We spent some time looking at various tour books and group tours for our two week trip to Japan. We came across Mr. Masahisa Takaki and we would highly recommend his guide services and suggestions for visiting Japan. Visiting Japan could be overwhelming, if you do not speak Japanese and want to visit some non-English areas. During multiple e-mails, a tour plan was developed which included visiting Tokyo and surrounding areas, Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, and Hiroshima. He made arrangements for us with other Japanese guides, who also shared their love of Japan and want to show visitors their region and want visitors to experience their region. During our visit, he catered to our schedules, our interests, and at the pace we wanted. We together made several changes to our tour plan during our visit in the Tokyo area due to weather (visiting the Fuji area) and the alternatives were wonderful including visiting Kawaagoe during prime cherry blossom time. This is an area where local Japanese go and enjoy sitting under the cherry blossom trees with their family, friends, and business associates. There was a large group of woman performing traditional Japanese dances. We also visited Mt. Takao and hiked down the wooded path to the chair lift. Also, we visited the temples and shrines of the Kamakura-Yokohama area and walked along the beach on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean. We live on the western side of the ocean. Mr. Takaki worked in business (wore a white shirt and dark suit) and became a certified guide post-retirement. He is a long time Tokyo resident, so he knew the most interesting places and how to get to them. Each morning he met us at our hotel, took us through the labyrinth subway/train system to the Tsukiji Fish Market and a host of many interesting places, sights, and neighborhoods. We would not be able to navigate the city's 14 train and subway lines with the efficiency and knowledge to get to places without getting lost multiple times. We did not have a Japanese smart phone to use Google map. Our experience with Mr. Takaki, Mr. Saito, and Ms. Nakayama was excellent. They all were very punctual, knowledgeable, friendly, patient, and speak English very well. We were able to learn not only about the places we visited, but also about various Japanese lifestyle and traditions. They were willing to stop at any place, answer our sometimes dumb questions, share their experiences, and talk about every day stuff. We had lunch in local inexpensive places with extraordinary and delicious food. He recommended probably the best sushi restaurant (Suchi-zanmai Honten) in Tokyo near the Tsukiji Market which was extremely reasonably price. The toto tuna melted in your month, along with other fish species.
Mr. Takaki will assist in making your trip to Japan the most unforgettable experience ever. Mr. Takaki's website says "Are you looking for a real experience in Japan not just the standard tourist attractions? I can help you." You will not be disappointed.