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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.

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Shogun Trail reviews verified by reevooReevoo

71 reviews

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Shogun TrailScores 8.9 out of 10 based on 71 reviews
(10 out of 10)


Crowthorne, Berkshire
The tour covers a diverse range of Japanese culture, lifestyle and sights. From the bustle of Tokyo and its electronic shopping area to the quiet of the shrines and temples, meeting the trainee geisha, visiting a green tea farm and eating with the farmers family, visiting ryokans and being immersed in Japan culture, it is a total Japanese experience. Unlike other escorted tours we were not cooped up in a bus and taken from place to place, rather we walked and used public transport, trains, trams, buses, boats, cable cars. This led to a much more immersive experience with the chance to mingle with, meet and interact with the local people. The Japanese people must be the most polite and respectful people on earth. This creates a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere when using public transport, shops, restaurants etc. I like the fact that we were guided by a knowledgeable tour leader, and the fact that he was not Japanese was, I think, a benefit in that he understood, through western eyes, what would be of interest and note to us, probably better than a native Japanese guide would. The unusually small group size (just 6 on our trip) meant that we had plenty of time to ask questions and seek advice from the tour leader and this also made for a more efficient journey. I felt that we got maximum benefit from our time in Japan and could not have fitted anymore into the time. The fact that we had free time to do our own things was very welcome and we were supported and guided by our tour leader such that branching out on our own was easy and risk free.
Confirmed traveller: 26 May 2017
Published on: 10 June 2017
(8 out of 10)


It's difficult to single out individual highlights as the whole trip was wonderful. The hour we spent with the trainee Geisha ,a Maiko was for me,magical. The peace memorial museum in Nagasaki was very moving. Nara park with the tame dear amazing, staying in a ryokan, a Japanese traditional inn, was wonderful --I slept better then I've done for years on a futon!! The station in Kyoto unbelievable. The cleanliness unbelievable. The transport systems so so slick and the people, so polite, so helpful and kind. Finishing in Hirado, so green, so peaceful and laid back, then a boat trip around the islands, what a fitting end to an amazing holiday.
It's an expensive trip, it's a long way away. Read up about it carefully, it's not for everyone. It's a group tour but you need to have a certain amount of independence , so you can utilise the free time to experience the diverse cultural divides without depending on your fellow travellers.
Should have said this earlier! Brett was a first class tour guide, aware of everyone's needs and available 24-7.
Confirmed traveller: 26 May 2017
Published on: 08 June 2017
(10 out of 10)


Excellent tour. Nara should be on the itinerary rather than an optional.
Very good guide but I was looking forward to a Japanese guide for more cultural information.
Confirmed traveller: 12 May 2017
Published on: 12 June 2017
(10 out of 10)


Farnham Common
This seemed expensive when we booked it but turned out to be excellent value for money. Great variety and good balance of urban, rural and coastal. Good balance of group and personal time. Highly recommended.
Confirmed traveller: 05 May 2017
Published on: 12 June 2017
(10 out of 10)


Brian was a skilled guide, never failing to answer our never ending questions. I liked how he told us about local customs, so we could act correctly and not give offence - very important in Japan. I liked eating local food all the time and Brian always explained the menu to us. If you can't use chopsticks, practice a little before leaving home. its not hard and good fun. also there's not many forks available ! One the highlights for me was an afternoon with a Geisha and learning more about her. Also using an onsen. Never thought I would but holidays are all about trying something different.
Confirmed traveller: 05 May 2017
Published on: 08 June 2017
(8 out of 10)


An enjoyable, interesting trip. I enjoyed staying in ryokans far more than city hotels. Visiting Hiroshima was unforgettable. Mark is an excellent leader.
Confirmed traveller: 28 April 2017
Published on: 06 May 2017
(9 out of 10)


There were so many highlights I will leave the others to pinpoint them. Just suffice to say that I had a wonderful holiday and I am going to recommend this holiday, with Mark Rawlins as a group leader, to everyone.
Confirmed traveller: 28 April 2017
Published on: 04 May 2017
(10 out of 10)


Japan is stunning. My expectations were high and this trip far exceeded anything I could have imagined!

Tokyo has thrilling modern architecture juxtaposed with beautiful 400 year old gardens. Kyoto has shrines, rock gardens, kimonos and geisha. Nagasaki offers stunning harbour views and the trip finished with the beautiful scenery of Hirado.

Not to forget the thrill of seeing mount Fuji from the incredible bullet train!

Japanese people are friendly and the details of Japanese life and culture are fascinating.

Our tour leader Mark Rawlins was excellent. I've visited many wonderful places with Explore and this is my new number one top trip.
Confirmed traveller: 28 April 2017
Published on: 30 April 2017
(10 out of 10)


An amazing experience very much due to having an exceptional guide (Mark) . The trip was action packed! We saw and experienced so much ranging from tradition to culture and public transport. Many highlights! However, the visit to meet with a Maiko (trainee Geisha girl) was my number one highlight. Very pleased to have had this particular experience as such an interesting insight into this way of life.
I did extend my trip by one day and had a day in Fukuoka. I do not understand why a day in Fukuoka is not included in the tour? There was so much to do: viewing tower, shrines, robot experience, beaches, architecture and a lovely shopping complex with musical fountains! I believe near to Fukuoka there is an interesting hot springs area. As it is no longer, at present, possible to visit the one near Mt Fuji perhaps this would be a good idea. Given sufficient time I would have visited.

1. One day in Tokyo is not enough
2. Rather than going up a 'ropeway' (gondola) to view Mt Fuji (mist did not clear) perhaps flexibility and at least in such a situation to actually visit Mt Fuji. Just felt I wanted to stand on it! As it happens I have on a stopover to Australia.
3. The itinerary needs updating. I gather it is no longer possible to go to the hot springs by Mt Fuji. Having been there in 2003 it was quite a highlight. This needs to be taken out now.
4. A day at Fukuoka should be part of the trip. Such a lovely city. Had quite an impact on me as it gave me a different perspective on Japanese life.
Confirmed traveller: 22 April 2017
Published on: 27 April 2017
(7 out of 10)


Overall this was an average to good tour. A whirlwind insight into Japan starting in Tokyo and travelling south to Fukuoka. It is full on packing in a huge amount, but you do get a true insight into the culture of Japan. The accommodation was below the standard that we expected, except for the hotel in Kyoto (and the group consisted of many seasoned explore travellers). With only communal showers and shared rooms even for those on single supplement I think staying in one Ryokan is sufficient to get a flavour, this would also allow for more time in Tokyo which you really don't get to see on this tour.

Brilliant to predominantly use local transport from metro, trams, boats to the bullet train. And some extra special elements like tea with a Geisha in training and the tea plantation.

The tour was made by our guide Mark F who was simply one of the best guides I have had over the years. He adjusted the schedule according to the weather and to slip in additional things he thought would be of interest and they always were. On free dining evenings he always selected a restaurant with a different Japanese cuisine and people could choose to dine with him from sushi, ramen, gyoza to Japanese curry.

This is a good trip just come prepared to be on full speed and not quite experience each city like you would with a couple more days (and pack the sturdiest umbrella you can buy).
Confirmed traveller: 21 April 2017
Published on: 25 April 2017