Tag Archives: Guide

Trip to Japan: Sébastien Duval’s top 5 tips to prepare your travel!

Prepare your trip to Japan with Sébastien Duval’s top 5 tips about timing, food restrictions, destinations, languages, travel agents & tour guides. This 3-minute video with English subtitles was also realized in French and Japanese:

Subtitles:

  • Hi there! I’m Sébastien Duval, I’m in Tokyo, and I’m going to tell you how to prepare your trip to Japan!
  • Tip number 1: Prepare your trip well in advance. Japanese people and more & more foreign tourists compete for comfortable rooms at hotels and “ryokan” traditional inns in Tokyo metropolis, Kyoto city, Osaka city, Hakone area… and at other famous destinations! So many people want to enjoy cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, annual “matsuri” festivals, and other special events! Many rooms may be available for the end of June, beginning of July, September, and beginning of October but think carefully: flights & trains may be cancelled during these typhoon seasons! Planning everything 6 months to 1 year before travelling to Japan seems wise.
  • Tip number 2: Think about your special needs in Asia, especially if you move around with kids, if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, or if you are a Muslim and you need halal food… Japanese food is excellent but few restaurants are ready for international travellers with allergies, green lifestyles or diverse religious practices. Unexpected ingredients find their way in many dishes; for example, fish extracts in vegetable soups, meat extracts in seafood dishes, and pork fat in bread!
  • Tip number 3: Visit the Japanese countryside if you have time. Japan has many faces and trains can take you to so many cool places beyond the big cities! For 2 days or more, enjoy a slower pace, meet the locals and see different beautiful landscapes! Discover rice fields, volcanic lakes, hot springs in snowy mountains, jungles… This is Japan too!
  • Tip number 4: Move around with somebody who speaks your language and Japanese. Japanese people study English at school but few can communicate with foreigners; even staff at train stations and tourist spots. Besides, most signs, maps, brochures and menus are written in Japanese characters only (you can’t read them). The country is safe and Japanese people are kind so you don’t have to worry too much about all this stuff :) But, this being said, help from a bilingual can make your stay in Japan much more comfortable, efficient and fun. Ideally, find somebody understanding your needs and sharing your interests!
  • Tip number 5: Hire us! The team of my travel agency in Tokyo knows how to prepare a great trip in Japan (with private bus and special hotels if desired) and I have experience assisting & guiding parents with small children, vegan couples from Europe, Muslim families and businessmen from the Middle East, Jews from Israel, Hindu groups from India… Each tour was adapted to match the customers’ specificities, and I am happy to tell you that we never had a claim :) But of course we keep on learning and doing better every time! I speak English, French & Japanese, I’ve lived in Japan for more than 10 years, I know great Japanese people, and I have visited many places here! Shall I help you prepare your whole trip to Japan and maybe accompany you or your group all along?
  • Thanks for watching; see you in Japan!
  • For more information, please contact: DUVAL Sébastien.

Mount Fuji


About this video…

Original: https://youtu.be/Jbxdev7CAoc
Produced by: Stem ConsultingGet Japan team
Directed and edited by: Taylor B.
Presenter: Sébastien Duval. He is certified as tour conductor & guide in Japan, enjoys ecotourism, storytelling and the Japanese culture, and often eats vegan/halal food at restaurants in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone…

Special thanks to the staff of the vegan restaurant Loving Hut (Tokyo near Jimbocho station) for preparing a wonderful “vegan sushi” set although the restaurant was closed that day :)

Holidays & business trips in Japan

You have holidays or a business trip planned in Asia? Ask us to prepare a wonderful itinerary in Japan, optimize your transportation, find convenient & pleasant hotels in the cities or traditional inns with lots of character in the countryside, recommend diverse restaurants & seasonal regional dishes, guide you in English during personalized excursions including time with Japanese locals…

We are used to helping tourists and professionals travelling alone or in good company from Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Fiji…
7.9m-long whale sharks at Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa (Japan).
Peace Tower at Cape Kyan (Japan) in March.
Kumano Kodo panorama with Nachi waterfalls (Japan) in August.
Himeji Castle (Japan) in August.
Sakuragicho in Yokohama (Japan).

To help us propose then organize a pertinent & charming stay for you an your group, tell us where you have already been in Asia, the goals of your trip in Japan, the number and age of the travellers, your budget, your needs (physical condition, halal, vegan/vegetarian), your passions (Japanese or not), the potential dates for your trip, your ideas for destinations & activities in Japan…

Important: Japan lacks hotel rooms for travellers and English-speaking certified guides; reserve 6-12 months before your flight or cruise to ensure you get what you want and to benefit from the best choices at attractive prices!
Japanese singers/dancers in kimono with Sébastien Duval on the Gozabune Atakemaru ship in Tokyo (Japan).
Yuta Honda and Taylor Martin at Toyokuni Atelier art gallery in Tokyo (Japan).
Kamagaya Big Buddha (Japan) with Sébastien Duval.

Charmed by Japan and convinced by the Yes in Japan quality at the end of your stay? Come live in Japan and recommend our travel agency in Tokyo to your friends :)

From Qatar for autumn photos in Tokyo, gifts made in Japan and a vegetarian buffet!

We guided a businessman from Qatar in Tokyo today, for the last day of his first stay in Japan. Leaving in a comfortable car from Tokyo Dome Hotel, we visited a Japanese garden, ate at a vegetarian restaurant, bought gifts at a shop owned by a couple of Japanese artisans, saw many tourist spots, and visited holy sites.

To make great photos of Japanese autumn with the morning light, we first strolled in the peaceful Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo). Coming from Qatar, the traveller was particularly pleased with the seasonal yellow grass, trees with red leaves, green pine trees, and mirror-like pond, which were gorgeous under a big blue sky! The singing birds, lively carps, wooden bridge, lanterns, teahouse, and numerous Japanese grandmothers and grandfathers made this time very enjoyable :)
Tree with red leaves and yellow grass at Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Stone lantern and autumn leaves at Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo, Japan).

We lunched early at Petit Bonheur in Chiyoda ward, enjoying a vegetarian buffet with fragrant and tasty vegetables and fruits from Japan. This popular restaurant was full but only two other men were in sight; we were surrounded by Japanese women!

After coffee, we looked at old buildings in the Kanda area of Chiyoda ward and went shopping at the wonderful shop Kanda Chonko to buy high-quality handmade gifts made in Japan for the businessman’s family: Japanese fans, bags, hairpins, a sumo wrestler kokeshi doll, a decoration made using rice grains, a miniature with a Japanese boy and girl in kimono…
Takemura (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Our driver proposed a scenic tour to see and photograph important places in Tokyo before going to the Asakusa district: Tokyo train station, the fortifications of the Imperial Palace, the Ministry of Justice (old and new buildings), the National Diet Building, Tokyo Tower… and lines of beautiful trees with yellow leaves!
Tokyo Tower (Minato ward, Tokyo, Japan).

In Taito ward, we took an elevator for a great panoramic view of Asakusa: Asahi Breweries headquarters, Tokyo Skytree, Senso-ji Buddhist temple, the pagoda, the shopping street… We then entered the Thunder Gate, shopped lightly in the shopping street, received a handwritten document with a holy seal at Senso-ji Buddhist temple, visited Asakusa Shinto Shrine, and ate shrimp sushi :) After that, it was time to go catch the flight back to Qatar at Narita international airport…

Update on 02 December 2014: A Japanese partner of the Qatari businessman called to thank us; our tour in Tokyo was praised :) In fact, our English-speaking staff also spent a very pleasant autumn day thanks to this friendly visitor!

If you too wish to visit Tokyo with us, reserve a 1-day Yes in Japan private tour.

02 August 2014: Japanese culture & night cruise in Tokyo’s Sumida ward

Nice! Tokyo’s Sumida ward, its tourism office and the Sumidagawa Edo Cultural Sightseeing Promotion Association organize a “Yukata De Guide Tour” special event in English for foreign tourists near Ryogoku station from 16:00 to 21:00 on Saturday 02 August 2014.

Imagine wearing a colourful Yukata summer kimono with traditional Geta wooden shoes, visiting the Kokugikan sumo arena, joining a tea ceremony in a Japanese garden, smelling and tasting Japan’s green tea from your cup, attending a concert of Koto (stringed musical instrument) and Shakuhachi flute, living a Haiku Japanese poetry gathering
Japanese culture: tea ceremony.

Then cruise the Sumida River at night to admire the lit-up Rainbow Bridge (Odaiba area) and modern Tokyo Skytree tower from a cute boat…

Finally, enjoy a festival with many small shops and Japanese people dancing a Bon-odori dance… You may even dance with them!
Japanese culture: dance.

Why not live and enjoy the Japanese culture this Summer evening in Tokyo’s Sumida ward? Make a reservation for the “Yukata De Guide Tour” for only 4.500 yens (food included) before 29 July! Our Yes in Japan travel manager will definitely join :)

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Yukata De Guide Tour = ゆかたでガイドツアー (yukata-de-gaido-tsua).
  • “Visit Sumida” tourism office = 墨田区観光協会 (Sumida-ku-kanko-kyokai).
  • Sumidagawa Edo Cultural Sightseeing Promotion Association = 隅田川・江戸文化観光振興会 (Sumida-gawa-edo-bunka-kanko-shinko-kai).
  • Yukata = 浴衣, Bon-odori = 盆踊り, Sumida river = 隅田川 (Sumida-gawa).
  • Ryogoku station = 両国駅 (Ryogoku-eki), Sumida ward = 墨田区 (Sumida-ku), Tokyo = 東京.

Yes in Japan private tours in English/French in Tokyo area (half day, 1 day or more)

For the convenience of foreigners travelling or living in Japan, our Japanese travel agency Travel Stand Japan now proposes private tours (half day, 1 day or several days) with tour conductor/guide speaking English or French in addition to local walks and traditional activities. We can meet you at your hotel or ryokan early in the morning if necessary :)

For a tour conductor/guide in Tokyo area, you pay the same basic price whether you are alone or come as a group (family, friends…):

This service is convenient and quite cheap if you spend holidays in Japan with your family or friends, do a business trip in Asia with colleagues who do not speak the Japanese language, attend an international conference in Tokyo with researchers or students… Besides, we highly recommend you to join a Yes in Japan private tour if you have only one day in Tokyo and are not sure how to get the best from it.

Family looking at carps in a pond at Happo-en (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

During a 1-day private tour in Tokyo, you could for example eat great sushi at Tsukiji fish market, discover the recently renovated Kabuki-za theatre, savour a green tea in a nice tea house surrounded by trees and flowers, walk in small streets, meet shopkeepers, and end the day with a great night view or even live music! If the weather is not so good, you could instead admire Japanese samurai swords, traditional kimono dresses, Buddhist statues, Shinto lanterns at night, and the interior of a gorgeous wedding centre…

Kabuki-za theatre (Tokyo, Japan) in April 2014.

During a 1-day private tour near Tokyo, you can for example leave early for Hakone to see Mount Fuji, enjoy Japanese art, drink green tea while looking at a lake then relax at a hot spring. You could also enter a bamboo grove, see an impressive statue of Buddha and write a sutra in Kamakura! Of course, we can also accompany you to a Japanese festival or other special event.

Mount Fuji seen from Hakone (Japan) in April 2014.

Try to make early reservations for private tours, especially if you wish a tour conductor/guide at night, on week-ends, public holidays, or busy periods: New year (first week of January), cherry blossoms (March/April), Golden Week (end of April and beginning of May), and autumn leaves (October/November).

Enjoy Japan!

Pink cherry blossoms and Japanese bride in kimono at Tokyo-daijingu on 11 April 2014

This morning, we admired pink cherry blossoms and a charming Japanese bride in white kimono (traditional dress) at the peaceful Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine. The nice couple of travellers from Sweden that joined this “Kagurazaka, Charming Tokyo” walking tour in Tokyo was delighted :)

Most cherry trees in Tokyo have already lost their petals due to the rain but this cherry tree of the Yae-zakura species is in full bloom. With good travel tips or a guide, you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in Tokyo even after the peak of March/April!

Pink cherry blossoms at Tokyo-daijingu Shinto shrine (Tokyo, Japan) on 11 April 2014.

Tokyo-daijingu is known as the Shinto shrine that held the first Shinto wedding ceremony in Japan so it is the most traditional destination in Japan to see (and take a picture of) a Japanese bride in kimono…

Japanese bride in white kimono at Tokyo-daijingu (Tokyo, Japan) on 11 April 2014.

We exceptionally started this Yes in Japan 2014 tour at Hotel Niwa Tokyo (near Suidobashi station) for the convenience of our customers. The walk was longer than usual but it was a pleasure with this beautiful Spring weather :)

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Yae-zakura = 八重桜, Kimono = 着物.
  • Tokyo = 東京, Tokyo-daijingu = 東京大神宮.
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).

New tour in Tokyo: “Japanese Gods Grand Tour”

You wonder about the Japanese gods and mythical creatures? You are interested in Buddhism and in Japan’s ancient religion Shintoism? Then, we strongly recommend you the Yes in Japan walking tour “Japanese Gods Grand Tour” in Tokyo (reference W14D), launched for Spring 2014 by our travel agency Travel Stand Japan.

Japanese Gods Grand Tour: Shinto gates and foxes at Takuzosu-inari (Tokyo, Japan) in February 2014.

Do not miss this dense tour with engraved walls, a salt Jizo, a hidden dragon, a fox army, Happy Gods, a peaceful Kannon, and… a Buddhist temple in a kindergarten! You may even walk on the tatami mats of another Buddhist temple to see holy statues and other objects at closer range… Our English-speaking guide will show you the way, will reveal interesting and fun objects, and will provide background information.

Japanese Gods Grand Tour: Sleeping Buddha at the Buddhist temple Denzuin (Tokyo, Japan) in February 2014.

Current calendar for April 2014: Wednesday 02, Wednesday 09, Wednesday 16, Wednesday 23, and Wednesday 30 with departures at 09:30 from Tokyo Dome Hotel. Follow the link below to get up-to-date information and book online.

Travel through the mystic world of Japan in a little-known district of Tokyo…

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Buddhism = 仏教 (Bukkyo), Shintoism = 神道 (Shinto).
  • Tokyo Dome Hotel = 東京ドームホテル (Tokyo-domu-hotelu), Tokyo = 東京.

March 2014 in Tokyo: Calendar of walking tours YES IN JAPAN

We have prepared original walking tours for foreign travellers in Tokyo during March 2014. To enjoy the colours and perfume of Japanese cherry blossoms, join the gorgeous “2014 Best Cherry Blossoms” or “2014 Sweet Sakura Evening“. To explore other facets of Japanese life and culture, enjoy our walking tours with small streets, traditional shops, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, displays of Japanese art, relics of Japanese history…

You will find below our calendar for March 2014 with dates, gathering times and places, tour titles and tour references. Click on a tour title to get its latest information and/or make a reservation. Note that the schedule may change, especially regarding the “cherry blossoms” tours (blooming depends on the weather), and that some tours will remain available in April 2014 and beyond.

MONDAY
17, 24, 31 March
09:30 at Hotel Niwa Tokyo
Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?
(Tour W14B)
13:00 at Jimbocho
Shopkeepers x Japanese Culture
(Tour W14A)
17:00 at Hotel Grand Palace
2014 Sweet Sakura Evening
(Tour W14G)
TUESDAY
18, 25 March
09:30 at Hotel Grand Palace
Kagurazaka, Charming Tokyo
(Tour W14C)
13:00 at Hotel Grand Palace
2014 Best Cherry Blossoms
(Tour W14F)
16:30 at Hotel Niwa Tokyo
Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?
(Tour W14B)
WEDNESDAY
19, 26 March
09:30 at Hotel Niwa Tokyo
Japanese Gods Grand Tour
(Tour W14D)
13:00 at Jimbocho
Shopkeepers x Japanese Culture
(Tour W14A)
17:00 at Hotel Grand Palace
2014 Sweet Sakura Evening
(Tour W14G)
THURSDAY
20, 27 March
09:30 at Hotel Grand Palace
After the War: Fighters and Civilians
(Tour W14E)
13:00 at Hotel Grand Palace
2014 Best Cherry Blossoms
(Tour W14F)
16:30 at Hotel Niwa Tokyo
Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?
(Tour W14B)
FRIDAY
28 March
09:30 at Hotel Niwa Tokyo
Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?
(Tour W14B)
13:00 at Jimbocho
Shopkeepers x Japanese Culture
(Tour W14A)
17:00 at Hotel Grand Palace
2014 Sweet Sakura Evening
(Tour W14G)

Your guide will show the way, point out interesting or fun things, explain in English, translate your questions from English to Japanese and answers from Japanese to English if necessary. Each group is limited to 8 participants so we can go to narrow/crowded places and discuss freely…

Starting points for our walking tours, Hotel Niwa Tokyo (near our travel agency) and Hotel Grand Palace (near Yasukuni shrine) are convenient hotels for your stay in Tokyo. In the Jimbocho area, you may also consider Sakura Hotel Jimbocho.

Enjoy Spring in Japan!

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo (Japan).

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Tokyo = 東京.
  • Hotel Grand Palace = ホテルグランドパレス (hotelu-gurando-palesu).
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).
  • Sakura Hotel Jimbocho = サクラホテル神保町 (Sakula-hotelu-jimbocho).

New tour in Tokyo: “Shopkeepers x Japanese Culture”

Travel Stand Japan just launched a Yes in Japan unique tour in Tokyo for Spring 2014: “Shopkeepers x Japanese Culture” (reference W14A). We strongly recommend you this walking tour if you love the “Made in Japan” traditional and ancient creations, want shopping ideas, and wish to meet/interact with Japanese people during your holidays in Japan.

Mamebon book in Jimbocho (Tokyo, Japan).

Explore Japanese life and culture by visiting shops in Jimbocho. Look, listen, touch and get answers to your questions about traditional and everyday life objects. You will typically discover Wagashi cakes, Washi paper, Mamebon books, Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, ancient maps, fun family card games… Our guide will lead you from little shop to little shop, introducing you to the shopkeepers and to their products, and will translate your questions (English to Japanese) and the shopkeepers’ answers (Japanese to English). Feel free to buy sweets, souvenirs and gifts for your children and friends!

Wagashi cake in Tokyo (Japan).

Current calendar for March 2014: Monday 17, Wednesday 19, Monday 24, Wednesday 26, Friday 28, and Monday 31 with departures at 13:00 near Jimbocho station and Sakura Hotel Jimbocho (between the Imperial Palace, Akihabara, Tokyo Dome and Yasukuni shrine). Follow the link below to get up-to-date information and book online.

Discover a deep Tokyo and get a unique grasp of Japan thanks to Japanese people themselves!

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Jimbocho = 神保町, Jimbocho station = 神保町駅 (Jimbocho-eki), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Sakura Hotel Jimbocho = サクラホテル神保町 (Sakula-hotelu-jimbocho).

New tour in Tokyo: “2014 Sweet Sakura Evening”

Travel Stand Japan just launched a Yes in Japan romantic tour in Tokyo for Spring 2014: “2014 Sweet Sakura Evening” (reference W14G). Our team strongly recommends you this walking tour if you want a sweet time in Tokyo, love the grace and perfume of cherry blossoms, and wish a taste of Japanese life.

Sakura at Yasukuni shrine (Tokyo, Japan).

In Japan, flower lovers enjoy cherry blossoms (“sakura” in Japanese) by day and by night in Spring… We propose you to do just that, starting with the impressive path leading to the main hall of Yasukuni Shinto shrine by daylight and continuing with dense rows of cherry trees along a canal lit up by lanterns when the sky darkens. Our English-speaking guide will lead you through the most beautiful and romantic paths of cherry blossoms… On the way back, will you buy Sakura cakes or sweets to get a Japanese taste of Spring?

Current calendar for March 2014: Monday 17, Wednesday 19, Monday 24, Wednesday 26, Friday 28, and Monday 31 with departures at 17:00 from the nice Hotel Grand Palace. Follow the link below to get up-to-date information and book online.

Live unforgettable holidays in Japan with a sweet, sweet Sakura evening in Tokyo :)

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Yasukuni shrine = 靖国神社 (Yasukuni-jinja), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Hotel Grand Palace = ホテルグランドパレス (hotelu-gurando-palesu).