I will start by saying that our day spent with Tomoko felt like a day visiting a good friend. We started off our Japan trip with Tomoko and it was one of the most memorable. I was very hesitant to commit to anything because I have 2 small children aged 5 and 7. There is a lot of walking involved as a tourist throughout Japan and this often was difficult to manage with my 5 year old. Tomoko helped ease these fears by being so incredibly flexible with her schedule and also adding in some spontaneous fun and rest time for the children. Not only that, she came prepared with written material consisting of timelines of Japanese eras with their significance - I referred to these papers throughout our stay in Japan!! She did a wonderful job in giving me a quick overview of the art history too - something I was eager to learn about. Being our first trip to Japan, we were all overwhelmed with just how much there is to see and learn, but Tomoko was SO helpful in sorting it all out for us and giving us key advice. On our way to Asakusa - she stopped at one of the stations and showed us where all the trains meet in Tokyo. We watched the 'museum' of the various trains of Japan as they arrived and departed. My kids still remember that experience - the bullet trains are fascinating for adults and children alike. Then, in Asakusa - she took us to the visitor center which showcased a number of Japanese games for children which was also nice. I encountered these toys later on in our trip and knew exactly what to do with them! In Asakusa there was SO much walking. After seeing some of the stalls and eating some specialty foods, she decided to book a river cruise from closeby which would allow for a much needed rest. Both the children slept all the way through!! We ended at a beautiful park and then in the fish market that my husband really wanted to see. While we were waiting for our lunch table she pulled out some origami paper and taught my daughter how to make mt. fuji. We had been in comminication prior to our arrival in Japan and she knew we had a keen interest in an origami class. She had recommended a workshop but it was closed at the time of our visit, so she instead came prepared and gave us a quick class. That was so thoughtful - my daughter was delighted and days later - as we saw the majestic peak of Mt Fuji through the shinkansen - we remebered Tomoko fondly. Funny enough she laughed about my wanting to see shibuya crossing and the shops at harajuku - labelling them as highly touristic - on my insistence we went - and she was absolutely right. I wish I had listened to her. Harajuku was my personal least favourite part of Japan overall - I was told by other tourists to visit the animal cafes - where the kids would get to feed hedgehogs, rabbits, otters etc - I insisted - so we went - but I left feeling odd and wondering about animal welfare in Japan. If I were to change anything - I would have let Tomoko plan the whole day. Anyways, to sum up our time with Tomoko - it was Marvelous and informative at the same time. She is a natural and elegant ambassador of her country. I hope to remain friends with her and see her on our next trip to Japan!
Thank you for your passionate, detailed, great review, Shivani 😊 I’m glad to hear you thoroughly enjoyed your whole trip in Japan and are now settled at home. Depending on the family age, status, and the taste of each member, what we can enjoy will be varied. You love art and history, and your husband has great tastes in best food and advanced technology, while your adorable children are fond of crafts, animals, and trains! Shibuya and Harajuku are very fun places, but I just thought wondering there after visiting so many other places must be exhausting to your little ones. I’m very much proud of your hard work for research, preparation, and arrangement as a mother. Thank you again for sharing fun and heart-warming time with you all. Best wishes to you, Shivani, Rishi, Aasha, and Nirvaan. Looking forward to seeing you again 🗻🚅🦔