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Client Comments
from past departures of...

The Land of the Rising Sun


Kyushu April 09

  • Really enjoyed the trip and would recommend it to other people. The tour leader, Phil, was a great guide and very entertaining, had good knowledge – he made the trip! He gave an insight into Japan in a non organised tour way.
    Eveline Olieux
  • I think Phil really made the trip. It is nice to have a tour leader with personality. Thanks for a fantastic holiday.
    Bec Mcketin
  • Excellent tour leader – really made it enjoyable. Trip was wonderful. Thanks!
    Joe Thurber and Marci Keiser

  • Some of this may sound a bit gushy but I have had a marvellous holiday and have got to really care for the Japanese. They have gone out of their way to make us welcome, stopping to help us, showing us their love of fun. The tour leader, Phil Colley, was top rate – great to have someone who notices your needs and quietly cares! We all thoroughly appreciated him.
    Janet Richardson
  • Itinerary excellent – a good combination of cities and countryside, the mixture of geographical and cultural features was good. Good mix of organised sightseeing and free time.
    Lynda and Neil Willis

Kyushu Oct 08

  • Brilliant trip – surpassed expectations. Thanks for all the time and effort put in. 
    Anne Farrall

  • Here I am, back to Italy after the Land of the Rising Sun tour with Phil Colley. Basically I just... wanted the tour to be like it was. Nothing like the usual tours I experienced so far (just took a couple, which I didn't really like); on those 40-people bus tours it's easy to feel like caged, on a leash, on the 'outside' of things, moods and places. The Oriental Caravan tour was something different - the guide was really 'discreet', like he wasn't the tour guide but someone from the group with an extra knowledge of places and language - and that I really liked. Plus company was excellent, and all that made the tour 'my kind' of tour, something done the way it's supposed to be done, in my opinion. That's all... missing Japan now and hoping to get back there one day to stay. Thank you for organizing such high-quality tours, keep up the wonderful work.
    Luca Lacche

  • Thank you for a wonderful tour. We both really enjoyed ourselves and have come stimulated and refreshed. I think the range of places you took us and the different activities was a really good ‘Introduction to Japan’. Phil’s equanimity in dealing with the group was impressive and I’m sure all groups are different. He gave us good, useful, thoughtful, appropriate information. Then guided us on our way so we could be independent. Remarkably calm and non-judgmental. With grateful thanks.
    Sue Cunningham

  • Tour leader was very good - understated, British. Tour was much better than expected –educational and stimulating.
    Robert Cunningham


  • Overall I would just like to say how much we enjoyed our holiday and thank you for providing such an enriching experience. I can imagine you may receive comments about wanting more time here or there at the expense of somewhere else but in my view this is not helpful. It would be impossible to satisfy all the needs of such a diverse group of people and I believe the overall balance was as good as you will get, providing a wide view of Japanese history, culture and everyday life. The holiday provided everything it ‘said on the tin’ at a realistic and affordable price and the standards of accommodation, food and transportation exceeded expectation within the overall budget. In addition the Group greatly benefitted from you’re in depth knowledge of the local life and evenings in the Kyoto sake bar and the * Club greatly added to the enjoyment of the experience. Based upon our experience I would definitely recommend The Oriental Caravan to friends looking for a similar style of holiday.
    Mel and Pat Reid

  • I have always had a special interest in Japan, from studying the language to the culture, so for my first time I wanted to "really" experience the country. With The Oriental Caravan I did exactly that and beyond. I was able to see and experience Japan's modern and historical sides in Tokyo, Nagasaki and Kyoto. It's natural beauty in the rural off the beaten track locations such as Miyajima, Mt Aso and Miyaji. Accommodation throughout was superb, hotels were nice and Mrs Yamaguchi and her Minshuku (Japanese guesthouse) in Miyaji was lovely.. Transportation in Japan in whatever form (trains, taxis, trams) ran like clock work! and I was so amazed with how friendly and welcoming the Japanese people were throughout my stay.

    What can I say about the Chief Caravaneer... Phil's expertise, knowledge and the laughs we had along the way made travelling and seeing Japan a great pleasure. He was helpful from the beginning, providing assistance on places I wanted to see on my free exploration days. Well put together and researched itinerary, which was backed up by comments from my Japanese friend "Your going to see a lot of Japan, even places I haven't been to. Very ambitious!". One of the greatest countries and my best travel experience. I'm certainly going to be back on board The Oriental Caravan in the future...
    Edd Patrizio

Kyushu April 08

  • Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our trip aboard The Oriental Caravan.
    Andrew Peacock and Janet Woodhead

  • A very enjoyable trip. Thank you.
    Ian Thake

  • Good balance on whole. Tour leader excellent – right balance between nanny and letting us be grown ups.
    Ann Thake

  • Had a great holiday and would recommend to others – and I have! Excellent - 10/10 all through.
    Alan and Penny Valender

  • Fascinating. Loved the Miyako Odori, Gion district with the Cherry Blossom, found Miyajima, Miiyaji and Hiroshima interesting, Nagasaki and Beppu very relaxing. Enjoyed the Tokyo tour and final meal. Tour leader – good humoured, right balance of organising events and ‘free’ time to do our own visits and choose our own meals.
    Kathy Moselhi

  • Thank you for your care and attention.
    Paul Olins

Kyushu March 08

  •  Enjoyed our guide’s comments and input. We enjoyed Japan more than we expected – the flexibility of the unscheduled days was good.
    Nick and Cathy Fowler

  •  Just a quick email to let you know that my husband and I have just returned from our tour, The Land of the Rising Sun, and we would like to inform you that we were extremely pleased with Phil our tour leader. At the end of the day his experience shone through and we are all very grateful that we had him for our tour leader. We would certainly consider going on another trip if he was tour leader again.
    John and Christina Cremin

  • We have returned from Japan on the 3rd April and wanted to express our great appreciation for the services of Phil Colley.  He was absolutely first class, highly efficient, very interesting and excellent company, without imposing if not required! It is a most beguiling country and the way he ran the trip only added to our enjoyment and illumination. This is our second trip and we will certainly be back, hopefully with Phil.
    David and Terrie Brittain
  • Enjoyed the trip thoroughly and would recommend it to others. Well organised and thought out. Thank you.
    Aodhagan and Anne O’Reilly
  • It was a great trip. We can’t really think of much to improve.
    Toby, Chris and Oliver Seton

Kyushu Oct 07

  • Trip content was excellent, not like most of the other tours we looked into. We found we would have liked to spend more time in Kyoto and Nagasaki but will just have to go back some day. For a 2 week tour we felt we saw a great deal of Japan. Tour leader was excellent, very helpful in offering help and suggestions for our free time. We will heartily recommend your tours to our friends.
    Dale and Eleanor Blake

  • Best two weeks I can remember.
    Jacky Bevan

  • The trip content matched the description – a good mix of guided and free time. An experienced, knowledgeable and relaxed leader enhanced my enjoyment of the trip. Was confident enough to encourage deviation from the itinerary when requested and minimised travel times between venues.
    Alan and Lynda Brimmell

  • We enjoyed our first experience of small group travel. A great holiday. The tour leader was super: laid back on the surface – but well organised behind the scenes! The information drip feed was very good!
    Mike and Anita Goldman

  • The itinerary was very good - we really feel we have seen loads. It would have been nice to see more countryside but its hard to see how we could have fitted this in. The tour leader was truly fab - couldn’t have asked for a better guide. Patient and good humoured and just enough information to keep us interested! Good recommendation for things to do.
    Roger and Lorna Smalley, Niall McPaul


Kyushu April 06

  • We appreciated the efforts of the tour leader to introduce a wide range of Japanese cuisine and don’t underestimate the work involved in helping us to order (and get!) our meals. We thought that the itinerary was really excellent – good selection of places to see, good use of the transport – hard to think how it could be improved. We though that the tour leader did an impeccable job. Well organised, attentive to our needs, calm and patient. It must be challenging sometimes! 10 out of 10.
    Chris and Lesley Wood

  • Excellent.
    Sue Shaw

  • All worked for me. I don’t have any criticisms.
    Judy Sim

  • Transport was the tops! Just loved the Hikari [bullet train]. One of the experiences of my life: efficient, comfortable etc. Can’t fault the itinerary – good mixture of organised and free time. Phil was amiable, informative, very thoughtful – sometimes walked too quickly! – but don’t tell him. It’ll go to his head!
    David Sim


Kyushu March 06

  • A fabulous holiday. Well organised! Well done, Phil.
    Barry Weitz

  • The trip was the right length and the balance of free time/organised tours also about right. Miyajima was the highlight but I loved it all. Even enjoyed Tokyo more than I expected. Your guided tour of Tokyo was one of the best days of my life.

  • The tour leader was very well organised without it being obviously so. I’m well aware of the skill it takes to do this. Travelling with such a small group was more like travelling with a group of friends, with the tour leader taking care of all the logistics.
    Hilary Clark



  • A well thought out itinerary. Every day was exciting and special. I particularly liked Nagasaki...  having a tour leader is a first for me and I think it works well. I came with The Oriental Caravan for a trip to see Japan and Japanese and avoid the usual ‘touristy’ elements. I enjoyed TOC’s style of travelling and would certainly recommend TOC to anyone who is interested in a trip east.     Mrs S. E. Lancashire, UK

  • Good introduction to Japan. Its great to see the Japan other tour groups miss. When you are welcomed warmly in places you visit frequently it makes group members feel at home.    Mrs J. L. London UK 

  • A nice sampling of different places in Japan. I enjoyed them all. A well-organised, well thought out trip, well planned and executed.    Ms R. D. San Francisco, USA

  • Excellent. A really memorable experience! Even in 2 weeks I felt that I had a real taste of Japanese culture. Gave a real mix of traditional and modern Japan. Enjoyed ‘free’ afternoons/days because provided opportunity to refresh batteries if necessary.     Mrs L.H. UK

  • Great variety of scenery, sights, gardens etc – all most interesting and well chosen. Tour leader was really good; provided a caring attitude to all ages and all requests.    Mrs S.W. UK

  • Very pleased to have a Japanese speaking tour guide – very informative, friendly and helpful, thank you! Would not have benefited so much from visiting Japan without the information and advice we received.   Anon

  • Enjoyed every stop... we would not have thought to go to some of these places on our own. Had a great time with you. You are well-organised, knowledgeable and fun.    Mr B.C. Missouri, USA

  • Great! Trip of a lifetime.    Mr A.H Cambridgeshire, UK

  • Fantastically well-organised. Good to explore further then most western tourists get. Never imagined we could eat so well for so little money. Very pleased to have been introduced to so many types/styles of food – a gastronomic tour as well.    Mrs M.C. Stockport, UK

  • Superb. Thanks for an intelligent itinerary. Mr M.B. Bedfordshire, UK

  • A truly wonderful cultural experience. Thank you.    Mrs H.M. Isle of Man

  • Just thank you for a perfect holiday. So many wonderful memories.    Mrs S.C. Redhill, UK

  • All I can say is it was a wonderful experience. (Tour leader) What could one say – absolutely great, considerate to us older more delicate ladies. We all had a wonderful trip thanks to Phil and his planning.    Mrs L.F. Isle of Man


  • We’ve seen so much and such a wide variety that we’ve never been bored for a moment. Phil is very skilled. good judgement of the group and in the amount of information given and its timing. Just about perfect I’d say!    Mr and Mrs R. and S. W. Cheltenham, UK

  • I think [the tour leader] did a great job being able to handle all the various personalities of the group and [his] obvious interest in the country.  Mr C.R. Maine, USA

  • My lasting impression will be of an unbelievably smooth operation: there was always enough time to do what was required whether it was visiting gardens and temples; museums and markets or stocking up on daily supplies. What fascinated m e was the way Phil would reach into a shoulder strap underneath his jacket and conjure up as if by magic, an endless supply of material but above all those precious train tickets skilfully handed out as if individual names had been written on them. Of course, what the pre-departure information does not prepare you for is the way that Phil makes everyone’s comfort his particular concern, with help cheerfully given to those who needed it and the genuine pleasure and generosity of spirit with which all this was rendered.      Mrs A.W. London, UK

  • Phil Colley is an ideal guide for such a trip with his knowledge of the country and ability to communicate in Japanese. He was totally unflappable and dealt with all members of the group equally. This was an excellent experience of a new culture and country. I shall be recommending both Japan and The Oriental Caravan to other travelling friends and family. Phil made the trip.        Mrs S.B. Devon, UK

  • Something of interest every day and I consider it was very good value for money.  Phil was just brilliant. Cannot speak too highly of the holiday from start to finish.     Mrs A.S. Surrey, UK

  • It is really difficult for me to express in English how much we want to thank you for the experiences which you offered to us. There were so many ‘small touches’ which made the trip particularly outstanding. I [will] spread the ‘good news’ among my friends, they should not miss out on extraordinary experiences – a big thank you again for all your troubles.     Mrs A.F. Derbyshire, UK

  • We enjoyed [the tour leader’s] patient and caring attitude… The guide in Kyoto was/is a treasure – his profound knowledge and his ‘English’ sense of humour; do not lose him.     Mr A.F. Derbyshire, UK


  • It was such fun and everything was wonderful. You did a great job planning and guiding this trip. You are one wonderful, with it guy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.     Mrs P.L. New York, USA

  • Good blend of nursemaiding and independence...Wonderful trip, wonderful company and Phil was great. I felt group size was just about right with 12 of us. Phil had picked up that it was Ron’s birthday during the holiday and celebrated it with a bottle of Champagne and a gift from the group. Very nice and truly appreciated.Thank you for a truly brilliant value for money holiday.       Mrs B.C. Bristol, UK








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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links