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Frequently Asked Questions

We are Japan travel experts who provide curated Japan travel experiences. We have over 60 years of combined experience sending travelers on their own to Japan so we know how to get you going in the right direction.

Why do I need this product?

Because you don’t know what you don’t know. Japan is not like any other country in the world when it comes to travel and what you don’t know can make or break you on your trip. For examples, see our FREE TRAVEL  TIPS.

What do you mean by “don’t know what you don’t know”?

Japan really IS different:

  • Did you know that for Cherry Blossom time you need to book your hotels a year in advance!
  • Did you know they are on a completely different cell technology than the rest of the world and your phone may not work everywhere?
  • Did you know that you need to be a citizen to purchase a SIM card?
  • Did you know that there are no porters in train stations?
  • Did you know that your bank or credit card will not work in most bank ATM machines?
  • Did you know that virtually no hotels in Japan (except 5*) have connecting rooms if you are traveling with children and they also have strict occupancy rules and small beds?

These are just a few of the many examples of the types of things the first time traveler to Japan often doesn’t find out until they land. And then it’s too late to plan.

What exactly will I get?

You will receive a 50 (or more!) page PDF loaded with of all the information you need to know to plan your trip, it is chock full of links to relevant websites, travel tips and step-by-step instructions for creating a wonderful trip for yourself and your travel party.

  • Popular destinations
  • Sequencing – so you don’t have to figure out everything yourself. These are tested routes that we’ve used for hundreds of independent travelers.
  • Links to bookings sites for all recommended transfers hotels and activities – you get to choose your own hotels and can find any deals that work for you.
  • Information on train travel – what to know before you go, what to do on-the-ground, how to find schedules
  • Daily touring plan outlines – we’re not a guide book, so we only give you enough information to make informed decisions, but we lay out daily sightseeing plan suggestions that we know work
  • Useful Information about cultural differences, etiquette, tipping, taxis, baggage and more)
  • Curated Japan Signature Information (hotel ratings, ryokans, kaiseki meals, concierge use, and more)
  • Each Daily Itinerary has all the details and logistics you need for a successful trip

Why can’t I just get all this information for free on the internet?

Frankly, you could. If you know where to go to get it (over 50 different websites), where to get it in English, and have over 40 hours of time to dedicate to the task*.

How much time can I save by using your itineraries?

We estimate you’ll save between 30 and 40 hours of time, based on average time spent by a custom travel planner per Japan custom tour project. And remember, these are experts who already know how to find the information and have a full support staff in Japan! You could easily spend 100 hours of research on the internet and get incorrect information.

Is it easy to use your itineraries?

Yes! We have designed our itineraries to narrow down your choices to those we know that work. Each part of your trip can be booked directly just by clicking on the links built into the PDF.

Do you offer support if I’m not sure after I buy the itinerary?

We offer a consultation service that you can buy as a supplement. You’ll speak to an experienced Japan travel planner to help you further navigate your choices and help you make the best plan for you and your travel party.

Who prepared these itineraries?

Custom tour planners from Esprit Travel, one of the most respected custom travel planners for Japan (we have Conde Nast’s Japan Travel expert on our staff) have prepared these itineraries based on a combined 60 years of experience planning travel to Japan.

Why are you selling these itineraries instead of custom itineraries?

Our main business is a boutique operation which allows us to only help a limited number of people each year. We are unable to help a significant number of people who approach us each year. While we refer many people out to a number of our competitors, there are still hundreds and thousands of travelers each year who are better served by planning their own trips (instead of paying a custom travel planner). Frankly – we just love Japan – and we want to make sure that travelers to Japan have the most successful trip possible.  Helping more people to do that is our goal.

How do I choose the right itinerary for me?

We’ve created nine different itineraries that cover the most popular destinations in Japan. The main difference is how long you will be traveling – so we offer them in three different sets: 7-10 days, 10-14 days and 14-days or longer. All you need to do is know how long you will travel and your Curated Japan Itinerary package will include three different itineraries that will work for your trip length.

What if my trip is longer or shorter than these lengths?

For shorter trips, we suggest choosing the shortest itinerary and reducing the days in one of the major cities based on your interests. For trips longer than 14 day you could either choose the 14-day package and allow more time in a few places or you could consider purchasing a Consultation to discuss your needs with one of our travel planners who could advise you best how to adjust the 14-day plan to meet your travel dates.

I’m planning for my family and kids, will your itinerary plans work for us?

We have developed a second product, the Family Travel Supplement, that covers what you need to know when traveling with a family (whether it’s one kid or a multi-generational party).

What’s included in your Family Travel Supplement?

In addition to the “what you don’t know” information (such as no connecting rooms, no rollaways, etc.), we give you ideas of what to consider for each age group of children from infants to teens. Topics include family considerations to take into account before you book hotels, reading lists and tips by age, food and diet issues (including handling food allergies), etc.

How much does it cost?

For our boutique company, we charge up to thousands of dollars for custom itineraries for our premium clients.  This is because of the time and care we put into creating a highly customized itinerary and the staff resources required to book all of the arrangements in Japan.

But the price to plan and book a trip yourself, using information gathered from our years of expertise, is only $99.99 USD.

Our product will allow you to put together a wonderful trip to Japan and avoid the headaches and frustrations of trying to figure out how to make all the travel arrangements on your own. You’ll have our expert guidance and tons of information to make planning easy.

Get yours today! Visit our products page and pick an itinerary for you!

Are your itineraries right for everyone?

We also would like to make clear that these Itinerary plans are not appropriate for all travelers.  If the following situations apply to you, we suggest you choose alternative travel planning services for Japan.

  • Renting a Car: If you are planning to rent a car to drive around Japan, our itineraries will not work as they are timed and based solely on travel by train and public transportation.  Car rental is not something we really recommend without serious research, since you would be driving on the left side of the road ,in a country with limited English signage outside of the major cities and where addresses are notoriously difficult to convey, let alone use in a navigation system.  For a good insight into how addresses in Japan are structured, please see this video:  Japanese Addresses.
  • Multi-generational and Large parties: The difficulties of traveling with large parties in Japan are numerous and more than we can go into with our product.  While the Family Travel Supplement will work for a small nuclear family, if you are traveling with party of more than say, 7, with many ages and varied requirements, you will find it difficult to make a good plan using only these resources.  We suggest contacting a specialist custom travel planner.  You can find a list of these here: Japan Custom Travel Planners.
  • Handicapped or Accessible travel:  Travel to Japan with special needs requires specialized knowledge and contacts. For instance, while travel by train is still recommended, there is only one accessible seat/car per train and it must be reserved in advance so that the proper attendants can be available for boarding and disembarking. This takes significant advance preparation and is beyond the scope of this product.  We suggest contacting a specialist custom travel planner.  You can find a list of these here: Japan Custom Travel Planners.
  • Off the Beaten Path and/or Hiking: These itineraries are designed to go to the places where about 80-90% of tourists will travel on an initial trip to Japan.  If you want to go to any of the islands outside of Honshu (e.g. Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa, Shikoku, etc.) then you will need to check with a specialist company.  We recommend Walk Japan or Oku Japan (hiking) or Inside Japan (regular travel).