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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

66 reviews

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Shogun TrailScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 66 reviews
(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
(10 out of 10)


Redhill Buntingford
We had an excellent insite into the customs, history and lifestyles through our excellent guide Mark. Rain or shine we followed Mark, and listened. The tour was varied using different modes of transport travelling from town to town on trains and the shinkansen showed us how efficient public transport can be. Mark took us to very different places to eat so we had a wonderful variety of meals. The blossom, Sakura, was at its best, we enjoyed it in rain and sunshine. We were also lucky to see the Azalias in Hirado. Its difficult to pick one high light, it was a wonderful tour . Waterproofs are essential as well as waterproof walking shoes.
Confirmed traveller: 21 April 2017
Published on: 26 April 2017
(9 out of 10)


A fascinating insight into Japanese life and culture.
A fast paced trip with little 'down' time. We were lucky enough to catch the cherry blossom but we were too late for the picnics and parties.
Loved meeting the Meiko, exploring Tokyo and Kyoto, temples and shrines. Fantastic food. Staying in ryokans and onsens were fun! Hiroshima had profound effect. Could have done with an extra day in Tokyo and Kyoto.
A variety of weather - sometimes cold, two extremely wet days, some hot ones. Needed to pack for this.
Mark is a brilliant tour leader - attention to detail, fun, caring - nothing was too much trouble.
Confirmed traveller: 21 April 2017
Published on: 23 April 2017
(9 out of 10)


Unfortunately we arrived 24 hours late due to over-booking by BA so I would have liked to see more of Tokyo and there was so much to see in Kyoto that another day there would have been good . Otherwise I thought the itinerary was very well planned with a good mixture of city and countryside.
Having lunch with the tea farmer was a highlight for me as was the stay in the ryokan on Hirado . The local guide on Hirado was excellent , giving so much information in perfect English.
Explore guide, Richard was also very helpful, especially when it came to finding cheap places to eat and organising our train tickets and entertainment.
Confirmed traveller: 14 April 2017
Published on: 19 April 2017
(8 out of 10)


Varied accommodation and itinerary

The tour would not have been so good without the support of Richard, the tour leader. He never failed to ensure that the whole group was provided with information and equal attention given to everyone's needs. He really looked after the whole group even when he could have had time off e.g. inviting others to join him on trips, meals etc. Ensuring that everyone's dietary needs were catered for. He was always cheerful and informative.
Confirmed traveller: 14 April 2017
Published on: 18 April 2017
(6 out of 10)


My travelling companion, I plus one other Explore traveller were bumped off our British Airways flight.We had booked the holiday months before including flights with Explore. Therefore we lost 1 day of our stay in Japan as we were unable to travel until the same flight the next day. Your travel department did not get us an allocated seat and despite my friend checking in around midday for a 3 45 pm departure, we were denied a boarding pass.Not a good start to our holiday. Infact we were upset, angry and puzzled as to why the 3 Explore passengers ( plus 12 Japanese) were chosen out of the hundreds on the flight.
As it was my first booking with Explore and infact my first guided tour with any company I had nothing to compare the holiday with. Japan is an alien country to travel around independently and Explore organised a varied and well planned holiday. Highlights were the nights spent in a the Japanese guest houses plus baths; visits to a tea house and a look around the factory; the varied means of transport including the bullet train,ferries, 2 cable cars and our own small coach. Infact every day was varied,interesting and enjoyable with some free time.
Confirmed traveller: 14 April 2017
Published on: 19 April 2017