Frequently Asked Questions
Please click here
to go to our general FAQ
, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs.
Resources to Learn & Teach about Japan
Visit our recommended reading page
to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans
and Pinterest boards
that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
Terms and Conditions
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions
page before signing up for this program.
GEEO Program Confirmation Process
We require a minimum of 6 participants for most GEEO programs. We officially confirm that a program will run once at least 8 people have signed up, which provides a margin for individual cancellations. Nearly all GEEO programs ultimately meet this enrollment quota, and in the rare event that a program does not meet the minimum requirement and GEEO cancels the program, we will work with you to find a suitable alternative or provide a refund of your deposit if you prefer. We encourage you to sign up for any program that interests you, and we will notify the entire group once 6 people are booked and again once 8 people are booked. We always emphasize the importance of exercising caution when making non-refundable travel arrangements, especially given the unpredictable nature of travel. For example, we typically recommend booking flights with flexible change/cancellation policies.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
- If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded besides your $350 deposit which is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use
- NEW YEAR'S HOLIDAY: Visiting Japan during New Year (shogatsu) can be rewarding, as you have the opportunity to experience Japan's most important holiday, but many shops, restaurants, and sites are closed for at least one day between December 29 and January 4. It is recommended that you check the operating hours of any sites or establishments that you plan to visit to avoid disappointment. It is also common for prices for meals and other services to increase during peak tourist seasons or holidays, including New Year’s. Additionally, we may need to alter the itinerary to avoid closures and maximize your time during your trip. Hopefully, you will be able to experience some local customs and traditions and see how people in other parts of the world experience the holidays, which can an extra layer of festivity and cheer to your trip. Overall, traveling over the holidays can be a fun and rewarding way to learn about and experience another culture.
- JAPAN RAIL PASS: Please note that only foreigners traveling as a tourist are able to use a Japan Rail Pass. If you are a Japanese citizen/resident or traveling on a student/business visa, please advise us at the time of booking, as you will not be able to take advantage of the Rail pass.
- TATTOOS: Tattoos are not common or widely accepted in Japan. There is no cause for concern, but do your best to cover your tattoos when possible and note that you may not be permitted to enter public spas or onsens (hot springs).
- LUGGAGE: Unlike some other GEEO programs, this trip uses public transportation and no private vehicles. There will be times when you will need to carry your luggage for up to 15-20 minutes between your hotels and bus/train stations. Please try to pack lightly.
- OVERNIGHT BAG: Please note that you’ll need to prepare an overnight bag for a two-night stay in Hagi, as your main luggage will be sent on to Tottori.
- LANGUAGE: Travel in Japan is easy, clean, fast and efficient, however, please be aware that English is still not widely spoken. However, a lot of patience, a sense of humor, and respect for the local culture goes a long way in any Japan and will greatly enrich your experience.
Group Leader Description
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
This trip includes walking and light hiking.
Half of GEEO’s participants travel by themselves, so please don’t worry if you do not have a travel companion for your trip. Our program fee is for one traveler in double-occupancy accommodation, and GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender if you do not have a travel companion. Most of our programs have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that you can pay to have a room to yourself. You will only incur an additional charge if you specifically request a single room. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please find your program on our extra services page
. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com
to request a single room.
Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotel rooms are small! Additionally, many Japanese hotels do not have designated non-smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deodorize rooms before check-in.
Ryokan are traditional inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around or to head to the bath), and elaborate meals (often served in the comfort of your own room), a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and hospitality. As ryokan are usually top-tier accommodations, most guests stay only one night, often to celebrate a special occasion or holiday. Don’t be intimidated by the formalities inherent to a stay at a ryokan, your hosts will welcome you the same way they do all their guests. Have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan’s unique customs.
Minshuku are Japan’s answer to the Western bed and breakfast. Similar to ryokan, they have traditional features like tatami floors, futon beds, and Japanese-style baths. Minshuku are often family-run, and as such, they offer a great opportunity to interact with local people and learn more about the nation’s customs. More affordable and simpler than ryokan, minshuku tend to have smaller guestrooms, shared bathroom facilities, and any included meals (traditional, local, and delicious) are served in a communal dining room.
Please note that some of the traditional Japanese inns used on this tour only offer shared bathing facilities. This means that individual shower stalls will not be available, instead several shower stations are available in an open, same-sex bathing area. Shared bathhouses and onsen (hot springs) are an essential part of Japan’s culture, traditionally serving as a place for men or women to gather, relax, and discuss the day's happenings.
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Please note: Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., during which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details. If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning.
Getting to Hearton Hotel Nishi Umeda
- By train: The nearest station is JR Osaka station, approximately 3 mins walking.
- From Kansai International Airport:
By train: Take a train from Kansai Airport Station (1F). The JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service takes about 75 mins, and the train ticket is ¥1,210 JPY.
By Airport Limousine Bus from Terminal 1: Depart from bus stop #5. Tickets can be purchased on floor 1F at the Airport bus stop C Ticket Window.
By Airport Limousine Bus from Terminal 2: Depart from bus stop #1. Tickets can be purchased on floor 1F at the Airport bus stop A Ticket Window.
It takes roughly about 65-80 mins and costs ¥1,600 JPY. Get off at HERBIS Osaka, then walk towards HAL Osaka building for about 2 mins.
- From Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport): Take the Airport Limousine Bus from bus stop #9. It takes roughly 30 mins and costs ¥650 JPY. The bus tickets can be purchased at ticket vending machine near the bus stop. Get off at HERBIS Osaka, then walk towards HAL Osaka building for about 2 mins.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
G Adventures Local Office (Japan)
During office hours, Mon-Fri 9:30-18:00 Local Time
From outside Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6659-9074 (2nd contact +81 80 6779 1851)
From within Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6659-9074 (2nd contact +81 80 6779 1851)
After office hours emergency number
Primary phone: +81 80 6779 1851 (from within Japan: 080 6779 1851)
If you are unable for any reason to contact the local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with the 24-hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article
on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
Health & Safety
- N95/KN95 face masks (at least a few just in case there is an outbreak within your group)
- Hand sanitizer
- Rapid Covid test/antigen tests (at least 3 per week of travel)
- Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
- Raincoat and/or umbrella
- Personal clothing for cold weather – we recommend packing 8-9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once
- Light fleece (for flight over)
- Comfortable waterproof walking shoes
- Sun hat
- Small towel and swimwear
- Watch or alarm clock
- First-aid kit, including: lip salve, aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Dramamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
- Travel pillow
- Money belt
- Water bottle
- Phone/tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
- Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
- AirTags or Tile trackers
- Packing cubes
- Snacks – packing a few granola bars is a good idea; you can buy snacks when you get there too, so don’t go crazy here
- Ziplock bags for wet clothing
- Reading/writing material
- Hand sanitizer/baby wipes
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Travel insurance ID card
- Flight itinerary/boarding pass(es)
- USD/EUR cash
- Credit/debit card
- G Adventures vouchers
- GEEO Classroom action plans for your group – this is sent a few days before departure
Laundry services are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. You can also use a local laundromat, if necessary. We recommend packing enough clothes so you don't have to do laundry.
Passports and Visas
All GEEO programs require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ
for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here
U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to Japan. Non-American participants should check with their government or nearest Japanese Embassy to find out if they need a visa.
The local currency is Japan is the yen (¥ JPY). As currency exchange rates fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com.
7-Eleven Convenience stores are ubiquitous throughout Japan, and nearly every one has an ATM where you can withdraw the local currency. We do, however, recommend that you bring at least $200 USD in cash for emergency use or in case you have trouble with the ATMs. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but you may be charged an international transaction fee; ask your financial institution about their international fees. Please note that if you are carrying U.S. dollars, the bills should be in good condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and dated recently.
Tipping is not practiced in Japan. Leaving money at restaurants, in taxis, etc. will simply cause confusion! However, at the end of each trip, if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, a tip would be appreciated. The amount is entirely your personal preference, but as a guideline, $5 USD or around ¥725 JPY per person per day would be appropriate.
GEEO cannot provide any medical advice, so it is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. We recommend contacting Passport Health (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/), which has travel clinics located throughout the United States. You can also check the CDC's recommended vaccinations
for your destination. Please take this seriously!
We find the best prices for flights are often available around 90 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You should wait until this trip is confirmed before you book non-refundable flights.
GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.
This program begins in Osaka and ends in Tokyo. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Osaka. You may want to arrive in Japan one or more days early in case you have flight disruptions. You can arrive at any time you choose, but try to make it in time for our 6:00 p.m. Welcome Meeting on Day 1. You can depart from Tokyo any time on the final day of the program, or stay later to see more of the city.
Plugs and Converters
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers (also called electrical converters). The adapter is for your device's plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two- to three-pronged power cord to fit the local outlets. The transformer/converter changes the local voltage to the voltage used in the U.S.
Japan uses Type A plugs, which is the same plug design used in the United States. However, the outlets only accommodate two-pronged plugs, so if you have a device with a grounding plug, you will need a 3-prong to 2-prong plug adapter. Voltage in Japan is 100 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide to travel with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
- The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. We use simple hotels to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible.
- We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
- You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.
- This trip occurs in locations where it is warm to hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometimes include day hikes with your daypacks.
- We recommend always carrying snacks with you. Meals can sometimes be far apart.
- Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring, and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
Hopefully, this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Japan is cold but usually sunny in January, with average highs in the upper 40s and less rain than in the spring and summer.
Advice from Past Participants
"Make sure everyone understands there is no van to shuttle you from place to place or even to the train stations if they are near enough to the hotel. It is important to have luggage that you can manage. Some people with large suitcases had a difficult time maneuvering them on the trains and finding space to store them."
"All the hotels had shampoo body soap conditioner and hair dryers. You will have to move your luggage a lot in the metro."