Frequently Asked Questions
We are a fully bonded travel company. However, having a Type 3 license in Japan means we are not permitted to advertise packages with fixed departures dates and prices. However, we would be more than happy to send you information with these details if you get in touch requesting them via the Contact us page.
Hike Japan Limited was founded as a UK company in 2003. In 2010, Bob Heffill decided to move to Japan, and with Isao Matsuzawa established the Japanese travel company Quest Japan. The Hike Japan brand, and web domain www.hikejapan.com, were retained.
So, we are one and the same.
Quest Japan today is a licensed and bonded travel agent, registered with the Governor of Tokyo. This offers protection and financial security to all those who book with us.
Basically no, although we have occasionally done so in the past. For many reasons, we feel that traveling in small groups, with expert guides, brings many benefits and significantly enhances experiences on tour, as testified to by many of our guests. Professional mountain guides are essential for mountain hiking in Japan.
Whilst other companies offer self-guided trips, it has actually never been easier for visitors to make their own travel arrangements in Japan. Things have changed in a big way over the last few years. There are plenty of online resources, including many apps, in English and other languages, which can be accessed by devices including mobile phone. More and more visitors, particularly younger people, are choosing not to go with package tours operators or even bother with organized self-guided trips.
Our tours are generally all-inclusive, which means you won’t need much cash. You will have to pay for drinks on tour, and pay for airport transfers to and from your point of entry.
Generally speaking, we would suggest 5,000 yen per day (some of which will go towards drinks with meals). Less if you spend little, more if you drink more or spend more shopping.
Japan is basically a ‘no-tipping’ culture. Taxi drivers, for example, do not expect a tip. There are one or two exceptions, including leaving a small gratuity (a thousand or two yen) for a nakai-san, the wonderful ladies in ryokan who are dedicated to looking after you and the room in which you’re staying.
No. On none of our tours, including the mountain hiking tours, do you have to carry a weighty backpack. On multi-day mountain hikes we use mountain huts where food and bedding are provided. We also use courier services to transfer heavier bags by road to our destinations on tour.
Courier or delivery services are known as takkyubin in Japan. They are excellent; bags usually arrive the next day (although at extremely busy times it might take 48 hours), and at a time of your choosing. All you have to do is fill in a form (most hotels have these at reception), attach the label to your bag, and pay. Prices vary depending on size and weight, but it normally costs between two and three thousand yen per item. Your baggage will be collected and be waiting for you when you arrive at your next accommodation.
Hike Japan uses takkyubin for the transfer of guests’ baggage regularly, particularly in order to avoid humping bags on and off trains.
Yes. We regularly create itineraries tailored to the interests and budgets of private clients, including using high end ryokans and hotels, top restaurants, comfortable travel, and special experiences.
We can, although payment by credit card incurs fees. Payment is normally by international bank transfer. Remittance to our bank account in Japan can also be made online via internet banking.
Japanese bank ATMs do not generally offer a cash withdrawal service to cards issued overseas. Convenience store and Post Office ATMs do allow all major overseas issued card withdrawals, normally between 30,000 and 100,000 yen per day (depending on the type of card).
No. We are not ATOL protected, nor do we sell packages with flights. Most clients prefer to shop around and make their own flight arrangements.
Basically no. We are not an agency introducing local guides.
Yes, the company is fully bonded, protecting all client payments in the highly unlikely event of insolvency.
Yes. We are an inbound destination management company cooperating with a number of specialist overseas tour operators, as well as running our own tours. Please see our Travel partners page if you’re interested in finding out more about working with us.
Generally speaking, our tour prices include everything except for drinks on tour, and airport transfers at the start and end of a tour.
Nearly all clients who have traveled with us have really appreciated simply arriving and leaving it all up to us. After all, we’ve been in the business a long time, and have spent years searching the best restaurants, hotels, ryokan, and minshuku, and continually improving our itineraries. Our guides make sure you don’t feel like your being herded around. It’s essential that members feel they have the time and space to enjoy their own experiences Japan. Whilst our tour prices might seem to be slightly higher than some on the market, many tours have exclusions. Add those in and we’re not that different. The real difference lies in the standards you can expect on our tours, whether it’s accommodation, food, the professionalism of the tour and local guides we work with, or the range of activities we’ve found our guests have found most interesting.