Tour groups to Japan

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We are looking for a small group tour to Japan. Has anyone gone with a tour company they would recommend? Gail

We have traveled to Japan at least eight times and never felt we needed a group tour.

It takes a bit of work to make reservations online or by fax for some of the more remote locations. For a first timer, which I'm guessing you are, most of the places you are likely to want to visit can be reached with a Japan Rail pass and hotels can easily be booked through sites like

Thanks so much for answering. Yes, it is our first time and we rarely take tours but we were planning on traveling with friends who said they need structure and we didn't want to be the "responsible structure". But now they may not be going so we will probably go on our own. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated. Did you book guides along the way or do it totally on your own?

Since you will be traveling on your own and not tied to a tour schedule, you might enjoy contacting Japan's Goodwill Tour Guides in advance of your trip to set up meetings in different cities. This would be in addition to regular city-tours you would book from your hotel. This is some information:

I contacted a group when I had a free day in Kyoto and had a nice walk along "The Philosopher's Route" one afternoon. You are responsible for the guides bus fare while he is with you, but most guides will have bus and train passes as a matter of course. I treated my volunteer guide to lunch before we set out, and a coffee afterwards and he was very interesting to talk to on an informal basis.

This is a short article from ITN Magazine on the program:’s-good-will-guides

Thank you. that sounds like a great idea and something we'd really enjoy. We've done walking tours with locals elsewhere, even in NY and Florida, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Totally on our own! Each time and even the first time.
See my private message for further information.

Hello,Anyone planning to travel to Japan might need useful information from this site There are always the Japanese volunteers who are always willing to show you their country and can resort to them for help as I did.Japan is not hard to go round at all. Cheap cost, disciplined people and an admirable culture are what I had to admit.