Booking a tour
ILJT has so many interesting tours! Which one should I choose?
Good question! To which we will reply by asking more questions:
When do you want to travel?
Japan has something to offer its visitors regardless of the time of the year. There are, however, two seasons that deserve a special mention: the season of cherry blossoms (sakura), usually from late March to mid-April, and the season of autumn colors (koyo), usually from mid-October to late November. Nevertheless, even if you miss the abovementioned periods, there is always a way to enjoy Japan. For example, Japan in winter is a wonderful place to be skiing, while summer is a great season to see festivals or hunt for fruits.
If you want to fully appreciate a certain season in Japan, check out our tours under the following themes: Cherry Blossoms, Summer Adventures, Autumn Colors, and Winter Vacations.
What kind of experience do you prioritize?
Of course, if you decide to come for other reasons, Japan will welcome you all year round. Aside from the abovementioned seasonal programs, we also have a wide selection of tours categorized by other themes, available throughout the year.
If you are a history buff, then our Historic Trails will be your best bet. If fine dining is your cup of tea, consider opting for one of our Gourmet Holidays. Of course, if you just want to have loads of fun with your family, we have a theme for that too! Finally, if you have no specific goal in mind, you may want to try our Classic Japan tours, which offer the most balanced experience.
What kind of traveler are you?
Our tours are also categorized by travel styles, which are made with the travelers’ profiles in mind.
If you are a group of young adventurers who are curious and always on the go, consider choosing tours under the Active style. If you are looking for a getaway from your normally busy schedule, and would prefer a more leisurely pace, then our Comfort offerings are perfect for you. Finally, if you do not mind the frequent transfers of Active, but prefer the less rigorous activities of Comfort, then try our Boutique tours, which feature rare and unique experiences.
I would like to ask some questions. How can I reach you?
Fire your questions using our little chat sidebar. Our tour managers are online from 9 AM to 8 PM on Japan Standard Time. Your questions can be answered within a few minutes!
I would like to send you an Email. What address should I use?
Our direct Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, however it is used for technical assistance only. All generic travel inquiries are accepted by online chat that is connected to your favorite messengers. If you are interested in a specific tour, please submit an inquiry form available on each tour page.
I am an agent. How can I contact you?
Send your questions using our little chat sidebar. Our managers will be happy to assist you.
This tour looks almost perfect! Just one thing…
If there is a minor change that you would like to include/exclude from our existing itinerary in order to accommodate your interests, we can customize the tour for you. Customizations may include, among other things:
- Adding or removing airport transfers
- Extending the number of days in a tour
- Opting for public transport on certain days
- Adjusting the standard of accommodations
- Including or excluding certain types of meal
I have browsed all of your existing tours and nothing is close to what I am thinking of…
We can help you tailor a completely new and original tour to suit your interests. During this process, we will also give you our insights on the availability and feasibility of any activity or destinations you have in mind.
In principle, we will require two things before proceeding with tailor-making itineraries from scratch. These are:
1. A statement of available budget. Please give us information about your expected budget in order for us to create a realistic and suitable itinerary for you. Please note that we accept tailor-made requests with budget that is not lower than the budget for our premade packages.
2. A planning fee to the amount of JPY 50,000 per traveler. This deposit will be deducted from the total price of the tour before you make your final payment. However, in the event that you decide to cancel your tour request, we will retain this deposit.
What is the flow between obtaining the tour price and finalizing my booking?
All prices shown on our website are estimated prices. We normally keep the actual prices within the estimated range. However, the final price may vary depending on the booking conditions. To ensure that you get a quick overview of the necessary costs, we always start with estimates.
After you have approved the estimated price, we will proceed with performing pre-bookings for an accurate price. You will then receive a quotation which will be valid for three working days. Once you have confirmed the quotation, we will send you an invoice which has to be paid within a week. When your payment has been confirmed, you will receive your booking confirmation via email, and you are set to go!
Please note that if you do not pay for the invoice within its period of validity, the price of the tour may change in the meantime, and you may be required to confirm a new quotation before another invoice is sent.
I am booking for next year. Paying the full amount now seems like a big commitment...
You can opt to fix the price by paying a non-refundable deposit of 20% the quoted amount. In this event, we will issue you a separate invoice for the deposit, which is also valid for a week. The deposited amount will be deducted from the total price, and you can finish paying for the remaining sum at a later date. In this case, you will have to finalize the payment not later than 30 (thirty) days before the date of departure.
Please note the we may apply different deposit amount depending on the tour booking conditions.
I have paid the deposit; when do I have to complete all payments for the tour?
Please refer to your invoice for details regarding final payments. As a rule of thumb, unless otherwise stated, payment of the final price is due 30 (thirty) days before the departure date. If the price has not been paid by the due date, we reserve the right to treat your booking as canceled.
What methods of payments do you accept?
Payments are accepted via international bank transfers. Please note that a surcharge of up to 4.1% may be applied to all purchases made by credit card.
Sorry, something came up. I would like to cancel my booking.
If you have completed your final payments, but wish to cancel your booking, please take note of the following. If you cancel your booking:
- 30 days or more prior to departure, we will retain a 20% refund of the total booking cost
- 21-29 days prior to departure, we will retain 50% of the total booking cost
- Less than 20 days prior to departure we will retain 100% of the total booking cost
1. Cancallation policy might be different depending on each individual booking which you will be informed about in advance.
2. For any instance of refunds, you will assume any incurred bank transfer fees and losses in currency conversions.
What information do I need to provide in order to book a tour?
In order for us to confirm your travel arrangements, you must provide all requested details together with a deposit of the trip price. Necessary details include your full name as shown on your passport, date of birth, nationality, passport number, passport date of issue and expiration, and any pre-existing medical conditions you have which may affect your ability to complete your program. Your booking cannot be confirmed without your providing these details.
Please refer to the Booking Conditions for more details.
Can I bring my kids with me?
Of course! Please note that travelers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for their well-being while in Japan. For each infant (0-4 years old) in the group, there must be an adult to take care of their day-to-day needs.
Do your tours accommodate disabled travelers as well?
Certainly! However, while some of our tours can be completed by disabled travelers without much difficulty, some others may be quite rigorous and thus unsuitable. We recommend that you discuss about disabled traveling with the tour manager in charge of your request. In some cases, you might want to customize or tailor-make a tour for the comfort of the disabled members in your group.
I am a recurring customer! Any loyalty program that I am entitled to?
As our token of gratitude for your loyalty, once you have completed a trip with iLoveJapanTours, you will receive a 5% discount off the total tour price on your next booking within 3 years of the your last trip with us. To redeem your discount, please mention your prior iLoveJapanTours trip(s) at the time of booking.
I am bringing my kids with me. Are children eligible for discounts?
Tour prices for children under 18 may be cheaper depending on the hotels and attractions included. Also, all infants (0-4 years old) are free to travel if they do not require an extra bed / meal.
Please note that infants count towards the group size limit. As such, the presence of infants in the group may cause changes in the tour price. For example, we may have to secure a larger vehicle for transport because each infant is required to have a seat.
I will be celebrating my birthday during the trip! Any surprises?
Happy birthday! We will give a one-time 5% discount for clients who will have birthdays during the trip. Please note that only one 5% discount can be applied at a time -- the birthday discount does not stack with the loyalty program.
About your itinerary
Is airport pickup included in the tour price?
All of our tours include airport pickup on arrival. However, we can provide a guided transfer to the hotel only if your flight arrives beyond working hours in Japan (between 9 AM and 5 PM). Should you book a particularly early or late flight, you may have to use a chartered taxi to get to your hotel instead.
What should I do upon arrival?
After claiming your baggage and clearing the customs, you will meet up with our staff/guide who will be expecting you at the airport’s arrival lobby. You might also want to use this opportunity to exchange currencies and/or rent a wireless router or a mobile phone.
What if I arrive late?
If you know in advance that you are arriving late, please let your tour manager know. We will make the necessary arrangements and adjust the time of your airport pickup accordingly.
If you are late due to unforeseen circumstances or flight delays, please contact us as soon as you can. We cannot reimburse you for any portion of the trip that you miss, but this can often be claimed on your travel insurance.
What are the accommodations like in Japan?
There are 2 types of hotels in Japan - Western-style hotels and Japanese-style hotels (ryokan). Western-style hotels are similar to the common hotels anywhere else in the world, but ryokan use a different kind of flooring (tatami) in the rooms and typically features an onsen (hot spring bath). Aside from the hotels, we also occasionally use family-operated inns (minshuku), which are by far the best way for travelers to experience an authentic Japanese household.
What should I know about ryokan and minshuku?
Both ryokan and minshuku are great ways to experience Japanese lifestyle and hospitality. However, there are certain differences from Western-style hotels and etiquettes to be observed when staying in one that first-timers may not be accustomed to. Below is a list of particulars of a stay in a ryokan or minshuku:
- Early breakfast (6 - 8 AM) and check-out (10 - 11 AM)
- Sleeping on the floor (on a futon)
- No shoes allowed indoors
- Little to no out-of-room amenities (bars, restaurants, clubs, pools, etc.)
- Public bath or onsen
We usually reserve 3- to 4-star hotels except if unavailable in certain destinations, or if the program specifies a particular kind of lodging. If you would like to upgrade or downgrade the hotels, please kindly inform your tour manager during the booking process.
What are the names of the hotels I will be staying at?
Due to the difference in hotel prices and availability, we do not always use the same hotels even on the same programs. When you send us an inquiry, we will perform a pre-booking with our partner hotels before we provide you with a quotation. The information about your hotels will be available in the quotation.
What time can I check in/out?
Most hotels in Japan have a 3 PM check-in and 10 AM check-out time.
Can I request an early check-in in the event of early arrival?
We cannot guarantee an early check-in. However, we can assist you in booking a night of pre-accommodation at the same hotel if you inform us in advance. In most cases you can drop your luggage and have some rest at the hotel’s cafe if you arrive too early. You can also opt for a half-day tour on your day of arrival at an additional cost.
Can I book extra nights of hotel accommodation for my tour?
Yes, in most cases we can customize a tour to include additional accommodation in major cities if you inform us in advance. Please ask your tour manager for more information.
Can I book hotels by myself?
Our company does not arrange tours without accommodation. However, you can book extra nights of hotel accommodation before / after the tour.
Do you arrange Airbnb accommodation?
No, our company does not use Airbnb accommodation in our tours. However we can arrange serviced apartments that include kitchen.
What meals are included?
Hotel breakfast is always included in our tours. Lunch is generally included with few exceptions, whereas dinner is seldom part of the program, except during stays in a ryokan or minshuku, where they typically serve dinner at around 6 PM.
The type of food served is often quite varied. We usually try to include regional dishes as part of our programs. Please refer to your itinerary for more information regarding the included meals.
Can I choose my food at the restaurant?
It depends. If the restaurant offers à la carte menu, you can order a separate meal. However, please take note of the following:
- You will not receive any discount or reimbursement from iLoveJapanTours for a canceled meal
- We usually reserve the food in advance to save time in the restaurants
- Lunch in Japan in most cases is a set menu which has little to no options
- We cannot guarantee that the restaurant has à la carte menu
Will I have a tour guide in Japan?
During days with guided tours, you will be accompanied by a dedicated tour guide. The number of guided and free days differs depending on the tour, so please make sure to check your itinerary for any relevant information.
We have possibly the biggest network of professional guides in Japan who offer their best services to our clients. We aim to deliver the most authentic experience by using local guides who know their cities well, which means that you may have different guides during your trip.
For more details on the included guides for specific tours, please check the Additional Notes section on their respective pages.
What types of transportation are included in the price?
For the daily excursions, as a rule of thumb, we always use private transport by default unless prohibited in a particular destination, which is a very rare case.
Transfers between big cities more than 200km apart will be conducted using shinkansen (bullet trains) or express trains.
Please note that transportation on any day without a guided tour is NOT covered in the price, unless otherwise stated. This caveat is intended to provide you with fewer restrictions and more freedom on your free days.
For more details on the included transportation for specific tours, please check the Additional Notes section on their respective pages.
Are airport transfers included?
Our tours typically include airport pickup using a private car. Airport transfer on your day of departure is not included by default, as we usually arrange for conveniently located hotels from which you can easily reach your airport of choice with little to no additional expense. Please inform us in advance if you should require a transfer service on your last day.
Can I customize the methods of transportation?
Depending on the tour, it is possible to partially change the method of transportation to public trains or buses. You can read more about customizing tours here. Please note that some destinations can only be feasibly reached using private transport.
Can I opt to skip some activities?
Certainly. If there are included activities that you do not wish to participate in, you can opt out of the experience. The exception to this is during transfers from one major destination to the next, which are compulsory. Please note that if you choose to skip an included activity, we cannot guarantee that you will receive any reimbursement.
Can I opt to add some activities?
The best way to add activities is by asking for a customized tour during the booking process, as we cannot guarantee sudden additions to the itinerary during your time in Japan. Any additional costs incurred by on-the-spot adjustments will not be assumed by iLoveJapanTours.
Will the activities be difficult or taxing?
As Japan has fantastic infrastructure, our tours are relatively easy. Most trips are manageable for those with a moderate level of fitness. In case your physical condition requires a dedicated program, please avoid the more demanding itineraries and/or ask for a customized tour. You can check out our online itineraries and brochures for a detailed description of day-to-day activities for each tour.
Will I get any free time?
Of course! Generally, apart from the required transfers to/from the airport, you will have the day of arrival and departure to yourself. Some tours will have free days reserved for certain activities between guided tours and transfers.
Preparing for the trip
Is international airfare included in your prices?
As we render our services to travelers from all over the world, we are unable to include international airfare in our prices. We ask you to please kindly arrange your own flights.
Which flights should I book?
For our extant tours, the starting and finishing points are fixed, so please choose your flights accordingly. The recommended airports are listed in the Additional Notes section of each tour page. Naturally, if flights to/from a certain point is not available from your country, it is possible to customize the tour’s port of entry and exit.
Is travel insurance included in your prices?
No, it is not. Travel insurance should be taken out independently by the travelers at the time of booking. Even though an insurance is not a mandatory requirement to participate in our tours, it is strongly recommended to have your holiday covered in order to avoid steep bills in the event of accidents or unforeseen circumstances.
What should my travel insurance cover?
At a minimum, your travel insurance must cover personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liabilities, with a minimum coverage of USD200,000. We also strongly recommend that it cover cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage and personal effects.
Is any vaccination required for entry to Japan?
No vaccinations are required in order to enter Japan.
Do I need a medical certificate for the tour?
We do not require a medical certificate for travelers. However, as our travelers’ well-being in Japan is our concern, we have to make sure that their tour of choice suits their physical conditions. As such, we require all iLoveJapanTours travelers to inform us in advance if they may be physically and/or mentally incapable of completing the tour in question.
I am pregrant during my trip to Japan. Can I join your tours?
Women who are up to 24 weeks pregnant at the end of the tour are required to produce a medical certificate of fitness to travel. Pregnant women above 24 weeks are not eligible for joining iLoveJapanTours' tours due to safery concerns.
When should I exchange currencies, before or after arriving in Japan?
Even though you can easily exchange money at the airport, please make sure to do so in advance. We cannot guarantee that you will find an ATM or a currency exchange service on demand.
How much money should I bring for my trip?
We recommend having access to money from several sources -- cash and cards. As a general rule of thumb, please have at least 10,000 yen per day in cash.
Most of your expenses are already included in our tours, but you will need money for such expenses as drinks, additional meals, shopping, etc. Please refer to your itinerary to learn more about what is included.
Are there any specific documents that I should bring?
As is the case with any overseas tour, please bring with you your passport and visa, tickets, and other relevant travel documents.
In addition, we will require you to present upon arrival a signed self-assessment form. You can also fill the form in advance and send it to us via email.
What kind of clothes should I pack?
It is advisable that you bring attires that match the current season in Japan. If you are arriving in late autumn (November), winter (December - February), or early spring (March), bring your jackets and overcoats with you. Likewise, if you are arriving in the peak of summer (July - August), bring a hat or any other item to shield you from the heat. You might also want to bring sunglasses and sunscreen for the torrid summer, and lotion and lip balm for the dry winter.
Due to Japan’s diverse geography, weather conditions may vary greatly depending on your exact location. Always be prepared for the occasional rain or snow.
When in Japan
Is Japan foreign-language-friendly?
While Japan usually ranks low in global English speaking ratings, do not be discouraged. All railway stations have signs with directions in at least 4 languages: English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean (signs in French and Spanish are expected to be added soon). All maps and street signs are also available in two versions: the Japanese and the English one.
Most Japanese people have basic command of English, so simple phrases will get you around. Also, as of recent all taxis in Tokyo have been equipped with English phrasebook boards; you can point at the phrase you need and the driver will take you to the required location.
Will I be able to practice my religion while in Japan?
Japan is extremely tolerant towards all religions. It is to be noted, however, that although Christian churches of all denominations can be found throughout the country, finding a mosque or a synagogue outside the major cities can prove difficult.
Rooms for prayers are available at major airports. Japan also has a small but rapidly growing industry of providing halal food. Finding certified kosher venues is slightly more difficult but still possible. Feel free to ask our staff for assistance regarding your religion and customs.
What if I need a completely customized menu due to my lifestyle or religion?
Please inform us during booking with details on your food preferences. We will adjust the included meals accordingly.
Will I be able to use my mobile phone in Japan?
While most modern phones work in Japan, it should be noted that older GSM-only models are not compatible with Japanese networks (3G UMTS 2100 MHz, 3G CDMA2000 800 MHz, or LTE band 1). It is also worth noting that you may incur significant costs if you use roaming for data transfer (e.g. receiving and sending e-mails or using instant messaging services).
Can I rent mobile phones in Japan?
Yes, you can. Mobile phones and SIM cards can be rented and returned at the airports. You will be required to present a picture ID and a credit card. Your bill will typically consist of a rental fee (a set sum for each day of rental) and a usage fee depending on your usage of the phone.
Will I be able to use free internet in Japan?
A majority of hotels in Japan offer free internet in their guest rooms. A few hotels, typically the higher-end Western chains, charge for internet access based on 24-hour periods. Access is usually provided via wireless network. In some older hotels you may have to borrow and install certain hardware in order to connect to the internet in your room.
In-room internet is much less common in a ryokan. Instead, many ryokan provide wireless internet or public computers in their lobby. However, there are also some hotels, ryokan and minshuku that do not have internet access of any kind, especially in remote places such as rural hot spring resorts.
You can also rent a portable Wi-Fi router at the airport for around JPY1,000 (10 US dollars) per day. Such router can usually be used to connect to several gadgets at the same time, making it an attractive alternative to renting mobile phones or SIM cards.
Are Wi-Fi Hotspots always available in Japan?
Both paid and free wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots are available in Japan, although not everywhere. Laptops and mobile devices can connect to publicly accessible hotspots found around airports, train stations, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
Will I be able to use my credit/debit cards?
While credit cards are becoming more popular in Japan, they are not as convenient as cash. Only the largest shops and supermarkets will accept credit cards, and even then many will only accept VISA or MasterCard. In addition, you will need to present a passport with your card to get a cash advance at a bank, and most ATMs do not offer cash advances for credit cards at all. If you do most of your shopping with a credit card, get in the habit of carrying more cash than usual.
Foreign debit cards are not accepted in most Japanese shops. The most practical use for a debit card is to withdraw money from ATMs; for that, you need to be sure that the ATM accepts foreign cards.
Please also note that Japanese banks do not accept foreign checks in most cases.
Tell me more about Japanese ATMs!
Japanese ATM service is provided through a combination of traditional ATM machines and CDs (cash dispensers) that only process withdrawals. ATMs and CDs are common in major cities, but do not usually accept foreign debit and credit cards unless they are operated by an international bank such as Citigroup. Outside the cities, ATMs are much less common.
Many Japanese ATMs are not open for 24 hours, either. They are usually turned off at night (usually 19:00 during on weekdays, 17:00 on Saturdays). Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, however, do provide ATMs with 24-hour service. They also accept international credit and debit cards.
Regardless of what ATM you use, expect to be charged a small fee (around 216 yen) whenever you withdraw money from an ATM in Japan.
How much do I need to tip in Japan?
Tipping is not commonly observed in Japan -- the service fee is usually already included in the bill. Leaving extra money may lead to misunderstandings.
There is one exception, however, which is high level ryokan (traditional Japanese hotels). If you enjoyed your stay in a ryokan, you may leave a sum of money you find appropriate in a special envelope.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, tap water is potable anywhere in Japan.
Will I be safe in Japan?
Japan is among the safest countries in the world. However, we can never guarantee 100% safety of our travelers or their belongings. We therefore highly recommend our clients to acquire a travel insurance.
Be aware that earthquakes and typhoons are quite frequent in Japan. Please refer to the next item for emergency safety procedures in each situation.
A huge earthquake just happened. What do I do?
- Extinguish any fire and turn off electrical appliances
- Open any doors leading out of the room you are in, as they often get jammed shut, blocking your exit
- Stay away from windows to avoid glass splinters. If you have the time, draw the curtains to contain the glass
- Do NOT rush outside (many people are injured by falling stones and bricks). Get under something solid, such as a desk
- If you are outside when the quake hits, head for the nearest park or other open space
- If the earthquake occurs at night, make sure you have a torch (all hotels and ryokan provide flashlights in the rooms)
- A while after the tremors have subsided, go to the nearest open space, taking your documents and other valuables with you. It’s also a good idea to take a cushion or pillow to protect your head against falling objects
- Eventually, make your way to the designated neighborhood emergency center and get in touch with your embassy
There is a typhoon going on. What do I do?
- Be prepared to evacuate by knowing where to go, and having a disaster kit prepared and on hand
- Stay clear of rivers/streams and large drains. There is potential for any of them to overflow without warning
- If you have shutters on your doors and windows, pull them shut. Shutters can prevent your windows from being broken by flying items
- Watch out for leaks around doors and windows. Have them closed and use towels or rags
- If the storm becomes severe, move into a hallway or an area where there is least exposure to glass windows
- Draw curtains across the windows to prevent flying glass should the windows crack
- After the typhoon has subsided, check for broken glass, fallen electrical cables and other objects which may present safety hazards
What if I get ill or injured on the trip and am unable to continue?
We will endeavor to get you help as quickly as possible. If you must leave your trip early due to an illness or injury, we will help you find appropriate medical care and ensure that someone at home is aware of your situation. We will do everything in our power to get you home or onward with your journey. Your travel insurance should cover any costs incurred in the event of illness or injury. Please note that iLoveJapanTours will not be liable for any of your medical bills.
I have certain physical disabilities. Will I be able to enjoy Japan?
Japan has possibly the best infrastructure for disabled people.
At major train stations, airports, and hotels, as well as in most newer shopping centers and theaters in the city, travelers in wheelchairs should have little trouble in getting from place to place. About 35% of Japan’s train stations are completely accessible, and work continues to improve accessibility at other public facilities, including the installation of elevators, wheelchair ramps, and other accommodations. Barrier-free toilets are now available in about half of all train stations, and can also be found in most newer buildings. Most major urban hotels will also have wheelchair accessible rooms and public areas, though smaller “business hotels” and more traditional Japanese-style inns may not be accessible.