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Shogun Trail JS

Visiting: Japan
Trip Duration 13 Days

Reviews for Shogun Trail

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

Trip notes

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We have the following different versions of the Shogun Trail trip available at present.

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Shogun Trail reviews verified by reevooReevoo

38 reviews

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Shogun TrailScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 38 reviews
(9 out of 10)


Highlights-seeing lots of different areas/ aspects to Japan
I loved Nagasaki and Hirado
staying in the traditional guest houses and soaking up the onsens
Having tea and playing games with the Maiko
The toilets!
The bars and nightlife!
Karaoke with the group!
Overall so many highlights and happy memories
Improvements - bad weather so unable to view Mount Fuji and according to local opinion, it is rarely seen from the area we were in due to poor visibility.
Lots of free time at the beginning of the tour so took longer to gel with the group
Restaurants and eating with the group very fish heavy, even for someone who eats fish 3 times a week at home!
We arrived at our hotel in Fukuoka at 3pm and couldn't check in until 4pm unless we paid more money. The principle of this annoyed me and explore should ensure we can check into hotels when we are arriving at such a reasonable time and especially as it was the last day of the tour!
Overall - a very magical experience and highly recommended. we were lucky to share some of these experiences with a lovely group of people!
Confirmed traveller: 07 October 2016
Published on: 20 October 2016
(10 out of 10)


Melbourne Australia
A wonderful way to experience Japan. Our tour leader was friendly, enthusiastic, caring and knowledgable. We loved spending time with the geishas and sharing his favourite temples and restaurants. Nothing was too much trouble.
Confirmed traveller: 07 October 2016
Published on: 11 October 2016
(7 out of 10)


The visit to Tokyo and Kyoto is excellent however the trip is let down by the poor standard of hotels. It is not made clear by Explore that you will be staying in budget hotels. The local Japanese style hotels lack proper sanitation and you need to be prepared to shower in a building outside of the hotel. They had no en-suite facilities. Also avoid the group meals where ever possible as you will find better food on your own.
Japan is an excellent country to visit however other tour operators will offer a better standard of hotel.
Confirmed traveller: 21 August 2016
Published on: 06 October 2016

Traditional Ryokans are a comfortable but very simple style of accommodation; some of them have a communal bathing area across the central garden – these tend to be modern bathrooms clean and small, so I am sorry this didn’t meet expectations. We find this type of accommodation is normally well received as it gives a flavour of Japanese history and culture. We will discuss food establishments with the local guide as we want our customers to have a great culinary experience as the food in Japan is so wonderfully quirky and diverse!

(10 out of 10)


Abingdon on Thames
I loved the tour. My highlights were: Asakusa Temple in Tokyo; Kyoto Nijo Castle, and the tea house visit with a Maiko in the Gion District, The Golden Pavilion, Kiomizu Temple; travelling by public transport, especially the bullet trains, the Saito National Park. All meals arranged by Charlie were superb, not only a work of art but delicious as well. She taught us how to negotiate the intricacies of staying in ryokan gently and with humour.

Spending time with the Maiko, a living work of art, was an experience I shall never forget.

The tour was wonderful, one I shall not hesitate to recommend to family and friends.
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2016
Published on: 17 October 2016
(10 out of 10)

David (aka Hugh)

Too many highlights to list. As usual, we needed more time at the main venues because Japan is such an interesting, safe, friendly country - and awesome in the cities while gentle in the country. I will go back again, probably to stay with a fine fellow I met at a Jazz Club soon after arriving who was so interesting and amusing. Our Tour Leader was exceptional. His love for Japan shines through. It is important for people to take the trouble learn some basic Japanese; even use the word for Yes that is delivered exhuberantly and sounds like Hi!
Confirmed traveller: 06 May 2016
Published on: 13 May 2016
(9 out of 10)


This was a busy, well paced trip. Our excellent tour leader, Mark, ensured that we got the most out of our time in Japan, including an understanding of the local etiquette. His restaurant recommendations allowed us to experience a great range of different Japanese food. Apart from using bullet trains it was a good to sample public transport in cities. Visiting Kyoto was one of the highlights of the trip, even though some of the better known temples were busy. Staying at a royokan, particularly on Hirado, was also an experience not to be missed.
Confirmed traveller: 29 April 2016
Published on: 09 May 2016
(9 out of 10)


Great variety-both natural beauty and historical aspects together with a whole new cultural experience-would have liked more time to explore the islands but hard to see how we could fit in anymore
Confirmed traveller: 22 April 2016
Published on: 11 May 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
(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
(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