No comparizon to free guided tours offered by the airport Co.
About a year and a half ago I had a one night lay-over in Narita so I booked a half-day tour with Mr. KATSUMI KAMIKAWA,the proprietor of Rainbow Tours. He picked me up at my hotel right on time and then we went off to see the city. He explained in excellent English what we were going to do and asked me if I had any suggestions or anything that I particularly wanted to see.
We drove around for awhile as he pointed out the sights of the city. We made several stops. One was to see and feed the coy (so pretty( and then we went to a temple where we observed the ceremony of the monks. It was very amazing.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a lady who, like me,
was traveling alone in Japan. She told me about her most unenjoyable tour
with Narita Transit Program She was assigned three volunteer guides Who were all fairly elderly and
only one of whom spoke any English. She could barely understand him and
finally gave up.Towards the end of her time with the three guides. she
understood that they were expecting to go out for lunch and she paid for
everybody! Hardly a FREE tour!
I'm so glad I found Mr. Katsumi of Rainbow Tours. I had a very enjoyable and informative time and enjoyed a simple Japanese lunch.
"Spent an amazing day in Narita with Makiko through Narita Rainbow
My Friend John and I had a 9 hour layover in Japan on our way home to the US from Vietnam and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to visit Narita. I found Rainbow Tours on the internet and so many wonderful things where said about Katsumi and their experiences with him as their personal guide that I wrote to book a tour right away. I have to admit that I was disappointed when Katsumi wrote back and told me that he would not be able to take us on the tour because he was already booked for that day. He did, however, tell me that Makiko would be available to take us on a walking tour if we were interested. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to see Narita so I said yes. I can tell you that Makiko is an amazing guide? She met us at the airport at the exact time she said she would be there. Her Engish is wonderful and she has a comprehensive background about the area and the temple and shared many detailed stories about what we were seeing that gave me a deep respect and a much broader understanding of the Japanese culture. I was more than impressed with our experience and I would recomend Narita Rainbow Tours to anyone who wants a very personal experience. Thank you Makiko...you are amazing, your warmth and charm combined with your special gift for sharing unique details made our experience in Narita perfect!
Tour of Narita - Hidden Gem unfolds with Narita Rainbow Tours
I've been to Japan and transited Narita many times since the late 1970's. I was facing a 24-hour layover in Narita before heading for NYC. Booked the Narita Hilton (quite good) - and through a link on Hotels.com found Narita Rainbow Tours - what a find. I wrote Kamikawa Katsumi of my timetable and interests (exploring/photography/markets/countryside). Katsumi responded quickly. After 3 e-mails - he picked me up at the Hilton where we went to the Narita Fish Market. I've been to the one in Tokyo (10X as large) where tourists are less and less welcome. Narita Fish Market had a tuna auction that morning - where we were welcome up close and personal. From there it was to the Fire Ritual at the Temple - which may be the ONLY place in Japan where this is still done. I sat up front - stayed for the whole ceremony - glad I did - 45 min with more then a few surprises (won't ruin it for you). The remainder of the day was spent going to the Largest Buddha in the world - Wow, a recreation of a era's gone by town - the school children were the best, a farm that dates back over 200 years with the 90 year old farmer greeting us, and soooooooooo much more.
I will come back to this region. I will take my friends.
Many ways to customize this - read some of the other reviews. Fees for tour. Donations at some of the temples/shrines.
Best Layover Ever
A friend and I recently had an 8 hour layover at Narita between long flights. On a whim, we contacted Katsumi on Saturday afternoon before our Sunday morning arrival. Within 2 hours, our tour was confirmed. When we landed, I received an email from Katsumi saying that he was watching our flight info, and knew that we had arrived early, and if we wanted to begin the trip early, he would be happy to do so.
He picked us up in a clean, comfortable minivan (very comfortable for two Americans over 6'-3") and we were off. I normally avoid organized tours, but this could not have been better. A former resident of Los Angeles, his english was better than some lifelong Americans that I know. He offered the perfect mix of being informative and friendly without being boring or pushy. There is a bit of walking involved, but nothing strenuous. We happened to arrive on the hottest day of the year, and Katsumi was even kind enough to walk back for the car once it was time to go while we waited in an air conditioned area for him to come retrieve us. He understands that you have a flight to catch, and will make sure that you arrive back at Narita with time to spare. Customs there is very efficient. With no checked bags, we were in his car within 15-20 minutes of disembarking the plane. Takes cash (Yen) only, but there are ATMs right at the arrival terminal where you walk through anyway. Get extra, because you will want to tip!
After reading all the great reviews on Rainbow tours, I contacted Katsumi
to ask for suggestions for our group of 4 during our day in Narita.
Katsumi met us at the train station and then we headed off to see the giant Budda. On the way, he stopped at a museum and a religious site dedicated to infertile families. We bombarded him wtih questions concerning politics, religion, food, culture, history, family values and the list goes on. He was able to answer all our questions and was able to relate japanese culture to our North America culture as a result of his time living and studying in the United States.
He was extremely knowledgable about everything Japanese. We had visited a number of temples in Tokyo but the religious insight that Katsumi provided gave us a much better understanding of the rites and beliefs.
On the way back he stopped for a traditionally cooked sweet potatoes and a local market. He explained the use of the various products and well as the reason for the $35 canteloupe. He also briefed us on what to do and see at the Shinshoji Temple. He helped us check in our ryokan in Narita and arranged for our airport transportation the following day.
I would strongly recommend this tour as we learned more in our few hours with Katsumi than with all of our previous research and week in Tokyo.
Katsumi was a great host and I only wish that I had asked him for an accommodation recommendation as we were very disappointed with our choice of lodging.
A Couple from New Zealand
Dear Narita Tours:
I just wanted to tell you that our most recent tour experience with Katsumi was remarkable and lovely !!
We so enjoyed his humor , his historical and political
insights, the places that we toured, and the wonderful lunch we had at the train station..
I am reviewing all of our photos now and recalling what a GREAT tour we
had with Katsumi..for 1.5 days He made it personalized and just as we
asked for, where we seemed to want to go..He was very happy to be with us it seemed..
AND the most enjoyable tour of our
entire vacation was with Katsumi in
Narita, where we enjoyed the quieter side of
Japanese living and were able to
see some sites, the cherry blossoms and parks, and temples, without so many crowds..We loved seeing the recreation of Old Edo and the small shops along the street in
Narita..A wonderful tour of the Temple
Our favorite tour guide of our
entire 28 day trip !
Thank you Katsumi for some wonderful
Richard and Lilliana =
A Stranded Tourist
Dear Katsumi Kamikawa,
This note of thanks is late, but no less sincere. I have been
meaning to write for some time.
Thank you for the excellent day tour you provided last May when I
was stranded in Narita for 24hours.
At first, I was not sure what I would do, but I was glad that I
prepared and had your contact with me. When I learned I was bumped and my
flight to Singapore was full, I sent you an email right away. Your advice to
book a capsule hotel and meet you the next morning was perfect!
Thank you for the informative tour of the temple and grounds in
the morning. I appreciate you arranging for one of your associates to join us
and take me through the city and get me safely on my train back to the airport.
What would have been a nightmare for any traveler turned out to be
one of my best experiences from my trip to Asia. I have recommended your tours to anyone traveling through Narita.
All the best to you.