Walk Japan is an independent organisation offering a different vision of how to create and manage tours in Japan; how to provide service to our customers; and how to carry out our business as a whole.
To provide the best tours, ones that set the benchmark for quality, available in Japan.
To maintain and improve the three fundamental qualities of our tours; namely, interest (education), entertainment (attractiveness) and efficiency (best use of our customers’ time and money).
To clearly recognise and act accordingly that our product is not just tours but the complete service from first enquiry through the tour itself to post-tour follow up.
To operate our company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth consistent with long-term development and success. We do not seek short-term gain.
To expand the opportunities for development and career growth for all our employees.
To thoroughly imbue everything that we do in our work with our values of respect, integrity and quality.
Pioneers and specialists
Walk Japan is the pioneering operator of walking tours of Japan. We specialise in only one country and, since 1992, have been providing the best planned, the best led and most fulfilling and enjoyable tours available in Japan. Currently, Walk Japan has an unrivalled range of regular, scheduled tours and is researching more for the future. We also create and run private custom tours tailored to our customers’ particular interests and requirements. The latter include educational tours for schools and other academic institutions around the world.
Deep-based knowledge & skills
We are skilled at unveiling many aspects of Japan during the course of our tours. This expertise is rooted in study trips run by two Hong Kong University academics, Tom Stanley and Dick Irving, for their students of Japanese history and Japanese social geography. These study trips developed into Walk Japan’s tours over 20 years ago, since when we have taken many thousands of people from North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia to beautiful and interesting areas of Japan, many little known, that are otherwise difficult to access and fully appreciate.
Our tours are created for people who not only like to walk but also like to learn, understand and appreciate. We introduce Japan in contexts that are informative and make sense of sights and customs that otherwise too often remain elusive to many visitors. Our tours bring this fascinating country up close by mixing in with its people and their way of life. We use public transport with its many varied, very pleasant and efficient guises; and also use delightful, local inns, the occasional temple and family-run restaurants.
All our tours are thoroughly researched and planned for experiences of Japan without peer. They are original, well-paced and carefully balanced for activity, interest and pleasure. Our extensive planning and attention to detail ensures that our tours provide a rich experience that runs exceptionally well. We set standards far above the norm in Japan with our western approach to tour research and creation combined with our high Japanese standards of service.
Travelling in comfort and with interest
All our tours are physically active to varying degrees – from light walking through trail walking to mountain climbing. Tours to match almost everyone’s abilities.
All our tour accommodation has previously been vetted by a member of our staff – not just to approve the quality but also to build a personal relationship with the owners. Wherever possible we use local Japanese-style accommodation but we also make our selection on the basis of interest, comfort and practical considerations, such as, ‘Are laundry facilities available?’ When we use a hotel, which is usually in major cities, these are generally 3/4 star equivalent but regardless of level they are convenient for the tour and spotlessly clean.
First-rate tour leaders
Our tour leaders are rated highly by our customers and travel writers for their enthusiasm, friendliness, knowledge of Japan, ability to communicate and professionalism. Their task is not just to provide a great experience but also to engender a desire for all our customers to return to Japan – and so far many have, some many times over. All of them are at a minimum very proficient in the Japanese and English languages and have an intimate knowledge of Japan and its people – so much so this often belies their nationalities, which include Australians, Americans and British as well as Japanese. The ranks of our tour leaders include one of the company’s founding academics – the other is still fully employed in academia – as well as many other individuals who have long experience across a broad range of businesses in Japan including the media, agriculture, commerce, arts, finance, academia and tourism.
Most of our scheduled tours run at a maximum of 12, sometimes 13 people plus the tour leader. We have found this size not only conducive to the good melding of participants it is also the optimum number for a tour leader to cope with comfortably – not only to make sure no-one is overlooked but also for logistical reasons. An extra plus is that we have access to many wonderful inns, restaurants, sites and experiences that are just not available to bigger groups.
Care for our customers and their satisfaction
We aim to provide all our customer with top-class service from initial contact through time in Japan with us to post-tour follow up. Our first premise is that we want you to join us again on tour. When you travel with us on tour a Walk Japan tour leader will be accompanying you throughout and our staff based in Japan are on standby to provide additional support in case of emergency.
We are a recognised provider of acclaimed walking tours in Japan because of our customers. With their help over the years we have perfected our tours and, in return, we have been able to provide consistently tours of high calibre and pleasure. Almost everyone who travels with Walk Japan rates their overall enjoyment as very good or excellent. ‘It was more than I thought it would be’ is not an uncommon comment from our customers. Our customers have told their families, friends and acquaintances about Walk Japan and a significant proportion of our new customers come by word-of-mouth. Many of our customers return to us on other tours; so far some have come on as many as four separate occasions – we think this is not bad considering we specialise in only one country.
Guaranteed booking, value for money and no surcharges
If we accept a booking we guarantee that we will run the tour. We do not provide flights with our tours and so feel obliged always to honour any booking made with us. We will never leave any of our customers with flights to Japan but without a tour to join.
We include as much as possible in the tour price. Although each tour varies to some extent, in general, everything for the tour from the start point to the end point is included except some lunches, drinks and spending money. (Please refer to the tour details for specific information).
We never levy surcharges. We guarantee that the price at the time you book is the only price you will pay to join the tour.
Walk Japan tours have been featured in many publications including: South China Morning Post, Dallas Morning News, L.A. Times, Straits Times of Singapore, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, Where Magazine, The New York Times, The Australian, The Observer, Sunday Times, Melbourne Herald Sun, Sydney Morning Herald, Edmonton Journal and Toronto Sun, British Airways’ High Life, Asian Journeys, Expat Living, BusinessWeek, Time, Garuda Indonesia Airline’s Colours and Cathay Pacific Airways’ Discovery magazines; and the best selling books Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, The Rough Guide to Ultimate Adventures, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and Walking the World’s Most Exceptional Trails.
All the Walk Japan staff have long association with Japan and we all feel a great affinity and commitment to the country and its people. An expression of this is to use local businesses. Over twenty years we have provided a stable source of income to many family owned restaurants and accommodation in Japan’s rural areas. In some instances we have become the main client for some ryokan, Japanese inns, in remoter areas we travel through. In at least one instance because of our sustained custom over twenty years, an historic inn and the only accommodation left in the immediate area has been able to remain in business. Although we remain this ryokan’s largest customer it is now a thriving business again attracting many others and acting as a social focus for the local villagers. Not only have the son and his wife decided to continue their family tradition they have invested in upgrading the facilities in a fashion sympathetic to the building’s uniqueness and age.
Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Project
Another expression of our commitment to Japan is our Community Project, part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, in Kunisaki, Kyushu in west Japan. Centred on our local office, a refurbished farmhouse, our project is a long-term commitment by Walk Japan to reinvest in a rural community. Here we employ three locals to help provide vigour and bring some welcome assistance to a small village.
Please contact Walk Japan for further details.