked with. The planning process with Sandy was easy, transparent, efficient and informative. We went back and forth several times as we narrowed down... Read more

Our family has travelled to more than 30 countries and all seven continents. We have used various travel agents for trips to Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia and Antarctica.

I can say without hesitation that Kimkim is the best travel agency, and our local specialist Sandy is the best individual travel agent, that we have ever worked with.

The planning process with Sandy was easy, transparent, efficient and informative. We went back and forth several times as we narrowed down our itinerary, chose our hotels and selected our experiences. Sandy always had great options, common sense suggestions and creative ideas. Every time I had a question or a message for Sandy, I would have a direct and helpful answer from her the very next day. And, importantly, she always respected our budget. We never felt rushed, manipulated or "up sold" on anything.

Our Kyoto guide Sunny was delightful. A longtime guide, his love for Japan showed through at all times. He was very easy to be with -- always going out of his way to find just the right snack or restaurant, shortcut or camera angle.

Or Hiroshima guide, Yuji was terrific. During Covid, he created a series of illustrated notebooks that cover every possible aspect of Japan's history, geography, culture and traditions. I think I learned more about Japan while reading his notebooks than at any other moment on the trip. Yuji also plays the flute and gave us an extraordinary sample of his musical talents while we walked through a beautiful forest on Miyajima island -- it was a totally magical and unexpected moment for us.

Yoshi, our Tokyo guide, was equally excellent. He took us across Tokyo on various subway and commuter lines -- covering more sights and attractions more immersively than we could have imagined. His choice of sushi lunch restaurant was absolutely perfect -- some of the best sushi I have ever had in my life. After just one day with him, we were sorry to say goodbye.

Finally, Ryoji, our guide for a night time food tour of the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, was absolutely amazing. Over the course of four hours, he took us to five different eating establishments, down narrow alleyways, along wide boulevards and through crowded neon-lit intersections. This was probably my favorite single experience on the trip.

Unfortunately, while in Tokyo, we had an unexpected health situation (totally unrelated to our activities or Kimkim's planning) that required us to cut short our trip and return home. In these difficult moments, Sandy was unbelievably supportive and helpful. She helped us make immediate and urgent changes to our plans, was available 24/7, and helped us get refunds on the activities that we could not do. Her constant availability, encouragement, and support helped us get through a difficult moment which required difficult choices and stressful adjustments to the trip.

Even weeks after our trip, Sandy was still engaged with us, helping wrap up final details and offering encouragement.

In summary, I highly recommend Kimkim, Sandy and our local guides. They really are the best travel professionals we have ever worked with.

We will definitely use Kimkim for our next trip.

If your experience is half as good as our experience was, you won't be disappointed!!

Activity Review
Tokyo Night Foodie Tour in Shinjuku
Tokyo Night Foodie Tour in Shinjuku
Tokyo

This was a fantastic experience. I highly recommend this. The highlight of our Tokyo visit!!

Quality of Experience
Food
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Ryoji was excellent! Ask for him!!
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Jan 23, 2024
Dear Rob, Thank you sincerely for your generous and detailed feedback. We are overjoyed to learn about your positive experiences with Kimkim and our guides during your Japan travels. I am delighted to know that you and your family created lasting memories and enjoyed your time in Japan. Our guides—Sunny, Yuji, Yoshi, and Ryoji—are equally thrilled to have played a part in enhancing your trip with their knowledge and special talents. Your recommendation is truly invaluable to us, and we... Read more

Dear Rob,

Thank you sincerely for your generous and detailed feedback. We are overjoyed to learn about your positive experiences with Kimkim and our guides during your Japan travels.

I am delighted to know that you and your family created lasting memories and enjoyed your time in Japan. Our guides—Sunny, Yuji, Yoshi, and Ryoji—are equally thrilled to have played a part in enhancing your trip with their knowledge and special talents.

Your recommendation is truly invaluable to us, and we eagerly anticipate the chance to assist you in your future travels. Should you have any further requests or inquiries, please feel free to reach out.

Wishing you and your family all the best in your future life.

Warmest regards,
Sandy

.Sandy was perfect for us
Japan | Oct 24 - Nov 12, 2023

K
Karen C.
Irvine, CA | Reviewed on Jan 01, 2024
All credit goes to Sandy. She provided just the right amount of assistance - very responsive when asked but not overbearing. I have referred a friend who is using KimKim to visit Italy and Sandy should get the credit. I’m also trying to reach her - so far unsuccessfully - for a friend planning to visit Japan. As to the trip, we were pleased with the planning and Sandy always provided us with the information we would need the next day. Our guides and drivers were generally good and our... Read more

All credit goes to Sandy. She provided just the right amount of assistance - very responsive when asked but not overbearing. I have referred a friend who is using KimKim to visit Italy and Sandy should get the credit. I’m also trying to reach her - so far unsuccessfully - for a friend planning to visit Japan.

As to the trip, we were pleased with the planning and Sandy always provided us with the information we would need the next day. Our guides and drivers were generally good and our train tickets and train instructions were always helpful. We especially liked our guides in Hiroshima, to Nara and to Nikko. Our driver to Koyasan drove too fast. We loved the leader on our bike tour out of Takayama but were disappointed at how little time we actually spent biking. Our tour to Mt Fuji was perhaps our biggest disappointing especially the stop by a lake where we waiting for an hour to go up a cable car with an unimpressive view. Our second stop where we could visit a pagoda with a great view of Fuji was terrific. Wish we had not had that first stop as it was a waste of time we would have preferred to spend in Hakone. And our best view of Fuji was actually from the train between Hakone and Takayama. Kanazawa was also disappointing. Fortunately one of our guides told us about the light show at the castle which we went to and loved. We really needed a guide in Kyoto and wish Sandy had pushed that a bit. We ended up hiring someone from Viator - the pickings were slim - and regretted it because the guide was so bad.
All in all we were pleased. We tend to like our independence even though things often turn out badly - we are the masters of Plan B and even Plans C and D. We avoid travel agents and mostly do our own planning. But I would definitely use Kim Kim again if we were guided by someone as helpful as Sandy.

Activity Reviews
Miyajima Island tour( Itsukushima Shrine)
Miyajima Island tour( Itsukushima Shrine)
Miyajima

Wonderful place. We wished we had stayed two nights rather than one, or perhaps it would have worked if we had arrived early in the day or stayed later the second day. But we arrived late in the day and left early the next - not good planning.

Izakaya Food Tour in Tokyo
Izakaya Food Tour in Tokyo
Tokyo

One of the most fun things we did.

Excursion to Mt. Fuji -Japan's Iconic Landmark
Excursion to Mt. Fuji -Japan's Iconic Landmark
Tokyo

Too much time on cable car with hour wait and mediocre view.

Japan Alps Kamikochi Day Hike
Japan Alps Kamikochi Day Hike
Kamikochi

Nice trip but likely not worth a whole day. I would not recommend.

Takayama-Shirakawa-Kanazawa
Takayama-Shirakawa-Kanazawa
Kanazawa

This was a fun little town but certainly not a highlight.

Museum and site tours of Hiroshima
Museum and site tours of Hiroshima
Hiroshima

This was made special due to our excellent guide.

Full Day Rural Bike Tour
Full Day Rural Bike Tour
Takayama

Loved our guide! She made this a great experience. However we were disappointed at how little time we spent on the bikes.

Day trip to Nara
Day trip to Nara
Kyoto

We loved Nara and we had an excellent driver.

 Mt. Koya and Temple Stay Experience
Mt. Koya and Temple Stay Experience
Mount Koya

We loved the little town and the Buddhist temple stay. It was definitely worth the long drive (tho as mentioned previously, we thought our driver drive carelessly)

Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Jan 09, 2024
Hi Karen,
I'm truly grateful for your detailed and thoughtful feedback about your recent trip to Japan. It's wonderful to hear about your overall positive experience, and I appreciate your acknowledgment of my outstanding assistance.
I'm thrilled that I could contribute to making your journey memorable. Your referral to a friend planning to visit Italy is much appreciated, and we will certainly receive the credit she deserves. Your insights into the various aspects of your trip are... Read more

Hi Karen,
I'm truly grateful for your detailed and thoughtful feedback about your recent trip to Japan. It's wonderful to hear about your overall positive experience, and I appreciate your acknowledgment of my outstanding assistance.

I'm thrilled that I could contribute to making your journey memorable. Your referral to a friend planning to visit Italy is much appreciated, and we will certainly receive the credit she deserves.

Your insights into the various aspects of your trip are invaluable, and I appreciate the honest reflections on the highlights and areas for improvement. Your feedback about specific stops and experiences will undoubtedly help us enhance our offerings in the future. I'm sorry to hear about the less-than-ideal guide in Kyoto and the disappointing aspects of certain stops, and I assure you that we take this feedback seriously.

Independence in travel is a commendable approach, and I'm honored that you would consider using KimKim again if guided by someone as helpful as me. If you ever decide to embark on another adventure, whether in Japan or elsewhere, please don't hesitate to reach out. We would be delighted to assist you in planning another memorable journey.

Once again, thank you for choosing KimKim, and I wish you many more wonderful travels filled with incredible experiences.

Best regards,

Sandy

Good overall plan for a New Traveler
Japan | Dec 1 - Dec 14, 2023

Zulhelmi
Zulhelmi R.
Singapore | Reviewed on Dec 17, 2023
So Kimkim has planned my trip to Japan covering Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I won't mention its perfect. there has been mostly ups and some downs. To break it down... Positives:
The travel plan is great in general. Very good for a traveler who has yet to visit a country. I thoroughly enjoyed the plans set up and curated specifically for me.
Kimkim has saved the hassle for me in reserving tickets for my travel plan. Made the trip smoother.
Help is somewhat there when you need it
Kimkim has a good...
Read more

So Kimkim has planned my trip to Japan covering Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I won't mention its perfect. there has been mostly ups and some downs. To break it down...

Positives:
The travel plan is great in general. Very good for a traveler who has yet to visit a country. I thoroughly enjoyed the plans set up and curated specifically for me.
Kimkim has saved the hassle for me in reserving tickets for my travel plan. Made the trip smoother.
Help is somewhat there when you need it
Kimkim has a good plan overall to cover the core parts of a country.
A proper document is given to help guide the traveler in case the traveler is unsure of where to go or how to go

Negatives:
Initial confusion for the changes in itinerary, specialist should be aware of the changes but was not at that point of time. Kimkim site itinerary and document itinerary was different!

Transport planning for an activity is left at the worst option.

Some activities might overlap and become sort of a repeat, due to lack of in-depth check on the activities.

Also,, tickets booked for an attraction had issues which led to some frustrations.

Overall Feedback:
When activities have alternate form of transport available, do in good faith help us plan for the best and most feasible. should not let your traveler face a 3 hour ride back to the hotel vicinity when there is a shorter option of 1 hour train available.

Please ensure travel activities are unique and no activities head to the same place. It should be your duty to check in with the activity host on what the activity consists of.

When planning for activities which the traveler has paid for, also take note on the distance between locations. You are the specialist, try to walk the plan you came up with in our shoes. Discuss with the local guides if necessary, if it is a rush. Plans should not just be activity listing but also time-managed

Your fees are high, as I mentioned, which is alright, but that there comes with a certain expectation. We pay a fee to ensure a specialist who should have proper and vast local knowledge to help guide us through.

Nonetheless, I thank you Kimkim still for remediating the situations.

Recommendation:
I would recommend people to use Kimkim if they are first time travelers to a country. Overall a good experience.
But I also advise travelers to scrutinize the itinerary deeper to ensure they do not face issues similar to mine. Ensure the specialist knows the plan they proposed inside out and the changes. (Which should be the case, else why would we use this)

Hotel Reviews
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
Tokyo

Splendid Hotel! Good space and amenities to support long stays and good location

Authenticity & Character
in the heart of the famous crossing
Location
Not as crowded as Shinjuku but strategically located to go to various locations and near the main train station
Staff
all of them
Cleanliness & Comfort
they maintained cleanliness daily and the room smells fresh for new tenants
Osaka Excel Hotel Tokyu
Osaka

This one is a great hotel for long stays. Staff were friendly and helpful. Also the room is quite big. It didnt feel cramped up

Authenticity & Character
Very homely and along the prettiest streets in Christmas,
Location
Located near the train and also strategically distant from the crowded Namba.
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Kyoto Tokyu Hotel
kyoto

Quite small and compact. Basic needs met at least

Authenticity & Character
Its a normal hotel. Nothing grandiose but serves its purpose
Location
Short distance from the main station and conveniently has a shuttle bus service to help get to and fro from the hotel
Staff
Helpful as expected
Cleanliness & Comfort
Just the design maybe makes it look dated
Activity Reviews
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with Meiji Jingu Shrine
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tokyo

Great experience to cover Tokyo and its beautiful aspects. The guide Yukari was very helpful and knowledgeable. This was one of the well-planned ones

Quality of Experience
Visiting the core aspects of Tokyo
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Helpful and knowledgeable guide
Transport
1-Day Mt. Fuji & Hakone Tour Roundtrip from Tokyo (join-in)
1-Day Mt. Fuji & Hakone Tour Roundtrip from Tokyo (join-in)
Tokyo

The trip was amazing. Managed to reach the 5th station of Mount Fuji and visited Owakudani and Lake Ashinoko

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Please in good faith plan for the traveler to head back by Shinkansen since there is that option. 3 hour bus rides back is not funny
Kyoto Cooking Class
Kyoto Cooking Class
Kyoto

Fun class learning about Dashi. Good way to cook and make your own food

Quality of Experience
Learn more about Dashi, a core aspect of dishes
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Tour with Tea Ceremony
Full Day Tour with Tea Ceremony
Kyoto

Everything was okay until I had to rush for the tea ceremony sweating. Pulled my ankle muscle rushing because i am not geared up for a run yo

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
The distance! The damn distance!
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Full Day Osaka City Tour
Osaka

One of the best chill guides among all of them.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Yoshiko was very helpful and friendly!
Transport
Osaka-Nara day trip
Osaka-Nara day trip
Osaka

A good exposure to Nara and its accompanying mountain Mikasa

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Osaka Foodie Walking Tour
Osaka Foodie Walking Tour
Osaka

This one was special. Its a food tour but I was surprised to know its also a Dark alley tour. Our guide Taka brings us for some local food and to explore the darker side of Osaka, around the Nishinari ward

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Taka is amazing and knowledgeable
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Dec 22, 2023
Dear Zulhelmi, Thank you very much for sharing your feedback on your trip to Japan planned by Kimkim. We appreciate your honesty and value your input. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience you experienced during your travel, and we will address these feedbacks to improve our services. We are glad to hear that you found the overall travel plan to be great and suitable for first-time travelers. It brings us joy to know that you enjoyed the plans specifically designed for you. We... Read more

Dear Zulhelmi,

Thank you very much for sharing your feedback on your trip to Japan planned by Kimkim. We appreciate your honesty and value your input. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience you experienced during your travel, and we will address these feedbacks to improve our services.

We are glad to hear that you found the overall travel plan to be great and suitable for first-time travelers. It brings us joy to know that you enjoyed the plans specifically designed for you. We understand the importance of offering help when needed, and we strive to provide assistance whenever possible.

We understand your concerns regarding the initial confusion with itinerary changes and the inconsistencies between the Kimkim site itinerary and the document itinerary. Furthermore, we apologize for any frustrations caused by ticket booking issues, and we will implement measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

We also acknowledge your feedback on transport planning for certain activities and the need for more thorough checks to avoid overlaps and repetition. We will take this into account when planning future itineraries, aiming to deliver unique activities and a well-managed schedule.

Your feedback on our fees is duly noted. We understand the expectation that comes with the cost, and we will strive to continuously enhance our services and local knowledge to meet and exceed these expectations.

We appreciate your understanding and thank you for recognizing our efforts to remediate the situations you encountered during your trip.

Thank you again for choosing Kimkim and taking the time to provide us with your valuable feedback. If there is anything else we can assist you with in the future, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,
Sandy

12- day trip to Japan
Japan | Oct 22 - Nov 2, 2023

V
Vladimir B.
San Francisco, CA | Reviewed on Nov 04, 2023
Planning and Booking are ok. Our expectations and what we got are very close. After the trip we understood that something could be changed, but not much, that is very personal, hard to predict, especially for first-time visitors.
Communication with Sandy was excellent. The Tokyo guide - Yumi, and Kyoto guide - Noriko, are very knowledgeable and provided lots of detailed information. Additional thanks to Noriko for helping with booking tickets back to Tokyo.
The last trip to Kobe and Himeji...
Read more

Planning and Booking are ok. Our expectations and what we got are very close. After the trip we understood that something could be changed, but not much, that is very personal, hard to predict, especially for first-time visitors.
Communication with Sandy was excellent. The Tokyo guide - Yumi, and Kyoto guide - Noriko, are very knowledgeable and provided lots of detailed information. Additional thanks to Noriko for helping with booking tickets back to Tokyo.
The last trip to Kobe and Himeji left mixed fillings. The visit to the Sake musicum was interesting, and Kobe meat restaurant at lunch, reserved by Yasuko, was excellent. The afternoon trip to see White castle was difficult for us due to lots of steps climbing and 2 hours took to get back to Kyoto. Thanks for having a private van.

Hotel Reviews
Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
Minato-ku, Tokyo

Very good hotel, convenient located near train station.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hakone Sengokuhara Prince Hotel
Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa

The rooms are very small and have steps inside.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Too far from city center. Taxi doesn't want to service
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Cross Japan Kyoto
Kyoto

Newly renovated hotel with excellent location in the hart of the city. 4 stars only due to size of the room.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
Full Day Nara City Tour From Kyoto with Fushimi Inari Taisha
Full Day Nara City Tour From Kyoto with Fushimi Inari Taisha
Kyoto

Very unusual experience with the deers in the Nara park surrounding the shrine. We feed them from hands and they bow in response. The shrine is absolutely amazing, especially gates.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Tokyo city tour
Full Day Tokyo city tour
Tokyo

Very informative. Thanks to the guide for navigating via underground transportation

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Tokyo city tour (Asakusa )
Full Day Tokyo city tour (Asakusa )
Tokyo

Very good, amazing view from the radio tower.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Drive to Hakone  from Tokyo
Drive to Hakone from Tokyo
Japan

Must use the local bus due to lack of taxi service.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Mt. Fuji with Lake Kawaguchiko Cruise and Arakurayama Sengen Park Tour
Full Day Mt. Fuji with Lake Kawaguchiko Cruise and Arakurayama Sengen Park Tour
Tokyo

Very nice trip and boat tour with a view on mount Fuji. Excellent ride on cable way up to the hill to view mount Fuji again

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Tour
Half Day Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Tour
Kyoto

Very nice temple surrounding by garden, pond and bamboo grove. Travel guide - Noriko is excellent. Lake water tour very nice with amazing views.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Half Day Samurai Ninja Museum and Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Half Day Samurai Ninja Museum and Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Kyoto

Samurai fighting equipment in the museum is very old but in excellent condition. We got additional historical facts. The Kimono Tea ceremony was so unusual for us. Besides the tea itself, we learned Japanese tea tradition and etiquette.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Full Day Kobe Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and Himeji Castle Tour
Full Day Kobe Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and Himeji Castle Tour
Osaka

The Sake museum is very informative, but may be not for every one, we think, mostly for men. The Himeji Castle is gorgeous outside. For going inside we have to climb over very steep stairs. That wasn't easy for us. Since we spend too much time for travel, it wasn't enough time to see the beautiful garden next to castle.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Nov 06, 2023
Hi Vladimir, Greetings from Sandy. Thank a lot for your wonderful words and thoughtful feedback. It’s my great honor and pleasure to play a part in customizing your trip to Japan. There are many beautiful parks shrines, temples and castles in Japan. It’s worthy of visiting but there are many steps sometimes. Sorry for the inconvenience caused and thanks a lot for your understanding. We are so glad to know that you have very enjoyable and memorable experience with the deer feeding, the tea... Read more

Hi Vladimir,

Greetings from Sandy.

Thank a lot for your wonderful words and thoughtful feedback. It’s my great honor and pleasure to play a part in customizing your trip to Japan. There are many beautiful parks shrines, temples and castles in Japan. It’s worthy of visiting but there are many steps sometimes. Sorry for the inconvenience caused and thanks a lot for your understanding. We are so glad to know that you have very enjoyable and memorable experience with the deer feeding, the tea ceremony and so on. Yumi and Kyoto are so delighted to know what they have done could make your tour more unforgettable.

Thank you very much for your kindness with the detailed comments on the hotels in different places which will help us a lot for the future recommendation. We look forward to the opportunity to assist you again in the future.

Best regards,
Sandy

Amazing Experience
Japan | Oct 18 - Oct 29, 2023

M
Michele L.
Newark, NJ | Reviewed on Nov 01, 2023
Working with Sandy was amazing. She was attentive to all of the details and available throughout our time in Japan. She was incredibly diligent with her follow up. We wanted to experience a Katana making workshop and our top choice was booked. Sandy continued to follow up and there was a cancellation and she was able to get us in. We had a similar experience with a hotel we really wanted that was booked for the date we wanted. Mid trip Sandy was in touch to tell us the desired hotel had a... Read more

Working with Sandy was amazing. She was attentive to all of the details and available throughout our time in Japan. She was incredibly diligent with her follow up. We wanted to experience a Katana making workshop and our top choice was booked. Sandy continued to follow up and there was a cancellation and she was able to get us in. We had a similar experience with a hotel we really wanted that was booked for the date we wanted. Mid trip Sandy was in touch to tell us the desired hotel had a cancellation and we were able to book it.

There were certain days we only had a driver (no tour guide). The drivers were supposed to speak English but none of them really did. It was inconvenient but we managed with Google translate. Not sure if this was a KimKim issue and the transportation companies they use or finding English speaking drivers is just difficult in Japan. Our tour guides spoke English fairly well.

Hotel Reviews
莲华定院 (Ren'gejo-in Temple (Pilgrim's Lodging))

The experience was wonderful. Their English was good enough. However the Monk who led services was difficult to understand. The food was good considering it is vegan . The meal is the same for breakfast and dinner so bring snacks. Property was well kept and the rooms very nice. The one downside was due to the timing of the prayer services at this particular temple you could not book the cemetery tour which we were told was an excellent activity.

Authenticity & Character
Location
It is a little further away from center of town then some of the other temples however that said it was only a 5 minute walk further
Staff
English was better than most
Cleanliness & Comfort
very clean and nice rooms. we found the bedding to be very comfortable
The Gate Hotel Kyoto Takasegawa by Hulic
Kyoto

This is a 4 star hotel however it is very new and beautiful. Rooms large and well appointed. Breakfast was nice although the buffet was limited. Beautiful bar. Really well located

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Kinsuikan
Hiroshima

Loved this experience. This Ryokan, traditional Japanese style hotel was wonderful. It was really well located and the accommodations were very comfortable. Food was delicious although the menu was very similar for dinner and breakfast. There was a very clean Onsen. We had a view of the torii gate which was beautiful

Authenticity & Character
Location
could walk to anywhere
Staff
Very little english spoken
Cleanliness & Comfort
Hilton Hiroshima
Hiroshima
Authenticity & Character
Although there is a definite Japanese vibe it definitely comes through as an International hotel. This could be positive or negative depending on your needs
Location
easy to get around from this location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Activity Reviews
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

Tokyo is huge but Yumi our tour guide was amazing. We covered all the highlights

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Yumi was an amazing tour guide
Transport
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Tour with Whisky Tasting
Full Day Mt. Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi Tour with Whisky Tasting
Tokyo

Loved this day. We ate an authentic lunch at a local restaurant. Had great views of Mt Fuji. Enjoyed the Whiskey museum

Half Day TeamLab Planets and Miraikan Museum Tour
Half Day TeamLab Planets and Miraikan Museum Tour
Tokyo

Loved TeamLab Planets - definitely a must see. Miraikan Museum is well laid out but just not something that was of great interest to us

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our driver did not speak english and we had some difficulty with that
A Fun-Filled Cooking Class in Tokyo - Wagyu Beef and More
A Fun-Filled Cooking Class in Tokyo - Wagyu Beef and More
Tokyo

This was amazing and I highly recommend it

 Mt. Koya and Temple Stay Experience
Mt. Koya and Temple Stay Experience
Mount Koya

This was a great experience. Unfortunately we were delayed getting there due to our train running 2 hours late so we had very little time to explore

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our driver did not speak english as promised
Half Day Samurai Ninja Museum and Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Half Day Samurai Ninja Museum and Kimono Tea Ceremony at Kyoto Maikoya
Kyoto

Loved learning the history of the Samurais - it is a great museum The tea ceremony is a must as this is such a big tradition in Japan. We loved putting on a kimono and learning about the tea ceremony

Guides, Drivers and Staff
This driver's english was better than the others
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Full Day Kyoto City Tour with Fushimi Inari-Taisha
Kyoto

There are a lot of shrines and Temples in Japan. Not sure we needed to see all 4 sights. Nishiki market was great and our guide picked a wonderful place for lunch,

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Tour guide, Keiko was great
Half Day Katana Maker Experience in Kameoka
Half Day Katana Maker Experience in Kameoka
Kyoto

This was one of our favorite activities. I highly recommend it

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Vehicle was not as clean and nice as expected and tour guide (who was a substitute, orginal tour guide was sick) did not have wonderful english
Half Day Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and Kobe Harborland Tour
Half Day Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and Kobe Harborland Tour
Kobe

The saki museum was a lot of fun and easy to experience. We did not really get a tour of Kobe Harborland - our tour guide knew nothing about it

Guides, Drivers and Staff
Our guide this day was not great and had no knowledge of Kobe to share with us.
Transport
Vehicle not so great this day
A Sensational Gourmet Experience: Kobe Beef
A Sensational Gourmet Experience: Kobe Beef
Kobe

Excellent restaurant - Royal Mouriya.

Half  Day Miyajima Island  Tour
Half Day Miyajima Island Tour
Hiroshima

Our tour guide Masako was incredibly knowledgable about Miyajima. We learned so much

Transport
Train to ferry to hotel on Miyajima was seamless
Museum and site tours of Hiroshima
Museum and site tours of Hiroshima
Hiroshima

Yoko our tour guide was great. We really enjoyed her. Hiroshima is a must see. The museum tells the story so well. And dont miss the Japenese gardens we loved the experience

Local specialist: Sandy Ren
Sandy
Sandy Ren
Local specialist in Japan | Replied on Nov 03, 2023
Dear Michele,
Greetings from Sandy.
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experience in Japan with us. We had a wonderful time working and planning with you. You are so patient and understandable.
We are so grateful for your review , which will help us a lot to identify the aspects of the trip where we can improve our service to our travelers. Hope you will come back to Japan soon!
Thanks a lot for your detailed comments on the activities and the hotels which will help us to know ...
Read more

Dear Michele,
Greetings from Sandy.
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experience in Japan with us. We had a wonderful time working and planning with you. You are so patient and understandable.
We are so grateful for your review , which will help us a lot to identify the aspects of the trip where we can improve our service to our travelers. Hope you will come back to Japan soon!
Thanks a lot for your detailed comments on the activities and the hotels which will help us to know more about them and do better recommendation according to the travelers ‘request.
I am so delightful to know that you have enjoyable time with our beautiful temple and parks. Kimono Tea Ceremony is a very good place to experience our local culture and there will be a lot of fun to take photos with the kimono.
You are so kind and helpful to communicate with the driver with Google translate. It is very difficult to find real English-speaking driver in Japan and usually their English level is very limited. Sorry for the inconvenience caused. I should pay more attention to this and remind you in advance. thanks a lot for your understanding.

My warmest regards and best wishes,
Sandy