We booked Nobu for a 1 day private tour of the Oku Nikko area, it was my family of 4 (2 young boys, my husband and I). Prior to the trip, or when booking, Nobu was excellent! He was responsive to my messages, addressed my concerns, seemed very knowledgeable about things. He was very on it, which is why we booked him. (His pre-trip attitude is what brings Nobu up to 3 stars) However, on the day of the tour, he acted mostly as a translator between us and the driver and took a few family pics of us at our request. Nobu was constantly distracted on his phone when we were out of the taxi, and when we were in the taxi, he was constantly speaking with the driver (obviously in Japanese). He was clearly not going to provide much information to us on his own accord, so I tried my best to ask questions. It was difficult because I was forced to interrupt him from either his phone, or his conversation with the driver. Also, once he provided a quick response, he went back to his prior engagement of being on the phone or chatting. It felt like we were pulling teeth for the most part, except on a few occasions in the 7 hr tour. My boys (aged 4 and 7) were not easy as it was the end of our 2 week trip, so their behavior was by no means pleasant. That could have been it. But at the same time, Nobu knew we had kids yet he did nothing or prepared nothing kid focused...like legends, stories, fun facts, kid friendly info, etc. In fact, he had no information prepped for us adults either. We think at the slightest, a guide should have a spiel or some set information to provide about Japan in general and the location specifically. I was ecstatic to have somebody to ask questions to, but unfortunately, Nobu was reluctant to be that guide. We could have hired a driver only and had a similar experience, using my Google Translator as a means of communication. It would have been much cheaper. All in all, Nobu was reliable, he showed up. His English is good and he is a polite person when he is engaged. He seems to excel in the planning stages and I could tell he has lots of good info in his head. However, he was not the guide we needed or wanted. For the price we paid and the time we allocated, we wanted somebody to fill our heads with info and stories and to tailor the experience to our family. At the least, we wanted somebody who gave us his attention and treated us like guests.
Dear Barbara, Thank you very much for your review and deeply sorry for not having satisfied you and your family. I had something to be settled urgently by phone on that day, but it was obviously no relation to you. Most of the talks with the driver were discussions to adjust the tour for fitting your family or getting the latest information from him especially colored leaves information because it is changing day by day and I coud not have precise information in advance because I am not living in this area, as you know. I had to talk with the driver in Japanese because he was not able to understand English. Probably I should have explained to you about our talks from time to time so that you did not feel any stress. I will improve my ability as a guide considering your comments. Thank you again for your frank opinions and comments to me, which were very useful and helpful for improving my guide skills and my attitude to my guests. Best regards, Nobu