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Some suggestions for tour company:
1. Have a meeting the first night so people can meet and to understand the itinerary, etc.
2. Have all people on the tour stay in downtown Osaka and not out at the airport - it would give us a chance to explore Osaka without an hour each way to Osaka airport hotel.
3. Consider using Shinkansen from Osaka to Hiroshima. It might cost a little more, but we'd have more time for sightseeing and less time on bus. Bus could catch up later with luggage?
4. Day one was a bit daunting. Tokyo is overwhelming. Lunch on our own was a bit difficult for 1st day in a place where very little English is spoken. Maybe we need a little more help to get started.
5. Sad that Himeji castle was closed, but appreciated seeing the rice warehouse village.
6. Tour company does a great job of being flexible to meet people's needs.
7. 27 to 31 people is too many for one guide. Poor Hide-san. That's a lot of people and he handled it very well, but smaller groups would be nice. Break it into two groups.
Thanks for a great Japan tour!
Also, Thanks for wifi on the bus. Note in the itinerary which hotels have in the lobby. Many of us have iPods and cannot plug into the internet access in the rooms, but didn't realize there was a wifi in the lobbies.
I'm sure they were excellent, but considerably different for me.
Hide-san: You are a saint. You handled everything very well and never get upset, even with some very difficult people and situations. You are an excellent tour guide, and a big contribution to Japan tours, Thank you!