My 3 weeks in Japan, organized by this travel agency was incredible! Months later, I am still smiling ear from ear when I think of that trip, in spite of the fact that I traveled alone with a dislocated shoulder, fractured arm and torn muscle.
I fell in the airport in Vancouver en route to Japan. I phoned my travel agency from the Vancouver hospital and they spoke with the hospital staff to determine how my trip had to be altered in order to accommodate my reduced mobility.There were changes in accommodations, activities, restaurants, travel etc. But, when I arrived in Tokyo a day late, a new adjusted itinerary was ready. Quite remarkable.
Personal guides and drivers were of the highest order.
My main interests were contemporary art, architecture and food. My expectations were exceeded in every respect.
The 3 major highlights for me were:
The Kusama exhibit in Tokyo where I spent the entire day.
Hiroshima memorial which left me totally emotionally drained.
Naoshima where I spent 3 days.
The people and culture of Japan affected me deeply. There is no tipping in Japan, so the extraordinary care I received from guides, drivers and total strangers was impressive. People went out of their way 'because that's how people treat people'.
That I experienced the extraordinary variety and quality of Japanese food is a reflection on the attention to detail exhibited by the travel agency and by the very attentive guides.
Following my trip to the Hiroshima Memorial, I told my guide that I could not do anything more. Instead of returning me to my hotel and taking the rest of the day off, she took me to her home and did a tea ceremony for me; showed me her collection of kimonoes, shared her oragami with me etc. By the time she was done with me, I was 'back in the real world'.
There were many stories like that. No wonder I smile when I think of Japan.
Be more careful in the airport!!
The original plan did not have every day with a private guide and driver, but following the injury, I had them every day.
Because of the lack of English (even on hotel menus), having a private guide every day in Japan was well worth whatever the cost. They could also find, much more quickly than I could, private art shows in small galleries. They were also able to introduce me to typical local informal foods that I could not have discovered on my own. They were also very flexible and picked up on my 'likes and dislikes' and adjusted my itineraries appropriately.
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