Golden route tour in Japan, private departure
Description of Golden route tour in Japan, private departure
Japan’s so-called Golden Route is the best way to introduce yourself to the country if you’ve never been before. Take a journey across Honshu, Japan’s main island and take in the country’s most popular sights.
You’ll fly into Tokyo and spend a mesmerising few days taking in the largest city in the world, and fly out of Osaka at the end of the trip – hopefully after a delicious dose of the city’s famous street food. In between the two, you'll visit the hot spring resorts at Hakone, the rebuilt city of Hiroshima and historic Kyoto.
This is an independent tour, meaning that you’ll travel alone but get full in-country support whenever you need it, plus the help of a tour organiser. You’ll have the use of a pocket WiFi device throughout the trip. This type of tour is perfect for Japan, a country that’s often bewilderingly different for even well-seasoned travellers.
Japan is a country that sits on a knife edge between millennium-old traditions and cutting-edge technology. On one hand: traditional temples, tea ceremonies and sleeping on tatami mats – on the other: street style, skyscrapers and high-speed bullet trains. But to see Japan as a dichotomy is to miss much of it – the gorgeous nature, the peaceful gardens, the tall mountains – and, of course, the food.
PlanetDecreasing your carbon footprint is very important though this can be a bit difficult when traveling. This is why our tours make use of Japan’s amazing mass transportation system from local buses and trains to the super fast bullet train. Not only is this the most environmentally friendly way to travel, it is also the fastest, safest and cheapest. Traveling by train will also let you people watch which put you that much closer to the culture.
Another way our to decrease your carbon footprint is to increase your physical foot steps while on one of our trips. Japan is best seen on foot so we encourage everyone to walk as much as possible and to observe the small details of Japan. We call this ‘sightseeing with your eyes open’. This means that you should not just focus on the must see sights but also on the small sights. An example of this is manhole covers which are uniquely decorated and vary with each town. This might seem trivial, but it is these small details that really connect our travelers to the Japanese culture. One way we make it easy for our travelers to walk is to have them stay at accommodations near mass transit stations, restaurants, and shops whenever possible. This way they can do everything they want without taking a taxi or having to rent a car.
While traveling it is easy to use more disposable products than you would at home. In Japan this can mean using waribashi (disposable chopsticks) instead of carrying your own, or buying water from a vending machine instead of using a reusable water bottle and the like. We encourage our travelers to carry a small bag or backpack with them so they can carry these things with them. If they do not have their own chopsticks then they can easy buy them at any convenient store or grocery story. Most of these chopsticks come in their own portable cases which make it perfect. The nice thing about carrying a bag is you can also use to carry things that you buy and refusing to accept a plastic bag.
PeopleOne of the main reason to travel is to learn about other cultures. This can be a bit complicated if you do not share a language but not impossible. All our trips include information packet that includes an explanation of Japanese culture/etiquette, Japanese phrases and an overview of Japanese history.
Traveling to country where the first language is not English can be exciting and a little intimidating so we encourage our travelers to learn some basic phrases and to use them as often as possible. Fluency is not required but just saying arigato (thanks) or sumimasen (excuse me/I am sorry) will be appreciated, even if the pronunciation is butchered. The Japanese will see that our travelers are not standard tourists but travelers interested in the local culture. This simple effort will open up people and they will be much more willing to help. Your information packet includes basic phrases, pronunciation and how to write it in Japanese. We also send a reading list so travelers can read about Japan which will bring Japan more to life.
Food is a huge part of any culture and this is especially true for Japan. One of the great features of Japanese restaurants is that most of them display plastic replicas of their dishes or have menus with photos. This makes it easy to just wander into any restaurant and order food. Of course this is not something that we organized but is a part of Japan which makes it easy to try new foods. If you have any food allergies we will include a translation card that you can show your server.
Local private guides can add a great deal to your understanding of Japan and the sights you are visiting. The reason why we hire local guides is that they know the area as this is where they live. We are also very critical of our guides and make sure that they are adding value. Before the start of a trip we will send the guides information about the travelers and their travel style. This way the guides can build a sightseeing plan that works for the travelers. Our guides also also very flexible and can adjust the plan to any changes in weather, interests or special events. While sightseeing you will use public transportation as much as possible and will walk quite a bit.
Accommodations will be a mix of traditional ryokans, machiya townhouses, homestays and Western hotels. One of our main concerns is the location of the accommodations. In Tokyo and other big cities we arrange accommodations near major train stations. This gives our travelers easy access to other parts of the destination without having to catch a taxi. It also means that there are restaurants and shop nearby. In smaller destinations we like to have travelers stay near the main sights. For each trip we highly recommend that you spend at least one night in a locally owned ryokan. This is a wonderful cultural experience with one of the highlights being dinner.