Posts Tagged ‘Sakura Cherry Blossoms’

Gave us many happy memories

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Hello Koyomi,

We returned from our holiday to Japan (via Singapore) almost 2 weeks ago; sorry that we haven’t emailed you sooner!.

We all had a wonderful and very enjoyable time in Japan. The people were very friendly, the weather was good and all tours, accommodation and rail travel perfect. We saw lots of Cherry Blossom on trees too. Our daughter, granddaughter and grandson played the Konpira Fune Fune game with the Maiko on our dinner tour, and both our grandchildren won. That was special for us.

Most of our time was spent in and around Tokyo and Kyoto and visiting our son-in-law’s Aunt in a town near Mishima on the Tokaido bullet train line, where they live in their Japanese style house. We didn’t get to your home town area but did see the Chiba sign on the road to Disney Resort.

Thank you for everything that you did for us, Koyomi, it gave us many happy memories.

Best Wishes to you and your family.
Dennis & Athena

We will always remember

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Hi Mika,
We arrived back home last Wednesday. We had a great trip and found Japan an extremely interesting and friendly country. Everything went well
and we managed to catch the trains, find our hotels and enjoy the day tours you booked for us. The weather was generally good and it was quite warm in Kanazawa.

We saw lots of beautiful cherry blossoms as well as Mt. Fuji from the plane and on the day tour. It also snowed while we were in Sapporo. I would definitely like to return to see and experience more of the wonderful culture and lovely people.

Thank you very much for helping to organize our holiday, which we will always remember.


Will not hesitate to recommend you

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Dear Koyomi

We returned from our wonderful holiday in Japan yesterday.
We did appreciate your careful planning and would be pleased if you would pass on our special thanks to our guide ms maya mizuno. She was caring helpful and very knowledgeable.

The cherry blossoms were amazing very beautiful.

We will not hesitate to recommend you to friends thinking of travelling to Japan

Kind regards

Everything went without a Hitch

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Hi Noriko,
Thank you very much for your contribution to our long awaited return to Japan.  Everything went without a hitch, and whilst we couldn’t do the trip down to Hiroshima this time, it was a wonderful visit yet again.
We spent 8 days in Sapporo with the family, (we hadn’t seen the kids for almost four years), then overnight in Hakkodate, down to Sendai where we were treated to a traditional sashimi dinner at a beautiful restaurant with nine old friends, all of whom had been terribly affected by the Earthquake/Tsunami.
They’re tough people,  and they’re recovering amazingly well.
The cherry blossoms were in full bloom in Hokkaido because it had been so cold so late.  We had one day where it was Minus One Degree – a little hard to take after an Australian summer.
I have hundreds of photo’s, and once I’ve had time to sort them out, I will send you some.
Many thanks again,
John and Sue
PS:  We are hoping to return to Japan  in October for two weeks (if finances allow), so expect to hear from us again soon.

A superb holiday

Monday, May 7th, 2012
Hello Yoko,
Well what a superb holiday it turned out to be. We hit the jackpot with everything. The weather was good (less 1 day) Cherry Blossom in full bloom. And Mt Fuji you couldn’t get it any better.
Our tour escort  Kierin words can’t describe him. Each night when we didn’t have anything planned for a meal he took those of us who wanted to go with him to a differently Japanese style meal. In Hiroshima he found one (okonomiyaki restaurant) that could do gluten free so I went  with the whole group. Enjoyed it so much I had 2 of them. 
The tour far exceeded what I thought it would be like. And I have recommended it to friends here since my return. An extra day or two in Tokyo as I had originally planned would be an idea for your tours as 1 day is not enough. And name tags as it is hard to remember everyone’s names. 
The tour was excellently organized. You just could not fault it anywhere. And I’ve had almost 30 holidays overseas.
And the tour guide—next time he goes on a tour let’s know.
Our whole group might go again.

Regards Graeme 

Kieran Okonomiyaki

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.


JTB provided exceptional service

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Thank you for your greetings.  We did see loads of Cherry blossoms in Tokyo and had great weather.  JTB provided exceptional service and we are very happy to recommend this company and in particular this tour to anyone considering going to Japan.   Our tour guide, Kieren would have to be the best tour guide we have ever had.  Both of us have travelled extensively and this tour and this company exceeded our expectations.  Nothing was too much trouble, the tour was well planned and we saw a lot of things and then we relaxed on the train and watched the scenery go past.  All we had to worry about was having a great time.  Our tour guide really had a genuine desire for us to understand the Japanese culture and to have an overview of their landscape and cities.
Could you please provide our comments about Kieren to his manager.
All the best

David and Sandra 

Thank you for all of your work

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Dear Eri,
I would also like to thank you for selecting such excellent hotels especially Keio Plaza hotel in Shinjuku (ichi-ban) because of the variety and best quality of food at the buffet restaurant –  and the quad room which we understand is very special size in Japan.
and Biyu No Yado with beautiful onsens and snow Monkeys were special and Yukki our host is so considerate of us.
We had such beautiful sunny weather and Cherry Blossoms were everywhere we went !!!
We have had a beautiful holiday and we managed to work out the trains and we just went where we wanted to and when we wanted to.
The only time we got lost was in the subway shops under Osaka Umeda station – that was very big – but we did take a compass.
Thank you for making all our arrangements,
everything went as booked and our family had a beautiful holiday.
Everyone in Japan was glad to see people starting to visit again after 2011.
Domo arigatou gozaimasu.


The organisation of JTB is nothing short of superb workmanship

Monday, April 16th, 2012
Hello Yoko,
How many people come to Japan hoping to see Mt Fuji as we did. And the cherry blossom in full bloom. The weather has been good with only 1 day of rain & a bit of a sprinkle yesterday morning.
Keiran is a wonderful tour host give him more trips & I’ll go on them in actual fact we all will.
The different foods he has introduced on most of the free nights. And he has helped me no end with my diet. The tour escort Akiko Shimada in Tokyo was excellent too.
She also gave me “No Wheat” written in Japanese that I have used when eating by myself.
Hotels are wonderful & the welcome dinner was the best i’ve ever had inc 3 who didn’t want to stop drinking the sake by the bottlee.
How they woke up in the morning I don’t know.
The organisation of JTB & Keirin’s is nothing short of superb workmanship.

Regards Graeme 

Amazing, as simple as that .. "perfect

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Firstly let me say that the trip to Japan was completely amazing, as simple as that .. “perfect”. I will break down my feedback into sub headings to ensure that I cover all points.

Flights and organization at airport.

Fortunately we were not affected by the customs strike and had not problems at all. On arrival at Tokyo airport all went very smoothly with the funniest thing being that we were met by our Japanese guide as “Stefan XXXX and Party” (He is the 20 year old). this “giggle” continued as everywhere we were booked in and met with “Stefan XXXX and party”.. he was most impressed. This did not cause any problems at all for us, so please do not worry.

Hotels- satisfactory

Keio plaza- lovely thank you. would stay there again. excellent location, staff very helpful etc. Non smoking room was a true non smoking room. Graham found bed far to hard.

New Miyako- sorry never again. The location was excellent but the entire place wrecks of cigarette smoke and made us all feel really unwell. We are avid non smokers and there is no way it was a non smoking room, really horrible. Coughed all night.

Hiroshima-Granvia, no problem would stay again. (small thing is that restaurants and food areas closed a lot earlier in Hiroshima than anywhere else e.g. 8pm so can be tricky to find somewhere to eat after that..which lead to an hilarious evening of drinking sake and eating Hiroshima oysters with a charming (albeit very drunk) Japanese Doctor who loved “Australia”.

Osaka- Granvia only place with comfortable beds during the whole trip. This did not worry me at all but Graham has a bad back and all the rest of the hotels have rock hard beds. Had to laugh bed was great but they put the boys in a room miles from ours! Best of all the hotels though.

Travelling within Japan

very comfortable vans

excellent drivers

trains all worked like clockwork only got mildly lost once

really no problems

train from Osaka to Kansai airport perhaps you should recommend not travelling with luggage in peak hour but .. it all adds to the atmosphere

Tour guides

our guides

Noriko – Tokyo

Yumi- Kyoto and Osaka

Akiko- Hiroshima

were in one word – exemplary. It was a delight to meet such wonderful people, their knowledge, friendliness, professionalism was faultless. I’d like to highlight two charming instances .. one was Noriko making us sing Japanese folk songs to take my mind of my major fear of heights on the cable car.. the second was Yumi travelling back to see us on our last day at Osaka because she wanted to bring gifts to us and to make sure we got the right train!

I cannot sing their praises enough. Having the guides enhanced our experience of Japan enormously. I intend to write thank you letters to their companies as well.

in terms of the tour guides and drivers I had wished in retrospect that I had brought more thoughtful gifts rather than the mundane soap and books we gave them so perhaps this is a good hint to others as their service was wonderful. In general too I had only very small things for the drivers and would have loved to have given them something better too.

Weather and food

perfect weather only one wet day in Hiroshima which added to the ambience

food – fabulous as we love Japanese food, we would have been happy not to have bothered with the western meal at Miaggio and to have had a Japanese meal but not a problem and the buffet was very good. we did pay for one meal that we thought was included but this wasn’t a bother either. the highlight in terms of arranged dinning was the meal in Osaka with Yumi so much fun!

Timing of trip

originally I was disappointed to miss the Sakura when the first trip had to be canceled but the timing was perfect as it was between seasons so to speak (after the Cherry Blossoms but before the Autumn leaves) which meant very few crowds. all tour guides remarked that we had been extraordinarily lucky with how easily we got around the often crowded areas e.g. Golden Pavilion.

Other highlights apart from the planned itinerary

we were invited to join a wedding party in Kyoto- seriously

we saw a traditional Shinto wedding

we were 2 metres from the Crown Prince who we saw twice in an excited throng at Kyoto station

we met and talked with two (young) sumo wrestlers

we saw many many many ladies in Kimonos

..where do I stop!

Overall, a wonderful holiday that exceeded our expectations and Graham and I will book another trip soon…

we also plan to go with “empty bags” next time as the clothing and shoes etc were wonderful as was the art work. (we purchased some incredible original contemporary wood block prints and three fabulous antiques)

I will be in touch!

thank you again


How magnificent!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Dear Olivia,

Could you please pass the message on to Takeda San.

The taxis were waiting for us at the right time at Toya Station, the weather was brilliant, the scenery was magnificent and the accommodation (Kohantei) was superb. We all tried the onsen and some of us were able to sit in the rotemburo and gaze out across the lake at Yoteizan. How magnificent! We were all tired out from all the walking we did yesterday (some walked about 20kms) exploring the various walking trails in the area. We could have spent another day there.

Thank you very much for all the organisation especially the taxis at the last minute and insisting on sending us to Kohantei.

The weather tomorrow (Friday 13th May) will be cold with a maximum of 7 degrees, but we are all prepared for that. Today is a rest day in Obihiro, although most of the group have gone out exploring as soon as we checked in. We have a very genki group.

Also it looks as though the Sakura will be following us around. It was in full bloom in Hakodate, and is just coming into bloom in this area.

Thank you for all your organisation. With a start like that, the rest of the trip will be magnificent I’m sure.

Kindest Regards,


Home after a fantastic trip to Japan

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Hi Clem
We are back home after a fantastic trip to Japan and a bus tour of Taiwan. Everything worked exactly as planned. First let us compliment you on the level of accommodation chosen for us. The Nagoya’s “Marriott Associa Hotel”, once we found it, was very up market for our normal level, the Matsumoto “Tokyu Inn” was satisfactory and the Ryoken in Yudanaka was an extremely pleasant experience even though we only stayed at the “Biyu-No-Yado” for only one night, as they had no other guests they closed the Ryoken for maintenance and moved us to other Ryoken where the accommodation and food was just as excellent, unfortunately we never found out the name of this Ryoken as nobody could speak English and only Japanese identification was evident. The Takayama Ryoken “Hotakasu Yamano Iori” was not as spectacular as the other two but more than satisfactory. From there on the Quality of accommodation in Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka was of a great standard.

Your recommendations of sightseeing and transport option were excellent. We did improvise some train travel and incorporated more stops particular a Cherry Blossom stop in Hikone and Himejei. Travel by train was on the whole easy except getting lost in the huge station like Nagoya and the Osaka subway system. On our arrival at the Nagoya Station, it was late evening, we got hopelessly lost and only through numerous enquiries did we found the Marriott hotel. The following day our tour guide, Sumiko Fukami, gave us an orientation tour of the station even though it was not on our itinerary and way past her tour time. This basically set the tone of the whole trip, every time we were lost or looked confused somebody was always ready to help even with the language barrier. A good example I like to recall: we decided to take the train from Yudanaka to Takayama via Nagano, Naoetsu, and Toyama. The Journey through the mountains was fantastic and once we arrived in Naoetsu the conductor from the previous train made sure we were at the right platform and than shepherded us to a warm waiting room and only than did he leave us.

Japan is a country of Temples, Shrines, Castles, Fantastic Landscapes, Cherry blossoms, Beautiful Customs and History. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience this extraordinary country and welcoming people.

The shortage of tourists made our trip even more memorable as we were often the only foreigners in restaurants and at sightseeing spots, however the opposite is true for Taiwan which is being over run by main land Chinese whose behaviour of pushing and very loud behaviour is opposite to the more refined Japanese people behaviour.

One note of something you were probably not aware of, the Free Novotel Shuttle bus in Taipei does not operate between midnight and 6:05, we just had to wait for over an hour for the shuttle.

The Taiwan bus tour was well conducted and delivered everything its promised but after our own sightseeing in Japan it came a bit of a shock by the tour leader always pushing and given time limits on sightseeing some times not even enough time to take a decent photo. Such are group tours.

I am starting to ramble on so to close off again we are very glad we did visit Japan and maybe one day in the future we are able to see more of the fascinating country and helpful friendly people.
Thank You Clem and JTB.
Many Regards
Erich & Rebecca

They stayed and waved us off smilingly.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Hi Lily,
Just thought I would check in and tell you I enjoyed my recent trip to Japan and, of course, especially the Sunrise tours, which are very efficiently organised and the tour guides and general staff are very obliging and helpful. When they came to the station with us, they stayed and waved us off smilingly and were at the other end in the same way (not the same person of course), so it was very comforting to know we wren’t being left to our own devices, so to speak.

With regard to my worrying about getting the train from Tokyo Station to Shinagawa, it didn’t turn out to be a problem (1) because on the Mt Fuji trip the shinkansen stopped at Shinagawa station and of course, the Shinagawa Prince is just across the road. (2) on the trip to Kamakura the train once again stoopped at “my” station; (3) on the Nikko trip we ended up at a different station (near Tokyo Station but one down towards Shinagawa) and I was able to return to the hotel with a couple from my hotel who were already familiar with the train system, so there was no need to worry about taxis; it might be helpful for you to be able to pass on this info to other people like me who are useless with trains and worry about where they will end up. I probably could have managed with the guide’s instructions because people are quite willing to help you if they understand what you are saying.

Speaking of trains, they are unbelievable compared with ours – and no graffiti, which was marvelous. I vote for sending a delegation to Japan to find out how they do it, apart from the vast amounts of money that must be required. I was even able to take a photo of Mt Fuji from the shinkansen at 300 kph, and it came out. I was also lucky enough to still be able to see quite a number of cherry blossom tress in bloom, for which I was very grateful.

I was also impressed by the taxis and the drivers with their white gloves and spotless cars.

I would suggest you advise people to wear comfortable shoes, without laces, since you have to take them off so much for the temples etc.

The weather was great until the last couple of days when we had a bit of a battle sometimes with the rain, but it was still okay; pity it was on the walking tour in Osaka, but even so; it was a lot hotter than I expected it to be – everywhere.

Thanks again for your assistance Lily and I hope this finds you well. God bless, Kind regards,

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!!


Lucky Trip for Cherry blossoms

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for your email.
The trip was amazing! Everything went to plan and ran so smoothly – we kept calling it the lucky trip.
Our luck finally ran out at the airport though – as our flight was delayed 5 hours! We didn’t end up departing until 2:20am!! The kids were incredible though – no whinging at all!
The weather was also great – 20 degrees in Hiroshima – we all wore t-shirts at Miyajima!
Cherry blossoms were in full bloom and we actually got to see Mt Fuji!!
The school visit was a huge success too – we are now officially sister schools! Yeah!!

Thanks so much for all your hard work too – things went well due to your organisational skills and attention to detail. We all very much appreciate your professionalism and genuine love for your job

The Monterey was a beautiful hotel – great breakfasts. Quite good location – we walked everywhere from there, and the staff were very helpful. The Starbucks across the road certainly benefited from us being there!

One student hurt her knee while we were there and we had to take her to the Doctor. Not sure what the problem is but I think she will be claiming insurance for physio back here in Australia.

A friend of mine stayed at an inn in Kyoto and hired a maiko to come and entertain the group. She also agreed to answer questions at the end. They said it was a real highlight and as the Inn was near Kawaramachi it was very handy. I think we’ll look into that accommodation for our next trip – which will be in September 2012.

The bags were good – a very good size, but the front pockets fell apart when kids put things in there – the mesh parts came away from the zip area. We saw another group with the same bags the day we went to Miyajima!! I thought of you that day : )

So happy to be home with my babies – who are now TWO! I missed them heaps, but I also appreciated having time just for myself too!

Thanks again Kathy. I’ll certainly be in touch before our next trip as we will definitely go through you again.