Inside Japan exceeded our expectations. We usually plan and arrange our own global travel visits, but decided to use this company as we were celebrating a special birthday and needed to arrange travel and accomodation to coincide with some games for the Rugby world cup. From the initial arranging of our itinerary to the hotels used and areas visited, we can’t fault the company. Excellent thank you. Really tempted to return quite soon. Many thanks!
Review by Wcough Derrow4 months ago
I recently took the Japan Unmasked tour with my family. I found InsideJapan to be frustrating to work with. I easily could have planned it all on my own, with less aggravation. It was hard to get a response from my consultant and several times she gave me information that was completely wrong.
The trip itself was nice, although two of the accommodations were dirty and unpleasant. I don’t mind simple accommodations, but I object to dirt.
One hotel – the Court Hotel in Kurashiki -- was so filthy that I complained to our tour leader, who did apologize. The rooms in this hotel had curling carpets, filthy hallways, mold in the shower, a huge amount of dust, and a moldy smell.
The hotel charges as little as $21/night (according to TripAdvisor) during the summer season, which is when we visited. InsideJapan probably gets a group discount as well. I don’t mind IJ making a decent profit, but I think this was too cheap. After I complained, Inside Japan told our leader to give me $100 (I was told not to tell other group members about this, which didn't seem right, since they'd stayed there also).
Here are some of the problems I had with InsideJapan, when I was planning the trip:
1. I had trouble getting a response from my consultant (after I'd put down the nonrefundable deposit). Once it took two weeks to get a response! Finally, I wrote her and said I was “re-thinking our trip.” I received a response immediately At other times, though, they responded fairly quickly.
2. I asked them to arrange a tour of the Mazda factory for my family. They said they couldn't, that it was too early. That same day, I went to the Mazda site and easily booked it myself. When I told IJ, they said I had access to booking sites that they didn’t have.
3. I asked them to arrange a visit to the sumo stables. They said they couldn’t, given our dates in Tokyo. Again, I went online and did it myself easily.
4. They will not tell you the price of any add-ons. They’ll only give you a lump-sum total. My consultant told me “As a package service provider, our proposals come as a set with one price tag.”
For example, if you are wondering about the cost of a visit to the sumo stables, you have to ask them to add it to your bill, note the total, ask them to remove it, note the new total, and compute the difference. This becomes tedious when you are considering several add-ons, and it also seems strangely secretive.
5. They will not give you a confirmation number if they book a hotel for you. We wanted to arrive a few days early. I asked them to book our pre-tour rooms. InsideJapan required us to pre-pay for the rooms ($500) and then wouldn’t give us a confirmation number, stating, “. . .we are not able to give a confirmation number of your hotel booking in the way that an online engine does.” I was unwilling to arrive in Tokyo at night with no proof that we had a reservation (a prepaid one, at that). So I went to the hotel website and booked it myself. The hotel gave me a confirmation number and did not require me to prepay.
6. They made several small errors that were annoying/difficult. For example, I asked them what the final date of the tour was. They gave me the wrong date. By the time I’d figured out they had made an error, we were unable to book the flight we wanted and had to make alternate arrangements.
Review by Karmela Springborg9 months ago
We travelled to Japan in December 2018 using Inside Japan to create a self guid
It became apparent as we traveled through Japan that the level of local knowledge used to design our travel plans was woefully inadequate.
At every stage in our trip the wonderful staff of local JR stations , hotels and tourist information shopfronts would look at the advised transfers and very politely ask of we really wanted to follow the written plan. They would then advise a far more convenient, lower travel time, lower cost version- truly facilitating our travels.
Whilst most of our motels were good (although not in central locations and requiring multiple transit transfers to go anywhere) there were a couple of questionable motels. One so dirty that its sole saving grace was that it ensured for that the duration of our stay we were out and about. The recommendation that we eat in their restaurant was surprisingly- breakfast was included and after the first morning when the abysmal state of their kitchen and dinning room were apparent we opted not to use our meal vouchers.
Another involved us changing motels - the transfer required 5 different transports, actual time in the trains and subways a mere 32 minutes ( real travel time about 4.5 hours as we luged our bags between train and subway stations plus the time taken to packup checkout checkin unpack and learn a whole new area) to a motel that catered only for business people and had not engish speaking staff. The Inside Japan Tours company brochures actually stated that the second destination should be done as a day trip from our point of origin. We felt that we were being moved from motel to motel just to fill in the itinerary. (Interestingly one of the specs requested for creating our itinerary was for "slow travel" with minimal changes in locations).
The advertised contact before during and after the trip was non existant.
We didn't receive a detailed itinerary until we requested one.
There was a specific activity that we requested and were told that it would be impossible to do - it took 1 hour on the internet to find and arrange and was the highlight of our trip.
Time spent chasing up Inside Japan Tours would have been better spent doing internet research and booking ourselves- at least i would have made the rookie travel mistakes not paid someone a small fortune to make them.
The Japanese people are so hospitable and welcoming. Just about everyone we met went out of their way to help us and make us feel welcome. My advice to anyone planning independent travel to Japan would be
-do your research looking ( start with where the organised tours go and see what appeals to you)
- organise your JR pass before you leave home ( it cant be purchased in Japan)
- book a day with a local english speaking guide on your first day. Use the guide for Japanese orientation - convert your JR pass (Japanese rail), pick up an IC card and learn how they work(transprt cards valid over most of Japanese public transport and in the vending machines), get the run done on local customs.
- the language barrier isnt the problem that you anticipate
- bullet trains enable you to day trip to many major points of interest from Kyoto. It would be really convenient to be located near the central train station in Kyoto.
NB after publishing this review i was contacted by inside japan tours. They were interested in our experiences and the issues that we encountered. They kindly refunded a portion of the tour cost as a gesture of goodwill. They advised that they would take on board our concerns and endeavor to improve the service they are offering.
Review by Gurnell1 year ago
Excellent service when ordering Japan Rail Pass. Ordered at around 10am on Friday, choosing to pick it up at their Bristol office, and it was ready for collection within the hour.
When we went to collect, the person who helped us didn't just give us our passes and send us on our way - he gave us great advice about booking seat reservations, dealing with the heat etc.
All in all, excellent service.
Review by JoNeshia1 year ago
Messed up my travel plans, because they downgraded my hotel without notice, and then reinstated the original after I complained. They didn't update the transport and sent me to the wrong place. Total rip off and massively overcharged us. Rubbish response to my complaint which was full of inaccuracies anyway. DO NOT USE THEM.
Review by Jasbinder2 years ago
My parents, Mr & Mrs Roberts, 81 and 84 years of age have just come back from a 19 day tour of Japan organised by Inside Japan Tours. It was a self guided tour where they were met at various places by guides or made their own way based on guidance and advice from Inside Japan. They said the organisation it was superb with an incredible amount of help and relevant information including a book they called "the bible" supplied by Inside Japan which helped them at every turn. They caught trains and have come back like teenagers so excited after an amazing trip, thank you Inside Japan!
Review by Sahily4 years ago
I traveled with this company on two occasions (2013 and 2014).
It was a great experience.
Their tour leaders are British but have lived in Japan and/or have married Japanese.
The tours involve trains and the whole business is well organised
Great experience. Will travel with them again!
InsideJapan Tours is rated 4.0 based on
Trust Mamma Reviews
Our reviews are aggregated from multiple sources to give you the best overview about insidejapantours.com.
1738 Pearl St. Ste. 302