Posts Tagged ‘Nara’

Thanks for the Brilliant Job

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Good morning Olivia,
 
We all wanted to pass on our thanks for the brilliant job you did in planning our holiday in Japan. Everything went really well. But  we would have liked to have had more time there!! We all want to go back to different spots to look in more depth.
 
We decided to use our Rail passes for everything,as we enjoyed the trains so much.Especially the wide view Hida trains which we decided we preferred over the bullet train. Much more space,and great for the views,which of course were stunning through the Alps.
 
Loved both the ryokan style hotels of course. But we were also very impressed with our budget hotels. In particular, the Shinjuku Washington Hotel scored top points for location-local shops, eateries; proximity to tourist info at Tokyo local government building; the station close by; drop off from the airport bus at the hotel door-great after a long flight; convenience store and cafes in the building; its own laundromat; quietness; and wonderfully helpful staff who even came up and opened the window with a special tool for me as I found the heating stifling [same in all hotels but had opening windows, thank goodness] everywhere indoors.
 
Also you arranging 2 rooms for most of the trip was a great idea giving us that extra space.
 
Only disappointment was APA Hotel Kyoto Ekimae. A bit shabby, window  over a stairwell, poor room layout as compared with the others we stayed in, but worst was very disinterested and unhelpful staff- we almost missed our Nara tour because they failed to give us clear directions as to where we had to go and how to get to pickup point for the tour!!
 
We have already recommended you and JTB to many people. 
 
Again many thanks,
 
Susan, Adrian and Zoe.

Thank you for your efforts

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Hello Olivia,
 
We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 weeks in Japan.
Just to recap a little, we spent the first 4 nights in Tokyo (Shiba Park Hotel); the next 2 in Yudanaka (Ryokan Biyu no Yado); 4 nights in Kyoto (Ryokan Hatoya); 4 nights in Osaka staying with Japanese friends; 3 nights in Hiroshima 1 in Kurashiki and, our final 2 nights in Tokyo at Shiba Park Hotel again.
In Tokyo, we had two pre-arranged tours you booked for us.  A half-day Tokyo tour and a full day Mt Fuji / Hakone tour.  Both of these tours were excellent.  As we were travelling with our 11yo daughter, having English-speaking tour guides made everything so much easier for her … and for us too.
Shiba Park Hotel continues to be a friendly, comfortable and conveniently located as well.
I’ve already mentioned Yudanaka and Ryokan Biyu no Yado.  What a wonderful little town and a brilliant inn.  The Snow Monkey park was my wife’s choice, so I didn’t know what to expect.  However, the two nights we spent there could easily have become ten! 
We had the best time there with Yuki, Masao and Craig.  They couldn’t do enough for us.
Kyoto and Ryokan Hatoya was a different story.  This was my third visit to Japan, and third to Kyoto so, I’d seen most of the touristy things already.  My wife and daughter enjoyed it though.
Ryokan Hatoya was excellently located, so close to the station.  It was very comfortable.  Some of the staff spoke quite good English, but it was hit-and-miss as to whether they’d be on duty when you needed them.  Their onsen was good too.
One area that was curious to us was breakfasts.  Not only at Hatoya, but it was highlighted there.  There seems to be a notion that Westerners eat huge breakfasts.  Here, and at Yudanaka, our breakfasts were far, far bigger than we could eat.  It resulted in a lot of wasted food and a feeling that we’d ‘let down’ our hosts.
My last visit to Japan was 18 years ago and, back then, the breakfasts were not nearly as big as they seem to have become.  Maybe there could be some education of accommodation providers to offer a ‘tick the box for what you’d like’ for the set breakfasts.
Some of the places we stayed at, offered buffet breakfasts (Shiba Park Hotel and APA in Kurashiki).  We found that a good option too.
While in Kyoto, we did a day trip to Arashiyama.  This was a very pleasant, easily accessed area.  The unfortunate part for us was that we chose a long weekend to be there.  Naturally, that meant we had several thousand of our closest friends there too.  Oh well, you can’t do much about that!
If you were lucky enough to be there on an average weekday, it would be quite scenic and a lovely day out.
Apart from the very well conducted Kyoto/Nara all day tour, we also found Nishi-Honganji Temple; walked the Gion District and found some great places to eat.
Can’t say too much about Osaka.  We stayed in the home of friends in the southern suburb of Yao.  They showed us around their town, mainly the Tennoji area and, we went to Horyuji Temple, one of Japan’s oldest temples and a truly amazing place!  On top of that, we saw the Osaka Aquarium, Tempozan Harbour Village and Osaka Castle.
Our daughter loved all these.  Tempozan Village was new to all of us and the Ferris wheel afforded great views of the city.
In Hiroshima, we did all the usual things; the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Peace Park, Shukkeien Garden (beautiful … and so close to Flex too!) and, Miyajima (always good to visit).
 
Next stop was an over-nighter in Kurashiki.  In hindsight, I’d not recommend an overnight stay in this town unless there was no other choice.
The Canal Area of town is beautiful and well worth a day trip, even a long day trip to take in as much as possible.  However, we didn’t find too much else to interest us in the 24 hours we had there.
Forget the Museum of Natural History … it seemed like it hadn’t been updated since it opened in the ‘80’s.
From Kurashiki, we went back to Tokyo and the Shiba Park Hotel for our final two nights.  It was nice to be back in an area we knew well.  Jane and Mia went to Disneyland on the following day, while I checked out some motorcycle shops.
 
On our last day, with an evening flight home, we just took things nice and easy, got to the airport early, shopped, ate and, thought of what awaited us at home.
We had a fantastic trip, made so much easier by the efforts of yourself and JTB.  Thank you for your efforts … especially after we re-arranged everything following the March disaster.
Regards,
 
Jeff & Jane and Mia

Thank you for the wonderful assistance.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Hello Yoko:
 
Thank you for the wonderful assistance provided for my recent trip.
 
I will send to you a copy of my email to the Park Hotel in Tokyo – truly, the best hotel staff I’ve met. an ideal location – close to the Ginza, Shimbashi JR station, Shimbashi and Shiodome subway stations,  Shimbashi monorail (to the Big Sight) and access to Shinkansen lines.  All staff were extremely kind and helpful – it is very pleasing that from the front desk through to the house staff, everyone was cheerful and bright – and quirky in a contented way.
 
The ryokan at Kyoto (RYOKAN AZUMAYA KYOTO)  was marvelous experience – if at all possible, could you please thank them again for the three night stay?  I did very well sleeping on a futon!
The JR Pass was very advantageous.
 
I was bowled over by the fullness of spirit and decency of Japanese people everywhere – many very happy memories – highlights include a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin by the Bavarian State Opera, with Kent Nagano conducting, at the NHK Hall; horse races at Keiba and Nakayama (the international race meeting last Sunday was spectacular); ramen cooks smiling graciously at my left handed misuse of chopsticks; the culture of Kyoto, buzz of Tokyo and sereneness of Nara; smiling policemen and policewomen; the Prada exhibition at the Museum of Western Art and ukiyo-e and the overall reverence of the aesthetic in everyday life; the amazing food (I love gyozo!); the respect at the core of the Japanese life; wonderful late summer weather; the sheer joy of Japanese individuals; and being chided by a monk for smoking in the grounds of a Shrine at Nikko.
 
There is some hope of possible business with an Osaka based company, Kalita, which manufactures coffee making equipment, and if further progress is made, I would like to contact you regarding future travel to Japan.
 
Like a good restaurant, I have had a most pleasing small taste of a sample, and there remain many further items on the menu.
 
Once again, arigato gozaimasu,
 

Tom

What a fabulous time we have had

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Hi Clement:

As our Japan holiday is coming to a close we wanted to let you know what a fabulous time we have had. We managed to find all the hotels, do most of the sights you suggested and even tried the food you recommended. We spent today in Nara and what a great time we had. We walked everywhere in a bright sunny day and really enjoyed the city. When we were at theTodaiji Temple it seemed every school in Japan was having a field trip there – they sure were noisy but otherwise very well behaved.

Our Alpine Route went very well and we were glad we had the night’s rest at Murodo before completing the trip. We did both the walks, the first day was lovely and sunny, the next grey and rainy but both were enjoyable.

Our hotel here in Kyoto is great – we are in the newer section and it is quite lovely. Also appreciate being so close to the station, and what a fabulous station it is.

Hope you enjoy your experience of the Alpine Way.

Arthur and Marilyn

Thank you so much for your help.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Dear Lily,

We had the most wonderful time in Tokyo and Kyoto. Thank you so much for your help in finding the right accomodation and guided tours. I am sure we will be back to explore more of this beautiful country.

We absolutely enjoyed our stay at Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo. Everything was just perfect from the room service to the room itself. We would definitely stay there again.
Both tours (Tokyo Morning Tour and Mt. Fuji/Hakone Day Tour) were fantastic and the lunch was delicious.

The rooms at New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto were quite old and the matresses very worn out, but the rooms were clean. We stayed in the old part of the hotel for one night, but kindly asked whether we could move to the South Wing which is the new part of the hotel. The staff was very friendly and gave us a great room in the South Wing. This room was great, everything was nice and comfortable.

I can recommend the Maiko Night Tour very much. Watching the Maiko dance was really amazing and the dinner was fantastic, too. Also, we were allowed to ask the Maiko questions which were translated to her.
The Kyoto and Nara Full Day Tour was very interesting (especially Nara).

And thank you so much for recommending us to go to Arashiyama to see the Bamboo Grove.

To sum it up, I think it was a great mix between going on guided tours and exploring the cities on our own.

Kind Regards,
Sabrina