This trip was amazing. The tour company put together an excellent itinerary that was exactly what I wanted and then threw in a couple unexpected but highly enjoyable surprises. The agent worked tirelessly to make sure that everything was good to go before I traveled and then went above and beyond during a missed train connection to get me in touch with the personnel at the train station to get me back on track.
I wanted to see temples, shrines, and castles and their was a new one on my itinerary every day. The hotels I was booked for where all top notch. Their detailed transportation schedule got me where I needed to be well ahead of time and made sure as few errors occurred as possible. I wasn't certain at first about doing the self-tour portions, but after I started it, I wouldn't have it any other way. I had the freedom to take as long as I wanted at the sites I visited, see all of their suggestions or none of them.
My favorite part of the trip was to a Shrine outside Kyoto called Fushimi-Inari. It is a mountain shirine with 10,000 Torii gates. I spent an entire morning hiking up and down it seeing all the gates and all the little shrines. Very rarely have I had such a peaceful and enjoyable experience.
I would probably request the avoidance of "night-life" spots on the trip.
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