What other people say…
Discover Japan Grand Spring Tour
Just wanted to say a big thank you for the cherry blossom tour of Japan we’ve just completed. I’m sure it was the result of your careful planning that everything went smoothly, and that every event, every landscape, every museum and national park, every cherry blossom was a highlight, and memorable in its own way. Your plans ensured we saw Japan from a wide range of perspectives and experiences. We especially appreciated the taste of traditional life.
We cannot find fault with the planning or the tour, and highly recommend that everyone should visit Japan with you at some stage, especially at cherry blossom time. We know that we were blessed with fantastic weather (even the cold day after the snow in the mountains was bracing) which meant the parks and streets were filled with colour. It was fascinating to see the Japanese out in the parks picnicking on tarpaulins, and not leaving a food scrap or wrapper behind. From a cultural perspective, most impressive was the Japanese sense of order and civility in every aspect of life, from shopping staff to train attendants, gardeners, civilians, holiday-makers, fellows tourists. We came away with a sense of the Japanese eagerness to live in a way that brings people together rather than divides.
We were also fascinated by our introduction to Zen Buddhism, which is deeply embedded in the Japanese psyche and provides one means of self-reflection. The evening meal with the meiko, or apprentice geisha, revealed another aspect of Japan’s culture that we can now reflect on. The tea ceremony was of historical interest, although our only reservation is that drinking a greenish concoction tasting like algae must be an acquired taste.
Of the many highlights staying in a ryokan, dressing in a yukata, slipping on socks and sandals and going the full naked body immersion in a hot springs was perhaps the experience one could get used to, despite initial reservations.
We could list dozens of experiences, but we’ll end by saying that dining Japanese style, eating dried fish for breakfast , travelling on trains that arrived precisely on time, crossing ravins by vine bridges, seeing Mt Fuji from every angle, encountering scarecrows in deserted villages, could not have been bettered.
We look forward to more experiences in Japan.
Ron and Margaret Banks
Dear Travelling Colleagues,
We have all had over a week to recover from our travels, unpack the cases, do the washing and resume our usual activities. However I am sure that like me you frequently pause to recall what we were seeing two weeks back or where was it that we saw castle, garden, or participated in the tea ceremony. No doubt we have all sorted the photos- or at least begun that task. It was a wonderful journey for us all and my brain at least if filled with memories, images, experiences and stories.
We would like to thank you all for making our travels together so pleasurable. We had lots of fun, all cooperated and enjoyed our time together. I think we all agree that Shoji was a great choice and we were most fortunate to be led by Jenny.
The literature and briefing in advance prepared us for the journey and each day was action packed with new experiences and things to see.
Best wishes to you all. We feel our lives to be much richer for the times shared together in Japan.
Margaret and Ron banks
It’s taken me a few days to recover from our amazing adventure.
Thank you for all your fabulous organisation and thoughtful guiding. Most of all thanks for your consideration, thoughtfulness, great sense of humour and sincere friendship.
It was wonderful to share the last two weeks with you.
What a smorgasbord of experiences! We were certainly given a unique opportunity to sample the delights that Japan has to offer. Thank you! On reflection it is amazing how many things we managed to do, see, and taste.”
Jen, a special thank you for your leadership, patience and knowledge of Japan. Without you we would not have been able to explore as widely as we did.
Thank you again for creating an amazing experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and will never forget!
I would like to thank you for an amazing introduction into the wonder of Japan. What a diverse itinerary you provided … every day seemed to be something completely new and exciting.
Discover Japan Grand Spring Tour
Hi Mitsue and Jenni,
Thank you both for putting together such a terrific trip! I loved my first visit to Japan and it certainly won’t be my last one. I can’t believe that we saw and experienced so much in such a short time. It was intense but it also had a good balance of free time.
Jenni, you are the best tour leader I have come across by a long way and you certainly went above and beyond yesterday when you helped me with my last bits of shopping. And, guess what! My big suitcase was only 19.4kg. I thought it would be more after all the last minute things that I just had to get. All the breakables got home safely and I look forward to using them.
Mitsue, I’m sure that you know already that Jenni is a wonderful tour leader and I want to add my praises to the list that I’m sure you have already. She is very organised but also very flexible and so we were all able to see and do things that we enjoyed. And I admire her energy and her tact and diplomacy in situations which could have been difficult. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she made sure that we all enjoyed our tour and I think that we all felt a lot more confident exploring a country where we couldn’t speak or write the language and where some of the food and customs were completely unfamiliar to us. I am amazed that we saw and experienced so much in such a short time.
I got home this morning and it’s taken a real effort to get used to life in Perth again. Possibly that’s because I didn’t sleep much on the plane so my brain’s not working very well. It seemed strange to be driving a car again – and I’m really missing those Japanese toilets, vbg.
Thank you again for one of the best holidays that I’ve ever had. I’m already thinking about when I can return to that amazing country.
Loved travelling in Japan. It wasn’t as much of a culture shock as I thought it would be, local maps were often available in English and the subway system in the larger towns was easy to use. Really enjoyed the history and craft museums (there is a wide choice), historic buildings, especially the castles and geisha house, wandering around the historic Shirakawago and roaming the old streets with the wooden houses in Takayama, Kanazawa and Kyoto. … Travelling with someone who spoke Japanese removed the stress of not being able to communicate. The accommodation was conveniently located to transport and the sights and I loved the experience of staying in a ryokan. All in all, an experience I hope to repeat.
What a magical way to tour Japan! With Shoji’s insight and knowledge of where to go, what to see, how to get there and where to stay, we explored more of Japan than we thought possible. We went to places we didn’t know existed and we had a REAL Japanese experience. Loved it all – thank you Shoji.”
“Thank you for all your help in putting our itinerary together – we had a great trip. The Japanese people we encountered were incredibly helpful (- even without English), honest and polite and the culture is different and constantly surprising in small details. Our time in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kumano Kodo & Osaka was wonderful. We were delighted with your support and service.”
“Dear Mitsue. Again, we would like to thank you, Jenni, and staff for all your help with bookings, transport, and airfares of our Japan holiday, as well as the detailed self guided itinerary which made our holiday in Japan a most memorable experience.”
Aurelio and Zdenka
“Hello, Mitsue. We are now home from our amazing trip to Japan. We are really grateful to you and Jenni for helping us organise our adventure and for inviting us to join with the group tour in Kyoto. We had a wonderful time and your help with the train timetables made such a difference to getting to places on time.
We had an amazing experience going to the school. Some of the students who had been to Perth took us on a tour of the school to see all the after school club activities and the drum group performed for us then gave us a turn at drumming. Then the calligraphy group taught us to paint some characters onto fans.
Two of the girls took us back to Kobe on the train so we didn’t get lost! Such beautiful students. On the way from the train station to the school, we asked directions of a lady and her son. We kept walking and a few minutes later the boy run up to us and started taking us in the right direction to the school, then his mum pulled up in her car and drove us the rest of the way. Such kindness from people who didn’t know us. We experienced so much kindness and help from the local people wherever we went. What a beautiful place to visit and to feel so welcome.
All the information pages you sent through to us were great. Our friends in Japan were very keen to cook for us and to ensure that we had tasted most of the food in your lists! It is amazing that we did not put on weight!”
Bev and Kevin
“Mitsue, Jennifer. I never thanks you for all the work you did on our Japan trip. we had the most amazing time in Miyama. Our host spent about 2 hours with my mother at the Little Indigo Museum – they knew all the same people in the textile business and mum had the most amazing time. The ryokan was perfect, even if we were the only guests and your travel directions saw us there safely. Highly enjoyable trip.”
“Both of you were brilliant and caring yesterday. I can’t believe how thoroughly you prepared our trip, and how you never left a question until I understood the answer. You both seemed to remember every little gap that needed to be filled, and chased down every possibility of research until we were all satisfied. Thank you both so much.”
Penny and Sara
“Thank you for organizing our trip it was amazing!! It is definitely a country that I would like to visit again and next time take my husband, he would have loved to have come with us last April with the others. Fabric town was great, in fact I went twice. And your directions to get there were extremely good. Also found our way to the kitchen street, fabulous, I just love Japanese pottery. Thank you again.”
Hi Mitsue and Jennifer, Just thought I would drop you a line to say thank you for arranging our holiday in Japan,
We had a great experience and enjoyed the holiday immensely and part of the reason was the meticulous planning which you provided for our trip.
All of the bookings went very smoothly except the hotel in Harkone, where they were not expecting us and at the end of the stay , requested payment for our accommodation. When we advised them that it was already paid, they reversed their request, and no issue. Seemed strange though.
Apart from that we had no hassles anywhere. We loved the Metro system and train system throughout the country.
Leanda found the perfect flute so she was immensely happy,
Kristen found lots of fabric so she was happy.
I loved the e-bikes around Kyoto so I was happy, (not sure everyone else was but it was my turn).
Jomay found some great souvenirs so she was happy.
All in all a great trip and I have been promoting your services to all of my friend and acquaintances.
Thank you once again for your help.”
“Hi Jenni & Mitsue, We have been meaning to send a message of thanks to you both for all of the detail you provided for our wonderful trip to Japan. It was an enlightening and inspiring adventure all round. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions and tips throughout the schedule.
And thanks for helping to sort out the missing luggage in Kyoto and for liaising with the Apartment Manager for instructions on how to close their door without using the cardkey.”