Turtle, Ecuador

Review Centre

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

Haven't posted your review yet? Here's how to do it...

After you have returned from your Exodus adventure holiday you will be emailed a link to the review page. Any feedback collected is posted straight onto our website - totally unedited.

If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then click here to start the process to post your holiday review.

8 Reviews

  • Reviewed December 2019
    Teresa Humphrey

    Put this on your to-do list. Every day a winner.

    This was an amazingly rich first experience of travelling in Japan. The trip offers an excellent balance with cycling in varied and impressive scenery, countless included visits along the way allowing insight into the history and heritage of the country, and full immersion into the culinary and lifestyle culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights in a trip which offered lots of contrasts between city and landscape, a rich cultural heritage and gastronomic variety. Highlights of riding along the dramatic rugged western coastline of the Noto peninsular gave way to the delights of riding small lanes through fishing villages on the softer eastern coast. And then came the spectacular scenery of the mountains, clad in wonderful autumn colours. Entering the UNESCO village of Shirakawa-go exceeded all expectations, and the experience of total immersion in the traditional way of life when staying in a local farmhouse when the daytrippers had gone home was a real high spot. There were so many cultural highlights that the names tended to merge, but we particularly remember being bowled over by our visit to the Myojoji temple complex. The garden at Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, and the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto were memorable. Walks around Tokyo and Kyoto at night with the guides who knew where to go were an unexpected delight. And finally, there were some inspirational banquet-style meals, taken in the traditional way, kimono-clad, quite wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tea was unfailingly enthusiastic, friendly and encouraging to the group with a healthy respect for cycling safety. He was readily available at all times of day and night to deal with any issues arising and was very an efficient organiser to ensure each day ran smoothly to plan. He was keen to help us understand many aspects of Japanese history and culture, and had put thought into places to visit en route, including ones not on the usual tourist agenda, which made interesting and unexpected diversions, often with opportunities to engage directly with local people. The co-team members, Akiko and Taichi were also fluent and engaging people who added much to the enjoyment of the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to go with an open mind about eating in the Japanese way and expect to eat with your eyes as well as your mouth. Fish, raw and cooked is delicious, but non-pescatorians may have limited choices. You will develop a bread and cheese craving after 10 days or so but the odd bakery snack stop will crop up along the way. Several meals are taken wearing kimonos provided by the establishment, so you don't need a large off-bike wardrobe. You will need good rain gear 'in case' and flexibility of layered and warm !clothing to cope with variations of wind and temperature, although you won't need to carry this on the bikes as the support bus is regularly at hand to access day bag supplies.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hired bikes were good quality, light touring machines.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Neil Lawson

    Wonderful Experience

    A wonderful insight to this facinating country. Seeing the country by bike is certainly the best way to do it, giving the opportunity to get an insight into the real Japan and it's people. We travelled in late November, spot on for autumn colours but obviously run the risk of colder, wet and windy weather. That said a bit of rain and strong headwind are a price worth paying. Accommodation was a mixture local Ryokans and modern hotels. The standard of the hotels was mixed, but generally very good. The food was one of the highlights, lots of real japanese food in all its guises from formal set meals (dressed in traditional kimonos) to simple noodles or curry/rice for lunch. Another highlight was definitely the guide Tatsuya 'Tea' along with his driver Tiachi and assistant Akiko. Organisation was calm and slick with clearly a lot of effort going on behind the scenes. The last couple of days are in Kyoto, this is good, but the hords of fellow tourists at the big attractions make you realise how special the time cycling away from the crowds was. If you are thinking of visiting Japan and are modestly cycle fit I would wholeheartedly recommend this trip (and in our case it attracted a very pleasant, like-minded group of people to share our experience).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling in the hills away from other tourists. The leader, Tatsuya was pretty inspirational too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Top bloke and no mistake.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it. Be prepared to food outside your comfort zone.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take warm clothing and waterproofs if traveling at the extremes of the season.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    John Cartwright

    Truly a magical tour. It will make you want to return .....soon !

    If ever you wanted proof that cycling is a great way to get to know a country then this is it. And what a country. So different in every respect to the UK. The upside of travelling in November is the glorious colours to be seen all around you, enhanced if you're lucky by blue skies. The downside, and this was outside anyone's control even our meticulous leader 'Tea', is that the weather can be changeable and quite cold at times.We had some challenging days cycling against a very determined headwind. If you're a hardy northerner this will be no problem, but if you're a southern softie bring plenty of layers. Having said that most of the rain fell at night and we were only caught out once and that was at the end of a ride, so you could say that luck was on our side. For the most part the cycling was on quiet back roads with plenty of interesting stop-offs along the way, where our knowledgeable guides shared their knowledge and passion for their country. Hotels were a mix of western and traditional japanese inns which were generally of a higher standard than you might experience on many Exodus holidays. The traditional inns were very special and allowed you to immerse yourself, sometimes literally, into this unique culture. The food was excellent, but you do have to be prepared to experiment with a cuisine that is distinctly different from ours. The phrase 'holiday of a lifetime' is probably overused, but if you're prepared to soak up the culture, be experimental and are relatively fit then this holiday will probably come very close to matching that description. And of course the toilets - you're going to be very disappointed when you return to the UK or anywhere else for that matter!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We visited a small family run ryokan which was our first introduction to a japanese inn, and this for me was the best night of the holiday. It was quite basic in its facilities with no ensuite in any room. But it had a bar (quite a rarity) where you could warm up after the ride, in preparation for an exquisite evening meal followed by an impromptu japanese 'harp' recital. You just had to remember which shoes to wear, and of course no footwear on the tatami mats in the bedroom and dining area. There were many other contenders, but if I was asked to pick just one that would be it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mr Tea, as I called him, was a true professional. Very methodical and meticulous so that nothing was left to chance resulting in a very smoothly run holiday. He certainly went the extra mile every day, cycling up and down the group as we progressed, resulting in a vast array of photos of us on the move, and I don't think I've ever been on a holiday with so many group photo requests! He was ably supported by Taichi, our driver and Akiko our sub-leader. They worked hard after we'd finished cycling and were up again in the morning ensuring that the bikes were in tip top condition. Very impressive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Follow the advice in the trip notes. Take plenty of cash although credit cards were accepted as payment in most places, but not on the metro! Travel out a a couple of days before the tour starts to acclimatise and get to know Tokyo, and maybe also an extra day in Kyoto at the end. Depending on the time of year bring plenty of layers as it can get cold in the mountains, particularly at night. Don't bother with too much evening wear. Traditional japanese kimonos are available in many hotels. Just be open minded and read up about japanese customs before you go out. Politeness is embedded into japanese society so don't let the side down.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Peter Loughridge

    An excellent introduction to Japan.

    We have always wanted to visit Japan and this trip gave us a wonderful opportunity to visit the cities, rural areas, travel by train, experience Japanese cuisine and, best of all, explore by bike. The itinerary was varied and interesting. Onsens (hot baths) have to be experienced and helped relieve tired and aching muscles at the end of the day. We stayed in a mixture of modern hotels and the more traditional ryokans with tatami mats and futons. The Japanese people we met were always polite, pleasant and helpful. This was a travel experience like no other. Just do it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at the first ryokan and learning how to observe Japanese customs in this environment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very well organised and efficient. Perhaps a little shy at first but this passed as the trip progressed and his confidence in dealing with the group developed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a fairly large backpack as there are two separate days when you don’t have access to your suitcase. Keep your evening wear to a minimum as many of the hotels and ryokans provide a yukata (a casual summer kimono). Be prepared for rain and low temperatures. Very little fruit available generally and virtually none at breakfast.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Japanese drivers generally considerate and patient. We felt safe on the roads.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Sandy Celovsky

    Incredible Trip!

    This trip was an excellent intro to Japan! It covered a huge variety from highlights of sprawling Tokyo to rural seaside and mountain villages as well as offering insight into Japanese culture through the eyes of our wonderful local guides, “Tea” and “TaiChi”. Despite the weather being colder and wetter than expected ( trust me, bring full waterproofs especially hands and feet as temps were also near zero in places), the sheer adventure of cycling along a beach, up some challenging climbs to our local ryokan and wonderfully exquisite prepared dinners, the photos relect is all smiling through the weather! The rides were punctuated with well thought out cultural stops and a wonderful selection of lunch spots. I would highly recommend this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, it was the introduction to such an unique culture. Despite Japan being a developed country, the norms, many intricate rituals and the respectful nature of the Japanese, made this such an interesting trip with a great deal of variety. I also would include the nightly soaks in the onsens a highlight! Our group completely got into this routine around the peninsula where they were common!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    One cannot say enough about our primary group leader “Tea”. An incredible person, he was the epitome of organized, safety conscious, accommodating, knowledgeable and patient. We were not sure when “Tea” slept as he seemed to always be engaged doing something for the next day, ensuring all special dietary needs were met, organizing tickets, lunch stops etc. He also turned out to be photographer at large capturing many fantastic images of the group cycling..not quite sure when he managed to capture so many images as he always seemed to be leading us with commands of “single file”!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring less evening clothing (you really do end up wearing kimonos more than half the time post cycling) and bring more cycling stuff..full array of warm weather and cold/wet weather gear. Hands and feet especially. A down puffer jacket is recommended as used more than several times and lacks light and small.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I found this trip to have the perfect mix of enough cycling mileage, cultural stops and highlights. It offered a fantastic variety and having been home now for a week, I look through the photos with extremely fond memories of a wonderful adventure with a fantastic crew and group of fellow travellers!
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Paul McCormack

    Coastal cycling in Japan

    Wow what an amazing trip ! Cycling in Japan is a truly fantastic and interesting cycling trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are several - The friendliness and courtesy of the Japanese people, the traditional inns, the cuisine and the well maintained roads, the incredible bullet train.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tatsuya ( Tea ) is a fantastic group leader. He loves his country and imparted so much knowledge of local customs and etiquette in only two weeks it felt as if I had been in Japan for months. Nothing was too much trouble for him either on or off the road

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There isn't much need for a wide selection of "off the " bike clothes as you change into local dress ( provided ) almost immediately on arrival at hotels and inns. There are washing and drying facilities in most hotels. Take cash as Japan , perhaps surprisingly , is not a credit card culture

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't recommend this trip highly enough !
  • Reviewed November 2018

    Cycling in Japan

    This is a great holiday for those who enjoy cycling in great scenery and want to learn a bit about Japanese culture and the Japanese way of life en route. It offers a bit of everything and includes great cycling, lovely countryside, traditional inns with traditional food, rooms, sleeping arrangements and hot springs. The guides make sure that all venues that offer education and enjoyment are visited during the cycling, so that overall one is left with a feeling that one has achieved some insight into Japan which is a very different society from ours. It was an inspirational trip with wonderful guides who made sure that we experienced all that there was to experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments on the trip and it is difficult to name just a few. There was a lovely ride for about five miles on the Noto peninsula; there were so many coastal views that we often stopped every few miles for a photo. The traditional inns were a unique experience which we felt privileged to share. If we had been doing this trip on our own without a tour guide and Exodus I'm sure we would have missed out on these unique experiences. The cycling in the mountains and experiencing the autumn colours was heavenly. The good weather and blue skies helped of course. Tokyo and Kyoto were fascinating places and we did a lot considering we were there for only a couple of days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Tatsuya Yamasawa, was exceptional. He was very organised and methodical and made sure that the tour ran smoothly. He was kind, very friendly with an excellent sense of humour and camaraderie. Nothing was too much trouble for him and the whole group was so appreciative of all that he did for us. He was a credit to Japan and we all fell in love with the country partly due to him. We could not praise him highly enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In terms of advice I would say that the cycling is moderate to challenging. Our group was very good and no one had any problems, but some hills did require a bit of puffing. I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to do this trip unless they were used to cycling up to 50 miles at a stretch over undulating terrain. Travellers should also be flexible as traditional inns and traditional food are very different from what we normally experience in the west. You have to be prepared to bite the bullet and eat the raw fish, the seaweed, the octopus legs and the snails if you want to experience a traditional meal. It's worth it though to experience something truly unique.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Debra Friezner-Blanc

    Cycling through cherry blossoms

    Japan- an incredibly fascinating country with a culture like no other. The 2 week bike trip was a wonderful way to start to get to know Japan. Of course cycling is the best way to travel anywhere but having guides that explain their beloved country, teach you some of its culture, try to teach you the social skills that the Japanese excel at, getting you to test all the interesting food, giving history lessons and nature lessons, explaining the Shinto or Buddhist religion all the while giving you a great cycling experience makes the entire experience beyond memorable. The choice of the route gave us a good variety places to see. Staying in the Japanese inns ( ryokans) was amazing and definitely a must on any Japan trip. The food is an experience all on its own and if you are a fish lover than you will be in paradise. I really felt that the trip was complete and didn't just focus on one element of Japan so I never felt that I had too much of any one thing which was great. The description of the tour corresponded to what the trip really was and that is always appreciated. In the end, I didn't have too many preconceived notions of what I would be seeing and I can tell you that I was constantly amazed and ended up having enormous respect for the Japanese and their way of life. I thought my own country of Switzerland was well run but Japan wins on that respect. Kudos to the people of Japan and their being so courteous towards us tourists. Weeks later I am still feeling the effects of this trip and it is wonderful. Oh and thanks to Mother Nature for blessing us with the cherry blossoms.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment for me was anything involving how their society functions. The quietness on the public transport ( no talking on cell phones), how orderly the cities are in what could be chaos, the esthetic of beauty in every detail, the cleanliness, the courteousness everywhere, the most amazing toilets, the taking off of shoes, the lack of crime, the precision of the trains or metros, and I can go on and on. I was just gobsmacked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well is there a word better than incredible to describe Tatsuya or Mitch? Tatsuya, besides being a really interesting person with a very subtle sense of humor, was really a wonderful guise. Very attentive to our needs and our safety and an amazing sense of organization. Not easy getting a group through crowded metro stations and onto the bullet trains or biking through a city but they made it easy. He has a great wealth of knowledge of all aspects of Japan and really explained things well. I immediately had confidence in him and therefore didn't really need to think about anything other than riding my bike and experiencing Japan. Mitch and Tatsuya were a great team and this being a first run trip makes it even more unbelievable at how well run it was. They both had a huge amount of patience with us and stayed calm at all times and I know that they are always thinking of the next part of the trip and that their work is never done but I never felt this. They took great care of us and I appreciate how attentive they were with me being a vegetarian. Highly recommend these guides and I thank them for the fabulous experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One of the advantages of Japan is that on many of the nights in the inns you wear kimono like robes- so you don't need that many clothes other than cycling. As far as the Japanese baths the women and men bathe separately which wasn't very clear in the instructions and do follow the pre- bathing ritual if there are Japanese there at the same time. If you are vegetarian it can be difficult at times but do buy nuts at the convenience stores to compensate for some lack of protein. Being vegan here would be quite difficult.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing left to add. Great trip once again with Exodus.
Call us on +82-(0)02-6320-4111