My family and I had an amazing 2 week trip to Japan. I highly recommend the travel company we used, and would use them again. Our travel agent was responsive, helpful, and worked with us to craft a unique trip that fit our interests, which was a bit tricky considering our group of 6 was made up of 3 generations ranging in age from 3 to 68!
We visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Naoshima/Teshima, and Kanazawa and focused particularly on art and gardens. The agency matched us with friendly and informative guides in Tokyo and Kyoto, and organized all of our lodging and rail travel throughout our time in Japan. Our trip didn't feel like a standard tour--the tour agency really put in extra effort to craft unique experiences--from our stay in a traditional machiya residence in Kyoto to securing us rooms at the Benesse House in Naoshima, to making kid-friendly recommendations on things to see/do. They even took the extra effort to ensure that we had side-by-side rooms in places where we were in separate hotel rooms. Plus, the reading materials they put together for us that detailed each location were helpful and spot on.
Even when we ran into a little travel scheduling glitch while on the trip, our agent was responsive and immediately worked with our guides in Japan to re-book rail passes to ensure we were able to visit all of our desired sites.
Our visit to Japan surpassed expectations, and much of that was do to the preparation work that went into crafting our trip.
Visiting the museums and art sites in Naoshima and Teshima was a highlight of the trip. The islands were fun for everyone to explore via walking or rented bikes, the kids love playing on the shore, the museums were top notch, and the Benesse House hotel was lovely. We were a bit worried about the 4 trains plus ferry that we needed to take to get there, but traveling in Japan is so pleasant and all our trains were on time and the transfers were easy to navigate.
Another highlight was the traditional machiya residence we stayed in for 4 nights in Kyoto. It was great for all 6 of us in our family to stay in one house together, and we enjoyed being based in a neighborhood where we could eat and shop with locals.
Kanazawa is a lovely town. The pace was a bit slower, the food was delicious and we really enjoyed the museums and sites. We wish we had spent one more day here!
Based on the amount of time we had, I think the trip was as good as it could have been. If we did it again I would maybe stay one less day in Tokyo in and effort to try and squeeze another day in Naoshima. Naoshima felt more like a relaxing resort, and we needed a bit more downtime in the middle of the trip to rest and enjoy the view!
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