We would have given our travel review 4 1/2 stars based on the smoothness with which our trip proceeded and the quality of our guides. We also were largely satisfied with the hotel rooms, but would have preferred to work with an agency that provided more transparency regarding the range of options. Some of the accommodation choices were limited by the relatively brief time during which our trip was arranged. We were not, however, made fully aware of the limitations resulting from the compressed time frame. This was especially true with regard to our ryokan experience. We were very unhappy with the ryokan and with the travel agent's reaction to our dissatisfaction. She certainly said would look into our specific criticisms and also said perhaps it was not the right choice for us, however, she never fully acknowledged that we were not provided with enough information to determine for ourselves that such a traditional and very old ryokan was not a good choice for us.
Our guides added greatly to our comfort getting around the various locations, especially Tokyo and Kyoto, and made navigating those cities on our own much less daunting. The guides were knowledgeable and delightful. We enjoyed each experience, especially the special perspectives each guide brought to our tours. Overall, however, the best part of the trip was our experience with people who offered their help or were just especially thoughtful.
We would book our own rooms and perhaps take more day trips from fewer locations to avoid the effort of frequent travel and change of hotel rooms. If we used a travel agent, I certainly would ask more specific questions regarding the suggested accommodations, especially those that deviate from Western norms.
Travel Company Comments:
We are so glad that you enjoyed your time in Japan and especially your time with our guides. We like to think that we've aligned ourselves with the best guides in the industry as guides can really make or break a trip. We are sorry to hear that you didn't like the ryokan for your night in Hakone. We do our best to provide authentic and unique experiences but understand that it might be difficult to fully realize until you have experienced it firsthand. We do apologize if this experience did not meet your expectations. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback, it truly is invaluable as we are always striving to improve our services.
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