Q. How exactly do I make a booking for one of your small group tours?
A. To save your place on one of our small group tours simply pay the AU$500 deposit for your selected tour through the Bookings Page of this website. The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the start of the tour. If the current date is already less than 60 days prior to the start of the tour, please pay the full amount for your selected tour through the Bookings Page to save your place. Payment methods include credit card, PayPal, and bank transfer. Once we receive your payment we will send your booking confirmation, payment receipt, and a detailed itinerary which includes accommodation information. If you have any questions about making a booking or payment please do not hesitate to contact us.
Q. How big are the groups on your private and small group tours?
A. To ensure a friendly, personalized experience, we limit our small group tours to a maximum of 10 people. Our small group tours run with a minimum of 2 people. Our fully escorted private tours run with a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 20 people.
Q. Can I join one of your tours alone?
A. Yes, single travellers are also more than welcome to join one of our small group tours. Please note that there is a AU$800 single traveller surcharge added to the price of the tour for single travelers. This single traveller surcharge is used to cover the extra costs incurred for single person accommodation. When making a booking online, single travellers need to pay the single traveller surcharge separately.
Q. What kind of luggage should I bring?
A. Travellers should bring two easy to carry pieces of luggage: a medium sized suitcase (70-100L) with good quality wheels, and a small overnight bag (35-45L backpack). As A&C Tours Japan make use of public transport, all your luggage needs to be of a manageable size and weight so that it does not restrict your ability to travel comfortably. Hotels are well chosen for location, but there will be times when you need to move your luggage in public spaces for relatively long distances over tiled surfaces and sometimes up and down stairs in train stations.
Q. What kind of accommodation do you arrange for your tours?
A. All hotels, minshuku (local inns), and ryokan (traditional hotels) have been specially chosen by Akemi and Craig for their superior quality and convenient location. We use a combination of 3 and 4 star accommodation on all of our small group tours. All accommodation has been carefully selected to give you a pleasant stay in the best locations without inflating the cost of your tour unnecessarily. Here is a list of some of the hotels we regularly use in some of the major cities to give you a general idea of the standard of accommodation.
Tokyo - Hotel Bell Classic Tokyo / Sunshine City Prince Hotel
Kyoto - Richmond Hotel Premier Kyoto Ekimae / Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Ekimae
Hiroshima - Daiwa Roynet Hotel Hiroshima Ekimae / Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima
Sendai - Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sendai
Sapporo - Mercure Hotel Sapporo / Daiwa Roynet Hotel Sapporo Susukino
Q. What fitness level is required for your tours?
A. The fitness level required varies slightly depending on the tour, but on the whole our tour itineraries are gentle to moderate, and are suitable for travellers of average fitness. For instance, we have had a number of customers in their late 60s and early 70s join several of our tours and none of them had any problems with the itinerary or the amount of walking involved.
Q. When is the best time to visit Japan?
A. The best time to visit Japan is anytime! Japan has four very distinct season, and all of them have their own unique beauties and attractions. Well known seasonal features include the cherry blossoms in spring (March-April), festivals and fireworks in summer (July-August), colourful autumn leaves in autumn (October-November), and wonderful powder snow and onsen (Japanese hot springs) in winter (December-February). This means you could visit the same place in a different season and get a completely different experience. Because Japan is also geographically and climatically diverse, you can find good places to visit at any time of the year. Our small group tour itineraries have been carefully created to allow travellers to experience the best of each season.
Q. Is Japan expensive?
A. Japan has had a reputation for being an expensive country for travel, but since the economic bubble burst more than 20 years ago the Japanese economy has been in deflation, and this reputation is now largely untrue. Travellers will be pleasantly surprised to find that most things are good value in Japan. In particular, transport, dining out, clothing, and electronics will probably seem cheaper to you than in your own country. Like anywhere though, travellers seeking high-end retail or services can expect to pay for it.
Q. What kind of transport do you use on your tours?
A. We believe that transport is part of the Japanese experience, so whenever possible we use the excellent public transport system, including trains, subways, buses, water taxis, and of course the shinkansen (bullet train). On several of our small group tours we also use private coaches and/or people movers so we can get to more remote places and enjoy unscheduled stops along the way.
Q. Can I use my mobile phone in Japan?
A. While your smartphone will work in Japan, you should check the roaming charges with your service provider before leaving Australia. If you are in any doubt, keep global roaming off to avoid bill shock. Although you can purchase a data only sim in Japan (from companies like Sakura Mobile), most hotels have free Wifi, so you can easily keep in touch with friends back home via apps like Facebook.
Q. Do I need to tip in Japan?
A. Tipping is not customary and is not expected in Japan, however some people do leave small tips on their pillows in hotel rooms for housekeepers, or hand over gratuity in an envelope to any hotel or ryokan (Japanese style inn) staff that have been especially helpful to them during their stay.
Q. Do you arrange flights to and from Japan?
A. No, we do not arrange flights. You are free to use your preferred airline or flight agent. We do however highly recommend Qantas Airlines, ANA Airlines, and Japan Airlines for their quality and service.
Q. Who plans and leads the tours?
A. Akemi and Craig work closely together to plan all of our small group tours. Craig will be your tour guide/interpreter in Japan unless serious illness prevents him from doing so.
Q. Where do we first meet Craig in Japan?
A. Craig will be at the airport waiting for you when you arrive. He will then assist you with your hotel transfer. Please note that depending on the time of your arrival, there may be some rare occasions when Craig will meet you directly at your hotel. On such occasions you will be given detailed instructions on how to transfer from the airport to your hotel.
Q. Can you help book accommodation for me before and after my tour?
A. Yes, we can assist you with arranging pre-tour and post-tour accommodation.
Q. Can I make a last minute booking?
A. Yes, we will do our very best to accommodate last minute bookings if accommodation can be arranged.
If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us and ask! Please use the form at the bottom of the page and we will get back to you with the answer as soon as possible.