When Carol Kazimierski, her husband, and her parents started planning a trip together, Japan was at the top of their destination list. Beautiful? Check. Memorable? Check. Incredible food? Of course.
Choosing a destination turned out to be the easy part. After booking their flights, they quickly realized that planning the day-to-day of their trip to the East-Asian country was going to be much more complicated than they were expecting—relatable, right? Carol ultimately asked Journy for help designing her dream family getaway, and we couldn’t wait to catch up with her when she returned. Here's what she thought of working with Journy.
You mentioned that you don't think you could have done it without Journy. Why?
We had booked our tickets to Japan in April and thought we would be able to plan our trip out over the next few months. However, it ended up being pretty difficult and more stressful than we had imagined. Although we decided we wanted to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima, we didn’t know which order was best to visit them in and how to make the most out of each day. There was also some confusion on how to make reservations.
My husband and I had spent hours researching places and looking at online itinerary recommendations only to end up becoming overwhelmed. When I came across Journy and saw that it's a customized itinerary [service] that focuses on your interests, I thought this is perfect.
What were the primary benefits of using Journy?
Sarah, our trip designer, was so nice and handled all of the planning and reservations. She also had great recommendations that we would have never thought of doing. Her great recommendations were not recommendations we found when we tried researching on our own.
When we had questions, she answered them in a timely manner and took care of any concerns we had. It was great being able to easily look through the itinerary and request any changes. When there was something that we wanted to add, change, or move, she made it work! She took all of the stress of planning the trip away and saved us so much time.
Also, it was extremely useful [to] have the Journy app help us navigate through our day-to-day activities (as well as a map with all of the locations and addresses needed).
Describe 1-2 experiences/meals that Sarah planned for you which you wouldn't have otherwise known about on your own.
Upon our arrival to Tokyo, Sarah recommended a place called Shin, where the noodles are cooked to order. There was a little bit of a line outside, but it was a cool experience because you can see the cooks from the window preparing the noodles. Our meals were delicious, and the experience really kicked off our first night in Japan. I told Sarah, ”My husband and I still think about those noodles!”
Another wonderful spot we would have never found without Sarah’s help was in Kyoto. It is called Maguro Koya. It is a very small restaurant that we think is run by a husband and wife. The service was great, and the food was exceptional. The tuna was the best tuna we’ve ever had—hands down. The miso was delicious as well.
If you choose the Journy Full option, which we did, all of your reservations are taken care of for you.
READ MORE: The 25 Best Restaurants In Kyoto (2020)
Did you have any specific requests/interests that Sarah was able to accommodate for and build into your itinerary?
Yes, my husband wanted to do the Real-Life Mario Kart in Asakusa, and Sarah quickly figured out where to fit it in our itinerary, finding the perfect day and time to do it. She also helped us prepare for the requirements to go go-karting.
I wanted to experience the teamLab Borderless exhibition, but after doing some research and reading reviews of long lines, I really didn’t think we’d be able to fit it into our itinerary. After I mentioned this to Sarah, she informed me that she could schedule a time to go, and it would only take one hour or so out of our day. She reserved our tickets for us, and we were able to go to the teamLab Planets exhibit. The experience was out of this world! Anything that we requested or that we were interested in, Sarah was able to accommodate it for us.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things To Do In Tokyo
What was the highlight of your trip (if you can pick one!)?
It’s really hard to pick one highlight of our trip, but I’d have to say one highlight was visiting Osaka. We initially thought to stay one or two days in other parts of Japan and spend the majority of our time in Tokyo. When Sarah suggested staying longer in the other places, we decided to do so and were so glad we did. Osaka is a beautiful city with so many fun shops and restaurants to explore.
What are your top 3 recommendations for future travelers to Japan? Any tips? Dos/don'ts?
1. Travel light, because you do not want to travel from place to place lugging around all your luggage with you.
2. Wear comfy shoes because there’s so much to explore, and it involves a lot of walking.
3. Have Journy plan your trip. It was easy and allowed us to do everything we wanted to do to make the most out of our trip.