Those who travel with Esprit on a Japan group tour often tell us that, even though they have traveled in the past and had enjoyable trips, their journey with us was truly unique and often far better than they had even known travel could be. Needless to say, we are deeply delighted every time we hear this. But more importantly, we want you to know that you too can have this experience. But what is it about Esprit Japan group tours that makes them so different?
Esprit sees culture as a living, breathing essence embodied in the people, cities, morning teas, midday meals, celebrations and style that define a society. Culture is expressed in the way a village artisan weaves the traditional textile pattern for children’s clothes, the way chopsticks are laid just so, the way a host is thanked properly and a guest received warmly. Other companies offer cultural tours that take participants to ancient monasteries, important historical sites and imperial villas open to the public. Those places can be quite beautiful, but that
I just want to thank you all for an exceptional trip. It was expensive for me, but I received much more value than the cost. You have it just right — the "luxury" in your trips is not the hotel (which was FINE) or in expensive gourmet meals (each provided meal was unique and wonderful, and part of the value but not "flashy"), but in the quality of the experiences provided. When I think back on all I saw and took in there are no words, just incredible memories.- Sally F.
approach implies that culture is history. On the contrary! Cultural travel with Esprit means living in the present and experiencing all the sights, sounds, tastes, feelings and scents that exist all around you — in the places you enter, the paths you walk and the people you meet.
All of Esprit’s tour planners and leaders know Japan as natives because they have lived, studied, worked and traveled there. They know delightful temple gardens, small museums, quiet tea rooms, craft villages, authentic restaurants and theaters that tourists never discover. They also have many Japanese friends who are artists, craftspeople, restaurateurs, masters of traditional arts and architects who welcome Esprit participants into their homes and workshops as honored guests.
Practically speaking, Esprit’s tour leaders know the best way from point A to point B, when to arrive at the theater, where to find the liveliest temple markets, how to get special tickets, and all the other details that can make or break a good travel adventure. Because Esprit tour leaders are fluent in Japanese, they can negotiate and solve problems with ease. At the same time, they connect participants with the people they meet and the world around them with strong language skills.
Some days, the people who plan and lead Esprit Japan group tours simply cannot believe their good fortune. They get to do exactly what they love; showing fellow travelers the wonders of Japan. Every one of them is passionate about travel. They are experts in Japanese arts and culture. And when it comes to crafting dynamic travel itineraries, creating hands-on learning experiences, and sharing the places and people they know with others, they are gifted. Participants discover that being with a passionate tour leader tends to makes for a wonderful and enlightening journey.
Esprit believes in exercising a sublime attention to detail that transcends mere double checking of arrangements. Esprit pays attention to the spirit of the countries to which it travels, making sure that each person on each journey gets a genuine experience of the life and culture entered. An Esprit tour leader knows that the south entrance to the temple garden is where most people enter, but the small entry around the corner and down the alley opens into an azalea garden in full bloom. Of course, you can also count on Esprit to be meticulous with all the ordinary details too. Rest assured that accommodations are researched and vetted, restaurants are sampled, train and performance tickets are purchased in advance, and problems are solved immediately.
Esprit’s tour leaders weave a magical spell throughout each tour by thoughtful narration; offering, in effect, a live documentary. Esprit uses a shortwave radio system that allows tour leaders to broadcast their informative commentary directly to the lightweight radio headsets worn by participants. Individuals can walk at their own pace and pause at a point of interest without missing a word. The radios also allow Esprit groups to enter quiet places respectfully, while staying connected with the leader. Having the whole group share in the stories, ad libs, impromptu lectures, answers to other participant’s questions and erudite commentary of the tour leader also creates a strong group dynamic and sense of intimacy that is quite welcome while traveling in foreign lands.
While we know that our selection of tour offerings in not as comprehensive as many companies, we find that our small group trips and infrequent departures results in a group of travelers truly committed to having a deep cultural experience in Japan. We hope that you are interested enough to consider one of our Japan group tours and will review the current offerings.