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A fantastic tour

We have just returned from a two week tour around Japan with Japan Custom Travel and had really... read more

Reviewed November 22, 2018
Jan H
An excellent experience

Patrick is an excellent traveling companion: knowledgeable, helpful, adept at resolving... read more

Reviewed November 17, 2018
Mark J
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Reviewed September 4, 2017

In late March we did the first of Patrick Harnett's cherry blossom tours in Japan. I found him excellent for all the pre tour organisation...nothing was a problem and everything was taken into account. Amazingly most of my enquiries were responded to within hours. The cherry blossom was a little later than expected but had no impact on our trip...we saw beautiful plum blossom in many gorgeous gardens earlier in the trip, and some stunning cherry blossom towards the end. The mix of old and new in every aspect of Japanese life was a highlight. I loved the stress free manner in which we moved from place to place with a great mix of experiences. The food was a highlight..and the art...and the architecture, gardens...etc. Kanazawa was a highlight in the tour we took. Japan is a photographers delight...and I am very keen to go back to see the autumn colours one day. If I do I will spend more time researching the food and restaurants in the places we go to - to expand our knowledge and experiences. Highly recommend Patrick and Japan Custom Tours.

Date of experience: March 2017
1  Thank Helen2Go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2017

We recently booked 10 days in Japan with JCT. No worries about where to stay, eat or how to figure out the transportation system. JCT handled all details. Wendy and Koji accompanied us every day to places we wanted to see and suggested other places we didn't think about. My wife got sick with strep throat and Wendy arranged a very good English speaking doctor to help her out and prescribe medicine, which got her back up and running in two days. We were able to travel to an Onson village and stay in a Ryokan and be entertained by geishas and eat fantastic huge multi-course meals in a private dining setting. We had reserved train seats for all long distance travel, including to and from the airport which made travel a pleasure. We never waited more than 15 minutes for train connections and where trains might be difficult, we would take taxi's. No parking issues at all. I highly recommend Japan Custom Tours for anyone wanting a worry and stress free trip to Japan.

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank Paul T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JapanCustomTours, Owner at Japan Custom Tours, responded to this reviewResponded August 17, 2017

Thank you Paul - we aim to make things as stress free as possible and getting sick on holiday is never good, but you were in good hands with Wendy and Koji looking after you. We aim to have our schedules work efficiently so you get more time doing Japan and it is nice to hear any wait times were kept to a minimum. As for the great experiences you had along the way - that's what we do.

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Reviewed July 26, 2017

Patrick Harnett of Japan Custom Tours is a marvel! He ever so smoothly and calmly shepherded our Gang of Four-Joan, a New Zealand couple and I- through thronged train stations, along urban sidewalks and among the masses at famed sites. He knows the most opportune times to experience the temples, shrines, gardens, museums and restaurants before the crowds arrive. We not only saw the iconic, but were taken to the secretly splendid off the beaten track to quiet hillsides, forested paths and blossom bowered riversides. Patrick balanced it all, contrasting the ancient with the modern, the natural with the man made. We were able to visit the the suggested itinerary of the Late Cherry Blossom Tour, April 16-29, plus our personal requests: an origami class, a silk painting session, a Kabuki theater presentation. Our "tour" was true to the company name "Custom." JCT is a five star operation and Patrick scores an Olympic ten. Joyce and Joan

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank earlgreen2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JapanCustomTours, Owner at Japan Custom Tours, responded to this reviewResponded August 2, 2017

Thank you for the review as it highlights many of the elements that we build into our tours for people - the iconic and the secret, the busy and the quiet. Being able to show the diversity and contrasts of Japan and add in activities that you actually wanted to do. A memorable trip.

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Reviewed July 25, 2017

My wife and I completed a two-week tour of Japan during the first half of
April 2017. This was the first time we had ever traveled as part of a tour
group. But after reading several positive reviews about Japan Custom Tours
on the web in 2016, we felt comfortable booking a trip with this company.
It was really nice to leave details about arranging hotels, train passes,
museum vists, etc to JCT, especially since we do not speak any Japanese.

The cherry blossoms and Jigokudani Monkey Park met our (high)
expectations. But we also really enjoyed nearly all of the other sites that
were on our recent tour. They included the Hiroshima peace museum,
Miyajima island, the Inari Fushimi shrine, the deer park at Nara, Nijo Castle
and its spectacular gardens, and the even more spectacular Kenroukuen
gardens in Kanazawa (my favorite city in Japan). The only significant site
which didn't live up to its billing was the cruise around Matsushima Bay in
Sendai. Japan Custom Tours arranged for my wife to take an origami class
in Tokyo which she thoroughly enjoyed. And we both liked having free time
on our own to visit a major art museum in Tokyo.

Japan Custom Tours definitely tries to accommodate individual
preferences among their small group tours. We were probably among the
more adventuresome in our recent tour. Patrick and Wendy often let us go off
on our own ahead of the rest of the group and/or let us remain at
some locations for more time to site-see and gave us directions on how to
get back to the hotel at night. So I'd recommend working with this company
to let them know what you want from a tour. Given that you're part of a
group tour, it's not possible to always accommodate everyone's
individual preferences. But this company definitely tries to customize each day
on the tour so that different people can do different activities.

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank Peter C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JapanCustomTours, Owner at Japan Custom Tours, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2017

Peter C thank you for your detailed review. Certainly the opportunity and flexibility for people to go exploring away from the rest of the group (or simply taking more time to enjoy a particular site) is an important feature of our tours, and it is good to hear that most of the sites lived up to expectations. Your comment on Matsushima Bay is very useful (listed as one of the "three views of Japan") but we do understand not everyone likes it, and that is the kind of feedback we incorporate into subsequent trips.

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Reviewed July 24, 2017

I will begin by making an admission: i am high maintenance and have adult attention deficit disorder. Following a flag in a mob of 40 other people is NOT my idea of a good time. Spending time on a bus is torture. Eating with a large group at mediocre restaurants is painful. If you want that trip then do not hire this company. If, however, you want a personal guide to take you to cool places, some off the beaten track, then Japan Custom Tours lives up to its name. We had a private tour, where we did more in 3 weeks than most visitors would do in 6. One of the things I loved was the flexibility to change our minds from day to day and even hour to hour . When we were hungry we could go into small restaurants and sample local cuisine. The food courts in train stations and department stores were astonishing. No, really. NOT fast food crap like US or Canadian malls- fabulous, delicacies perfectly prepared. Clean beyond words. We could hop a cab to an out of the way destination not on the typical bus tour and if we were in a place with a special exhibit i.e the Venetian Glass exhibit in Harkone, we could skip something else that was planned. The hotels Patrick arranged were gorgeous and i loved deciding what we wanted to eat when we were hungry as opposed to fixed times at specific restaurants. Truly the only way to see Japan. If you are going see the Scotch Distillery outside of Osaka. I hate scotch, but loved this place. Walking in tiny towns down ancient was one of our favourite things

Date of experience: September 2016
Thank sharll_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JapanCustomTours, Owner at Japan Custom Tours, responded to this reviewResponded July 30, 2017

Thank you for choosing to tour with Japan Custom Tours. It was a pleasure showing you around Japan and while we started with a pretty full tour schedule, we managed to add in some extras for you at the last minute that I think really complemented what you wanted to get out of your trip. As you said on tour, your friends that had visited 6-7 times had not seen half the stuff you managed to experience - and that is the compliment I remember.

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