What our guests say



Here are a selection of comments about our tours from past participants.


Land of Fire

"Jon and I want to thank you for organising such a fantastic tour. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment and are so impressed with all aspects of the trip ... it was everything you promised and more than we expected ... and we want to thank you for your fantastic service, patience and prompt response to all of our questions leading up to the trip.
We especially want to say how much we enjoyed the 2 weeks with Aria. She is an absolute treasure and a real asset to your business. From meeting us at check-in at the hotel to seeing us off on the bus, she provided a level of service that was exemplary. She put us at ease on our first day in Tokyo, and was a delight throughout the entire trip."
Mark S, Australia

"Aria was fantastic. She herded us around and handled everything beautifully. We were a "needy" group, not prone to wanting free-time, but desiring to be lead around and told what was what. She hung in there with patience and smiles and guided us with skill. I loved the trip immensely, thank you."
Don H, US

"Thank you for such a good package you put together...your Oku tour was head and shoulders above the [name removed] in all respects - there was no comparison. The guide (Aria is such a special person), the quality of the travel arrangements, the accommodation, the food, the level of knowledge and engagement of the leader; all excelled. I would have no hesitation in joining another of your groups, and hope to do so in the future. Japan is an extraordinary country - I'm eager to return."
P MacDougall, Canada

"Aria is a golden asset. When I first met her I was surprised that such a relatively young person would shoulder so much responsibility. But she is well up to the task. She accommodated a wide variety of requests and requirements with the most practical aplomb I could imagine. And even when taxed beyond what I would have thought reasonable, she remained chipper and upbeat.
The trip lived up to my expectations or exceeded them on many levels. Thanks for the great memories."
R Patterson, USA

"Tour and guide exceeded expectations! We would gladly recommend the tour and Andy to friends wishing to explore Japan."
B & D Judy, USA

"Well we are back home now and wish to tell you that we had a terrific time in Japan. Mari was a great guide and we saw some amazing parts of her country and did some amazing things! Unfortunately the weather wasn't kind on Yakushima and I heard someone say of the 8 metre annual rainfall, we had 4 metres the afternoon we were scheduled to climb into the steep interior!! To say we were wet was a slight understatement! Hiroshima was fantastic - very humbling and we could have spent much more time there. The food was superb - lobster in Obi and toppy (flying fish) on Yakushima just two of the highlights. We said we almost covered every form of transport available - just a horse ride seemed to be the only thing left! We all have hundreds of photos and indeed John made a video for us all to relive the 14 days. Thank you very much for your organisation of our adventure and it was great to meet Matt in Osaka."
J & G Nolan, Australia


Kumano Ancient Trail

"Thank you and OkuJapan for arranging a remarkable experience and introduction to Japan. I completed the survey and also remarked that our guide, was efficiently prepared, very knowledgeable of what we were experiencing and he provided interesting historical context, candidly answered questions, and was pleasantly entertaining."
D Deresz, USA


"The musical performance in Chikatsuyu was outstanding and memorable, an one in a lifetime experience. The boat trip on the Kumano and the young lady playing the flute, beautiful memory. Our guide was everything one could wish from a guide. Understanding, helpful, accommodating special wishes or needs, knowledgeable etc."
R Siegel, Australia


Mountain Spirits

"I think personally the highlight was the Oze region, just breathtakingly beautiful. Although I also greatly enjoyed the Dewa Sanzan, as well as some of the brief stops at temples such as Gyokusenji. I was very impressed with the depth of your knowledge, and your ability to answer almost every random question I threw out, and particularly with your willingness to ask around for answers to questions that you didn't have an immediate sure answer for yourself. ...I felt that this was perhaps the most memorable trip we've ever taken together. The mix of hiking through breathtaking scenery and visiting historical and cultural destinations was very well planned, and your level of expertise at every level made the entire trip feel natural and uncomplicated. Your guidance made possible an experience of the Japanese culture and landscape that we could never have achieved on our own."
John P, USA

"Everything on this trip was fabulous. We were looked after really well. The info leading up to the trip was excellent, what to bring, itinerary, preparation etc. Booking a trip can be a bit of a lottery but everything Oku is presented was very professional, efficient, and great value for $$. I am going to recommend Oku to all my friends."
Caroline D, Australia

"It was really much more than what I expected."
Carlos M, Spain

"Thank you for showing a few of your favourite places in Japan... The trip met our expectations in every way - and Matt was more than alert to the groups needs. Well done and good luck to Oku Japan."
Antony and Ommar W, UK

"We just recently returned from our Mountain Spirits adventure in Japan. I was very apprehensive when booking this vacation; it is the first trip we booked knowing little about the tour company. We found Oku Japan searching the Web and took a huge leap of faith that the trip would meet our expectations. Short of the testimonials you posted we knew nothing about Oku Japan. I am so happy to report that the trip exceeded our expectations on every front. The accommodations were wonderful, the food was outstanding, the pace of the trip was perfect and you couldn't have provided a more delightful guide. Satomi always made us feel that our needs were an absolute priority, not to mention that she was a wealth of information on many topics. On the final evening of the tour our entire group met for dinner, I think the comments above represent the general attitude of everyone."
Bob and Norma W, USA

"We had a truly wonderful trip; Satomi is such a good guide, and the whole trip was really well planned."
Caroline B, UK

"Scott and I really enjoyed our trip to Japan. Satomi was a fantastic well-organized guide, full of information and tons of humor. Our small group was in synch. and we enjoyed meeting everyone. The Shiba Park Hotel was in an excellent location for walking to dozens of affordable restaurants and for getting to Narita airport. The staff was really great and luckily all spoke English well. I would definitely stay there again since we were able to walk and catch the subway all over the city very easily.
I liked having lunch on our own so we could purchase what we want at the train stations. The vegetarian meals were overly abundant and I was stuffed at meals... I also liked having the option in Nyuto to do our own thing for 1 day... Anyway, you did a great job putting the trip together. The best part of it was that all the logistics worked flawlessly in Japan. The train transfers were easy and like clockwork."
Leila F, USA


Shoguns and Samurai

"I loved the experience of riding the trains and buses and I found the Japanese people we met to be wonderful, helpful and so passionate about their culture. It made me want to stay. Thank you for this great experience"
Kelly A, USA

"Mari was outstandingly pleasant company & professional in her work"
Andrew B, England

"Mari was a constant delight - her concern that we should all have our interests catered for meant that she went out of her way to find out about special things for us. He friendliness, kindness and laughter will be remembered for a long time"
Diana B, England

"Wanted to thank you and to let you know we had a fabulous time. We saw and did amazing things and had fun. Oscar was fantastic guide and went out of his way to make sure we had a great time. Thanks again."
Cheryl R, Australia

"I believe the Shoguns and Samurai Tour was the best we went on after 5 previous Tour of Japan especially the Minshukus and Ryokans."
P Fujimoto, USA

"I just wanted to thank both you and Yoshi, We had a wonderful trip and would have no hesitation in recommending Oku Japan to anyone looking to experience Japan rather than just have a holiday."
L Carter, England

"I would like to thank you for an exceptionally fascinating, enriching and diverse journey through parts of Japan. The itinerary was well planned, the group interesting as we shared the same curiosity and Yoshi an alert and knowledgeable guide."
A-C Gowen, Switzerland

"I just wanted to let you know that we enjoyed the trip immensely and to compliment you both on the choice of the itinerary and the choice of Mari as our guide. She was tremendous, always going out of her way to arrange things we would like to do. Our experience of Japan was extremely positive because of Mari’s help."
M McCaffery, Canada

"We want to commend Mari Ohara in the highest terms possible. She said "Yes, of course!" to every request anyone made and followed through. You couldn't possibly have come up with a better ambassador of Japanese culture than Mari. It was a terrific trip. The food, the variety of sites, the pace: everything was superb. Hats off to everyone involved, and, again, thanks especially to Mari-san for sharing her love of Japan with us."
D Kirby, USA

"Mari Ohara was absolutely wonderful. She was unfailingly pleasant and courteous. She helped me pursuit special interests (kimonos and woodblock prints). I can't praise her enough."
B Hamby, USA

"Wonderful trip! I am coming back to Japan as soon as I can!"
M Rainsberry, USA

"We have just returned from our wonderful trip to Japan ... We both enjoyed ourselves enormously and the tour certainly lived up to our expectations in all areas so thankyou to you and Kazuyo for making it all possible. We have made some life time friends."
L & B Taylor, Australia

"We really had a great time in Japan - so many impressions and new experiences. Everything was perfectly organized and we were very impressed by the Japanese perfectionism - they even beat us Germans"
C Ebert, Germany

"Dear Jeremy! I've just returned to work after my holiday. I gave my reply to the Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire to Mari-san in Japan, so maybe you've seen it. But I just wanted to say directly to you that the trip was fantastic. There's something about Japan that touches me deeply, I just want to go back. And travelling with Mari was wonderful, she is kind and funny and full of knowledge. Hopefully the situation in Japan will calm down so that more people will visit this beautiful country. I'm certainly planning to do so... Best wishes, Line"
Line G, Norway

"The trip was wonderful and Yumi was the best tour guide we have ever had."
C & P Hinderberger, USA

"Just a quick note now that we are back home to let you know that we had a fabulous holiday on the Shoguns and Samurai tour with Yumiko. She is a perfect guide, and has spoilt us for any future guided tours we do. The pre trip advice you provided prepared us wonderfully, and you provided it with such good grace, as you must get the same queries over and over. The tour itinerary was, for us, an ideal balance in every respect. Yes, we are very happy customers. We were fortunate too, to be part of a very congenial group, everyone seemed to get along very well and to enjoy each other’s company."
A & K Morissey, Australia

"We arrived home just one week ago with wonderful memories of our Shoguns and Samurai experience. Our thanks to you and Matt for such a wonderfully comprehensive tour agenda - and especially for your excellent organisation of all the detailed arrangements that underpin a tour of this nature. From the time we first corresponded with you, we were impressed by Oku Japan' attention to detail - and we soon realised that the tour program was a result of much detailed research and personal experience - which is exactly the kind of tour we were looking for. Every day produced for us a new experience of Japan - and after 30 years, we once again became entranced by its culture and history. It was an enriching experience for both of us. Yumi was an exceptional guide with a broad knowledge of Japan's history and culture. Her knowledge and professionalism gave a solid background and provided insight into each of the places we visited. We were also fortunate that the weather was kind to us throughout. In summary, we loved our experience and would highly recommend Oku Japan Tours to any of our friends who may be considering visiting Japan. So thank you Jeremy and Matt. We wish you all the very best and trust that Oku Japan Tours will continue for many years to come."
L & J Hughes, Australia

Nakasendo Trail

"Group size was perfect! ..We would like to thank Kazuyo for her helpfulness and willingness to accommodate everybody's wishes and needs. Her energy and passion for introducing us to Japanese culture, beliefs and way of life were a big asset for this trip."
D Fischer, Germany

"We were very impressed with the relevant information supplied a few months before the trip. Most helpful. This has been a well thought out and executed trip in order to give us an authentic Japanese experience. Well done! Thank you"
V Dart, Australia

"First of all, I'd like to thank you for organizing such a wonderful Nakasendo trek. The experience has been incredible. Even after 23- years in Japan I'm amazed to find places of such incredible beauty - all thanks to you. Secondly, as a long-time Japan resident I wish to commend you on your efforts to introduce 'unknown' Japan to foreign visitors. The selfish side of me naturally wants to try and keep Japan's wonderful secrets to myself. But after seeing the incredibly positive impact your company is having on these small communities I have to admit what you've done is amazing. I spoke to many locals along the way asking what they thought of the sudden influx of foreign tourists. Despite some mild bewilderment as to how and why so many foreign tourists managed to find such remote places the overwhelming response is positive. At the risk of hyperbole I can't help but think that your efforts are helping to save some dying communities and businesses. You should be proud. I applaud the fact that you saw an opportunity and created an extremely well organized tour company out of it. I've already recommended you to several friends and will definitely be booking with you again in the near future."
M Buffet, Japan

"Overall the experience was excellent, a cohesive group led by a very well-liked, competent helpful guide."
I & A Baster, Asutralia

"[guide] couldn't have been better - made an excellent holiday very very special"
I would certainly recommend Oku Japan to any friends considering such a trip."
P Haynes, UK

"The tour has an excellent mix of walks and visits to places of interest. It's amazing what was included in only 12 days. An excellent introduction to Japan. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to friends. The tour was relatively hassle-free as the luggage was forwarded between locations and all entrance fees to sites were included."
A Watkinson, UK

"[food] totally out of this world - loved the food at every ryokan - took pictures of every meal! The office support was very good from the people behind the scenes."
A Hill, UK

"My husband and I just returned this morning from "The Nakasendo Trail." It is really a tour worth waiting for (3 Years). We could not make it during the 1st Year as it was already too late - we had other commitments. However we paid to join the following year, then the "Tsunami' came and finally we made it this year. We are immensely impressed by Ms Kana Hattori who organized everything, getting our group ready to be on time for the trains and buses; weather reports for the day and after; description of the routes that we are going to take, the lunch breaks - and explanation of each individual item of food on our menu plus her knowledge of the history of the towns along the trails... Well I would say she really pack "a huge wallop". I did not walk as fast as the others, but she and the group were fantastic, encouraging and waiting for me. I am very proud to be able to complete the trail - at the age of 70 years old. I learned so much, seen so much, ate so much, talked too much, and lastly I will definitely come again. Thank you."
C K Chang, Malaysia


"I had a FANTASTIC holiday and really want to visit Japan again with Oku Japan."
Sandra C, UK

"The trip to Japan was so well organised. And I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. It is a fascinating country.... Our guide was 1st class, so helpful and very knowledgeable and could not have done more to make our trip so good. She was amazing."
Susan C, UK

"I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had and to thank you for putting together such an awesome trip. The itinerary, accommodations and the guides were all great. Yuhko was a wonderful choice for our family. She's so personable and enthusiastic and there wasn't one question she couldn't answer. She really fit in well and the kids loved her -as did Dennis and I. ... All of the accommodations were just perfect and so well located! Being so close to so many different subway lines in Tokyo made coming and going there a breeze. In Kyoto it was great being at the other end of that wonderful park with the beautiful blooming cherry trees. We were so lucky to have hit the peak of the season. We also were able to walk almost everywhere in Kyoto which was so convenient. The inn in Asuka was a delight. We had our own private building and the meals were an experience we'll never forget. ...It was fun sleeping on the floor and having the traditional Japanese inn experience, including the meals. We never would have figured out how to do that on our own. Thank you again for putting such a special trip together for our family. ...We are very grateful that we were able to go on such a trip and that we found you to put it all together! "
Lynn G, USA

"Dear Matt, It was a dream trip in every respect. Hide-san was extremely competent and took us all over Japan seamlessly. He gave patient explanations of history, religion and customs, including detailed explanations of the unique foods of the minshukus (the dinner in Asaka was the best minsuhuku cuisine). When we went to historic sites the staff would often give us a special lecture which he would interpret into English. This was especially true in Tsumago, Kiso Valley and the ancient Buddha in Asaka. Seeing how Japan works from the inside gave us a much different and more rewarding view than we could have gotten from a canned tour. The scenery alone on the post town train rides was spectacular. Hide-san went out of his way to help me find a honshin Tigers baseball cap in Kyoto. He was also gracious to accompany us to dinner, he selected a nice restaurant with a beautiful view in Kyoto where we saw my friend Rumi and her adult children. We were all very glad for your guidance in setting up the itinerary. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the old post towns and the hot spring inn. The Shogun castle in Kyoto and the Philosopher's Walk were also beautiful. Despite the fact that it was 30 or hotter every day, the trip was well paced and we were not rushed. It was a special, intimate introduction to Japan. Thank you again so much."
S Schwartz, USA

"Chris went out of his way to take care of our every desire and need on the trek. Including helping us replace our camera that broke the LCD when I was relaxing in the power chair at the Yuyado Sekiya Ryokan in Kambayashi Onsen. Then again when the replacement turned out to have a bad LCD, he talked the shop owner to give us a free exchange. We stopped at a camera store the third time for a belt camera carrier and at another camera store for a light cart to carry our backpacks the last couple of days in Tokyo. And yet again in Tokyo at the Canon store to get us English instructions instead of the Japanese that came with the camera. We enjoyed his company fully the entire trip and felt he added a huge amount to our enjoyment because of the language barrier. We all highly recommend him for your future trips. He went way out of his way to make sure we all were comfortable and well fed... All in all, it was a beautiful trip and we were most impressed with the Japanese culture. I would recommend your company, Chris and the entire itinerary to anyone that wishes to contact us. Best regards and thank you so much for a wonderful experience"
Charles G, USA

"Alexandra and I want to thank you again for such a wonderful experience on our vacation! From the first dinner at the top of Tokyo to our departure, everything exceeded our expectations. Both Hide-san and Yuhko-san were wonderful, very informative, and a whole lot of fun to be with! I have to say that having guides that really enjoy sharing their passion and knowledge made our trip that much more enjoyable. One other thing that really impressed me with both our guides was their ability to quickly determine our likes/dislikes with food and pick spectacular restaurants once they new what we like. The sushi restaurant in Kanazawa and the kushi-katsu restaurant in Kyoto were great! They were also very helpful in knowing where to find certain items that we were looking for to take home. The accommodations that were picked for us were tremendous as were their locations. I especially liked the Ryokans and the Minshukus because they just added that special touch. The staff at all of our accommodations were especially helpful (even finding Hida beef for us when all of the markets were closed!) and they really made our stays something to remember. They also got a good laugh seeing me in a yukata and slippers that were not quite the correct size which really was a funny site. As for meals, every single meal on our three week trip was unique and special in its own way. We really enjoyed the spectacular meals that were served at the Ryokans and Minsukus, as well as our meals underground at the stations and department stores. We enjoyed our meals so much that we wrote down every meal we had and have since tried to recreate some on our own here at home (last night we made our own meat buns). One of my personal favorites was the Hoba Miso (Hida beef and vegetables grilled at the table on a dried leaf) in Takayama. The itinerary was perfect with a blend of old(Shirakawago) and new. each location was truly special from biking around Asuka-mura, to being buried in the hot sand in Ibusuki, to enjoying the wonderful festival in Takayama. Again each location was made more enjoyable with the help of Hide-san and Yuhko-san and their knowledge of each location and different sites that we should see.

Both Alexandra and I would like to thank you for making our honeymoon/anniversary in Japan the most memorable trip of our lives."
P.J. & Alexandra H, USA

Self-guided walking

"My partner and I wanted to do an interesting walk in Japan during our 3 week May 2018 stay in Japan. JTB Australia who we chose to book our whole tour with due to their knowledge of Japan recommended OKU JAPAN for the Komuno Kodo trail walk. A 3 night 4 day walk across the Kii Peninsular was arranged from Kii-Tanabe on the west coast to Hongu in the centre.

Our walk itinerary, maps and a waterproof plastic map holder were delivered to our Kyoto hotel to meet us on arrival as promised.

Sure enough the first challenging day greeted us with heavy rain, with all clothing including shoes and packs saturated - but for our waterproof itinerary and maps!

The walk was quite challenging at times, but very satisfying, with a number of shrines and villages visited, and comprehensive notes on the deep historical origins of the walk.

The accommodation ranged from a small Ryokan, to a private homestay, and finally a luxury onsen “spa hotel”. They were very different and interesting, and two meals and a packed lunch were provided each day and bags forwarded without fault.

The highlight of our OKU JAPAN experience though was how we were cared for when my wallet was lost on the second day of the walk. Without exception we were told you will get it back, you can trust Japanese who are so very honest, which turned out to be right.

On arrival at Chikatsuyu where the OKU office is based we went straight to the OKU JAPAN office in the centre of the village. There we met Satoe and Mayumi who welcomed us partner like family. After offering tea or coffee, phone calls were made to our hosts the previous night, the owners of a cafe at the base of the main climb for the day, and the police. Then because I had developed a painful groin injury we were driven to the local supermarket to buy some treats.

The following afternoon we received a delightful call from Mayumi at OKU advising that my wallet had been handed in to the cafe, with all contents in place, and that the Chikatsuyu Police would deliver it to me that evening.

I was so pleased to have my wallet with cash, credit cards and driver’s licence returned in tact. Most of all I was so impressed by the efficiency, courtesy and kindness shown by Satoe and Mayumi in the OKU JAPAN Chikatsuyu office. This company choose its staff very well!"
Rob F. and Diana C., Australia (Kumano Kodo self-guided)


"This is the first walking holiday that actually exceeded expectations. The walks were varied and well planned, and all the connections and travel details worked perfectly. A great four days off the beaten path."
Beverly L., US and Philip B., UK (Ancient Capitals self-guided)


"Each and every day was incredible, and it was all enhanced by the excellent, reliable, itinerary and planning you did for us. It never occurred to me to ask to stay in the hippest area of Kyoto and Osaka, but you thought of it and it made our stays there so fun (with great shopping temptations too!). Each lodging was perfectly suited to our needs and wishes. Even the upper floors in cities it seemed you arranged and that too enhanced the experience. Our experiences in each city were magical, and the hikes on the Kumano Kodo were profoundly special. We always felt in good hands with your planning, and materials, which were very well laid out and helpful."
Nick T. and Maryam A., USA (Kumano Kodo self-guided)


"The trip was just marvellous, and I'm just so, so impressed and thankful for all the planning and preparations you did for me!"
Trond R, Norway (Kumano Kodo self-guided)

"We have returned safely from a lovely holiday. We enjoyed it so much and like to thank you for the work you put in. The Japanese people are wonderful, very helpful and polite. Our lack of Japanese did not cause any problems. After Asuka we visited Nara before returning to Osaka. The hotels you chose where very good and we had the most delicious food, even grasshoppers were yummy. Rooms had lovely views. We walked the full 20 km, and a bit more because of getting lost, and really enjoyed it.Matsumoto castle was a real gem and our guide in Kyoto was very good. We love to go back some time. I have passed your website on to several people; hope you will get some more business."
Thea & David D, UK (Nakasendo self-guided)

"Thanks for putting together an excellent trip for us. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed this trip immensely."
G Steinhardt, Israel (Nakasendo self-guided)

"...we had an excellent trip to Japan. The days we spent on the Nakasendo Way were the highlight of our trip. The accommodation and the food at the ryokan and minshuku were simply outstanding. Thank you very much for arranging such an excellent tour on such short notice. We will certainly recommend Oku Japan to our friends"
Kathryn A, Timothy and Alan W, Korea (Nakasendo self-guided)

"I wanted to thank you for the magnificent job you both did in organizing our trip to Japan. It was everything my son and I hoped it would be. He will clearly remember it for his lifetime. Taking the time to go into the countryside and be in closer contact with the people and customs of Japan gave us an experience we never could have had in the major cities. We both commented that taking trains almost daily across the country and hiking on the trail made us slow down and absorb everything around us. I was very concerned about the trains but it was quite enjoyable... The Koma-no-yu Ryokan was a highlight of the trip. The service was impeccable, the room beautiful, and the food delicious.... Ms. Hattori in Kyoto while also very pleasant was a very well qualified and informed guide. We were very impressed with her as well as her openness and willingness to discuss current issues in Japan. She is clearly dedicated to her job. I can't leave out the two activities we inserted, whitewater rafting and baseball. Both were a huge success. Late August is perhaps not the best time to do rafting because the water levels are low and the rapids quite depleted. Nonetheless, the Canyons guides did a great job of making it fun and getting us into the river, including cliff jumping into the river, to add some excitement. Baseball was also a treat. It is much the same but also very Japanese. It allowed a quick glance of Osaka and another chance to observe and be a part of Japanese life. All in all a wonderful trip for which I am indebted to you both. Thank you."
Nate & Daneil E, USA (Nakasendo self-guided)

"Jane and I are safely home yesterday after a wonderful holiday in Japan. You would have been proud of us following your maps on the Nakasendo trail. Only a few changes not shown on your maps. We walked it all as planned, even on one very wet day. Loved the hospitality and meals through the accommodations. Dinner in a kimono is a highlight. Remembered to take my shoes off most times! Loved Kyoto and Tokyo and bullet train at 300kpm. The views at the Park Hotel are exceptional. Meyuko was excellent and made us confident to travel and not be too cautious with meals and travel. The Rail Pass was very good - we used it to get to Narita on the way home yesterday instead of the bus. Well done to all at Oku."
Peter & Jane S, Australia (Nakasendo self-guided)

"Hi Matt, Jeremy, I want to thank you both for a fantastic walking tour of Japan - Nakasendo trail, the post-towns and the Yamanobe-no-michi walks were fantastic. The highlight of the trip has been the guided tour provided by Hattori-san. She really brought the sites to life by giving the historical context of the places and events that were depicted. Even though I've been to Japan many times, I learned very much about the lives of the Shogun at the Nijo Castle and the Shinto and Buddhist sects and philosophies during our walks through the shrines. Please thank her for us. All the best, Doug"
Doug & Sue C, USA (Nakasendo self-guided)

"Dear Jeremy, We've been back for over a week now but I've been without a computer or I would have written earlier. We had a wonderful time in Japan, even exceeding my expectations and I'd been wanting to go to Japan for years. Your planning and preparations for us were so thoughtful and detailed - did you really know we might need a Ryokan with a coin operated tumble dryer at the end of our first walking day? Satomi Nagai gave us a great day in Tokyo and also gave us lots of useful advice about how things work in Japan which proved very helpful when we were on our own. She said we were her first clients this season and it was sad to see how quiet Tokyo was and empty of tourists. Lots of people said how glad they were to see us and please to tell our country, when we get home, that Japan is still a safe place to visit . Our first walking day was quite challenging, especially for me. It rained and rained from almost the start of the climb. We thought we had good lake district waterproof gear but some of it wasn't quite proof against Japanese rain. We only met one other person on the trail that day and we couln't see any views through the mist. Gratefully we took a taxi from Touge to Tsuruya Ryokan but the welcome there made us forget the struggle up the path. Travelling on our own we had many meetings and conversations with Japanese people. You were quite right, self-guided is really the best way to go. We hardly saw any other westerners, a few Australians and, at Mount Koya, a few independent travellers. The chief priest there complemented us all on our bravery in coming and some people seemed to think it was our government's advice not go to Japan. That is certainly not so but, as if the earthquake and tsunami were not enough, the tourists seem to be staying away. After the first walking day the weather was perfect . We didn't see any bears (much to Siobhan's disappointment but not mine), we saw a snake near a temple, tiny, noisy green frogs and plenty of wild flowers. Up in the mountains the cherry trees were still in bloom! We were given a great welcome at all our accommodation. Siobhan loved Iseya and enjoyed the luxury of Koma-no-yu ryokan, where, after an amazing dinner, we were whisked up to the top of the mountain in their minibus to see the stars. Our day in Kyoto with Kana Hattori was a high spot. She is such a charming person and so knowledgeable about the history and religions of her country. Siobhan is hoping to show her the delights of Cambridge one day. I am busy reliving it all with your splendid itinerary and my photos. Thank you again! Best wishes from us both, Maureen"
Maureen & Siobhan M, UK (Nakasendo self-guided)

"This trip was very seriously everything I could have hoped for. I filled out the survey, but it's pretty much straight excellent ratings, so I don't think it will provide much constructive feedback. So I just wanted to to drop one last personal note and say thanks a lot. You really went the extra mile dealing with earth quakes and date changes and requests to set me up in tiny towns like Iwade (which meant I got to see some friends from 16 years ago and had a great reunion with some people who are really important to me). Seriously, great job. I did not deserve a trip that was that fun and went that smoothly. I keep expecting Karma to smack me around a little bit just to get the universe back into alignment."Andy E, USA (Kumano Kodo self-guided)

"Dear Jeremy, we did have a great time in japan. No complaints about the arrangements at all. all lodging and food were excellent. instruction for trekking and transportation were clear and easy to understand and follow. The rain (since it was rainy season) made the stones on the Kumono Kodo very slippery so we did need to take care when hiking. This lengthened the time on the trail on the days that it rained. Fortunately, Momofuku gave us hemp rope to tie around the front of our hiking shoes which really helped on the downhill sections. we thoroughly enjoyed staying at his home. He and his wife are terrific hosts. We were soaking wet when we arrived at their home. They washed and dried our clothes, took care of our boots, and prepared a very hot bath for us. We were greeted warmly at each inn along the way and made to feel at home. We honestly can't pick a favorite accommodation. They had offered something special. Least favorite was the small minshuku near Nachi. We loved everything about Koya-san, including our lodging, although it rained during our entire stay. Since we are from Seattle, rain doesn't bother us. in fact, we thought Koya-san might be more beautiful in the rain. Since we have both been to Japan a number of times, we are quite familiar with the food...and love it. The meals on this trip did not disappoint. Everything was very good. Finally, i would like to thank you for helping to arrange the use of the telephone in Takahara. It worked out perfectly. thanks as well for allowing us to reschedule our trip from April to June. We will not hesitate to recommend Oku Japan to anyone considering a trip to japan."
Carolyn C and John B, Seattle, USA

"The holiday was amazing. Probably one of the best I have ever had. Everything went smoothly. The hotels in Osaka and Tokyo were great. The mountains were amazing and all our host were very friendly. Thanks so much for putting it together and making it so easy for us. All the best with everything. I have uploaded a couple of pics top your FB wall and filled in the survey."
Sam S and Tim P, Sydney, Australia

"Hello to All at Oku Japan, just letting you know that I am safely back in Australia. I loved every step of my Japanese experience, THANKYOU for organising me Best wishes until next time"
Marjorie S, Victoria, Australia