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The "Golden Route Tour" (Now:Japan Highlights Tour) offered by the Japan Deluxe Tours was the perfect introduction to Japanese culture.
Representative Yuki was easily accessible by email and phone to promptly answer our last-minute questions, make changes to our itinerary, and provide logistical details for an extra day in Tokyo and Kyoto.
We received our tour package in the mail, which included a detailed color brochure of our itinerary, meal vouchers, tote bags, luggage tags, passport protectors, and city maps of Tokyo and Kyoto.
Thanks to Yuki, we could relax and enjoy a worry-free trip.
(Hotels & Restaurants)
Every hotel was luxurious, clean, and accommodating.
The rooms were fully equipped with hot water brewer for coffee and tea, mini-refrigerator, HDTV, internet access, bathrobe and slippers.
The modern marble bathrooms were equipped with heated bidet toilets, salon-quality toiletries, blow-dryer, razors, cotton swabs, and more.
The sumptuous breakfast buffet included both a Japanese breakfast (udon noodles, grilled salmon, tofu custard, a variety of pickles, fresh sliced fruits, and vegetables) and a Western breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, pastries, and breads).
Our tour package also included delicious lunches and dinners at regional restaurants thoughtfully selected by Mr. Ushiyama.
Highlights included a Kaiseki dinner comprising traditional Japanese soup, salads, pickles, sushi, tempura, noodles, and tofu custard served in an array of beautiful Japanese pottery, and a Shabu-Shabu dinner comprising a hot pot of thinly sliced beef simmering with onions and mushrooms.
We also enjoyed a lunch of hibachi-grilled pork. Foreign foods can sometimes challenge the digestive track, but all of our meals were so fresh that we felt more healthy after taking this trip!
On the Golden Route Tour, everything was novel and interesting, a feast for our senses. Even the rest stops were impressive with fresh foods, super clean restrooms, and fun coffee machines which showed a video of what was happening inside the machine. We explored many ancient temples including Sensoji Temple where a traditional Japanese wedding was being held, the Imperial Palace courtyard, a tea ceremony, an Edo-period Museum with a replica of the Nihonbashi Bridge and a kabuki theater, a kimono textile factory featuring amazing textile artists, live silk worms, and a kimono fashion show, Owakudani sulfur springs where delicious black eggs are boiled in the sulfur water for healthful benefits, a ninja museum in Iga where we experienced a weaponry performance and the revolving doors of a ninja house, a hot spring resort in Hakone which restored our body and soul with a meditative soak in a private outdoor hot spring followed by spa treatments for face, hair, and body, the deer of Todaiji Temple where domesticated deer begged us for crackers, a geisha in Gion rushing from her dorm into a black limousine, and numerous shopping opportunities from Tokyo's modern malls in Ginza and Akihabara to traditional temple kiosks and specialty shops that line the quaint streets of Kyoto.
Our tour bus was very comfortable and expertly driven by the owner, Tsuji-san, who purchased umbrellas for all of us on the day that it rained. We also rode on the famously punctual and fast Shinkansen bullet train, a cruise boat on the Sumida River, a pirate ship on Lake Ashi, and a cable car that offered a birds-eye view of the picturesque Lake Ashi valley.
(Our Tour Guide)
This extraordinary trip would not have been possible without our exceptional tour guide Hidesada Shimazaki who showed us the heart and spirit of Japan with his gracious demeanor and enriching lessons about Japanese culture - music, language, literature, religion, and art. He sang us a traditional Japanese song, read us Moon Princess, and taught us how to fold origami during our bus rides.
We were very fortunate to have Hide-san as our guide to the treasures of Japan.
Our experience with Japan Deluxe Tours was excellent, from start to finish. The Golden Route Tour was a first-class experience that we’ll never forget. Every moment was a treat, a delightful surprise, so much more than we expected. If you're thinking about a trip to Japan , we highly recommend Japan Deluxe Tour for an unforgettable adventure with attention to detail and lots of heart.
Naomi, Highlights of Japan Tour - Tokyo to Osaka - 6/12/2011