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SABER's TOUR TO JAPAN
Qualification for these Japanese tours began in 1980
when Jerry was assigned to the US Embassy in Japan. He met Carol in a flea
market (also called a shrine sale) in 1989 while she was on a tour to Japan. These
markets provide opportunities to liberate wondrous treasures including:
ANTIQUES, OBI, WOMEN'S KIMONO, BOY'S DAY BANNERS, WEDDING KIMONO, CHILDREN'S
KIMONO and BASKETS! Within a
short time, they were married. Carol, having already lived for several months in
Kyoto, adapted quickly to her new surroundings. While in Japan, they traveled
extensively , led many tours with friends and those who came to Japan on
business. Carol, as a member of the Tokyo-Washington Women's Club
was selected to lead tours for their group where many of those on the tour were
Japanese. Over time, we became experts in many areas including how
to lead tours, how to get about, where & when to go along with expertise in
everything from textiles to antiques. Upon return to the United States in
January 1995, Carol gave many lectures on her life in Japan and shared her
collection and expertise in Japanese textiles. Many requests from personal friends, attendees
at Carol's lectures and students in Carol's classes led to our decision to lead our
first Japan tour in November 1997. Since then we have led many additional
tours. Some guests have gone more than once. Others are planning
to go again.
Our tours have sold out early. The
2006 tour was sold out 14 months prior to departure. The March 2008 trip was
sold out 8 months prior to departure. The March 2009 trip was sold out
7 months prior to departure.
Economic conditions since then have resulted in tours with few guests.
Our tours in 2015 and 2016 had only 8 guests with two guides making it more like
a family outing than a tour.
We have been leading these tours for 20 years and have long since accomplished our goal of sharing our expertise.
However, we have booked hotel rooms for a March 2017 tour where there will be a
requirement to have at least 10 guests. IF there are not enough guests by
October of 2016, that trip will be cancelled and all deposits will be returned. IF
you are interested in going, please let us know before the tour is cancelled. If you need more information,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol and Jerry Saber at Kinkakuji in Kyoto
Kimono show in
Todaiji & feeding sacred deer in Nara
Jerry & daughter at Nijo Castle garden & gate in
Heian Shrine in Kyoto with children in their finest attire
TOURS: the price of our tour is definitely connected to the conversion
rate from dollars to yen. In the summer of 2016, that rate was at
parity, that is, one dollar only resulted in receiving 100 yen, a huge drop from
our spring 2016 tour. That would require raising the price of the tour
(not desirable) and a very poor experience for our guests due to the high prices
of everything from in-country transportation & meals to souveniers and
admissions (also undesirable). So, our next tour will arrive in Japan on
20 March 2018 and return on 3 April.
BASIC PHILOSOPHY FOR THESE TOURS:
- small group so that all can enjoy and allow a wide range of
options. We have a planned itinerary BUT you can modify it to
add some special museum, garden or activity. In the
past we have accommodated guest requests to learn Taiko, dress as a
geisha, visit a special museum, spend the day at Disneyland.....a very
long list where we do our best to assist with NO additional cost to the
- outstanding hotels that are perfectly located so you can
unwind and enjoy at the end of each day
- visit a wide range of venues with equal focus on gardens,
museums, castles, architecture, photography, history, textiles, shopping, antiques
culture while having a great time
- you can arrive earlier and/or stay longer where
extra information so your time is effectively used
- the tour is limited to a maximum of 20 including two guides (about half that number
if only one guide)
- maximize the time for shopping/sightseeing by using the most
efficient and economical means of transportation and not moving between hotels on a daily
basis. This is what many call the multi-transport tour for we ride: the famous
bullet train, local trains, subways, cable way, boats, barges, buses, taxis, switch-back
train (rare indeed) and a tram. You can add a ride in a rickshaw.
- keep guests from having to move luggage except
between their home and the first hotel in Kyoto
and then from your airport to home. Note that no one has to move
heavy luggage after arriving in Kyoto
Deposit check of $500 will hold your space AND only
be cashed when there are sufficient guests to GO AND we have your approval to cash that
check. After that, the deposit is not refundable as it has already
been spent to ensure we do not loose our outstanding hotel reservations.
Shopping at flea markets
Our guest and daughter dyeing shibori at Aizenkobo in Kyoto
Painting on silk
Jerry & daughter at Kiyomizudera in Kyoto
Geisha, guest and daughter in Kyoto
Carol, daughter & grand children at Heian Shrine in Kyoto
THE TOUR PRICE OF $4,400 INCLUDES:
- full American breakfast each day - more than enough to last to dinner
- top end, super deluxe hotels where each room is shared.
We suggest you share the wonders of Japan with your spouse, significant other, relative,
close friend, neighbor or church/club member. We have been very successful in
matching singles where we do the introduction and the two parties determine compatibility
issues. A single supplement is available. However, since
the hotels are so good and we are going during high season , the single
supplement runs about $1,600.
- comprehensive pre-trip planning information covering everything
from what to bring to what to leave at home
- being able to review a binder that will be sent to your
home that contains brochures for all the places we
will be visiting or staying
- a package of itineraries where there
is 1 to 8 pages for each day on the tour including maps, where we will go, a
description of what we will see and much more
- full schedule each day BUT you can
elect to do something other than what is planned for that day. Having lived
in Japan for over 14 years and returning frequently, we have been to all of the sites
frequented by tourists as well as many others which are well off the tourist trail.
Information we can provide includes not only how to get there but when to go or not go for there
is nothing more disappointing than arriving at that special place to discover it is closed
- additional cost for all in-country transportation, admissions and
meals other than breakfast has been carefully calibrated by us and many of our guests at
$1,200, a cost that depends on the conversion rate from dollars to yen
- we are
available to assist in planning any activity or place that is not in the
- you can arrive early or stay on in Japan where we will
assist in your planning for any extension. There is NO charge for this extra assistance.
- required is ability to walk for Japan is not handicap friendly and
our tour requires walking which can be over uneven ground and climbing stairs where
no elevators/escalators exist. if you need a walker, this is not
the tour for you.
- deposit is $500 which is refundable up until the check is
- airline tickets should be acquired only after the tour has been
declared a GO You can use air miles OR purchase your
ticket from your travel agent or your airline of choice.
- the balance of the tour cost is due approximately four months prior to
- our preferred entry point in Japan is the Kansai International Airport
(KIX) serving Osaka. There are several airlines that land there. We always choose the United flight from San Francisco where we spend the night before (18 March) near the airport to ensure we do not miss that flight
leaving the 19th to arrive in Japan on the 20th of March. You can join the guide(s) or make your own way to the first hotel in Kyoto where detailed instructions for getting through the airport and to the hotel are
included in your package of itineraries (one for each day which includes maps, what you
will see, how we will get there, etc).
- we also offer a pre-tour where you arrive/spend the night in Kyoto on 16 March and the
next three nights in Okayama returning to the same hotel
in Kyoto on 20 March. During that time, you will have the
opportunity to visit one of the best three gardens in Japan, the Black
Crow Castle, Atom Bomb Museum, Shukkeien Garden and Peace Park in Hiroshima, the magical
island of Miyajima, the old city of Kurashiki (great museums and
shopping and architecture) plus the best &, all original castle in Japan
including the charming garden next to the castle. You book your own hotel where we will help by advising alternatives (lower price and location). Acquisition of a Purchase Order that can be
into a Rail Pass in Japan (available over the
internet) will save some money and a lot of time when traveling.
We charge NOTHING for a very detailed itinerary which includes maps.
The only extra cost for the pre-trip is the actual cost of the hotels,
purchase order for a Rail Pass, meals and admissions.
Daughter & grand daughter at Outdoor Sculpture Museum in Hakone
Our ride across lake
The Spectacular Miho Museum
Toshogu Shrine in Nikko
Mt Fuji from Hakone Nat Park
THE FOLLOWING IS A PARTIAL LIST OF WHERE WE WILL BE
- KYOTO: two spectacular flea markets, Aizenkobo (indigo dying
house), Fureaikan (craft/cultural center), Heian Shrine (garden), Nijo Castle (nightingale
floors), Ryoanji (famous for its rock garden), Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizudera
(the water temple famous for its stages), Miho Museum (I.M. Pei's spectacular creation),
walk through the Gion area and Geisha District, Nishijin & Yuzen Textile Centers,
Shibori Museum, separate Shibori
Store, Nara (imperial capital prior to when it was capital was relocated to
Kyoto) to visit Todaiji (largest wooden building in world) & Kasuga Taisha (famous for
its sacred deer and many lanterns), Byodoin (oldest wooden building in world), Fushimi
Inari (famous for having many vermilion tori gates)
- HAKONE NATIONAL PARK: ride the bullet train to stay in hot
springs hotel with spectacular garden that was opened over 130 years ago; travel through
park on ropeway, boat, switch-back train, bus & tram; visit Outdoor Sculpture
Museum (unbelievable sculpture plus building full of art by Picasso plus
three other art filled buildings in a
spectacular garden setting) plus the Lalique Museum and/or Hakone Glass
- TOKYO: Asakusa (spectacular temple with shopping
arcades that is not to be missed), Nikko to visit Toshogu Shrine (dedicated to first great
shogun), more flea markets, Kamakura (imperial
capital for 200 years) to visit Great Buddha & Hasedera (hydrangea temple) &
Zeniarai Benten (money washing temple), Nippori Textile Town, Asakura Choso Museum
(home/studio of famous sculptor), Tokyo-Edo Museum (unbelievable architecture and outstanding
contents), Omotesando (Oriental Bazzar and cutting edge architecture), high
end designer stores like Isse Miyake, walk through old section of city with interesting
shops and a basket maker (time permitting), Hamarikyu (imperial garden), river cruise, Museum
of Itchiku Kubota, Edo-Tokyo Outdoor Architectural Museum, Nihon Minkaen
(garden full of historic homes), Oragami Museum and sayonara dinner.
You can easily substitute (we will help) any of the planned itineary to enjoy something of special interest like the military museum at Yasukuni Shrine.
Heian Shrine - Kyoto
Buddha Shopping Mall in Tokyo
Father and son at Himeji
Some of our guests on tour
CLICK ON PHOTO ABOVE FOR MORE PICTURES
FROM SPRING 2009 TOUR
FROM SPRING 2010 TOUR
MEMORIES FROM SPRING 2013 TOUR
MEMORIES FROM SPRING 2014 Tour
Society of America member Catherine Cerny recap of the Spring 2014 tour
We have shared this adventure with many guests where
the youngest was 9 years old and the oldest was...well, a very senior citizen.
Our plan is to walk a little and ride a little allowing folks to rest and not
be run to death. We also love cruising with idea of unpacking once and not
moving about dragging heavy luggage. We have incorporated this into our tour.
Guests on previous tours have met with friends, gone off on their own, used
our tour to lead their families through the same adventure, arrived early, stayed
gone to a different venue/place as they have already "been there - done that",
used air miles to make their own travel arrangements ......the bottom line is that
we are flexible and have but one desire which is to share
our knowledge with others.
IF you are interested, we need to hear from you before
we are sold out. Just drop me an email CONTACT US.
In the meantime, please enjoy some photos from previous trips and TESTIMONIALS
from previous guests.
Desire to do your own tour but need a helping hand
(what to see, where to go, how to get there, when that special place is open/closed, how
much you can fit into one day, etc), we are available to assist where our consulting fee
begins at $150.
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