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 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 Senso-ji Temple
Full Day Tokyo City Tour with Senso-ji Temple
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