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Planning a Private Trip to Japan with a Travel Agency

⏱ 6 minutes

When considering a trip to Japan, especially for the first time, it is quite natural to think entrusting a specialized travel agency with your preparations. Several travel agencies specialized in Japan exist and can help prospective travelers throughout the world.

However, when all necessary information is already available for free on the Internet 📶, including Kanpai, what are the benefits to ask tourism industry professionals?

What are the Advantages of a Professional Service?

The first answer popping up is saving on the preparation time. Japan is a rich destination for historical, artistic and cultural standpoints. While preparing an itinerary alone, the abundance of possibilities – every destination is a "must-see" – can quickly become stressful. The key is to choose wisely and give up the idea of seeing everything, without frustration. That is when calling in an expert of the destination is a good solution. The travel specialist’s attention, knowledge and appropriate propositions will help narrow down an already interesting checklist that nonetheless needs a few tweaks.

They help you come to a decision thanks to their in-depth knowledge of transportation and / or accommodation booking. This type of service is suitable for both busy and floundering prospective travelers, who don’t want to be bothered by materialistic issues when in Japan. The travel agent will work beforehand to optimize the time spent in transportation, find a nice hotel 🏨 in a good location and other items only an expert can know. If this accurate preparation is well done, the travel will unfold smoothly, without the traveler noticing the efforts put in its organization. The safe and on-time transportation system combined with the famous flawless Japanese service usually make traveling in Japan easy. But this apparent flawlessness is supported by codes and processes difficult to understand when one doesn’t know the country or the language.

In addition to practical skills of coordinating a private itinerary or all-inclusive organized trips, some specialized travel agencies offer another layer of immersion in Japan and provide a range of original experiences, most of the time led by seasoned tour guides. The additional human factor becomes an asset to a trip organized by a professional. A long-awaited trip can really benefit from the encounter with a passionate individual, the understanding of customs 🛂 and explanations on the locals’ daily life. Japan is still a faraway destination, for which one doesn’t want to say when coming back home: "Too bad, we will plan better next time."

The trip can be the classical Tokyo / Kyoto journey, a travel based on a specific theme or the in-depth exploration of a particular area, the best travel agents can bring out the little something that makes each trip unique. They know how to create a schedule with enough flexibility to allow for potential unexpected events. Lastly, in case of any problem, as recently showed by the Coronavirus 🦠 crisis, the travel agent will take care of all bothersome details for you (such as modifications, postponing or cancelling).

How to Select the Right Tour Service Provider?

With the growing popularity of travel in Japan over the last years, the destination naturally attracted many travel agents who added it to their service offer, even though they know nothing about the country. Therefore, just finding the right service provider from a list can be a head-scratcher! Especially if it includes all travel agencies, without distinction of those that don’t even offer travel to Japan. How, then, against such background, identifying the appropriate mediator who will be able to provide a quality service at the appropriate price?

Multi-destinations Tour Operators

Their reputation is earned thanks to loyal customers who travel the world and are willing to discover a different country with each trip. They usually provide all-inclusive organized tours, mainly targeting first-time travelers. Therefore, their itineraries don’t offer much originality as tours are designed to roughly cover Tokyo, Kyoto and a few major touristic hubs such as Hakone, Miyajima, Koya-san or the Japanese Alps.

Visits are crammed in a tight tour schedule over 1 to 2 weeks (seldom 3) and tourists may feel they couldn’t enjoy thoroughly the places, and their pictures just become reminders of where they went. The budget advertised for these tours is quite high compared to the real cost of the travel; customers indeed pay the price of peace of mind, to travel without worry, but also without really choosing the details and with no expertise of the archipelago.

Moreover, multi-destinations tour operators subcontract tour services to specialist agencies, which raises the price for the client.

Travel Intermediaries

Generalist travel agents’ primary role is to sell tour operators’ packages. Their characteristic is to easily reach customers thanks to brick and mortar stores where they can propose the latest offers of travel in Japan. They are often found in malls or shopping centers.

Their greatest drawback however is the additional cost on the global price, as they are payed by commission. They add no value whatsoever to the content of the itinerary, but they facilitate contacts between tour operators and customers.

Japan-Specialist Travel Agencies

Far fewer than the other kind of agents, only a handful of them exist in each country. Specialist travel agencies have a more refined approach and are more knowledgeable, in relation to their experience and field-knowledge. These experts are now developing their own travel packages and services and directly negotiate with tourism-industry related companies in Japan. Primarily seller and consultant, their activity evolved to the creation of personalized travels. Their service is a real additional value for their customers. The ideal solution being to call in officially registered companies partnering with their own destination management companies in Japan.

Our Recommendation: Keikaku

Kanpai recommends Keikaku, a travel agency specializing in Japan. Keikaku has built its reputation thanks to its team of certified bilingual tour guides, recognition as an authorized sales agent for Japan Railways and Pocket Wi-Fi rental. They also create tailor-made travels:

  • Flight ✈️ tickets booking, by direct flight (any class) or with a stopover
  • Accommodation booking: hotels / ryokan traditional inns / night at a temple (from dormitory to luxury stay)
  • Navigation of transportation in Japan: train passes (such as JR Pass), car rental, chauffeured or not
  • Creation of a custom private itinerary with or without a Japanese-English bilingual and certified professional tour guide
  • Booking of specific activities on demand: tea ceremony, Geisha performance, discovery of local craft, sake degustation, etc.

Keikaku is both a tour operator and the owner of a destination management company in Japan, named Keikaku Japan. They work with their own team and without intermediaries, which lowers the costs for the customers. Registered in Japan, Keikaku was therefore one of the happy few to be allowed to sponsor tourists during the modest reopening of Japan from June 10 to October 11, 2022.

Keikaku's team is made of passionate individuals, working in a human-sized agency and focusing on providing a quality service, namely coming up with ideas for itineraries, activities, as well as when the best period to travel in Japan, and accommodate the clients’ expectations and pace.

Take a look at their themed travel packages (must-sees, honeymoon, family trip, Tokyo/Kansai, etc.) for which prices are displayed on real time according to the services selected. Travelers with a big budget and who wish to live a premium or high-end experience can receive a customized quote and have their highest expectations fulfilled:

Discover Keikaku Japan’s Private Travels

Either by internet or by phone, you can easily contact with a professional who takes the time to understand your request and give you the appropriate response.

So, let’s get started!

Updated on September 29, 2022 - Organiser son séjour au Japon avec une agence de voyages