Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour FAQs
What is included in a Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour?
- Wayfarer Route Booklet with clear instructions, detailed maps, practical information, recommended restaurants and other places to visit en route and detailed background information. The high-quality itineraries provide enjoyable and satisfying independent walking ideally suited for independent solo travellers, couples, families and groups of friends.
- Wayfarer Supplementary Information provides much greater background detail on your whole tour in a digital format for use on your own mobile device.
- Reserved accommodation in Japanese inns, which we have chosen for great atmosphere and some of the best experiences of Japan, and sometimes hotels.
- Breakfast and dinners comprised of local cuisine.
- Main baggage transfer between your accommodation.
- English-language, Japan-based emergency support available via telephone, email and SMS text messages.
- Freedom to choose your tour dates on most Wayfarer Self-Guided Tours subject to the route being open and availability of accommodation.
Why choose a Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour?
Walk Japan’s Wayfarer Self-Guided Tours allow you to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate your visit to Japan. Wayfarer Tours, mostly following historical paths, are set in some of the most interesting and often little-visited areas found in Japan. On most routes your tour start date can be on any day you like subject to the route being open and accommodation availability. Wayfarer itineraries can also be tailored to your requirements though what is included may necessarily change according to the customisation. Please contact us to find out how we can create your own itinerary.
What Wayfarer Self-Guided Tours are available?
Nakasendo Wayfarer an exploration along one of Japan’s ancient and most historical roads through picturesque, rural countryside.
Kumano Wayfarer a journey to the Kumano Kodo, an ages-old pilgrimage deep in Japan’s rural countryside.
Are the Wayfarer Self-Guided Tours available throughout the year?
The Wayfarer Tours are available throughout the year except during the height of the summer and winter.
Is it possible to start a Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour on any date?
Yes, it is possible to start on any date but this is subject to the availability of accommodation. We also provide pre-booked dates and you will find these listed on the tour pages.
What is included in the Wayfarer Route Booklet?
Walk Japan’s Wayfarer Route Booklets, have easy-to-follow instructions, clearly drawn maps and photographs so you may easily navigate your way from place to place. They also contain comprehensive, practical information on such things as the opening times of places of interest, transport timetables, recommended restaurants, places of interest which are otherwise often overlooked, and local shopping opportunities. The Booklets also contain background details on local historical, society and culture together with explanations of Japanese customs, etiquette and the dishes found in your meals.
Step-by-step walking directions, literally to the metre, are combined with unique, entertaining and contextually relevant information that parallels your progress along the route. This information draws upon: the extensive experience embodied in our 25 years and more of leading guided tours along Wayfarer routes; the insights made by the two founders of Walk Japan, who are both academics in Japanese studies, of the historical and social significance of Japan’s old highways; local villagers’ and innkeepers’ recollections of local life and legends; and the multi-varied and extensive individual experiences of all our staff in Japan.
Click here for a sample of the Wayfarer booklet.
What is included in the Wayfarer Supplementary Information?
The Wayfarer Supplementary Information, used in conjunction with the Wayfarer Route Booklet, provides background details on each city, town, and village you pass through. It also includes alternative route information, both short cuts and extensions, allowing you to tailor each day to suit your energy levels and still make it to your accommodation in a timely manner. In case of emergency, our native English-speaking staff in Japan is easily contacted by telephone, email and SMS text messages.
Click here for a sample of the Wayfarer Supplementary Information.
What is the accommodation like?
The accommodation we book for you is usually in rural towns and villages. Many are historical, family-run traditional Japanese inns. We have been conducting business with some of these inns for over 25 years. Needless to say, we have friendly and excellent relationships with all our accommodation and, in turn, the staff will take great care of you. In most instances both breakfast and dinner is included when you stay at Japanese inns, while breakfast is included at hotels. Meals included in Wayfarer Tours are specified in the itineraries.
What happens to my luggage on tour?
Each day you need only carry what you need for walking in a small daypack. Your main baggage is securely transferred after your departure in the morning and it awaits your arrival in your accommodation at the end of the day. For logistical reasons, on the odd occasion your main baggage may be sent by overnight courier and await your arrival at your destination for the following day. On these days you will need to carry overnight items in your daypack.
How do I make transfers during the tour?
We provide you with complete and up-to-date information so you may easily negotiate Japan’s splendidly efficient public transport and complete transfers without concern. When you to need reach the starting point of more remote paths, which are otherwise inaccessible by public transport, we pre-book taxis for you.
I do not understand the Japanese language. Will this be a problem?
It should not be a major problem if you do not understand Japanese. Although English is spoken to a high standard by only a few Japanese, many do have at least a limited ability in the language. More importantly, the Japanese are an overwhelmingly kind, helpful people and will usually go out of their way to help.
Railway station signs and place names on road signs are typically transliterated into Roman letters. Signage elsewhere is also increasingly also being found in English. Where signs along your route are not rendered into the alphabet, your Wayfarer Route Booklet provides you with the information your require. In emergency situations our Japan-based, 24-hour English support line can be contacted by telephone, email or SMS text messages.
Are the Wayfarer Tours suitable for families?
Yes, our Wayfarer Tours are suitable for families as we provide options to lengthen or shorten the walking on any particular day. Also, traditional Japanese accommodation can usually accommodate families or groups in one room if needed. Please note, however, that we cannot usually accommodate children under three years of age as the accommodation are unable to cater for the very young.
Will there be other walkers walking at the same time?
It is possible that there will be other travellers booked on a Wayfarer Tour at the same time as yourself. You may meet them at meal times as these tend to be within fixed times in the inns. You may also meet them while walking but this will depend on your starting time, pace, etc.
Is it possible to extend the 7-day Japan Rail Pass included in the Nakasendo Wayfarer tour?
Yes, we can provide a 14-day or 21-day Pass on request and at additional cost.
When will I receive my documentation and where?
We will send to you a Pre-tour Pack by email approximately two calendar months prior to your tour start date. The Pack contains such information as a clothing checklist, how to travel to the tour meeting point, accommodation details, itinerary, travel advice, and a reading list. Approximately two weeks before the tour start date, we will send to you by email the tour Supplementary Information. Your Route Booklet, as a hard copy, will be waiting for you at your accommodation on the first night of the tour.
Booking and paying for a Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour?
If you would like to book a Wayfarer Self-Guided Tour, you can either click on the Book Now button at the top of any page on our website and select one of our self-guided tours, or you can book your tour directly from the tour page itself. Both of these options allow you to select from a list of scheduled tour dates. If you would like to schedule a tour outside of these scheduled dates, please use the contact us form and our customer service staff will help you arrange a tour that better fits your schedule, subject to availability of accommodation.
Once we have your completed booking form or your confirmed dates, our office will email you an invoice which, once paid, secures your booking.
Please contact us if you have other questions or required further information.