Posts Tagged ‘Ryokan’

Simply Perfect

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Hi, We have just returned from our 18 day holiday in Japan.

I just wanted to let you know it was the perfect itinerary for us. Our wish list was all ticked off and we feel like our schedule was well planned and timed out for the days we had.

I was travelling with my two teenage girls and 10 yr old son, and we all agree it was truly memorable and great fun. Specifically, we loved the Dynamic Tokyo Tour. We saw so much more in one day than we could have in a much longer holiday or on our own. It was nice to be above ground on the bus for a change, as you see so much incidental scenery from the bus rather than popping out from the subway into a new realm. The Tokyo Dynamic Tour included a wonderful lunch, the yummiest teppanyaki we’d ever had, and wandering the gardens at both the lunch and tea ceremony sights felt like a privilege. All the staff we encountered were generous, caring and humorous. The Nakamise walkway up to Sensoji Temple was such a surprise and we wouldnt have gone if it wasnt part of the tour.

We enjoyed the Mt Fuji trip and agree with Clement that it was a good choice to make that our first day in Japan, I think we would otherwise have wasted a day acclimatising and wandering aimlessly. Being on tour for our first day, forced us out of bed early but more importantly gave us time to get used to the currency, weather, language and ask pertinent questions to a tour guide face to face.

We are grateful for your recommendation to stay at Biyu no Yado Ryokan in Yudanaka. The homestyle feel and traditional meals and accommodation were something we had never experienced. Very memorable for us all to sleep on futons and tatami, and the food surprised us so much. Some of it challenged us to try but everything was delicious (even the dried up salted looking fish that stared up at us from the plate), we agreed it was the best thing we ate all week. From here we enjoyed the snow monkey visit and found two staff; Daniel and Kaori, exceptional hosts.

Most importantly for me, I found all your notes helpful. Validating passes, locating reference numbers for bookings, phone numbers, meeting times etc- it was all so clearly laid out that I was able to enjoy the holiday knowing nothing would go wrong if I followed your instructions. So a big thank you from me, I enjoyed my kids company more for never having to “get stuck”.

Thanks Clement, should we be lucky enough to return to Japan, we will definitely use you guys again.

Warm Regards,
Jodi

Assemblage Musashino

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Hey Paul

We had a great time in Assemblage Musashino. Thanks for the recommendation and making arrangements.
The Ryokan did end up upgrading us to the Shirayuki room above the exemplary service they showed us. We are very happy with their hospitality and your agency. Again, my family thanks you for your efforts.

Kind regards
Richard

Very well done of the recommendations.

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Hi Paul,

Just got into Tokyo, and back into the world of free hotel WiFi. The ryokans may be terrific, but wi-fi isn’t one oftheir strengths..

So far, it has been terrific! All connections worked really well. Everything is so much easier than when I was in Japan last time, about 100 years ago. Lots of English spoken; buses, trains, subways all do signs and announcements in English now. Before there was none of this, and it was quite baffling. Often got off at the wrong stops, and unable to ask anyone. Much general frustration.

Loved the onsen experience. Miyajima and Takayama were very good, but both places were full of foreign tourists. Arima…no-one in the English-speaking world seems to know about it, so we were the only foreigners in the ryokan, and two of the very few in the whole town.

Kosenkaku was a delight. We have never experienced anything quite like it…anywhere.  The service was extraordinary, the food astonishing, the location peaceful with beautiful mountain views. Complete silence, other than the eating, hot tubbing, and sleeping. The whole hotel, from Manager down came out to fare well us.  It was quite moving.

Also, Hiroshima and Tokyo hotels very good. So, very well done of the recommendations.

Regards, Ross

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.

…already planning a next one!

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Hey mate,

Just a big thank you for your help with this one!!!
Pete just phoned to say they LOVED the Ryokan especially! And loved japan! Already planning for feb next year!!

Cheers
Emily

Fantastic Ryokans, Shukubo and Minshuku

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Dear Olivia,

Many thanks for arranging our Oct – Nov trip to Japan, we had a wonderful time and everything went smoothly.  The accommodation was all good, particularly the ryokans, shukubo and minshuku, which were all fantastic.  We cancelled the car hire in Nagasaki as my Japanese friends insisted on taking us to Unzen.  They were convinced that it would be too difficult for us to drive ourselves, even if we had english GPS. 

Regards, Lois & Rhea

Memorable Ryokans

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Hi Olivia

Just a short note to let you know that Phil and I had a fantastic time in Japan. Everything went smoothly. The rail travel was easy, especially as the people were so friendly and helpful. All of the accommodation was great, and in convenient locations.  The ryokans were especially memorable.  The first one in Takayama took a bit of getting used to because it was so different- we made lots of mistakes with shoes and baths but no one seemed to mind too much and it was a great experience.  The second one in Miyajima was absolutely beautiful – huge room and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in!  (I think they may have changed our booking to a western style room).  The food was also wonderful wherever we went, but the meals in the ryokans were particularly good (although at times a bit confusing!)

Thanks again for organising the trip for us.  We are hoping that we can get you to help us to organise another one very soon!

Regards,
Kerry

Takayama – a great opportunity to experience a ryokan

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
We felt blessed when we were greeted by the lovely guide at Osaka airport after a long queue for fingerprinting, face recognition etc. Of course we were weary, and it was a great luxury to be swept to the hotel in a very flash Toyota limo.

Hyatt very good. Room on first Japanese second floor, so a good view of the roof below, but it was very quiet and comfortable. By far the smallest of our three rooms, but great bed, bath and breakfast.

The bike tour was a huge success. Although we had a couple of rain showers we managed to visit all the temples/shrines/palace as well as stopping at a tiny ‘hole in the wall’ for noodles, which is what we had requested.

If you have any clients remotely interested in architecture or art I would certainly include the Miho Museum. It is absolutely breathtaking. Almost worth the trip to Japan, and made so much easier with the car. Again, the blossoms not out, but magnificent.

Cherry blossoms started to really bloom while in Kyoto, and being the weekend the Japanese tourists were out in force, quite a few in national dress.

Takayama – a great opportunity to experience a ryokan. That place also had a great onsen on the ground floor, and contrary to our expectations we were provided with three not one excellent dinners. The first in a private room of their main dining area, the second at Hotel Alice? where we were served slivers of the heavy duty cholestrol steak. Third night another private room in their sushi bar part of the hotel. I would certainly recommend that place. The town also features some very pleasant walks, and of course the famous floats.


Helen

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

I would definitely use your services again

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Hello Yoshi,

My sincere thanks also for all the work you put in to our travel arrangements. We felt well looked after all through the trip, and enjoyed the places we stayed and saw along the way. The Yoshiike Ryokan was a highlight (if only the weather would have allowed us to spend more time in their stunning garden), and next time we would definitely want to spend more time in the Hakone area exploring the region.

I would definitely use your services again, and would be more than happy to recommend you to anyone planning to travel to Japan.

Domo arigato gozaimashita!

Niina

Off course we can support your travel to Japan AND Beyond

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Dear Clem

Thank you for your assistance with my trip. I have returned and I just wanted to say thanks, it all worked out fine.

Italy was absolutely FREEZING but wonderful. Both Venice and Florence are special places. I once spent 6 weeks in Florence and would have happily done that again, just walking around and going to look at all the art. We found a couple of lovely places to eat there to. We also got to go to the Chianti wine region and to one of the wineries, which was special.

Osenkaku Ryokan was special and Michael loved it, as of course did I. He was a bit doubtful until we got there, complaining of the travelling, but then he got in the water and he was sold! The staff were wonderful too, as was the food. More of the staff speak a few words of English now than before, and I think it was a deliberate move on their behalf.

I think Michael now has the travel bug, so we have to pay for this holiday so that we can travel again. Certainly, I plan to go back to Japan later this year! I have to start planning it. That is the only way I can cope with being back after a holiday, to plan the next one!

Best wishes and thank you for taking an interest

Judith

Onsen Experience

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Hi Clem

Well, I’m back!! Japan was fantastic!!

All the accommodation was great. Good to be back to a soft bed now though, that’s for sure. They were all in really good locations – even the Tokyu Hotel in Kyoto was only a 10 min walk from the station so we only caught a taxi once when we arrived.

Takayama Ryokan was amazing. Hubby loved it, and was mega scared to try the onsen, but after much encouragement he attempted it and then I couldn’t get him to stop raving about it. He was first to go back the next morning (may have had something to do with the fact we were the only ones in there both times in each of ours, which made it easier).

The only thing that was a bit crappy was My Fuji. We left Takayama at 9.30am (you had suggested 10.30), and caught the train back to Odawara via Nagoya, but by the time we got there it was 3.30pm even though we caught the bullet trains where possible and all the trains connected perfectly (love the rail over there!!). By the time we transferred to the little train to Gora, cable car etc, it was quite late and we had the basically race through everything, and literally run from train-cable car-ropeway-pirate ship to make the last departure at 5pm.

The weather was really crappy that day, and we didn’t see anything (no Fuji-san), and it was really cold and overcast, so we just got on the train straight away back for Tokyo. We were gonna skip it altogether, but decided at the last minute to go for it, but was kinda a waste of money, then we couldn’t be bothered going back and doing it all the next day again even though the weather was perfect (of course).

So, of course not blaming you for that, but just a handy bit of feedback for next time that it takes much longer to get there, so prob wouldn’t advise people do it in one day as you don’t have time to see anything.

Other than that one day of craziness, we had great weather. The cherry blossoms were amazing, and it was so great to get back after 10 years (can’t believe I could still speak & understand some Japanese). Thanks for planning everything!!

Cheers
Sal.