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Don Pylant, April, 2021

Tour of Japan

Started by Healeyjet, October 20, 2011, 11:54:56 AM

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Enjoyed your photos Ward, so happy for you and Annie to have enjoyed such a wonderful vacation.

Looking forward to more photos when you have time.



Hi ,
I am really  looking forward to my Sukiya Living tour in mid October. It seems ideal for a  garden and art lover.

I am just wondering if anyone has any tips on what to bring aside from excellent walking shoes, and I understand you need to bring a small towel to wipe your hands with, etc. Also, what gifts for the hosts  do you suggest. Did anyone bring an ipad, or cell phone, would it work with verizon 3g in the gardens, or dont bother? I know you can use them in the hotel lobby.


K.T. Cannon-Eger

My experience is from a few years ago (five) so some things may have changed.
Yes, I was advised to take small packets of Kleenex, a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a handkerchief. I found many beautiful handkerchiefs for sale the moment I landed in Kyoto, used one throughout the journey and brought back some unused ones for friends at home -- beautiful colorful maple leaves with an occasional outline in gold, a cat pattern, a rabbit pattern -- and all were gratefully received.
I made use of the Kleenex and the hand sanitizer and was grateful for the suggestion.
By the way, if you find yourself seeking a Western toilet, look for the handicapped sign. That was a great boon for my aged mother.
As for gifts, I brought local products: pounds, half-pounds and sampler packets (four kinds on one box) of Hawaii coffee; a couple of boxes of fine Hawaii chocolate; and about two dozen small sampler packages of macadamia nuts.
The latter went to a person who did a small favor, a small child who walked by (with his mother's permission first), a policeman who went out of his way with directions, etc. The larger items were for hosts in several cities. At the end of the trip, I remember wrapping up my small pastel fleece blanket (very useful on air conditioned buses and trains) to our tour guide for his granddaughter (in addition to the tip collected from our entire group).
I utilized computers at hotels to check and send e-mail. Be sure to have your passwords with you and clear the machine before you step away. If I were to go today, I would take my iPad if only for the photo and note taking capability. I am not certain, but I believe I recently heard something about Verizon Wireless having a plan for international use that didn't cost a beloved limb.
Have a wonderful time and post photos when you come home!


Marilyn, I would say leave the electronics at the hotel and enjoy the gardens.  Take a good camera and take photos if you wish but other than that I wouldn't bother.  Annie and I took the tour this spring.  We are both very attached to our cell phones for texting etc.  We found it very nice to not have to carry them around and constantly be in contact with people.  We took our iPad and used it in the hotel lobby in the mornings and at night but never turned on the phones for communication. 

We took a hand towel with us on the trip, the small quick drying kind.  I cant remember if we ever needed to use them.  Hand sanitizer may be useful.  None of the locations we found ourselves in ever felt "dirty" or unsanitary.  Most of the places we went on the tour had western style toilets and washrooms.  We actually commented to each other afterwards about how we would be in a seemingly remote end of a garden and there would be a washroom there with a western style toilet as well as a Toto Washlet.  Often timers there was a "squat toilet" in the stall beside a stall with a Toto Washlet toilet.  In case anyone is wondering, a Toto Washlet toilet is the built in bidet, which will be found in all of the hotel rooms.

Kyoto is an extremely clean city.  No garbage on the ground, no graffiti.  The people were very polite.  Annie and I cannot wait to go back and take Douglas' reunion tour whenever that happens.  As far as gifts, as was mentioned take some larger gifts for special places you visit but be sure to take many small packets of candy etc to give to kids as well as anyone who does something special for you.