Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

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  • Reviewed December 2017
    Andrea Redgers

    Ancient and Modern Japan

    Really interesting and varied trip, an excellent taste of many aspects of Japan.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The contrast between the charms of the ancient castles, gardens and shrines and the modern sky scrapers and bullet trains . The courtesy and warm welcome of Japanese people in all the hotels, restaurants and places we visited.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka was an excellent group leader going above and beyond ensuring we enjoyed and got the most from our time in Japan. She made sure we could find the most interesting things to see and do in our free time and teaching us to negotiate the wonders of the subway independently as well as suggesting good places to eat and shop for all sorts things and an idea of how to fit into the Japanese way of doing things. She also gave us good basic understanding of how the places we visited and the things we saw fitted into the bigger picture of Japanese history and culture. She rearranged our trains after the Typhoon closed some lines to close and made sure we didn't miss any of our itinerary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want an overview of Japan and its varied and fascinating culture book this trip. Remember to check the weather forecast just before you go and pack with this in mind. We encountered Typhoon Lan and were really pleased to have waterproof trousers and tops, Japan is green country and it does rain.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Patrick Mulligan

    aop ancient and modern japan

    We had a wonderful time - Japan is an amazing country and this exodus tour really helped us appreciate that to the full.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing parts of japan off the normal tourist trail

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka was fantastic - she couldn't do enough for us all - full of energy and infectious enthusiasm, and very knowledgeable too. She clearly listened to what people said about what they wanted to get from the trip and delivered on this. Impressive.
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Patrick Mulligan

    aop ancient and modern japan

    We had a wonderful time - Japan is an amazing country and this exodus tour really helped us appreciate that to the full.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing parts of japan off the normal tourist trail

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka was fantastic - she couldn't do enough for us all - full of energy and infectious enthusiasm, and very knowledgeable too. She clearly listened to what people said about what they wanted to get from the trip and delivered on this. Impressive.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    John Lace

    Japanese exploration

    A great tour, which we both enjoyed tremendously. A wide variety of interesting sites to visit and different modes of transport to experience. Being able to visit Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Takayama, Matsumoto, Yudanka and Tokyo was just superb and everything went exceedingly smoothly with all the trains, buses, subways, trams, and PIRATE ships! The group was 18 in number and we always were able to travel together and experience all the sights. Hotels were good and offered restful nights and hot spring water baths at one. Meals were usually together and fish eaters were well catered for alongside the meat eaters. The two luggage transfers were great and suitcases were whisked off to be reunited a couple of days later. The trip schedule meant that most days we had several sights to visit and even on 'free-days' our guide, Ayaka, skilfully put together individual packages depending on our needs. The variety of experiences across the main island of Japan was wonderful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to mention but obviously the emotions of Hiroshima Peace Park, the busy food markets, the opulent shrines and temples, the extensive art treasures in Kyoto and Tokyo, the snow monkeys in snow, the hot spring bath in snow as well, Mount Fuji, the impressive time keeping of Japanese Rail, the patience, knowledge, good humour and infectious laugh of Ayaka.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka brought together a sizeable group in a calm and unflustered manner and made sure that we were able to fully experience the 'wonders' of ancient and modern Japan. Ever present and always preparing material for free days and helping us get deeper into Japanese society, made the whole tour a really memorable experience. Thank you.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book for next year

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    12 full days made Japan a very accessible country, Shinkansens speed us to far-flung places effortlessly, everybody we came into contact with throughout the tour was pleased to see us and help us unravelled so many aspects of the vibrant Japanese culture.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Byron Campbell

    Ancient & modern Japan

    This was a brilliant trip with a great group of fellow travellers. It took us along the length of Honshu, from the coast, cities, and into the mountains, using very efficient public transport - the Shinkansen & Tokyo metro which are experiences in themselves. We saw friendly deer, excitable snow monkeys and dressed-up dogs in prams (an example of an eccentric sight Japan will offer many of). It offered relaxing moments like bathing in the hot springs and warming sake, to quite intense moments like navigating busy train stations and some longer days on our feet exploring parks and cities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I travelled to Japan to particularly catch the autumn colours - amazing! Late November was the perfect time of year for acers and they are a sight the country over, so Japan kept giving beatiful views throughout the two weeks. Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto gave my favourite moment for autumn colour - it's optional, but I v much recommend. If in blossom, the Philosopher's walk would be stunning as it's lined with cherry trees, again this was optional.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka had great enthusiasm, was very humourous and she was very well organised. She moved 18 people several times through Tokyo stations at rush hour without loosing anyone! She offered great advice on sights to see on our free time, and gave useful maps with recommendations highlighted. She knew her Japanese food, and I particularly liked the group treats she sourced in Kyoto and she got us into some lovely restaurants despite being a big group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There's more walking than may seem obvious in the trip notes, and most is on paved urban surfaces, so it could be quite uncomfortable by the end of the longer days. So take comfy shoes and be prepared for several miles on one or two days. Tokyo's rail carriages get busy and cramped, and the stations themselves at rush hour take a lot of patience. But, for me it was part of experienceing the modern side of Japan so added to the understanding of what it means to be a local. Busy! There's more time in Tokyo then I'd really appreciated, so I'd recommend doing more research than I did on your options so you can make the most of it.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Claire Palmer

    Thoroughly enjoyable trip

    Excellent trip giving a great introduction to the culture & history of Japan.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    - autumn colours - Hiroshima - Kyoto golden temple - snow monkeys - bullet train - Nara It was all fabulous!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka did an excellent job of organising a group of 18 people & keeping us on track. She was always cheerful, friendly & helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There was more walking than I expected. It was fine for us but I think it's worth letting travellers know that you could be walking 6-7 miles a day. There was also more transport changes than we expected.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We loved Japan especially the countryside and the people.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Trevor Hoyland

    Japan - Ancient and Modern

    Having wanted to visit Japan for some years my wife and I picked the Exodus trip - 'Japan - Ancient and Modern' because it seemed to offer an interesting range of locations and was a few days longer than trips offered by other companies. The opportunity to spend nights in ryokans sleeping on the floor, bathing in onsens and experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality was also a factor as were travel by train between destinations and sightseeing on foot. The reality lived up to and beyond our expectations, we loved Japan and its people. The country is safe, ordered and steeped in a unique culture with a wealth of sights and sounds so very different from western societies. The trip took us to many historically important sites, to places of religious significance, both Buddhist and Shinto and to the quiet back streets and public spaces and gardens of ancient towns and the serene districts of the bigger cities. These were juxtaposed with the ultra modern cityscapes of Tokyo, a city which would take half a lifetime to explore and the reality of travel by bullet train and the technological wonder that is the Japanese toilet. Although the trip is full on, up early and off most days, there is also built in some time for personal exploration or just resting and taking in the passing scene. My only negative comment would probably be about the snow monkeys, which are never at Yudanaka at the time we visited, they are still feeding in the woods and have recently had their babies and don't come down to the hot springs until later in the year when the snows come. I suppose the clue is in the name. In any event Yudanaka itself is not to be missed and the hotel and onsen at which we stayed were superb. Through Exodus we arranged to fly home seven days after the 16 day trip had finished and spent a further week visiting two locations of particular interest to us with an extra day and night in Tokyo. Exodus staff were extremely helpful during our researches and the success of this extra time was in no small way down to their expert knowledge and readiness to give advice. All in all a wonderful experience which has whetted our appetite for a return visit to Japan to explore some of the many fascinating destinations it has to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments, first ride on the bullet train, the view from the top of a skyscraper of Tokyo at night, monks moving quietly through the grounds of their temples, watching the devotions of local people at the various shrines and temples, the sudden view of Mount Fuji from the window of a train and entire hillsides covered in trees in their autumn glory illuminated by the afternoon sun. There were inspirational moments around every corner.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Alena Eckelmann and the success of the whole trip was linked directly to her hard-work, enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the country. She has excellent language skills, has lived in Japan for the last 10 years and was able to move us around the country safely, despite the obvious pitfalls in moving a group of 18 on and off crowded Japanese trains and buses. Her priority at all times was for the group to get the maximum enjoyment from their holiday whilst keeping us safe and well. This she did with a gentle sense of humour, clear historical and cultural information when appropriate and precise instructions about what was happening next, where we would meet and what our options were for our free time. Always patient, always good-humoured, flexible when necessary, Alena was the cornerstone of what was for us a wonderful experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a taster experience for what is a fascinating country with many, many regions to explore I believe Japan - Ancient and Modern is excellent. A well chosen itinerary with good accommodation and comfortable travel arrangements for a pretty full-on trip. Much of the exploration is on foot and days start early and sometimes finish late. Pack light, bring your comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella and an open mind and you will have a great time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to Marta Marinelli and Andre Lopes - Exodus Travel consultants for their patience and help in planning our extra week. We visited Nikko and Hakone for 3 days each and had a lovely time. If extra time is an option Nikko in particular is a good choice for a few days in the mountains.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Rob Robinson

    Captivating Japan

    A brilliant introduction to Japan, its people and its culture. A top notch guide and a friendly, cohesive group made up for the terrible but unseasonal weather. Despite raining for 15 out of 18 days it didn't stop us from completing the itinerary (except for a landslide which closed the park where we were due to see the snow monkeys). And it was a packed itinerary, so not much downtime (which you might or might not prefer). The biggest disappointment for me however, was the lack of autumn colour. It was really too early in this part of Japan so I think Exodus should revise their note where it says "Best for autumn colour". I was expecting to find the food to be a challenge but it wasn't, the food was good with plenty of choice and variety. The Temples, shrines, gardens and parks are exactly as you would expect. What you might not expect is that some ancient sites sit cheek by jowl with modern high-rise buildings but usually not the main tourist sites. The Shinkansen was actually better than expected, not to be missed. Plenty of ordinary folk wearing traditional dress, especially in Kyoto.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The "matter of fact" video testimonies of the survivors from Hiroshima. I felt that, although the city will never forget and the degree of forgiveness is hard to assess, it has, nevertheless, "moved on".

    What did you think of your group leader?

    If you get Akemi you will be in very good hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are unlucky enough to get bad weather make sure you have packed some waterproof shoes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Perhaps not a holiday of highs and lows but consistently good throughout.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Zofia Chustecka

    Wonderful time in Japan

    Had a great time on this trip, it lived up to its promise of seeing Ancinet and Modern Japan

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying at the traditional Japanese houses, sleeping on a futon, eating traditional Japanese food while wearing a kimono, doing origami with the hostess and best of all bathing in the outdoor hot sprngs in the dark - that was the best moment for me!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka Tsukamoto was a wonderful group leader, she was unrelentingly cheerful and helpful and enthusiastic even in torrential rain and even when there was a typohoon that caused trees to fall on railway lines and landslides stopped the usual route up to the snow monkeys -- she persevered and made alternative arrangments so that our ploans could still be carried out. Ayaka was also most helpful in helping us to plan our itineries for our free days and she came along to some of the sights we wanted to see to help us out. I think she went out of her way to help, way beyond the call of duty, and she made the trip fun and highly enjoyable, in fact she made the holiday!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I very much enjoyed seeing the Ten Thousand Gate shrine (Fushimi-Ku) in Kyoto, which we went to on our free day, and I wonder why it isn't included in eth itinery -- we could have stopped off to see it on the day we went to Nara, on the way back we went through that station.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Linda (Jessie) Jessen

    Ancient and Modern Japan

    This tour was amazing on many levels. From the beginning, communications were prompt, helpful, and clear. All questions and concerns were addressed. The tour preparation information was very helpful and appropriate, assisting in smooth transition for the tour. The tour guide, agenda, and opportunities for personal impute, made the tour like a customized personal tour. Attention to needs and wants of the participants was consistently attended to, making the tour so very pleasurable and memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, Kyoto was the most fascinating. I loved the intact area, undisturbed from wars and major conflicts. The traditions, history, and sites there were wonderfully interesting. The Geisha and Maiko performance was a definite highlight for me, seeing the age-old traditions and styles of performance. I also loved Takayama, the area and the museum of Hokusei, the famous artist/genius! The gardens, walks, the people. All wonderful. Fuji, and oh, oh, oh, the food. Wonderful people, caring, helpful, and so respectful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ayaka Tsukamoto was attentive, professional, giving us choices, asking for interests, and making them happen whenever possible, which was often! She was personable, positive and fun! We were a small group, but quickly became like a family, having such a great time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have an exciting time. Recommend reading up on Japan, as this will only make the trip even more appreciable and meaningful. Also, be prepared to do a lot of walking... not difficult, but lots of walking. Learn just a handful of phrases, like thank you, please, etc. Read the info sent to us, as it is meant to help, and it does! You will love this trip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just thank you to all, for a wonderful and memorable time. I would recommend this tour highly.
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