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"Unbelievable fresh air high amongst the Nagano, Central Alps."

Kento Shimazaki Fukuoka Prefecture

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Hi Scott, Apologies that this took so long to get back to you with, but we were busy. In general I want to tell you that the trip met all our expectations wit margin. You did a wonderful job covering all the details and making sure nothing fell in the crack. We had a fabulous experience for all 30 Days! The hotels were all first class with very attentive staff other than the last one in Tokyo which was much more of a business hotel. Nothing against the Park Hotel for being what it is, but after such delightful, attentive service everywhere else, it wasa bit of a let down. The Ryokan and Onsen experience was beyond words and truly gave us the taste of Japanese culture which we were looking for. I particularly like the Asaba Ryokan. We will remember them for the rest of our lives. Of the other hotels,my favorite was the Kanra in Kyoto. The staff there went way beyond anything necessary to make things right. We were comp'd a bottle of plum wine, a bottle of sake, and a glass of Scotch whiskey after commenting on the first morning after breakfast thatthe service of de-caf coffee was very slow - which they fixed immediately and wasn't a problem on the rest of the days we were there. The guides were very knowledgeable and all of them had sufficient English language skills. On occasion it took a little adjusting to tune our ears to each new guide's accent when we first met them (particularly with Endo-san in Kyoto), but once we gotused to each of them, everything was fine. Toshi-san on the Izu peninsula was particularly flexible which was a big help because the weather impacted some of the scheduled activities, but he (and the driver) improvised and we had a couple unscheduled experiencesthat were delightful as a result. We were very impressed with his ability to change on the fly and clearly his many years of experience as a guide were apparent. One general comment of a situation we ran into Hiroshima when attempting to pick up pre-paid passes was the need to present our passports which we did not have with us as they were stored in the hotel safe. We went back to the hotel to get them, but ageneral note to future travelers that they need to bring their passport (and only a passport was acceptable photo ID) with them when claiming pre-paid tickets would safe the back and forth we experienced. The food in the included meals was all very delicious and offered a range of Japanese cuisine that was stellar, although I must admit the runny tofu in the Koyasan guest house was quite a challenge to pick up with chop sticks. I think I ate more flowersin those three days than in the rest of my life, but we compensated by finding a little coffee/espresso shop in town that had fabulous chocolate croissants and espresso that washed all the flowers and runny tofu away Emoji. The dinner at the Kurishiki Ryokan was extra special. I also want to thank you for the gift you gave us in Kyoto. The sake holder and cups are now proudly displayed on a shelf in our dining room. The trip was an in-depth, varied, broad yet focused exploration of Japan and we enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you so much for your extra efforts resurrecting our trip after the changes three months before departure. You are clearly a master of your craft and we will recommend you and your company to any of our friends who want to travel to Japan. Happy Holiday season and thanks again, Ron... READ MORE

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