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“Good tours, but be ready to run!”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of JTB Sunrise Tours

JTB Sunrise Tours
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Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi and Bullet Train Day Trip from Tokyo
Ranked #4 of 19 Tours in Shinagawa
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Good tours, but be ready to run!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2013

I have a lot of experience with escorted tours in many different places around the world, and JTB tours are for you if you're accustomed to the "Asian style" of touring. The pace is very quick (as usual with most tours run by and especially for Asians), so if you are the type who need a lot of leisure time at each place, you will find it frustrating. However, this type of tour is a very good introduction to visit areas that you may want not be able to get to efficiently on your own.

We did the 4-day highlight tour that went to Mt Fuji, Hakone, Nara and Kyoto, round-trip from Tokyo. The last day of the tour was one free day in Kyoto, which we were very well prepared for after a full-day Kyoto tour the day prior--it gave us ideas on where to go that the tour didn't have a chance to visit. We had a very pleasant experience overall and were able to see everything efficiently. While I did wish we had more time in some place, you can't have everything! I would avoid signing up for tours that take you shopping, because you simply will not have enough time. Also, read the itinerary carefully before you sign up. Many of the combination tours have days that are really half days only, and it might not be worth your money. Try to pick tours that have a full schedule for each day. The itineraries are amazingly accurate to what you will actually be seeing and doing.

Overall, JTB is very very efficient. Their efficiency and way of operation is impressive. They put their resources at the point of use, so each person is only responsible for a small chunk (i.e. one person to gather people at check in, one person to bring the guests from the train station to the hotel etc.) and they are extremely organized! Because they piece together many tour groups together in different combinations, the people you are travelling with are all on a different itinerary, so there is no set group or tour guide that you will be with for the entire duration of your trip. If you're on a multi-day tour, you will see different people come and go everyday. We actually saw some people that were on our tour the first day again later in the trip. Therefore, if you are travelling alone and hoping to meet travel mates, you will most likely not be able to build that relationship.

The tour guides are good for the most part, especially this one lady who was originally from Osaka that took us to Mount Fuji. They provide very interesting information, are very well organized and are friendly. The only thing is that you cannot expect their English to be perfect. Most of them do have thick accents (which personally I found somewhat difficult to understand), but they are otherwise fluent for the most part.

Transfers were very well organized. We had absolutely no problems being taken to and from train and bus stations. The luggage transfer assistance was also very good--no problems both ways.

Lastly, if you're in Tokyo, I would recommend not doing tours that are within Tokyo itself. You can probably travel the city much better on your own as the metro is superb. But trips going outside of Tokyo are worth it!

Visited July 2013
5 Thank hiD123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Mixed results”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

I did two one-day tours, to Fuji&Hakone and to Nikko. The guides were fantastic on both - very engaging and friendly. Nikko was fantastic, although beware with the Fuji tour that they will still take you even when they know there is an extremely low probability of seeing anything due to the weather. My advice would be to take the "pay on the day" option and ask your concierge about the weather in Fuji in the morning before you make a final decision. That might sound like slightly sharp practice but the company didn't really have a backup plan on my trip so we just bussed around looking at clouds all day. Of course they can't control the weather but it would have been nice to have some more alternative things to do or to be warned in advance. The lunch was pretty average on the Fuji trip but better on the Nikko. For the Fuji trip I would definitely recommend the return on the Shinkansen.

Visited July 2013
5 Thank chesl77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Mt Fuji”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2013

We took the day trip to Mt Fuji with JTB Sunrise Tours. We had an excellent day although I must say the guide made the trip so interesting for us. She was a very knowledgeable young lady and explained so much about past and present Japanese culture, customs, lifestyle, food and geography. A good tour guide makes or breaks a tour and she certainly made our tour a great day out.
We did the afternoon city tour with the same company the day before and the tour guide was just plain boring.
Mt Fuji was shrouded by fog when we first arrived but as it lifted we were able to take some spectacular photos.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Loris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
38 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great guides”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2013

Could not fault this tour company. We arrived tired after a long flight from Australia and our tour lady was there waiting with a deluxe taxi for the long trip into Tokyo. It was very comfortable though. All included in the price. Our bags were transferred for us without any issues when we transferred from Tokyo to Kyoto for our next tour.
We did a combination of our own free days and full day and half day tours. Everything was taken care of and all went according to plan. We had Morri-san for our Tokyo half day tour. Funny guy. We jumped off the tour when we reached the Sensoji temple because there was so much to see at the temple (its a huge complex of buildings) and then the shopping at Nakamise street was so good (as was the restaurants behind) that we just jumped on the Metro nearby and then changed to the JR line back to our hotel at Shinagawa, after a trip to Akihabara electric town, of course.
We had another guide Shima-san for our Mt Fuji/ Hakone full day tour and she was lovely and very informative. Had some lovely chats with her during the tour. She really looked after us and finally Ume-san was a great tour guide also. She filled our time with lots of lots of information. We felt we learned a lot about Japan on this tour.
While our transfer to Osaka from Kyoto was a bit closer to our departure time than we would have liked, we did make it in enough time to have a quick shop and get to our gate. Overall a very good experience.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Brisgirl_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Beware the JTB Sunrise Combination Tour”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2013

We went on the JTB Sunrise Combination Tour. As seasoned travellers we knew that it was not fully escorted and that our guide would not be staying in the hotels. We thought there would be a small group of people travelling together who would be met at each destination by a JTB guide. But beware, this is not what happens.
The organisation was wonderful: everything worked to time, the hotels were expecting us, our meals were vegetarian as requested etc. The JTB people on the ground were very helpful.
But the brochure did not make it clear that we were being put on a selection of huge public tours. Several JTB buses were going to the same destination at once. As I am short I could not see everything because of the crowds. We were hurried in and out of places because the next JTB bus was due. On some occasions there was no time for promised toilet breaks. Some people were in great distress over this.
Sometimes we had to choose between waiting in a long queue for the rest room or waiting in a huge queue for our lunch, due to the most crowded JTB tours having at least 200+ people all trying to go to the loo, eat and be ready for the afternoon tour in a very short time. If we had known we were to be on public tours we could have gone to Japan on our own and booked them there, which would have given us the option of having a break from the crowds.
We arrived at night: the drive into Tokyo was in darkness and pelting rain, so we didn’t get our bearings. Our first tour started at 0815 the next morning, so we had no time to get a map. We were picked up at our hotel, but were astonished to be dumped at a train station after the tour. The brochure said the official tour ended there, but we booked the 9 day Combination tour as an entity, expecting to be taken back by the same bus that picked us up from our hotel. We ended up on an unknown train system, then lost in the back streets of Tokyo, couldn’t find a taxi and had no map. The same thing happened the next day when we were dropped in the Ginza district, but by this time we had obtained a map.
Our travel agent was horrified and contacted JTB, but when she got no reply I emailed them myself. They refused to deal with me. Eventually they wrote to our agent and put the blame on her, but she only knew as much as we did, having read the same brochure. I would not have gone if I had any idea it was a cobbled together series of huge JTB public tours.

Visited April 2013
7 Thank AngelaD17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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