Articles & Online Reviews

Customer Testimonials

Testimonials for Trip Planning

“We returned from our trip to Japan almost two weeks ago, and have finally gotten readjusted to the time change and caught up at work! I wanted to thank you, Keiko, and our two great guides, Naoko and Koko, for helping us to have an absolutely wonderful trip. We loved Japan, and the itinerary you helped us put together was perfect. We were fascinated, and a little stunned, by Tokyo and Osaka and charmed by Takayama and Kinosaki-onsen. And I can certainly see why you live in Kyoto.

“I’m really glad you recommended the guided tours — they made all the difference. Having Naoko to help us get grounded on our first day, and to show us how to navigate the subway system was a huge help — let alone seeing the sights (and smelling the fish market at 5 am!). And in Kyoto, Koko was great — she managed to get our son to go see a couple temples with us, before finally steering him to the video arcades, where he happily spent the rest of the day. The Higashiyama tour was beautiful, and she gave us perfect directions to find the Bamboo forest when we went off on our own the last day.

“So I think we’d all go back to visit Japan in a heartbeat, eels and all, and we want to thank you again for helping to make it a fabulous trip for us. Please give our thanks again to Koko and Naoko.”

Testimonials for Guiding

“We decided to use your walking tour service for two full-day tours. Mayumi was our guide the first day and Koko was our guide the second day. We can honestly say that these walks were the highlights of our trip. Both Mayumi and Koko are superb guides. Their knowledge of the temples, shrines, and other sights that we visited is extraordinary. They helped familiarize us with the bus and train transport options in Kyoto, which made it so easy for us to get around during our visit. They set a comfortable pace for us (we are in our early 50s) and they explained everything along the way. They were flexible and open to making small changes and diversions during each walk and they brought us to places and showed us things we would never have discovered if we had gone solo. Perhaps best of all, they were so friendly and welcoming, and we very much enjoyed the time we spent with them. We also give them high marks for helping us deal with the debilitating (at least for us!) heat and humidity, which really sapped our energy. They knew just when to slow down and take rest/water/cold tea breaks. By the end of each tour, we were sorry to have to part company!

“In short, hiring your guides was one of the best decisions we made for this trip. We will not hesitate to recommend your walking tours to friends and family who may visit Japan in the future, and we hope to return to Kyoto one day and do it all over again!”

We are a couple from California and due to the issues from the earthquake and tsunami March 11, 2011, we had only 2 full days in May to enjoy Tokyo. We have never taken a private tour, but after reading the comments from your clients we gave it a try. VERY happy we went this route.

Making the arrangements was uncomplicated and the communications from Chris’ assistant Keiko were timely and concise. She matched us with our guide Kiyomi and this turned out to be a good fit. Kiyomi planned our route around the places we wanted to see, and added some points of interest. She was very informative of the history of the areas we visited and schooled us on the use of the public transport systems: subway & bus. We are a young fifty, with old knees, and she was attentive to our needs to slow the pace or rest. We very much enjoyed her company during our 6-hour tour.

If you are undecided on booking a tour, please take our recommendation and book it! This private tour will enhance your experience of Japan.

“We have no words to describe our splendid Japanese experience: everything was really marvellous; we loved going around Kyoto, Hida Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Tokyo, but both your guides Koko and Naoko did quite a lot to make us discovering the best of Kyoto and Tokyo and to help us. We enjoyed so much staying together with them and we had the opportunity to see some of the most splendid places, impossible to be discovered by simple tourists in a short time.”

“We recently returned from our honeymoon in Tokyo where we took a tour with Kiyomi on our first full day in the city. We had a wonderful trip, and our private tour was the best part! The morning of the tour we were a bit nervous about who would be leading us around for a full day. However, instantly after meeting Kiyomi, we knew we had made a great decision. She took us on our first adventure via the subway during rush hour where she was patient to explain the process of buying tickets, boarding, and finding our stop.

“All day she was quick to give us options about what to do next and how to spend our time. She gave us practical advice for our week ahead navigating alone, and she provided us with facts about Tokyo and Japanese culture. We went at a fast pace, which was perfect for us; we never spent too much time learning detailed facts about certain sites. Instead, Kiyomi gave us an up front view of Tokyo and the people who live there. For example, she knew we would not want to spend a lot of money standing in line with tourists to look out on the city. Instead, she knew about buildings that offered similar vantage points without the crowds and admission fees. Tricks of the trade like this helped us stretch our time with her. She also gave us a map and helped us plan our remaining week in the city.

“Kiyomi told us we were her youngest clients yet, but our tour was such a fantastic decision, we have decided we will never travel internationally to a new destination without finding a private guide. Although, we only hope they will all be as accommodating and knowledgeable as she was. We have told all of our friends and family how great Tokyo is, and when they take the leap to visit, they should contact you too.”

“We were very fortunate to have Mayumi as our guide in Kyoto on January 4, 2008. We had a fantastic afternoon with her as she led us through numerous sites and marvelously satisfied our rather unique tour request: seeing the daily life of Kyoto residents.

“Mayumi took us to a range of different temples and along Philosopher’s Walk, and then took us to a market in a non-touristy area of Kyoto. In that same neighborhood we dropped by a sake microbrewery (where we were welcomed by the hostess and sampled some wonderful sake), peeked in the back of a tofu shop, walked through a small shop where tatami mats are made, and even were shown a place where neighborhood residents fill up their water jugs.

“Throughout the entire tour she stopped at various food and drink booths and explained what the food was and its significance. With her encouragement we tried many different foods (including dried pomegranate, tile cookies, adzuki bean cookies flavored with sake, and warm sake with ginger).

“The tour felt very personal because Mayumi made a strong effort to identify what was interesting to us and as the afternoon proceeded she would increasingly adjust the tour based on that. At one point we walked past a small neighborhood temple that was being renovated and she stopped and suggested that this – something she wouldn’t normally recommend — would be of particular interest to us (and of course she was right on).

“Mayumi’s stories, knowledge of Japanese history and culture, and questions for us created a fun and informative experience. Not knowing anyone in Kyoto, it was very special how Mayumi created a pleasant personal connection with us.

“We would highly recommend Mayumi as a tour guide for anyone’s visit.”

“I wanted to thank you for putting together both of our tours. I can’t begin to describe how much we enjoyed them. We leave for Fukuoka tomorrow and while we’re looking forward to seeing more of Japan we really don’t want to leave Kyoto.

“The Gion tour and dinner at the teahouse with Koko was probably the highlight of our time here in Japan. Koko’s ability as an interpreter are remarkable. We’re all amazed at her skill and talent at translating for a group of our size, enabling everyone to communicate and share so much.”

“I would like to inform you that last Saturday in Kyoto was perfect for me. I had a great time with Mayumi — she had really tried to fulfill all of my wishes, and I’m certain I would not have found half of the places she showed me, on my own. We went to see some real traditional Japanese places, where you would never enter as a tourist alone. And Japan is a wonderful country, very safe and clean, and where people still have respect for each other. It was really a heart warming experience.”

“I am back in Australia after a very enjoyable trip to Japan. Undoubtedly one of the highlights was my walking tour from Kurama to Kibune with Koko as my guide. It is a beautiful walk, and it was made so much more enjoyable and interesting by having her as my guide. Could you please pass on to her my warmest thanks for her guidance and assistance. Also, she recommended a restaurant to me on the way between The Golden Temple and Ryoan-ji, and I wanted to let her know that I found it! I had delicious soba noodles there.”