Testimonials

Ken Baillie

UK

Cherry Blossom Tour

We went on the Cherry Blossom Tour with Dragonfly and had the most brilliant time. The cities we visited, the amount of time in each, and the things wedid and saw were exactly what we were looking for. The walking and the use of public transportlet us see something of how day-to-day life goes in Japan - getting shunted out of the metrowithout our feet touching the ground was a spectacular introduction to Tokyo commuting! Ourguide, Etsuko, was the most friendly and pleasant of companions. She was unfailingly helpfuland informative, and the fact that she travelled with us throughout the tour was a distinct bonus.We found Dragonfly’s customer service to be first-class. Russ dealt promptly and effectively withany queries we had before the tour, even down to booking baseball tickets for us. It was also veryhelpful to have someone meeting you at the airport on arrival. The small-company approachworked really well for us and we would happily recommend Dragonfly to anyone consideringa visit to Japan. And, happily, the cherry blossom in Kyoto was quite breathtaking.

Sarina Cowle

Australia

Crimson Leaf Tour

We had great time on tour and loved the fact that the group is so limited in numbers. There was no cattle class happening! Support from head office regarding various issues was great and such assistance was very accessible. Thanks, Sarina Cowle B.Ec. LLb. LLM

Mike and Janet Howell

New Zealand

Heartland

I have read other reports on your trips and was inclined to think they were a bit too glowing and probably selected from the many you may receive and wondered whether reality would fall a little short of the blurbs. I was wrong!!! Thanks again Russ and Katy [ Kaori], for your parts in an amazing holiday that changed many of our preconceptions of Japan. Russ, your organisation and thoughts that have gone into creating a wonderful itinerary for such a short time is a credit to you and Katy was the hostess of our dreams. Nothing was a trouble and the way you both went out of your way to do the little extras for us and others in our tiny group made this one of the best holidays we have ever had. Right from our first contact we have been impressed by the meticulous but concise and well presented information and planning. Yet… we still had time to be spontaneous and take advantage of things like the Tourist and Cultural Arts experience that popped up, so we all put on Kimonos and learnt some basic fan dance moves. On the ground it only got better. Hotels were well chosen in the centres of each city yet amazingly quiet and with ultra-helpful staff. We walked for miles all round each point of stay. Katy was so loveable and knowledgable and had such an infectious laugh that her enjoyment of what she was showing us reflected the essence of pride that Japanese take in their lifestyle. The use of travel passes took any hassle out of internal travel and we all ventured off on our own to explore with confidence on many occasions, using local underground and busses. We loved the gardens and temples shown and the monastery stay was a highlight. In all honesty the only disappointment was the swim at Miyajima in front of the hotel. It was a bit weedy and polluted and neither of us dared to put our faces under… but then we are spoiled for choice living next to the Abel Tasman National Park here in NZ. It was also cheaper than we expected and real value for money overall, with food costs quite comparable with our own. We have been travelling the world for the last 15 years or so and I endorse this holiday as one of the best we have ever done. I am excited by the photos and filmed footage i have taken and now look forward to compiling both album and DVD of our Japanese Journey and reliving a wonderful winter [for us !!], break in a warm, safe, friendly and fascinating place. Well done Dragonfly tours. Mike and Janet Howell

Jackie and Gareth Thomas

GB

Cherry Blossom Tour

We would like to say that we have had a great holiday and a big thank you to all concerned. Our group was great and we had several meet-ups as a group -meals and drinks etc, which were not in the schedule. We were very impressed with the way Russ answered all our queries, prior to booking, as at it turned out all were accurate too. Also we appreciated the help with the bookings outside the designated tour. Thank you Dragonfly for a really wonderful holiday.

Paul Earnshaw

England

Private Family Tour

Where to start: We are a family of four with two teenage kids and found everything to be very professional and catered for, our guide Mayumi is by far the best guide we have ever had she could not do enough for us and having one guide throughout most of our three week trip really helped. For the last three days we had another guide called Akira he was also very knowledgeable and helpful and one of the nicest people we have ever met, we had a great three days together. I would go as far to say this was the best bespoke guided tour that we have ever had made possible by the guides that were provided and the professionalism of Dragonfly tours. What a fantastic holiday!!!!! Regards Paul

Roger Fairholm

United Kingdom

Kyushu Gateway Tour

A varied itinerary, well organised, with good accommodation and an excellent guide – what more can you need from a tour company and a tour? Dragonfly Tours Japan and the Kyushu Gateway tour had them all – and good travelling companions too. A big thank you to Russ for arranging it and to Kaori for being our guide. I thoroughly recommend the company to anyone considering a first visit to Japan or to someone making a return visit.

Libby Bernard

UK

Heartland Tour

We have been back from our trip to Japan for a while now and the memories are as vivid as ever. We had a brilliant time and it was definitely one of our best-ever holidays. This was, in no small part, due to you and your company. We loved the fact the trip was well-planned and efficient, but at the same time, really good fun! Although Gordon and I did everything on the tour, it worked really well that people could choose to opt out of activities. Japan is clearly a fascinating country and your knowledge of life there made all the difference to what we absorbed while on the tour. It’s the only country I can think of where the super-modern and very traditional exist without any seeming contradiction. Our guide Katy-san was superb. She worked so hard for us and coped with the unexpected so pleasantly. I learned a lot about Japan with her, especially the philosophy of Shinto. She is a genuinely nice person who made each day a delight. Japanese food was a revelation as like many, although I liked sushi, I thought that was basically it. I was amazed at the range of food, how good it was and how inexpensive. The breakfast at the Dormy Inn, in particular, was outstanding and I doubt I will ever come across pickled burdock anywhere else! Travelling by train and bus was key to the experience, as you felt part of what was going on, instead of looking out of a coach window. And finally, the Japanese school-children we met who wanted to practice their English, especially at Hiroshima, were delightful. I would thoroughly recommend your trips as the best way to experience Japan and wish you every success!

Anna Pollard

Kingston-upon-Thames, UK

Ancient Highway Tour

Just to say again: what a wonderful trip we had on September's 'Ancient Highway' tour! We did so much, and in such a short space of time: lots of the classic sights, plus lots of the moments that make holidays and really stay in the mind - a glorious swim at Miyajima (and feeding the bossy deer that walk the streets there), and a lakeside sake picnic while waiting for a bus, and walking down the Highway itself, in the shade of enormous cedars..... And all the practical bits - train tickets, hotel bookings, luggage forwarding (genius, that) - worked so seamlessly, we didn't have to worry about anything. Actually, you got us so confident with the transport system that, after the tour ended, I successfully did a side trip to Yokohama and back *on my own*! Wow.

Ulo Nurmsoo

Canada

Ancient Highway Tour

I consider myself fortunate to have had such great travelling companions and tour guide. It was quite the experience, thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating! (You can quote me!)

Simon and Mary

UK

Crimson Leaf Tour

It is close to a year since I enjoyed the magic of Japan and the exceptional hospitality of Dragonfly Tours, the fact that this experience remains fresh in my memory is due to Mamia (our guide) and the small size of the group. Great flexibility in daily extras was always discussed during the evening meal, which in itself is a fantastic event. Highlights of the tour are too many to mention (as corny as that sounds), but true. I have travelled quite extensively and if I should decide to return to Japan, which is most likely I will be doing it with Dragonfly Tours, who remain firmly in my favourites. Well done to you all.

Simon and Mary

UK

Cherry Blossom Tour

It is close to a year since I enjoyed the magic of Japan and the exceptional hospitality of Dragonfly Tours, the fact that this experience remains fresh in my memory is due to Mamia (our guide) and the small size of the group. Great flexibility in daily extras was always discussed during the evening meal, which in itself is a fantastic event. Highlights of the tour are too many to mention (as corny as that sounds), but true. I have travelled quite extensively and if I should decide to return to Japan, which is most likely I will be doing it with Dragonfly Tours, who remain firmly in my favourites. Well done to you all.

Bettina and Richy

UK

Heartland Tour

We just wanted to let you know that we really enjoyed the Heartland Tour we did with Dragonfly Tours recently. The tour went amazingly well, and we particularly enjoyed the diversity of sights and activities covering all things Japanese. Kaori was invaluable helping us get around and get fed and was really great fun! A real credit to her country and to Dragonfly. People were friendly and our tour group were brilliant to travel with and we have some new memories which we will cherish forever. All the best to you and your family, hopefully we can come back one day! Enjoy the hobnobs! Bettina and Richy

Anju & Neetul

UK

Heartland Tour

Firstly, please accept our apologies for the immense delay in getting our review to you. Our time in Japan was truly amazing, and we have recommended it to so many others. Here is what we wanted to say about the Heartland tour: "My wife and I booked the ‘Heartland tour’ through Dragonfly tours. We also wanted to visit Hakone during our visit to Japan. Russ was very helpful during the planning phase particularly with options for our stay in Hakone. My wife contacted Russ via the Dragonfly website - communication was swift and Russ answered all our questions. When we arrived in Tokyo, Russ was there to meet us at the airport (Haneda) and guide us to our hotel. As we’d arrived early in the morning he gave us a list if things that we could do, and then instructions to meet the rest of the group that evening for our first dinner. It was a lovely train ride with Russ, getting to know him better. That evening we met up with our guide Kaori (totally out of this world!). During the tour she gave us an insight into the current but also historic life in all the areas we visited. She was excellent in organising the group, giving us tips on where to eat and drink and generally fun. We really appreciated that the tour uses local transportation methods - trains, bullet trains, metro & bus. So much nicer and exciting than sitting in a 'standard' tour bus. Each area had it's different highlights and so it is difficult to say what we loved the most. But a few things that stand out are: Geisha district in Kyoto with free time for my wife to take photos - we stumbled upon 2 Geisha going for a stroll in the park; the amazing way the Japanese people have re-built Hiroshima and learning about the paper cranes; walking through the Okunoin Graveyard - so beautiful, peaceful and a great time to reflect; and strolling through Tokyo at night - the lights, people, sounds, smells - a pleasant assault on all the senses. There was plenty to do and see and we felt nicely immersed in Japanese culture without being overwhelmed. There was an excellent balance of tours and rest/ free time. We were fortunate to get some great views of Mount Fuji from the bullet train, and again during our tour extension in Hakone. In the build up to the tour Russ posted us a personalised tour booklet with an in-depth itinerary and helpful tips for visitors to Japan - so exciting! We have kept this as part of mementos of our time there. We cannot praise the tour highly enough and would highly recommend this tour company." Thank you once again for a fabulous holiday. Keep well, and best wishes to you and your family. Anju & Neetul

Diane Corbett

USA

Heartland Tour

Our Heartland tour of Japan with Russ was one of the best vacations we've ever taken. We learned so much about Japan and saw more than we ever expected. If we return to Japan we will take another tour with Dragonfly tours (and Russ).

Peter M.

England

Takayama Tour

As for publishable comments it is quite simple. There should always be a "secret ingredient" in every holiday to make it magic and you, Russ, were it. Dragonfly were a great group to go with because we saw the insiders point of view and you were so helpful right from the word go. Every success to you.

Norman and Margaret Owens

Sydney, Australia

Private tour

Russ, you run a very professional operation. Your communication with us which started with us booking 12 months before we traveled was regular and reassuring, before, during, and after our trip. Even as regular travelers we were amazed by Japan, every day brought new and enjoyable experiences. Our guide Kunie was a constant delight and saying goodbye was like parting from an old friend. You might be a Scot but you've put together a wonderful Japanese travel experience. It will be a pleasure recommending your tours to our friends. We wish you every success and look forward to returning to see the rest of Japan.

Laura and Phil

Lubeck, Germany

Heartland Tour

Trip of a lifetime!!

Kay and Joyce

New Zealand

Cherry Blossom Tour

A great tour showing the real Japan and its culture. Enjoyed the company and the input from personal experience, this also showed in the arrangements which were timed to avoid the crowds.

Karen

UK

Heartland Tour

Hope you are good and still busy in your garden. Please could you add the following to your website: ?What can I say apart from WOW ? fantastic holiday, wonderful country, and brilliant guide. The tour was very well organised and even though it was busy it was well worth it. I saw and did so many new things, and using public transport was an excellent idea as you get to see all the little things you wouldn?t see on a tour bus. It was also good to go to places that were off the normal tourist route. The accommodation was very good, and nothing was too much trouble. When I went off on my own a phone call from Russ checking that I was ok was totally unexpected but much appreciated. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, and would certainly like to return to Japan. The other 2 couples on the tour were good company and helped to make the holiday so enjoyable. Thanks Russ.

June West

Bristol, England

Cherry Blossom Tour

For a first time visit the tour gave a very good cross-section of Japanese life, culture and history. Akiko was informative and enthusiastic throughout the trip making the tour an experience well worth the money.

Judy & Lee Jackson

Hertfordshire, UK

Heartland Tour

Hi Russ, just a line to say a big thank you for our wonderful holiday. Lee and I feel we did so much and saw so much of the way the Japanese live and work; what a great, well organised and clean country. We thought you were a great guide and made it so interesting for us, we?ll defiantly recommend Dragonfly Tours to every one who asks.

Dr. John Mann and John Mann Jr.

Louisville, USA

Private tour

If you want to experience Japanese lifestyle and culture, Dragonfly is the tour operator to use. Small and dedicated to customer service Dragonfly enhanced our personal experience. John and I have no regrets and greatly appreciate the effort that was put forth to satisfy our desires.

Jo

England

Ancient Highway Tour

*Just writing to say a massive 'THANK YOU' for a really wonderful holiday with Dragonfly Tours. Japan is an amazing country and travelling with Dragonfly completed the whole experience. I particularly enjoyed the wide range of activities offered on the tour; from walking to visiting shrines to relaxing on the beach; which meant that every day was unique and special. I also found using public transport greatly enriched my experience of Japan, even if I did get travel sick! I would highly recommend Dragonfly to anyone as it provides a very friendly and comprehensive experience of Japan, the quality of which is far richer than would be possible in a larger group with a big tour agency. Thank you for such a great time :)* It's 15oc and raining in England so winter clothes are out already! Hope you've managed to sort out your field, we have arrived home to more apples than it is possible to know what to do with.

Jessica Gloor

Hokkaido, Japan

Takayama Tour

Thanks for the tour, although at first I was a bit hesitant about the groups age range, it turned out VERY enjoyable. Each person was interesting and kind. Good luck with the future tours!

Jane Chim

Leeds, GB

Ancient Highway Tour

A lovely trip. It did involve some early starts and lots of walking but we enjoyed a whole range of Japan old and new, cultured and modern. A wonderful 30th anniversary gift to ourselves.

Iain Roy

Edinburgh, Scotland

Heartland Tour

The Dragonfly Tours experience was definitely a positive one. I've been wanting to go to Japan for quite a few years now and it was even better than expected. I can safely say that I will return again, but in the mean time I'm going to try and take some Japanese lessons. I loved the whole experience, from the sights to the culture and traditions. So when I'm back in the country (3-4 years) I'll defo give you a ring so we could meet up and have a few rounds of sake

Steve and Galina Imrie

UK

Ancient Highway Tour

Japan is like an onion, and you need someone guiding you while you try to peel it as your eyes water. Dragonfly is the perfect host, with Russ being a Westerner who is fully in love with Japan and who lives there not as an expat, but as someone who the French aptly describe as an autochtone. Seeing the country through his eyes was wonderful and truly unforgettable. We would not have thought of a better introduction to Japan.

David Fogg

UK

Heartland Tour

I wanted my visit to Japan to be the holiday of a lifetime, so I spent some time researching all the available tour options on the Internet. I was drawn to Dragonfly Tours as their tour group numbers were limited to 8 and I thought this, combined with their flexible approach to the itinerary, would help to make the holiday a more "tailor-made" experience to suit me. As I am a vegetarian, I thought Japanese dining might be a difficulty but this was never a problem & I enjoyed some of the best meals ever. The holiday surpassed all my expectations and Russ's wealth of local knowledge and his anecdotes together with the tour's regular use of public transport ensured we came away with a much deeper understanding of the country, it's people & history. I would sum up the holiday in one word. "Outstanding." I wish you both all the best for the future. Take care of yourselves

Cathy Wall

England

Heartland Tour

An excellent tour, at the right pace and which encompasses all that Japan has to offer.

Caryn Hogar

Queensland, Australia

Takayama Tour

For many years I have wanted to go to Japan in cherry blossom season and Dragonfly Tours helped me live my dream. It was a stress free holiday as everything was done for me and if I wanted advice or wasn't sure about something there was always someone to help. My holiday was everything I dreamed it would be, thank you Dragonfly

Brenda Keyser & Peter Murdock and family

Canada

Private tour

Thanks so much for the photos Russ - they were great. I promised you an endorsement for the website if you want so here goes: Our family had the great pleasure & privilege of having Russ as our tour guide on a private extended version of the Ancient Highways tour. We had an amazing time - Russ took care of everything, warned us of the dos and donts of being in a different country, adapted to our needs and wishes and generally made sure that our trip was perfect. I would not hesitate to travel with Dragonfly Tours again and have already highly recommended it to many people. Thanks again Russ for a sensational family time we will never forget!!

Michael & Marian

Brisbane, Australia

Ancient Highway Tour

Dear Russ, A sincere note of thanks for providing us with the perfect introduction to Japanese life, culture and history. We felt we achieved so much in such a short time. Small group tours are definitely our preferred way to travel now as your tour opened our eyes to so many interesting and challenging options, without the high cost of some packaged tours. Our holiday with you gave us so many wonderful memories, not to mention a lot of laughs - we hope that our performance with you in the karaoke room never makes it on to the web! Perhaps the best recommendation we can make is that we want to do it all again, with you - exchange rate permitting!

Angela and Adam Pettifer

Essex, UK

Private tour

Hi Russ, here’s some soundbites for your testimonials: "I would definitely recommend Dragonfly Tours for anybody considering visiting Japan. My wife and I went there for our honeymoon and Russ arranged a semi-guided tour specifically for us with a full itinerary for ten days. It was a great set-up -Russ would spend a couple of days with us in each new city helping us orientate ourselves, while being shown every great attraction, interesting hidden little side streets, the best places to eat etc. We were then free to explore by ourselves for a couple of days before moving to the next city - and Russ was at the other end of the phone if we needed his advice. This was exactly how we wanted our honeymoon to go and Russ and his team arranged exactly that. Russ was friendly, knowledgeable company throughout, and it was great fun spending time with him. Thanks again guys, it was a blast!

Lorna Ferguson

Fife

Private tour

We really enjoyed our trip to Japan, and thanks again to both you and Mary for making it so special - the walks and the train trips were amazing, and the ryokan made us feel that we were in the real Japan! George is busy looking up on Google exactly where we were - he'll no doubt be e-mailing you with the height of the place at Hakone! Hope the rest of the season goes well for you, and as we said we will be happy to be used as a testimonial any time - your organisation worked really well! Cheers

Jeannie and David Mok

Brisbane

Private tour

Thank you for such an enjoyable time in Japan. Seeing that we only had 7 days to see something of Osaka and other 'bits' of Japan, and that other operators did not cater for our specific needs and given time constraints, Dragonfly Japan Tour came up with the best possible options. What impressed us was the flexibility afforded to us by Russ in all the pre-arrival communications (which incidentally, were helpful and fast); even on tour, when we had extra time, Russ suggested 'extras' that helped enhance our daily 'adventures' (like our surprise stop in Kobe). The information provided on tour was illuminating, relating to restaurants, transport options, historical facts, shopping areas, cultural practices and traditions; however, it was never over-whelming. We're now back in Brisbane, amazed that we covered so much (but at our own pace!), ate such a range of interesting food and shopped to our hearts' content, all in a space of a week! Russ, who met us at the airport, showed us around Osaka, Nara, Himeji etc, and farewelled us in Kyoto, was very pleasant company, unobtrusive and yet always there when needed! It was great having someone so fluent in Japanese as well as English; a plus point was the good sense of humour! We'll have no hesitation recommending Dragonfly Tours to our family and friends (who incidentally, loved all the fabulous presents we brought back!)

Robert Shaw

England

Takayama Tour

If you're looking for a friendly, relaxed introduction to Japan and its culture then I can wholeheartedly recommend Dragonfly Tours.

Lucy and Brad

Withernsea, England

Heartland Tour

We would like to thank Russ and Akiko for contributing to the fabulous time we had on the Heartland tour. Japan is amazing, the sights, the food and the culture is like nowhere else we have ever visited. Thanks to the team for making our trip so much fun and so trouble free. We will never forget Kyoto. The highlight for me was the geisha district. Then after an action packed day the luxury of a delicious green tea ice cream was just what we needed to revive us. Our only regret is that we didn’t have time to see sumo.We look forward to seeing you again.

Marge Tall

Perth, Australia

Ancient Highway Tour

Congrats to Akiko with getting married, hope she won’t be jumping into the housewife role too quickly! What would you do without her? Too bad, Half of Bill’s friends were wanting to join one of your tours just to meet her.

Raymond and Andrea Paine

Glasgow

Private tour

Hey Russ, Just a note to say how much we appreciated the effort you put into our time out there. Looking forward to coming again next year! Good luck with the kanji!

Rob and Judy Mutch

London

Private tour

A big thanks to Yayoi for showing us a fantastic time. Please pass our email address to her, we’d love to know what happened after the fireworks festival.

Herbert and Valerie

Aberdeen

Heartland Tour

Hi Russ and Yayoi, I would like to thank you and the team for helping make our trip to Japan a holiday of a lifetime. The Heartland tour, although busy, completely lived up to our expectations and introduced us to many new experiences. Our Grandchildren love looking at the photos. They were very impressed to see that Grandma and Granddad had slept on the floor on Futons. They laughed when they saw our red faces after our soak in the onsen dressed in the yukatas. Keep up the good work

Dan and Jen Bennet

BC, Canada

Private tour

Please pass our kind regards to Akiko. What a laugh we had with her! She blows all stereotypes out of the water. Good times.

Sophie Wilkinson

Middlesbrough, UK

Ancient Highway Tour

Konnichiwa! Genki? Thanks for the great time we had, I’ll never forget that time I cracked up on the train. We certainly got some funny looks, but of all the wonderful sites we saw I’ll never forget all those suited business men on the underground reading comic books. I don't know how many times I’ve told the story now, but no one ever really gets it. Guess you had to have been there. Thanks a lot.

J.Milne

New Zealand

Takayama Tour

Hi just writing to thank you for an excellent time. When Jane first mentioned about going to Japan, as you know I wasn’t overly enthusiastic, especially in regards to the food, the cornerstone of any holiday. But as you said, there is more to Japanese cuisine than raw fish and noodles. Thanks for all your effort, Kobe Beef rocks! Thanks.