5 independent reviews for Nakasendo Trail walking tour, Japan

Reviews for Nakasendo Trail walking tour, Japan

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review 30 Oct 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Staying in ryokans and minshukas and the food provided in the inns was a great experience. Enjoyed the stunning scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light - no need for toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, paste, etc. Use local services where possible to transport bags from village to village, even when the inns don’t offer the service. We found it very helpful to have a Japan Rail Pass, rather than pre-arranged tickets as there was no need to exchange tickets when alternative travel times were required.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely feel it helped the local economy. It also makes it possible for people to walk and use public transport rather than drive.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fabulous. It is a great way to see the countryside, experience the ‘real Japan’ and meet people from all over the world. It was unfortunate that weather meant we couldn’t walk on the last day but these things happen. My only disappointment was the lack of communication from the operator regarding this. Having been advised on the second last day that the trail was open and walkable, we only heard from another walker that one of the guides had spoken to some people and advised that heavy rain has made the last part of the trail hazardous. We could very easily have missed this and gone ahead. Standard communication to all walkers should have been sent out, in my view. That apart, the selection of inns and towns selected for accommodation was excellent. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see more than cities and enjoys being off the beaten track.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your kind words Margaret, we do appreciate this review and all client feedback. We were saddened to learn about your experience regarding the final walk. We encourage guests to contact us directly if they have any concerns; at this point the local authorities had not closed the route, nor issued any information regarding the safety of this trail. Conversely we had received reports of walkers safely completing the trail up until the date of your walk. We do pro-actively reach out to guests in many situations, even when trails have been established to be safe to walk, we do also provide emergency contact details to ensure all guests are able to reach us. We will look at ways to make the most up-to-date information available to all guests further. We hope that this situation did not impact too much on your overall enjoyment of the trail and Japan. Thank you again for joining our tour.

review 18 Jul 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were many great parts but if forced to pick we’d say our stay at the Tsuruya Ryokan and our walk from Karuizawa to Yokokawa

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

(1) Be prepared for some steep ascents & descents.(2) The days can feel rushed at times given the number of connections you need to make to and from the trail. Give yourself plenty of time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We stayed at local inns, used only public transportation, and walked “softly” on the trails.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. The agent was very helpful, even assisting with the airlines to ensure that our “lost” bag arrived safely just a few days into our trip.

review 12 Dec 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It’s difficult to choose a highlight as it was all so varied and interesting! I loved Nara and all the amazing temples there. The meals we had were ridiculously good, especially the farewell meal and the vegan food at the temple lodgings in Koyasan. The post towns on the Nakasendo Trail were beautiful, and some of the traditional lodgings we stayed in were just stunning. Having a room with a view of Mt Ontake was amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This tour may appear more expensive than other similar ones, but the standard of the hotels, the guides, and the included meals were way superior to the tour I took in Japan last year with a different company. I spent far less additional money as so much more was included in the tour.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We stayed in locally-owned traditional hotels for about half the tour. The post towns on the Trail had small shops for souvenirs that were run by elderly locals, so I think we were helping to augment their pensions! We mostly used public transport. The meals that were prepared for us used mostly local seasonal produce. Not sure about conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely brilliant! A great balance between very small towns in the Kiso valley, days spent waking, and the days in big cities staying in western style hotels. Very knowledgeable guides.

review 19 Aug 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The beauty of the Japanese landscape and the friendliness of the people we met. The wonderful foods, some of which we had never experienced before.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Relax and enjoy!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. It was a walking holiday walked so not producing carbon emissions. We bought produce from local people.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a great holiday. Perfectly geared to our abilities. The information pack provided was perfect as well as the communications.

review 11 Apr 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was outstanding and hard to pinpoint a single thing. Experiencing the Onsens, seeing a whole valley flowering with cherry blossom, eating lots and lots of extraordinary food. A guide who was always patient and smiling and couldn't do enough to make sure every single person got what they wanted. Walking though beautiful valleys and mountains..... I could go on and on.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Carry as little as possible - all the ryokans and hotels do provide sleepwear and toiletries and you really need very little. Layers are essential if you go early spring - it went from 27 degrees (sunhat needed) to 12 degrees and windy. In the villages they are still very traditional and covering shoulders is appropriate so t-shirts not vest tops. Take a small pillow. Japanese pillows are often filled with grain and hard to get used to. Choose your level - I did 'active' but could have done 'challenging - however the leisurely pace allowed for lots of photos'. Do bother to learn a few japanese phrases - it is so appreciated. Be chilled about seeing the cherry blossom - nature is fickle!. I went early so didn't expect to see much and the flowering was two weeks early so I was extremely lucky everywhere and it was outstanding. But by the time the next group went sadly it would be over. It is luck so make sure that there are plenty of other things you want to get from your holiday.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely - all the inns were small and very traditional. My group happened to be small so we ate in a range of restaurants all very unique. Tourism is definietly growing and essentail to keep the villages thriving.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The tour company were excellent in every way - from communication at the start when I booked through every aspect. Our guide Taichi was exceptional. Can't rate them highly enough.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Ruth - thank you for taking the time to review our tour. We are delighted that you enjoyed your time with us and hope that we might have the pleasure of welcoming you on another of our trips in the future. Jeremy Spencer

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