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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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96 Reviews

  • Reviewed May 2018
    Helen Polom

    Ancient and Modern Japan

    A wonderful trip , accompanied by a great bunch of fellow travellers and a guide who made it her job to ensure that we all got the best out of it. We could not possibly have achieved so much in so short a time without the company of our exceptional guide Ayaka who just made everything work like clockwork in the nicest possible way. The whole trip was truly exceptional. Excellent hotel accommodation in Kyoto and Tokyo. The Ryokans are quirky and a good experience of yet another cultural difference. The food at the ryokans was amazing, beautifully presented and a feast for the senses.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day provided us with an inspirational moment- In Kyoto the beautiful garden at the Silver Palace, coming across a Geisha in the lamplight outside a tea house, exploring tiny Zen gardens at the minor temples, waiting to begin the most beautifully arranged food all of which is completely alien in looks and flavour. Tokyo, a city of contrasts. It is epic in size and yet manageable via its incredible transport system. Something weird and wacky on every corner. Owl cafes??? Japan has the appearance of familiarity and yet is so culturally different.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka was energetic and enthusiastic. Always on hand to help us make the most of every moment of the trip. Her attention to detail was second to none, ensuring that we managed the busy itinerary and navigated transport systems with ease. In the major cities she provided us with a guide and a transport map that she had annotated with the major sites and suggestions for quirky areas to visit. Always with a smile and an infectious laugh. She gave her time to every person on the trip ensuring that we all gained a personal experience of her country. Her knowledge and information giving was always just enough for us to gain an insight and understanding of the sight or area we were visiting yet she was always willing to expand further to individuals with specific questions. Ayaka was an excellent guide and we would not hesitate to recommend her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a lot of walking and the pace is fast so you need comfortable and water proof shoes Take an umbrella or buy one when you arrive. When it rains it can be torrential! Be prepared for early starts and very long days. You will often not return to the hotel before 9pm. If you have particular interests research them before you go and your guide will help you to locate shops or museums. Take a good guide book as you will have a free day in Kyoto and another in Tokyo. If you are on the group flight home you will not leave the hotel until 5pm so you have effectively a 2nd free day. Your guide will also be incredibly helpful. Just ask. Breakfasts are not provided. Eating out is possible but local stores sell yoghurts, fruit and some even oats and muesli so easy to have breakfast in your room. The local bakeries are fantastic. The Akibukuro station close to the Tokyo Hotel has an excellent supermarket and takeaway food dept. Consider adding additional days to the end of your trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was one of our best. If we didn't have the rest of the world to explore we would return to Japan next year!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    channa ariyadasa

    JOYOUS Japan

    i have been fortunate in doing many trips around the world and i would say that Japan is one of the top 3 countries - why the trip covers the old and extensive past history of Japan - from Shoguns (rather violent times but magnificent buildings, and beautiful artwork) to Hiroshima (moving), and the modern with Tokyo, a city of 13million, and clearly the inspiration for Blade Runner neon city (but without the fog) Japanese people, polite, honesty, impeccable service (only place where you really want to leave a tip - but not allowed too as considered rude), always helpful to lost tourist. I have never visited a country where i have felt so safe at any time of the day

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Hiroshima display was moving. The Silver pavilion in Kyoto, its makes you realise a garden does not have to be just lawn, so beautiful and peacefull But I come back to the Japanese people, I dropped my watch at a Station and some young person ran after me to hand back the watch to me and didnt even wait for me to say thank you

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka Tsukamoto Clearly in the top 3 of tour leaders i have had with Exodus (around 20 trips) the effort she put in to make sure the trip was wonderful was amazing. On our days off - she spent time making sure we could see everything we wanted and the best way to achieve it i mentioned, just in passing, whether there was an english language Japanese paper - next day there was one at my hotel door we where given guides for each city and in each guide, by hand, each page was circled with things of interest and what would be covered in the tour and where we could go on our days off Ayaka is a very lovely person and was laughing all the time - we were very very lucky to have her Channa

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In Toyko there is two underground companies (Metro/ Toel) and i recommend instead of I/c Pass that you purchase from the ticket office , a metro/toel pass (800 yen- if you have your passport, 900 yen otherwise). Though you can get unused money back from I/C card for 200 yen fee - i found that i kept hopping on and off the tube (easiest way to navigate the city) and would have saved money with the pass Bring an umbrella and good waterproof for the daybag - when it rains it rains heavy all day - there is a reason why Japan is so lush and green
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Gillian Waters

    Fascinating culture, country, food & people

    What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation. What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people, culture, efficiency of the transportation system and the food. We organised a trip ourselves to see the Sumo which was excellent and a major highlight. We adored Kyoto and the geishas, the little old streets and the Noku hotel was our favourite of the trip. We loved the alps and the scenery too. Our favourite temple of the trip was a slightly weird one on Miyajimi island which our guide recommended- excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely brilliant. Very friendly, organised, great sense of humour, always made sure everyone was OK and knew how to get to things they wanted to do in their spare time. She was hilarious, great fun and showed us many thinfs we would never have seen on our own. Would have liked to have known a bit more about Japanese peopke’s lives and how things work e.g. health service but it’s very difficult when using public transport. It’s not like being on a bus for hours with the whole group when such information coud be shared with everyone at the same time. Ayaka was always happy to answer our individual questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Hakone trip. We didn’t and regretted it. I think it should be part of the itinerary rather than an option. Trip notes need updating. Easy to obtain cash from Seven Eleven stores so you don’t need to being loads of cash. We used cards quite easily for meals etc, just not small purchases. We spent a lot less than expected. Wifi was excellent in all types of lodgings. Tip! Use the hotel’s mobile phone in Tokyo and fiwnload the Tokyo metro and google maps. Brilliant! Saved us a lot of time. Tip! Buy a 2 or 3 day metro/subway card. It aaves a lot of money and makes moving around a lot eadier. You need your passport to purchase one though. Book Sumo tickets if it’s on. Very interesting and brilliant fun.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Gillian Waters

    Fascinating culture, country, food & people

    What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation. What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people, culture, efficiency of the transportation system and the food. We organised a trip ourselves to see the Sumo which was excellent and a major highlight. We adored Kyoto and the geishas, the little old streets and the Noku hotel was our favourite of the trip. We loved the alps and the scenery too. Our favourite temple of the trip was a slightly weird one on Miyajimi island which our guide recommended- excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely brilliant. Very friendly, organised, great sense of humour, always made sure everyone was OK and knew how to get to things they wanted to do in their spare time. She was hilarious, great fun and showed us many thinfs we would never have seen on our own. Would have liked to have known a bit more about Japanese peopke’s lives and how things work e.g. health service but it’s very difficult when using public transport. It’s not like being on a bus for hours with the whole group when such information coud be shared with everyone at the same time. Ayaka was always happy to answer our individual questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Hakone trip. We didn’t and regretted it. I think it should be part of the itinerary rather than an option. Trip notes need updating. Easy to obtain cash from Seven Eleven stores so you don’t need to being loads of cash. We used cards quite easily for meals etc, just not small purchases. We spent a lot less than expected. Wifi was excellent in all types of lodgings. Tip! Use the hotel’s mobile phone in Tokyo and fiwnload the Tokyo metro and google maps. Brilliant! Saved us a lot of time. Tip! Buy a 2 or 3 day metro/subway card. It aaves a lot of money and makes moving around a lot eadier. You need your passport to purchase one though. Book Sumo tickets if it’s on. Very interesting and brilliant fun.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Gillian Waters

    Fascinating culture, country, food & people

    What we loved about the trip: travelling by excellent, clean & efficient public transport rather than buses. Good mix of tempkes, activities and scenery. Noku hotel in Kyoto was our favourite hotel, excellent location. The people were very friendly, courteous, respectful and helpful. Loved Kyoto and the alps. Tokyo was very tiring. Our guide Ayaka Tsukamoto was very friendly, extremely helpful, great sense of humour, brilliant organisational skills and imparted the right amount of infirmation. What we didn’t like about the trip: Only organise one meal in the first Ryokan instead of 2. The second Ryokan banquet meal was good but the accommodation was very, very old, tired and not very nice at all. The onsens were disappointing too. The description of these experiences didn’t match the reality. Loved the idea of staying in a Ryokan but you need to find better ones, maybe with a nice garden.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people, culture, efficiency of the transportation system and the food. We organised a trip ourselves to see the Sumo which was excellent and a major highlight. We adored Kyoto and the geishas, the little old streets and the Noku hotel was our favourite of the trip. We loved the alps and the scenery too. Our favourite temple of the trip was a slightly weird one on Miyajimi island which our guide recommended- excellent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely brilliant. Very friendly, organised, great sense of humour, always made sure everyone was OK and knew how to get to things they wanted to do in their spare time. She was hilarious, great fun and showed us many thinfs we would never have seen on our own. Would have liked to have known a bit more about Japanese peopke’s lives and how things work e.g. health service but it’s very difficult when using public transport. It’s not like being on a bus for hours with the whole group when such information coud be shared with everyone at the same time. Ayaka was always happy to answer our individual questions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Hakone trip. We didn’t and regretted it. I think it should be part of the itinerary rather than an option. Trip notes need updating. Easy to obtain cash from Seven Eleven stores so you don’t need to being loads of cash. We used cards quite easily for meals etc, just not small purchases. We spent a lot less than expected. Wifi was excellent in all types of lodgings. Tip! Use the hotel’s mobile phone in Tokyo and fiwnload the Tokyo metro and google maps. Brilliant! Saved us a lot of time. Tip! Buy a 2 or 3 day metro/subway card. It aaves a lot of money and makes moving around a lot eadier. You need your passport to purchase one though. Book Sumo tickets if it’s on. Very interesting and brilliant fun.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Debra Friezner-Blanc

    Cycling through cherry blossoms

    Japan- an incredibly fascinating country with a culture like no other. The 2 week bike trip was a wonderful way to start to get to know Japan. Of course cycling is the best way to travel anywhere but having guides that explain their beloved country, teach you some of its culture, try to teach you the social skills that the Japanese excel at, getting you to test all the interesting food, giving history lessons and nature lessons, explaining the Shinto or Buddhist religion all the while giving you a great cycling experience makes the entire experience beyond memorable. The choice of the route gave us a good variety places to see. Staying in the Japanese inns ( ryokans) was amazing and definitely a must on any Japan trip. The food is an experience all on its own and if you are a fish lover than you will be in paradise. I really felt that the trip was complete and didn't just focus on one element of Japan so I never felt that I had too much of any one thing which was great. The description of the tour corresponded to what the trip really was and that is always appreciated. In the end, I didn't have too many preconceived notions of what I would be seeing and I can tell you that I was constantly amazed and ended up having enormous respect for the Japanese and their way of life. I thought my own country of Switzerland was well run but Japan wins on that respect. Kudos to the people of Japan and their being so courteous towards us tourists. Weeks later I am still feeling the effects of this trip and it is wonderful. Oh and thanks to Mother Nature for blessing us with the cherry blossoms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment for me was anything involving how their society functions. The quietness on the public transport ( no talking on cell phones), how orderly the cities are in what could be chaos, the esthetic of beauty in every detail, the cleanliness, the courteousness everywhere, the most amazing toilets, the taking off of shoes, the lack of crime, the precision of the trains or metros, and I can go on and on. I was just gobsmacked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well is there a word better than incredible to describe Tatsuya or Mitch? Tatsuya, besides being a really interesting person with a very subtle sense of humor, was really a wonderful guise. Very attentive to our needs and our safety and an amazing sense of organization. Not easy getting a group through crowded metro stations and onto the bullet trains or biking through a city but they made it easy. He has a great wealth of knowledge of all aspects of Japan and really explained things well. I immediately had confidence in him and therefore didn't really need to think about anything other than riding my bike and experiencing Japan. Mitch and Tatsuya were a great team and this being a first run trip makes it even more unbelievable at how well run it was. They both had a huge amount of patience with us and stayed calm at all times and I know that they are always thinking of the next part of the trip and that their work is never done but I never felt this. They took great care of us and I appreciate how attentive they were with me being a vegetarian. Highly recommend these guides and I thank them for the fabulous experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One of the advantages of Japan is that on many of the nights in the inns you wear kimono like robes- so you don't need that many clothes other than cycling. As far as the Japanese baths the women and men bathe separately which wasn't very clear in the instructions and do follow the pre- bathing ritual if there are Japanese there at the same time. If you are vegetarian it can be difficult at times but do buy nuts at the convenience stores to compensate for some lack of protein. Being vegan here would be quite difficult.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing left to add. Great trip once again with Exodus.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Margot Halliday

    Ancient and Modern Japan

    Very interesting trip using public transport to get around. We got a fascinating insight into the culture of Japan and enjoyed the variety of cities visited in contrast with a lovely few days spent in the mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The temples in Kyoto, particularly the Golden Temple. Loved walking in the Alps which was so beautiful in peach blossom season. Takayama and staying in the ryokan was interesting. Hakone with it's views of Mt Fuji was a great day trip from Tokyo. The markets and shops were fascinating with everything so beautifully packaged and presented.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka was incredibly enthusiastic and friendly and went the extra mile to ensure we all individually got the most out of our trip. She marked up my Tokyo map with good cafes so I could enjoy my daily dose of caffeine and ensured we tried every type of Japanese food! She even accompanied some of us on free days which saved us so much time trying to work out which trains to catch. Her infectious laugh kept us all smiling all the way!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Found everyone extremely helpful and polite and willing to point you in the right direction so it's hard to get lost. The toilets are amazingly clean but lots have no handtowels as locals bring heir own. Bring cash as cards not widely used. Our luggage transfers all worked very smoothly for the few days we had a day bag only and cases were ready and waiting for us when we got to the hotels.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I went with British Airways from Heathrow and the flight timings were much better than the group flights and the same price.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Reg Odbert

    Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018

    We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived. The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us. We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day. Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We enjoyed the great variety of sights , food and culture. Probably the most memorable feature was the general high level of cleanliness and efficiency of the transport systems.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka is an exceptionally able guide. She is knowledgeable, kind, efficient and she has an admirable command of the English language. The whole trip ran 'like clockwork' because Ayaka had clearly worked very hard behind the scenes purchasing tickets, organising itineraries, arranging additional trips at the request of members of the group, and ensuring that each individual's needs were accommodated. At all times Ayaka was polite and humerous and her infectious laugh and enthusiasm is a great attribute. She managed to impart a lot of information to us at all of the historic sites and she explained so many features about culture and food. We feel that Ayaka has a very bright future in the tourism industry and that she is one of the nicest and best guides that we have ever met. Please convey our thanks and appreciation to Ayaka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Bring fewer clothes as it is easy to get laundry done 2. Do not bring an umbrella as all the hotels lend them to visitors. 3. Enjoy all of the food because it is all lovely. 4. Relax and explore the cities which feel very safe and clean. 5. Although the railway maps appear daunting, it is very easy to use the metros to explore the cities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent trip that at first glance of the Trip Notes appears expensive. However, there is a lot of expensive rail travel and high quality hotels included in the itinerary. And, once in Japan, variety of food is excellent and eating does not have to be expensive. We didn't think that this would be a good trip for Vegans!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Reg Odbert

    Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018

    We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived. The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us. We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day. Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We enjoyed the great variety of sights , food and culture. Probably the most memorable feature was the general high level of cleanliness and efficiency of the transport systems.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka is an exceptionally able guide. She is knowledgeable, kind, efficient and she has an admirable command of the English language. The whole trip ran 'like clockwork' because Ayaka had clearly worked very hard behind the scenes purchasing tickets, organising itineraries, arranging additional trips at the request of members of the group, and ensuring that each individual's needs were accommodated. At all times Ayaka was polite and humerous and her infectious laugh and enthusiasm is a great attribute. She managed to impart a lot of information to us at all of the historic sites and she explained so many features about culture and food. We feel that Ayaka has a very bright future in the tourism industry and that she is one of the nicest and best guides that we have ever met. Please convey our thanks and appreciation to Ayaka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Bring fewer clothes as it is easy to get laundry done 2. Do not bring an umbrella as all the hotels lend them to visitors. 3. Enjoy all of the food because it is all lovely. 4. Relax and explore the cities which feel very safe and clean. 5. Although the railway maps appear daunting, it is very easy to use the metros to explore the cities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent trip that at first glance of the Trip Notes appears expensive. However, there is a lot of expensive rail travel and high quality hotels included in the itinerary. And, once in Japan, variety of food is excellent and eating does not have to be expensive. We didn't think that this would be a good trip for Vegans!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Reg Odbert

    Exodus Trip AOP 11-25 April 2018

    We enjoyed the entire trip from the moment that we arrived. The varied scenery, the culture and the history were all fascinating for us. We enjoyed the great variety of lovely food that we had every day. Ayaka, Our guide, was superb and she made the whole experience memorable and most enjoyable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We enjoyed the great variety of sights , food and culture. Probably the most memorable feature was the general high level of cleanliness and efficiency of the transport systems.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka is an exceptionally able guide. She is knowledgeable, kind, efficient and she has an admirable command of the English language. The whole trip ran 'like clockwork' because Ayaka had clearly worked very hard behind the scenes purchasing tickets, organising itineraries, arranging additional trips at the request of members of the group, and ensuring that each individual's needs were accommodated. At all times Ayaka was polite and humerous and her infectious laugh and enthusiasm is a great attribute. She managed to impart a lot of information to us at all of the historic sites and she explained so many features about culture and food. We feel that Ayaka has a very bright future in the tourism industry and that she is one of the nicest and best guides that we have ever met. Please convey our thanks and appreciation to Ayaka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Bring fewer clothes as it is easy to get laundry done 2. Do not bring an umbrella as all the hotels lend them to visitors. 3. Enjoy all of the food because it is all lovely. 4. Relax and explore the cities which feel very safe and clean. 5. Although the railway maps appear daunting, it is very easy to use the metros to explore the cities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent trip that at first glance of the Trip Notes appears expensive. However, there is a lot of expensive rail travel and high quality hotels included in the itinerary. And, once in Japan, variety of food is excellent and eating does not have to be expensive. We didn't think that this would be a good trip for Vegans!