JTB Sunrise Kyoto tours

Old Sep 24th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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JTB Sunrise Kyoto tours

We arrive to Kyoto late next Thursday evening and we're getting so excited!
I was considering booking an early AM (8:35) Sunrise JTB tour for a half day just to get our bearings before going out on our own.

I would appreciate any Fodorite input.
northshoreauntie is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 01:50 PM
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I like to do things on my own but a 1/2 day tour sounds ok to me. What does the tour include?

It's always nice to get info from a local and when on the tour you can ask questions and get an instant answer.

You must be getting very excited.

Aloha!



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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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We did the morning Sunrise city tours of Tokyo and Kyoto in June. They were great. Perfect orientation tool. Japan was beautiful, and we are already planning our return trip. Have a wonderful time.
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 02:28 PM
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We were just in Kyoto for three days. I found the city hard to get a feel for in advance by reading maps and other info. But once we were there we found it very easy to orient ourselves. One circuit on bus 202 gave us a good grasp of where many sites were.

But an organized tour would work as well.

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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 11:50 PM
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Sounds ok to me too. Only thing is the timing that you arrive at night. From where? I would not want to pay for it until the morning of the tour.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 05:02 AM
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I looked closely at JTBs tours in the past and found them to be ridiculously expensive, so have never taken them. I had no trouble getting oriented in Kyoto once there. A good map and lots of planning, plus a little help from the hotel, goes a long way.

Over the years I've seen posts on JTB tours on this board. People who do use JTB tours on this board generally seem to like them.

Also, there has never been a recommendation for a good private guide in Kyoto on this board in the years I've been here. I've only found a few private guides in Kyoto via the internet, and they are really expensive.

So if you need an orientation tour, JTB is probably the way to go. But I am w/mrwunrfl re waiting to pay til that morning if you are just arriving in the country. You might be zonked that 1st morning if you are coming into the country the night before, and may really want to sleep in or take it easy that 1st morning.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Mahalo for all the excellent advice.

The tours are rather pricy- it would cost about $280. US just for the short half day for the our two teenage grandchildren, husband and self.

I'm leaning toward the advice of mrwunrfl who suggests waiting until we arrive as the cancellation fees are high, but I have read previous notes from travelers that said the tours were sold out.

Also I've read somewhere on the board that you can buy two day bus and subway passes from your hotel. We are staying at the Hyatt which I realize is outside the city so I know we will need those. Is this correct?

Also, one last very silly question-
particularly directed at hawaiian traveler-

Will it be too cold or offensive to the Japanese to wear slippers, i.e. flip-flops? Husband wears shoes but the kids and I haven't worn shoes in years! We all bought some, but I have my doubts as to whether or not we will be able to tolerate walking in them. I looked at all the Japanese tourists arriving by bus in Haleiwa yesterday and slippers seemed the norm.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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nsauntie,

I always take a pair of Scott's with me when I travel to Japan but rarely wear them outside the hotel mainly because its just too darn cold when I have been there, lol. You will see lots of geisha and maiko around Kyoto wearing geta slaps but with the accompanying stockings. Did not see many locals wearing them outside on the street though....

Inside just about every hotel or ryokan in Japan you will be likely given some type of slippers for your use inside the building. You will also be given a yukata to sleep in every night, toothbrush and toothpaste, combs, brushes....all kinds of goodies

I don't know if the Hyatt will sell you a bus pass but if they don't the concierge will definitely tell you how and where to get them. Have fun and let us know how it all went when you get back

Aloha!
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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is this the tour you are taking? Looks pretty good to me

http://tinyurl.com/3jmroa

I don't know if you have seen this but I found this page invaluable when I first went to Kyoto. You can print out the page and also the route maps

http://tinyurl.com/45v4uv

The whole site actually has a lot of useful Kyoto information. Click on all the links

A hui hou!
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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For the price of the JTB tour for all of you, you can get a taxi tour for 1/2 day and go where you want to go at your pace. If I were to spend the money for a tour in Japan for a group, I would do that over the join in JTB bus any day. I completely agree with emd's observation of JTB's exhorbitant pricing...every one of their itineraries that I have priced out has been an incredible markup, well beyond reasonable profit margin, with the charge for the tour being about 20 times what you would pay for doing it on your own.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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True Kim we all agree it is expensive but the taxi driver(most anyway) will not speak English and that is usually what the normal tourist to Japan lacks . The knowledge of the Japanese language. It's always easier when someone explains something to you in your native language.

That is what I miss most when I travel to Japan, thus it's the Rosetta Stone for me

auntie,
Did you see my last post? The Japanicam site is quoting the 1/2 day tour as 5600 yen per adult. that's about $53.00 US. 53 x 4 is a little less than the $280 the HNL JTB quoted you and Japanicam sells the JTB tours.

Aloha!
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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There are several companies and guides that offer English. Doi taxi is one, Johnny Hillwalker's wife? is really reasonable too. The Hyatt is so accommodating I'm quite sure they could arrange as well...they were very good for us with our requests,t hough a guide was not something we asked for.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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As always, thank you Hawaiian traveler and KimJapan. I am so appreciative of all your help.
I will certainly look at the Japancam web site to see what they offer.
Weather reports- 68F and partly cloudy. I think we can handle that, but I did buy light jackets and sweatshirts for the kids.
Living in Hawaii, your body seems to only function between 70-85. I wear sweats here in the winter when it drops below 70!
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 10:22 AM
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Yes, the web site Hawaiian traveler posted is the tour I was considering.
Kyoto bus site was terrific once I figured out the Hyatt was in the Higashiyama prefecture. It always helps to know where you are starting from!
As I've mentioned before, my husand and I are abominable map readers, so I'm hoping our grandchildren didn't inherit the "duh" gene.
The worst was the argument we had on the streets of Florence trying to decide which way the train station was. We drew a crowd!
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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I love maps. So I am curious about how the bus tour would help you to "get your bearings" if you can't read a map.

Don't you have to compare the reality of the tour route with the map. (we are here in the world and there on the map and we got here from that other place in the world and that other place on the map) You match your experience with the map and then you literally can know your bearing and relative location. Otherwise you are just traveling to geospatially unrelated points.

Anyway, I'd take my chances and let the tour sell out if that is what would happen. Then just take a taxi. I don't know where you are staying but IIRC going to Kiyomizudera, to Gion, to Silver Pavillion, to Golden Pavillion, to Nijojo would be a rough circle of the city.

I'm not paticularly familiar with Kyoto so would ask the others who posted here what a taxi route might be that would serve the "get our bearings" purpose. I just thought of one way to answer that: the route of the JTB tour.

Ok, without a map, I would find the main cross-streets and orient them with respect to the compass points from the sun and then everyplace else would be relative to that. But that is just a mental map.
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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I realize this post is a few days old, but KimJapan mentioned Doi Taxi for English-speaking sightseeing purposes. Although my trip was ultimately cancelled in the spring, I corresponded with Doi-san about a private half day tour. The cost for June 2008 was 25600 yen not including parking and admissions. He was very helpful!

Naoki Doi can be reached at [email protected] or 81.80.959.65546.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2008, 02:56 PM
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I wonder if auntie took the tour today? Either way I am jealous!
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Old Oct 4th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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if not, then I wonder how they got arountd, lol
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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We recently used Sunrise Tours for a Kyoto city tour. It was quite an unpleasant experience being that the guide was diffucult to understand and could not manage the large group, the buffet lunch was horrible, and the bus was packed.
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Danielle_S,

Take your rant somewhere else where they would give a hoot.

It does not speak well of a new member when they have an agenda of wanting to hurt a specific business. You stick out like a sore thumb.

We don't even know you,how do you expect people to believe what you say?

If you really want satisfaction, write a letter of complaint to Sunrise Tours.....
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