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Shogun Trail JS

Visiting: Japan
Tour Duration 13 Days

Reviews for Shogun Trail

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Shogun Trail reviews verified by Reevoo

30 reviews

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Shogun TrailScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 30 reviews
(10 out of 10)


The trip was fantastic, I wouldn't change a thing. I particularly enjoyed:
Kamakura with the walk and visit to the seaside.
Hakone National Park with a view of Mt Fuji.
Riding on the bullet train.
The visit to the okiya and meeting the maiko. Fabulous!
Walking through the towering bamboo forest.
Staying at the ryokans and having the hot spring baths. Soothing.
Winding down the pace and staying in Hirado island.
Going to my first baseball game - in Japan!
Eating in such well chosen places that offered something extra. Delicious!
The variety of transport, bullet trains, trams, subway, buses, boats and taxis.
The opportunities to walk the Shogun trail.

I must give our tour leader a special mention. His love for Japan, its language and its culture was clear, his fluent Japanese is an obvious benefit for this type of tour and it benefitted the group too. This was highlighted when most of the group wanted to buy a Yukata and he endevoured to find a shop that sold them, and yes we were successful in finding them. When I blew my adapter socket the tour leader found me one. When wake up calls were needed they were arranged. When out with the group the tour leader gave clear instructions on where we were going and how we were getting there. Also our tour leader was knowledgeable not only about the temples, shrines and sights but also informative about the Japanese culture.
He was always polite, kind, helpful, friendly and professional.

Thank you Explore, you should be proud.
Confirmed traveller: 08 April 2016
Published on: 27 April 2016
(10 out of 10)


West Wickham
A fantastic experience. The trip gives you a chance to see different aspects of the country -from the incredible bustle of the big cities to the tranquility of the rural setting. The Japanese people are very polite and considerate. I loved how the all came out and waved you goodbye until you couldn't see them any more wherever this was possible. The food is amazing with a variety and range which I did not realise existed. Our great tour leader made sure we experienced this. He was superb in every way; always cheerful and professional, always making sure we know exactly what we were doing, where we were were and how to get to and from places on our own. He went way above his expected time and duties and his knowledge was exceptional. Easter is a great time to go because of the cherry blossom, but it means that there are more Japanese visitors travelling and the weather can be cooler in places. There are also more steps than I have ever experienced in any other country so be prepared!
Do go, you'll love it.
Confirmed traveller: 08 April 2016
Published on: 22 April 2016
(10 out of 10)


This is a fantastic tour with a wide variety of experiences. Japan is a beautiful country and cherry blossom season a great time to visit. Accommodation was great and food superb. We saw and experienced so much, it was wonderful. So much better than I had imagined and as antacids Explorer I expected a lot. It surpassed my imaginings. Mark Rawlins is the very best of guides, always prepared to go the extra mile with a truly emphatic personality. He speaks fluent Japanese and gave us so much additional information, humour and respect. I would definitely recommend this tour.
Confirmed traveller: 09 April 2016
Published on: 21 April 2016
(9 out of 10)


The tour leader was excellent - knowledgeable, flexible and and kept us on track.

Both the local guides in Kyoto and Hirado were poor however. It would be better to brief the tour leader so he can deliver these sections.

Highlights were the Maiko tea ceremony and dance, temples in Kyoto and ryokan on Hirado.
Confirmed traveller: 15 April 2016
Published on: 17 April 2016
(8 out of 10)


A hectic schedule, ably facilitated by excellent Leader, fluent in Japanese. 16 people on trip, which is the maximum for comfort/logistics. Highlights - seeing Mount Fuji in crisp sunshine in all her snow-capped glory, ryokan in Hirado with stunning sea-view over the 99 islands area, the onsen (thermal bathing) experience, visiting a tea plantation, and lunch with a local family. Lots more - the strangeness of Tokyo (barely 48 hours here only allows a tiny insight into a huge city), the temples and gardens of Kyoto, reflecting in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and noting the different "feel" of Nagasaki; the Shinkansen (bullet train) and many other modes of transport, including cable cars, subway, local trains, taxis, trams, minbus, lake and river trips, sea ferry. Wonderful to experience the language, the food (very varied, great if you like fish/seafood and noodles). Good organisation and flexibility allowed the group to see and experience an incredible amount in just 12 nights. Travel light, and take a decent rucksack for the "light luggage only" stays in ryokans. Comfortable walking shoes a must, useful if they're slip-on, as you'll be taking shoes off frequently, to enter temples/ryokan. Decent wifi available in most city hotels, but not in ryokan, although Leader has a mobile link for emergencies.
Confirmed traveller: 25 March 2016
Published on: 16 April 2016
(10 out of 10)


Excellent. Loved everything. Mark was great. Kind, organised, flexible. Choice of restaurants great. Couldn't do enough for us. Japan was a revelation. Perhaps extend by a day and have more free time in Tokyo.
Confirmed traveller: 08 April 2016
Published on: 12 April 2016
(8 out of 10)


We would have paid extra for an "extra star" hotel particularly in Nagasaki. Highlights- different food experiences, varied itinerary and Hirado.
Confirmed traveller: 25 March 2016
Published on: 28 March 2016
(10 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

Very well organised - a great mix of hotels and ryokens. A good mix of group sightseeing and free time. Opportunity for optional meals together in various restaurants to experience different foods. A lot of fun.Mark was fabulous and very knowledgeable in answering questions, whether they were about culture, history, food - whatever! He speaks fluent Japanese which is a massive bonus when inquiring about ingredients in dishes, or more importantly, communicating with doctors and phone store staff as he had to do in our tour. If there was anything he could do to help, he did - day or night. Also, very easy going and obviously well liked and respected by us all and the owners of the ryokens we stayed in. Mark set a clear schedule for us all with meeting up times and places, and was never late. On a personal note, he spent lots of time in phone stores and communicating with his office to try and get my phone working, and then trying to sort me a pay as you go. We didn't manage it, but not for lack of trying. An all round good guy!!
Confirmed traveller: 02 April 2015
Published on: 12 March 2016
(8 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

This is so difficult as the trip was full of amazing highlights: Travelling by Public Transport: From the moment we arrived! Also the variety of transport: the different trains, the Shinkansen 'Bullet' trains were perhaps the highlight but we also travelled on the Kyshu Sea Side Liner and the Kamome Express. Also we went on underground trains, trams, boats, taxis and only ONE mini-bus (such a wonderful break from being transported in a bus everyday). Tokyo: Plenty of 'free time' to explore Tokyo so a good guide book is essential if you want to make the most of this incredible city. Our guide showed us some great parts of Tokyo on our first day including the 'busiest crossing the world'-we went back the following evening for the 'buzz'. We also visited the park in Tokyo to see all the Japanese eating under the Cherry Blossom. Kyoto-Full of amazing sights-our favourites included Nijo Castle, the Bamboo Forest, Ryoanji 'Zen' Garden and the beautiful Golden Pavillion. Also make sure you visit the temple of the 1000 Torijj gates! See if you can climb right to the top. Hiroshima-Hard to put into words but very glad we went and had time to appreciate the importance of what happened there. Nagasaka-We took the optional 'boat trip' to the island featured in the James Bond 'Skyfall' movie. This became a highlight as we were treated to the full 'Japanese' Tourist experience. It wasn't cheap but we absolutely loved it! The view over Nagasaki harbour was breathtaking. Hirado Tour-Very enjoyable-guide, a volunteer, spoke amazing English and was so informative. The driver negotiated the roads very well. The views over the islands were breathtaking. Karoke Evening-Unforgettable Party! 500 Miles was our wedding song so we loved joining in. Additional Highlights: Seeing small Japanese children taking part in a Cherry Blossom parade. Nara-Get the Kyoto guide to give you a map of Nara and circle the highlights. We were impressed by the size and structure of the Todaiji Temple but my personal highlight was seeing the Kasugataisha Temple (of a 1000 Lanterns) as it was incredibly beautiful and we arrived just in time to witness a wedding being photographed-bride and groom in traditional dress! Richard was extremely well organised-from train tickets to quick hotel check ins. Our meals were arranged early in the evening (which I really appreciated) and he provided and accompanied many on a wealth of culinary options to try. Tour in Tokyo was very good too. If you like to 'party' into the late small hours Richard is your man! He gave us the facts and the bare minimum of information about Japan. I felt this was a shame for someone who has embraced such an incredible country and would have loved to heard more from him. When he told us he was the tour leader not a tour guide I felt a bit hindered to ask him too much or to bother him the day after he had been out late.
Confirmed traveller: 20 April 2014
Published on: 12 March 2016
(9 out of 10)


Really good introduction to Japan, which is a great country for tourists. The use of local transport, mainly, is real fun and interesting. Spontaneous lunch in the Tokyo City Hall canteen was unusual. We had expected the people to be polite, but were pleasantly surprised by how friendly they are. The highlight probably was the inn on the southern island, after a slightly hairy sea crossing. So welcoming and interesting.
Confirmed traveller: 09 October 2015
Published on: 27 November 2015