Frequently Asked Questions
Hike Japan is not a bonded package tour operator.
Basically no, although HJ has occasionally done so in the past. For many reasons, traveling in small groups, with expert guides, brings many benefits and significantly enhances experiences on tour, as testified to by many guests over the years. 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.
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. Even on higher mountain hiking tours you don’t have to carry a weighty backpack. On multi-day mountain hikes there are mountain huts where food and bedding are provided. Japan has excellent courier services to transfer heavier bags by road.
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 recommends takkyubin for the transfer of guests’ baggage regularly, particularly in order to avoid humping bags on and off trains.
If requested, HJ is very happy to suggest itineraries tailored to the interests, budgets, and varying duration of private clients, including using high end ryokan and hotels, top restaurants, comfortable travel, and special experiences.
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. HJ doesn’t sell packages or flights. Many visitors now prefer to make their own travel arrangements and plan their own trip in Japan.
HJ is not an agency introducing local guides.