Multi-Day Tour

Nostalgic Japan (11 days)

Swain Destinations

Tokyo, Japan To Osaka, Japan


Day 1
Tokyo, Japan
None None
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2
Tokyo, Japan
Keio Plaza None
Upon arrival, you will clear customs and immigration before being transferred to your hotel.

One of the world's main economic centers – as well as its most populous metropolitan agglomeration - Tokyo is a city that presents a different view of itself at every turn. Starkly modern, it becomes a jewel box at night with a glittering display of neon and fluorescent lights. But you can retreat to quiet residential back streets and sculpted gardens and still find the harmony, scale and simplicity the Japanese have prized for centuries. Look down one street and you'll see nothing but neon and concrete, but around the corner, you may find yourself in the bonsai-lined courtyard of a traditional inn.

Several times in history, Tokyo has been almost totally destroyed - by fires, earthquakes, floods or war-but it has always rebuilt itself. That might explain why it retains only vestiges of Old Japan. You'll find an amazing hodgepodge of old and modern architecture, often side by side, and a maze of streets where even taxi drivers have to consult their maps. You can get utterly lost just a few moments' walk from your hotel. Tokyo is a safe place, however, and there are few better cities to be lost in, thanks to the kobans (police boxes) throughout the metropolis, a world-class public transit system, and shy but friendly people who almost always help if you ask.

Because of the expense and the language barrier, the majority of visitors to Tokyo are there on business, but there is plenty for leisure travelers to see. And despite its reputation as being fearsomely expensive, it doesn't have to be. With some planning, it's possible to visit Tokyo on a reasonable budget.
Day 3
Tokyo, Japan
Keio Plaza Breakfast
Your first stop today is the observation deck of the Tokyo Tower where you can get sweeping 360° across the city and on a clear morning even Mount Fuji. Tokyo Tower is 1,091 ft / 333 m tall, making it the tallest man-made structure in Japan.

Heading to the center of the city now you will drive past the National Diet Building. Next, stop at the large plaza in front of the Imperial Palace, where you can view the Nijubashi (two bridges that form an entrance to the inner palace grounds). The palace buildings and inner gardens are not open to the public.

Visit the Asaukusa Kannon Temple - or Senso-ji - is a few minutes walk away. It is Tokyo's oldest temple, and one of its most significant.. Adjacent to the temple is a Shinto shrine, the Asakusa Jinja and entrance to the temple is through the Nakamise shopping arcade, one of the oldest arcades in Japan dating back to the 17th century, selling toys, sweets, snacks and souvenirs. Return to the central Tokyo again with a drive through the famous Ueno district, home to many of the famous museums.

Walking Tokyo Foodie Tour
Feel the spirit and history of Edo in Kagurazaka. Kagurazaka a fashionable shopping and dining district along a sloping street in Tokyo near Iidabashi Station. During the Edo Period, Kagurazaka was located just outside the outer moat of Edo Castle and gained prominence as an entertainment district with numerous geisha houses and restaurants. Some of the geisha houses survive in the district's narrow alleys to this date. Explore the busy shopping areas on Omote-dori street, and past the many refined restaurants tucked away in the alleys, as well as the stone-paved geisha quarter. Enjoy a delicious local Kagurazaka delicacy along the way. Please make your own way back to your hotel.
Day 4
Tokyo, Japan
Keio Plaza Breakfast
Nikko is a town located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, about 87 miles to the north of Tokyo. This morning travel by coach to Nikko and visit the shrines and temples there, which together with their natural surroundings, have for centuries been a sacred site known for its architectural and decorative masterpieces. They are closely associated with the history of the Tokugawa Shoguns. The mountains west of the city are part of Nikko National Park and contain some of the country's most spectacular waterfalls and scenic trails. The shrines and temples of Nikko were inscribed in 1999 as World Heritage listed Cultural Sites.

Visit the Toshogu Shrine, the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868. Leaving the Toshogu Shrine, you will see the Shinkyo, the Sacred Bridge, built in 1636 for the exclusive use, for over three hundred years, of the Shogun and his emissaries to cross the Daiyagawa River. Stop for a Japanese-style lunch nearby and then visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa and Kirifuri falls.

View refined architecture that spans the three different periods of Edo, Meiji, and Taisho at the Tamozawa Imperial Villa. Former Emperors and royal family have used this villa as their residence, which is now the only remaining Imperial residence of the Meiji era. Kirifuri Falls - Climb an observatory deck located directly in front of one of Nikko's three famous waterfalls, from which the entire 75 m (264 ft) can be viewed at a glance.
Day 5
Hakone, Japan
Hakone Hotel Kowakien Breakfast
Mt. Fuji stands at 12,388 feet high and is surrounded by five lakes: Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Yamanaka, Lake Sai, Lake Motosu and Lake Shoji. They, and nearby Lake Ashi, provide excellent views of the mountain. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park it is also an active strato volcano. The mountains exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers alike.

Depart Tokyo by motor coach to Mount Fuji's 5th Station which at 7,562 feet is the highest point on the mountain reachable by road, but not accessible year round. Along the way there will be a brief stop at the Fuji Visitor Centre. Returning down the mountain and continuing on to Hakone, lunch is Japanese-style and served in a local restaurant.

Arrive at Lake Ashi and for a scenic lake cruise with a Mount Fuji again as your backdrop. Later this afternoon you will be taken on a aerial cableway ride up Mount Komagatake and the view at the top overlooking the national park and with Lake Ashi below.

After enjoying the sights of Hakone, relax in the hot spring baths.
Day 6
Kyoto, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast
The Shinkansen is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by Japan Railways. Since the initial Tokaido Shinkansen opened in 1964 running at 130 mph, the network of 1528 miles has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshi and Kyushu with running speeds of up to 186 mph.

Travel westbound from Odawara 267 miles to Kyoto on the Tokaido or Sanyo Shinkansen line. The Kodama service covers the distance in approximately 3 hours 10 minutes.

Nara Tour
Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture. The city's historic monuments - Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the excavated remains of the great Imperial Palace - provide a vivid picture of life in the Japanese capital in the 8th century, a period of profound political and cultural change. The historic monuments of ancient Nara were inscribed in 1998 as World Heritage listed Cultural Sites.

Your first stop today will be Todaiji Temple, constructed in the 8th century, is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples. In it's huge precincts are various national treasures of Japan. The Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) is one of the world's largest wooden buildings. Once of Japan's best-known temples, it enshrines a gigantic bronze statue of Buddha.

In between the temples, over 1,000 tame deer roam freely in the verdant 1,250 acres peaceful park. If you wish to feed the deer, they will gladly eat from your hand. Special food is sold in the park grounds.

Conclude your afternoon with a visit to Kasuga Shine which was established in 768 A.D. and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.
Day 7
Kyoto, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast
This morning's first stop is Nijo Castle, the Kyoto Residence of the Tokugawa Shogun built in 1603, the castle is noted for the contrast of its solemn exterior and gorgeous interiors. Closed Tuesday's in January, July, August and December and substituted with Ryoanji Temple and Zen garden. Next, visit Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto's most popular temple is the home of perhaps the world's most authentic and exquisite Japanese Garden, as well as the celebrated Golden Pavilion.

Your third stop is to Kyoto Imperial Palace, the residence of the Imperial family until the capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays so a visit to Kitano Tenmangu will be arranged instead. A buffet-style lunch will be served at Kyoto Handicraft Center, where demonstrations of Japanese traditional arts and crafts take place.

This afternoon's first stop is Heian Shrine, brightly colored with its vermilion pillars and green roof, and its enchanting inner gardens and ponds, reflects the elegance of life in the ancient Japanese court. From there visit Sanjusangendo, a renowned long wooden hall housing all of 1,001 statues of Kannon or Bodhisattva (Goddess of Mercy), that date back to the 13th century.

Continue on to Kiyomizu-dera, a grouping of several Buddhist temples in Eastern Kyoto, and one of the best known sights of the city with its main pavilion commanding an exalted spot on a steep hill with a sweeping view over Kyoto. The pathway leading to the shrine is lined with pottery and souvenir shops.

Drop-off service is available returning you to major city hotels between 5:30 - 6:30 pm.
Day 8
Kyoto, Japan
Hotel Granvia Kyoto Breakfast
Travel from Kyoto by train to Saga-Arishiyama Station. Arashiyama is an exclusive district on the western outskirts of Kyoto and also the name of the mountain across the Oi River, which forms a backdrop to this district. Start with a stroll through Sagano Bamboo Grove, located between Tenryuki Temple and Okochi Sanso, and an idyllic setting to a scene in Memoirs of a Geisha.

Walk on to Jojakuko-ji Temple located halfway up a hill and graced with a 12-meter-high pagoda surrounded by Japanese maple trees. Jojakuko-ji was the final home of Empress Dowager Kenrei-mon-in, a principal character in the 'Tale of the Heike' one of the most important works of classical Japanese literature.

Continue walking to Tenryuji Temple, held in high esteem and ranked as the most important (Rinzai) Zen temples of Kyoto. Famous also for its exquisitely landscape garden, which unlike the temple buildings has survived in its original form.

Finally walk along the Togetsukyo Bridge (or Crossing Moon Bridge), famous for its views of spring cherry blossoms and autumn colors from the slopes of Mt Arashiyama. The present bridge was rebuilt in 1934 using steel but faithfully copying the structure of the original bridge.
Day 9
Takayama, Japan
Hida Hotel Plaza Takayama Breakfast
Travel 50 minutes eastbound from Kyoto a distance of 92 miles to Nagoya on the Tokaido or Sanyo Shinkansen line. On arrival at JR Nagoya Station you will change to a limited express bound for Takayama, two hours northbound on the Hida Line.

Takayama is located in the Hida Mountains (part of the Japan Alps National Park). Surrounded by 10,000-ft. peaks, the train ride from Nagoya is breathtaking. The town, situated along a river on a wide plateau with a population of 67,600, was founded back in the 16th century by Lord Kanamori, who selected the site because of the impregnable position afforded by the surrounding mountains.

Modeled after Kyoto but also with strong ties to Edo (Tokyo), Takayama borrowed from both cultural centers in developing its own architecture, food, and crafts, all well preserved today thanks to centuries of isolation. With a rich supply of timber provided by surrounding forests, its carpenters were legendary, creating not only beautifully crafted traditional merchants' homes in Takayama but also the Imperial Palace and temples in Kyoto.

On arrival in Takayama between 2:00 - 2:30 pm, on foot visit Yatai Kaikan Hall, where colorfully decorated traditional festival floats are displayed, Kusakabe Folkcraft Museum, formerly the residence of powerful merchants under government patronage, and Kami Sannomachi Street, with its preserved traditional Japanese wooden houses. Transfer to your hotel in Takayama. At the conclusion of today's touring you will arrive and check in to your hotel between 5:30 - 6:30 pm.
Day 10
Kanazawa, Japan
Ana Crowne Plaza Kanazawa None
Depart your hotel this morning to visit the morning market of Takayama. Every morning, from 7:00 am to noon, farmers' wives from nearby villages bring fresh produce – vegetables and flowers – to these markets. The varieties of produce mark the changing seasons in the mountains around the town.

A scenic drive by Lake Miboro and along Shokawa River takes you to Shirakawago, designated as a World Heritage site. Its highlights are the unique structures called Gassho-Zukuri, or 'joined-hands' farmhouses.

Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, these villages are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people's social and economic circumstances.

Visit Gokayama, another World Heritage inscribed village, where you can experience making traditional Japanese paper. Arrive in Kanazawa between 5:30 - 6:30 pm and transfer to your hotel.

On the northwest coast of Honshu on the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is the gateway to the rugged, sea-swept Noto Peninsula. It was the second-largest city (after Kyoto) to escape bombing during World War II, and some of the old city has been left intact, including a district of former samurai mansions, old geisha quarters, Edo-Era canals, and tiny narrow streets that run crookedly without rhyme or reason (apparently to confuse any enemies foolish enough to attack). Kanazawa is most famous for its Kenrokuen Garden, one of the most celebrated gardens in all of Japan. It's the main reason people come here, though several fine museums nearby are worth a visit, too. Kanazawa is also renowned for its crafts.
Day 11
Osaka, Japan
Swissôtel Nankai Breakfast
This morning enjoy sightseeing in Kanazawa with your first destination being Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens, created and maintained since the 1620's from its city center location. Then visit the Kutaniyaki Pottery Kiln which creates white glaze style pottery unique to this part of the country. Enjoy the houses decked in Indian red latticework as you take an atmospheric stroll through Higashi-chaya district, one of Kanazawa's oldest and best preserved night spots.

From Kanazawa board a JR limited express train approximately 2 hours southwest to Kyoto and on arrival transfer services will be available to drop off at all major Kyoto and Osaka hotels between 4:30 - 5:30 pm.
Day 12
Osaka, Japan
None Breakfast
Transfer from Osaka to the airport for your departure flight to the USA.

Tour Features


  • Family Vacations


This action-packed tour leads you from Zen garden to urban jungle, with everything in between. You will tour Cityrama Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone and hot springs bath, Nara, Kyoto, Sagano-Arashiyama, Takayama and Kanazawa. No matter how long you stay in Japan, constant discovery is one of the most fascinating aspects of being there on this Nostalgic Japan journey.

About Us

For over 30 years, Swain Destinations has been providing fully-customized travel experiences to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Islands, Africa, Asia and India. The destination specialists at Swain Destinations provide you and your clients with a special combination of expertise and local insight in itinerary planning. We offer flexibility in accommodating a wide spectrum of personal tastes, travel needs and budgets from the ultimate in luxury and private touring to more moderate arrangements. Swain Destinations has been nominated for 9 consecutive years as one of the top 5 FIT companies within the Virtuoso network

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Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

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The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Swain Destinations


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Not Recommended


By: Not provided

Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

I suspect that there are better travel guides in China. We prefer guides with a more professorial/academic approach. Also, we do not like being taken to tourist sites (as in a tea house to sell us tea items) or a bad tourist restaurant.
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Not Recommended

By: Not provided

Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2013

the arranged transport at sydney airport a debacle, hotel in auckland did not have rooms ready - a room rate of $300/night steep when check in is 3 pm you don't get in until 4 pm and check out is 9 or 10 am - steep hourly rate. hotel shuttle service was substandard . arrangement for a rail pass poorly done confirmation numbers provided did not match those for the rail provider

Australia adventure

By: stanford GSB Grad

Reviewed on: 24 Nov 2013

The trip was wonderful. Every accommodation was excellent except for the hotel in Cairns. The public areas were very nice and the food was good but the room left a lot to be desired. All in all though the trip was well worth it.

Highly Recommended

By: Not provided

Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2014

Swain provided a very helpful booklet of our itinerary, vouchers & connections, including where to be at what time and what call-in confirmations to make in advance. Everything went off without a hitch.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Moran

Highly Recommend

By: KJ

Reviewed on: 21 Apr 2014

We continue to be amazed at the complexity of our flight and transfer arrangements made by our Swain's representative.  Our travel was seamlessly enjoyable, and our hotels perfect.  24 days in Australia and New Zealand without a glitch, amazing!!  We definitely are Swain believers.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Asivido


By: Ro

Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2014

Were easy to get a hold of and helpful in providing us knowledge in a foreign land.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Moran

By: Joanne K.

Reviewed on: 27 May 2014

Michelle at Swain travel put together a great package for our Australia and New Zealand vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Asivido

Fabulous trip with help from Swain

By: Onespud

Reviewed on: 06 Jul 2014

Swain did an excellent job of taking care of us.  All drivers were on time and delivered impeccable service.  Arranged tours could not have been better.  Our hotel locations were so close to restaurants and shopping.  Could not have been better.
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Great Trip

By: Kim849

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2014

Swain planned all of our transportation, hotels and activities and did a wonderful job! Made our vacation very relaxing.
Travel Advisor:  Julie Raines

Swain was great

By: Jill

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2015

Every detail was perfectly handled. Trip exceeded my expectations.
Travel Advisor:  Sigrid Braeckeveldt

Great trip.

By: Kathy51

Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2015

Trip well planned given the time frame we were traveling in. Out of 23 days, only one poorly planned day. Terrific knowledge of all areas visited with fantastic recommendations on tours, hotels, etc. Helped resolve one problem.
Travel Advisor:  Lydia Ganz

Great operator

By: Mikeshy

Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2015

My wife and I just completed an 11 week trip in Australia and New Zealand hat had two cruises and two fly/drive segments. Swain provided ; all transfers between the airports and the cruise ships, three car rentals, lodging in 16 different cities as well as small group tours in most cities that we visited. We only experienced a couple of "hiccups" which is amazing considering the number of arrangements that were made on our behalf. When I did have a problem, it was resolved quickly after making 1 phone call. We had requested that our lodging accommodations would be in high end, small boutique hotels or B&B's. The quality of our accommodations was excellent. Between Jodi Fox, our travel advisor and Swain, they "nailed it!". With only one exception, we loved our accommodations. We had many, many small group tours that ended up being a private tour. The quality of the vehicles and the professionalism of the drivers/tour guides was also excellent. They did a great job.
Travel Advisor:  Jodi Fox

Great Teamwork and Travel Materials

By: rpw128

Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2015

Having done most of our work through Cindy Goldberger she did most of the interaction with Swain in the beginning. They provided valuable LOCAL feedback which proved critical to the enjoyment of our trip. They had activities that I could not believe that we would ever get to try, it was such a unique itinerary. Once we had everything the way we wanted it Swain sent over the travel documents which great and organized, just the way I was so I combined my documents with theirs and didn't miss a beat. Upon arrival they had a car service ready for us and our honeymoon began. It was such an easy experience after everything was booked we didn't have to worry which increased the enjoyment 100 times!
Travel Advisor:  Cindy Goldberger

Hands On

By: Lainey

Reviewed on: 21 Oct 2015

Trip of a lifetime!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz


By: Daniel

Reviewed on: 30 Oct 2015

Swain, in coordination with Alicia, have planned a wonderful trip so far.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Ann Wilson

Expert friendly service from Swain

By: Lynne55

Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2015

Every tour that was arranged by Swain was met with friendly smiles and professional service! We always were amazed at the knowledge and attention to our needs at every moment of our tour. They would go out of their way to accommodate us and told stories about the destinations that were not only fascinating but always intertwined with humor. This was an A+ tour company and would highly recommend them to any traveler!
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Honeymoon In Australia

By: Richard

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2015

Everyone at Swain Destinations did a great job in helping us plan our Honeymoon! We loved the little details like the Champagne bottles and desserts they had for us at each hotel we stayed. At the airports they would pick us up with a sign with our names and Swain destinations so we felt special. All the tours we went to in Australia were awesome and we could not have asked for a better Honeymoon. My wife Erika and I highly recommend using Swain Destinations for your next vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Sarah Lee

documents very complete and helpful

By: Bill67

Reviewed on: 04 Mar 2016

The documents provided were very helpful during the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Hayes

Great Trip!

By: EdLaura

Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2016

Our Swain trip was a great view of New Zealand and Australia. We felt like we got to see everything we wanted in a relatively short amount of time. Our tour guides were outstanding and the group was very congenial. Thanks for a great trip!
Travel Advisor:  Marian Blessing

great trip

By: Craig

Reviewed on: 29 May 2016

All arrangements went off without a hitch, from the car rentals to transfers to pickup of cars at a new location, the cars were always waiting and the pickups and drop offs were fast. The hotels/B&B's were all outstanding, Swain always picked the best places to stay, the coupons for the stays worked well with no issues. The tours/trips were all outstanding, the coupons worked well with no issues. All airline flights also went off without a hitch. Our only issue, its a small one, would be that we never saw or met a Swain representative, we though we were supposed to meet a rep when we arrived. The way the arrangements were a rep was not necessary, but it would have been nice to have someone there to meet us and just say hi and make sure we knew what to do initially and make sure there were know issues.
Travel Advisor:  Jesse Taylor

Great trip

By: Rachel

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2016

We had a wonderful time with everything planned well. We only had a few very minor complaints with White Sands Tours in Mauritius but otherwise was exceptional
Travel Advisor:  David Mellon

A good trip package and value.

By: Jack

Reviewed on: 08 Nov 2016

It was a good package, everything was delivered as promised.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Lukovic

NZ/Australia Trip

By: Linde

Reviewed on: 19 Nov 2017

The trip details indicate Swain's thorough knowledge of trip locales.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino

Helpful service

By: kerful1

Reviewed on: 26 Nov 2016

The Swain folks were my local contacts for any issues or changes to my itinerary. I requested a change in my itinerary in New Zealand, moving sailing in Auckland to a different day so that I could add a day trip to Hobbiton, and they took care of everything. It was great to have a local phone number and email to contact in case I needed anything with any part of my itinerary.
Travel Advisor:  Peg Aikman

When I go to New Zealand again, it will be with Swain

By: Tina Lou

Reviewed on: 08 Dec 2016

The materials that they gave me for my trip to New Zealand was the right information, organized so I could find it quickly. Less stress, all I had to do was read it the day before my next adventure to be there to experience it.

Experts on South Africa and Zimbabwe

By: GeoStone1

Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2016

Swain Destinations coordinated the South Africa and Zimbabwe portions of our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa. Swain's representative met us in Cape Town at our hotel to discuss how well our trip was going and to check with us to see if any changes were needed. Ditto in Victoria Falls. What special service! Swain has the knowledge and expertise that resulted in our stay at 1st class accommodations throughout our trip, coordinate our ride on the luxury train between Pretoria and Cape Town, and our flights within South Africa and to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. A total success! We highly recommend Swain Destinations!
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Private Wildlife Trip

By: Khalid

Reviewed on: 03 Jan 2017

It was a fantastic trip. The guides were professional, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I got more out of the trip than expected. I had lost my cell phone twice but the problem was resolved quickly by the company. That was a big relief.
Travel Advisor:  Cindy Moore


By: op

Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2017

Excellent service
Travel Advisor:  Julie Boulanger Taylor

Blue Mountain Day Tour

By: Kathy Siefken

Reviewed on: 03 Feb 2017

Wonderful day with Swain Tours. We loved the tour and while it was a 100 degree day in Australia, we enjoyed our time on the tour and exploring the Blue Mountains.
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Griscavage

Australia and New Zealand

By: Mary Nell

Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2017

Swain is the very best tour operator for Australia and New Zealand. We had heard that before we took our trip and then we heard it during our trip and certainly experienced it to be a very true statement! The coordination of all the details for 3 weeks was amazing. Swain had drivers planned for our entire trip and without a doubt, they were all prompt, courteous, informative, safe and fun, plus they all had new beautiful cars!! I would highly recommend Swain to anyone that is planning a trip and wants to be assured that every detail will be handled. Australia was our 7th Continent to travel and explore and Swain made it a great journey. Wonderful memories!!
Travel Advisor:  Tina Aikman

Australian trip

By: Geri

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2017

All contacts through Swain were prompt, courteous and informative. Our only glitch was our initial flight with Quantas but everything afterwards was uneventful.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Australia tour

By: Betty & Allen

Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2017

What can I say. Everything worked out perfect. Our drivers met us on time and our guides were excellent. Everyone's expectations were met and exceded. It was a wonderful tour and I would recommend Swain to all who are seeking adventure and don't want to do the legwork.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Wonderful Experience

By: Poppy

Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2017

All the arrangements, transfers and tours packaged for us by Swain staff were reliable and the services generally very good. The ability to customize our itinerary (even in country) was a new and wonderful experience. Most hotels and guides were exceptional, a few less so. Overall our extensive travels in Australia and NZ a fantastic adventure. The grand finale 3 nights at Matakari Lodge beyond 5⭐️
Travel Advisor:  Corinne Levine


By: Hutch

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2017

The trip went off without a hitch. Every plane was met, drivers were personable, guides were tremendous and we had complete confidence that our needs would be met.
Travel Advisor:  Cathy Dorton

australia new zealand

By: betty

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2017

they were very professional
Travel Advisor:  Ingeborg Sanders


By: Lisa

Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2017

Perfect- thanks to Wayne. We recommend him to our friends.
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Australia - Feb 2017

By: J

Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2017

Except for 9:45pm event, followed by 4:30am event, everything went off very well.
Travel Advisor:  Christine Collins Bolus

New Zealand

By: Meagan

Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2017

Swain's knowledge of the local area helped us to find activities and sites to see what I had on my list, even if it wasn't the exact place. Their recommendations for local company's or sites to use/see while there or while driving from one place to another was very helpful. I know that they also worked with Deborah to help reschedule some things so I am very thankful for that.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great job!

By: NurseL

Reviewed on: 12 Apr 2017

Swain Destinations did a great job with our itinerary! The excursions were exactly what I wanted in my bucket list vacation! We had to call George from Swain Destinations while in Australia to make some last minute changes to our plans and he was able to make the requested changes without any problems. I also want to recommend the drivers we had to and from each airport to our hotels. They were all very friendly and super knowledgeable about the area. We felt comfortable asking them for recommendations for things to do while in each city. Great experience!
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Bucket list New Zealand

By: Steve Strake

Reviewed on: 07 Apr 2017

Fantastic vacation. This company know how to create a fun trip.
Travel Advisor:  Sandra Ortiz
Not Recommended

12 days in Japan

By: Charlie

Reviewed on: 17 Apr 2017

We did not work directly with Swain but the results of their efforts bring into question their dedication to good service and flawless execution. Our experience reduced our opinion of their abilities to meet customer expectations.
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Not Recommended

Trip to Japan

By: Joe

Reviewed on: 18 Apr 2017

Our trip to Japan had some rough edges. The initial arrangements in our proposed itinerary were incomplete regarding a number of important details (e.g., who would meet us, what type of transport would be used), subsequently clarified. The descriptions used for events and services in our itinerary were sometimes unclear, ambiguous or incomplete, also subsequently clarified but with difficulty. Once in Japan, the private guide arranged in Kyoto for 1-1/2 days was less than satisfactory in terms of her job skills. Finally, the Ritz-Carolton Kyoto provided some of the poorest dining room service we've encountered in a long time - very young staff, not well trained, although well-intended. We were left with the impression that both in terms of office organization in the US and on-the-ground experience in Japan that our group was not well served by Swain, relative to the prices we were paying.
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Excellent Itinerary

By: brea2942

Reviewed on: 09 May 2017

We had an excellent trip arranged by Swain Destinations for our land portion of an Australian/New Zealand vacation. Swain arranged our internal flights, tours and lodging. We gave them specific input as to where we wanted to go and many of the things we wanted to do and they put together an itinerary that was very good for us. We had no problems with any of the transfers (everyone arrived on time or ahead of time to transfer us from hotel to airport to cruise ship, etc.) and the lodging they chose for us was excellent. Overall, this was a stellar vacation itinerary!
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow


By: jalousie

Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2017

We had a flawless/seamless trip through Swain. Guides were wonderful and so helpful. The accommodations were first-rate
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Australia, the perfect destination

By: Davonia

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2017

Deborah Barth of Brownell Travel sought the help of Swain Destinations for the Australian portion of my recent trip. From drivers to lodging to tour guides our trip was perfect. The drivers were outstanding, always on time and in wonderful vehicles. Lodging was exceptional. Tour guides were great. Deborah worked closely with Tanya at Swain to be sure the Australian portion of our trip met our needs. Everything worked beautifully. Leave the details to the professionals!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great touring experience with Swain

By: Michael Yu

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2017

All the details were taken care of from hotel reservations, to air and train bookings, to great daily itineraries. No miscues on the ground through the whole trip except for the rainy weather in Hakone (delayed one boat tour and hid Mt Fuji). Professional bilingual guides (had 2 different guides, 3 days each). Private van transportation made the touring very efficient and less taxing on the body and feet. Seemless pickups and drop offs made for worry free travel which is what you want when you are on vacation. Great private origami lesson for the family made for great bonding. No complaints, good value for the wrap around service.
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow

Tour arrangements

By: Bud

Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2017

Mary Lou Yeager worked with Swain to arrange private tours and transportation in Dubai, the Winelands and Cape Town. All the arrangements worked perfectly. The tour guides were knowledgeable and quite accommodating. We had a wonderful time!
Travel Advisor:  Mary Lou Yeager


By: Allie

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2017

Absolutely fantastic.
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Battista

Awesome Tour Operator

By: Chris

Reviewed on: 11 Sep 2017

Swain has coordinated our trips to Australia/New Zealand and to South Africa, and each trip was fabulous. We highly recommend them. We spent our time enjoying our trip and experience and no time on worrying about rides, hotels and activities. They took care of everything!
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Anderson

Honeymoon - South Africa

By: Kmiq

Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2017

Swain was top notch. Every employee we came in contact with was personable and pleasant. In particular, our driver/tour guide, Gary, for the half day tour of Cape Town and the day drive to the Cape of Good Hope was fantastic. His knowledge of the plant/animal life, geography, and history of the City / Country was immense. There was no question Gary couldn't answer, and he always had interesting facts/trivia to share. Gary even made us a romantic lunch reservation on the bay so we could enjoy some alone time and whale watch. Would recommend to anyone traveling to South Africa!
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Griscavage


By: PR

Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2017

The trip was perfect in every aspect
Travel Advisor:  Roz Gibel

Australia Trip - October 2017

By: MK

Reviewed on: 05 Nov 2017

Swain Destinations provided documentation, travel vouchers, etc. for our trip. The documentation was very professionally presented and organized, which made for easy reference during travels. Phone numbers were provided for questions before and during our trip for added peace of mind. Overall they did a great job of preparing us for the trip!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino


By: Leighsa

Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2017

Outstanding. A fantastic collection of places to visit and things to do. Will definitely use Swain Destinations again.
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble

New Zealand and Australia

By: Nat

Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2017

Our experience with Swain Destinations was phenomenal. They were incredibly receptive to all of our requests. They helped to put together a 17 day itinerary for our travels to New Zealand and Australia. There were certain things we requested to do on our trip but we also let them use their judgement to suggest excursions and places to stay. All of our excursions were amazing and the accommodations were delightful in every city we stayed in. We wouldn't have changed a single thing about our trip, it was all wonderful!
Travel Advisor:  Michelle Ellis

Our First Try

By: newbies

Reviewed on: 13 Dec 2017

Swain recommended, and then booked, excellent accommodations and travel arrangements. It was a seamless part of our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Amy Paderewski

No problems experienced

By: Patch

Reviewed on: 12 Dec 2017

Swain made sure that every aspect of our vacation was taken care of. We never had any worries. I loved knowing that our escorts and tour guides had all the answers and so I could relax. All tours and drivers were professional and expert.
Travel Advisor:  Tish Kelly
Not Recommended

The Bad

By: Grumpy

Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2018

The night before we left on our trip they called for a medical release, very unprofessional.
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By: Brad

Reviewed on: 06 Jan 2018

Loved the intinerary put together by swain. We had a great trip and loved everything planned!
Travel Advisor:  Laura Epstein

New Zealand Excursions

By: Shelley

Reviewed on: 16 Jan 2018

We had booked our excursions through Swain. We were overall very pleased with the guides and tours we took as we were booking several. Some tours were better experiences than others so once Swain has given the information on the tour company it would be worth a quick glance at their website to make sure your expectations meet the experiences. We had a little bit of time miscommunication with one of our tours (one-on-one guided fishing) and that was discouraging. So my only feedback is to double and triple check the confirmed times at least 2 days before directly with the tour operator.
Travel Advisor:  Laura Bassett


By: Jan

Reviewed on: 24 Jan 2018

We lined up a lot of activities over our 3-week vacation that Swain helped put together. Everything went very smoothly except for a glitch with our car rentals, and one call to Swain helped sort it out. Very pleased.
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Great Choices and Knowledgable

By: JeannieM

Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2018

Our agent primarily worked with Swain, but our experiences were all positive. They made excellent selections in accommodations and day trips in an effort to meet (and exceed) our desired activity goals. The companies utilized were professional and fun. The 1 transportation confusion was addressed swiftly, pleasantly and effectively. Swain was knowledgable and knew the best choices in New Zealand - I wouldn't hesitate to use them again!
Travel Advisor:  Candy Overland Davis

Tour of Australia and New Zealand

By: Roweana

Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2018

Our experience with Swain Destinations was highly recommendable.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Anderson

Swain knows Australia

By: Andrew

Reviewed on: 15 Feb 2018

My California based travel agent contacted Swain for their local knowledge and contacts for arranging multiple trips within Australia. There was a small mix up while I was in Australia and they quickly cleared it up and acted on my behalf. They were very professional and helpful during the entire process
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Trip of a lifetime

By: Simpson

Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2018

Everything was first class from start to finish...
Travel Advisor:  Vivian Paesano


By: Australia

Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2018

Good the drivers were well informed. One excursion was not as described we complained and were refunded 1/2 of our money.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Grant

Swain does it right

By: Aussie traveler

Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2018

Excellent. They have great options. Everything set up very well based upon our input and came off without a hitch. All of the guides were very personable, very professional and very informative. Airport transfers went smoothly. Drivers and guides arrived on time for all activities
Travel Advisor:  Mary Porter


By: Don

Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2018

Helpful when needed and responsive.