Trip to Japan - Mar 27 - Apr 6, 2019
Firstly we would like to thank Jeff for such wonderful communication throughout the planning, all the information we received before we began the trip and all the info in our packet on arrival. Everything worked like clockwork( except running for the wrong bullet train) because of the attention to fine details such as every ticket for transport, cards for each check-in and particularly the pocket wifi.
We had two guides, one in Tokyo and one in Kyoto . Ms Junko Dogauchi was helpful and we enjoyed our day which helped us with the subway,but it was difficult to understand her English. Ms Fukiko Teramachi was excellent with good English and conversation. We had a different kind of day at her village as well as a couple of tourist spots. She was also helpful with places to eat.
The most memorable experience was at Yamanochaya in Hakone. It was a lot of fun with such pleasant staff. Mikoto Aoki as our attending staff was wonderful. She helped us with our 'little' Japanese and we helped her with her English. We managed to use theHakone free pass on both days which made it simple to travel around. We really liked Kyoto and enjoyed doing our own thing there. Did some shopping in the markets which was reasonable as most things in the department stores etc too expensive for us.
On our last day in Tokyo we got to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. It was beautiful weather and one street was closed with groups partying and the Rugby players interacting with the public. Very different.
Hotels were great, usually good location but we did not like the hotel in Takayama the Hotel Associa Takayama Resort. It was huge and definitely catered for big tourist groups. At any one time there were up to 10 buses. Consequently we could not get into the buffet restaurant. We used the shuttle bus for one dinner but when it started to snow we decided to stay in. The breakfast was chaotic in the restaurant with so many people. We would have preferred to stay in a smaller hotel.