Wait… you AREN’T INCLUDING THE FLIGHT TO JAPAN IN THE TOUR PRICE?
Short answer: The airline industry has made it practically impossible to do so.
Long answer: It goes without saying that we prefer to include the flight to Japan from LA or another city with all of our tours. The only reason we wouldn’t is if there’s a situation in the airline industry which makes it impossible to offer a flight. That has, unfortunately, happened.
Over the last two years, the price of a flight to Japan in the summertime has doubled. In some markets, it’s increased close to 150%. That’s insane. The reasons for the increase vary based on who you ask, but the main reasons boil down to two points: 1) increased summer travel worldwide and 2) a shortage of seats on North America to Japan routes.
We first considered increasing the budget in the tour price for flights to cover any potential increases. We were unable to do this because, frankly, it’s hard to tell how bad things will get. Even if we doubled the budget, it is possible that flight prices will go even beyond that. Likewise, the seat shortage could be fixed and they could drop - and then we’d be overcharging all of you by close to thousands. We aren’t comfortable with that either.
So we cut the flight option. We’re working on a solution for this problem for the 2016 Tour Season, but in the meantime, this is the only tour we expect to be affected by this thing. Summer Matsuri 2015 WILL include a flight due to a special arrangement.
Couldn’t you just wait until a few months before the tour for the prices settle?
We routinely get e-mails asking about the price of tours two years away and the overwhelming majority of our customers like to buy early. So in short, no - doing that would probably kill the tour entirely. You guys like to buy early, and we want to keep accommodating your wishes. <3
Can you still help me get a flight?
YES! We can still book flights to Japan for you from your local airport. We wanted to keep this option since traditionally Animated Summer has offered departures from multiple airports, and we’d like to keep that spirit as part of the tour. You can also book your own flight, but DO NOT do this until the tour is confirmed!
Wondering about our new food-centric tour? Read on for answers! To sign up, go here.
So wait… you combined two previous tours to make this one?
Kinda. We previously offered a foodie tour called Local Eats and a Nakasendo-centric culture tour called Narrow Road. Both tours brought in a lot of interest, but signups were slow. So we took a little time to retool the concept, add a few destinations, take a few away, and consider menus. However, the biggest inspiration for Taste of Japan were the rave reviews that local cuisine and specialty dishes earned from our customers.
In Japan, each area takes a great deal of pride in their local meibutsu, or specialty, which is usually a dish made with local ingredients that has been enjoyed - and perfected - by locals for generations. Feasts with a “local ingredients” theme have been served to our guests at inns and ryokans on the Anime De-Tour, Pawprint Pathways, BL Teahouse, Fire and Ice, School of Summer, and a few other tours - and each time, they earned stellar reviews from almost everyone.
That inspired us to focus the meals of a food tour concept on these unique, one-of-a-kind meals, which are offered at many of the stops along the Nakasendo. The end result is a tour that has a lot of the “must have” culinary offerings of the old Local Eats tour but the one-of-a-kind flavors and experiences you can get on the Narrow Road. In short, Taste of Japan is going to be awesome and you should join us! ^_^
You’ve got to know when to press continue, and when to stop throwing your controller at the TV.
The initial reason is the same as when any other tour gets canceled: we didn’t have enough people. With a week until the tour closed, we still didn’t have enough people to make the trip run - so we offered the participants a chance to switch tours (which most did).
At this point, we could have run a few promotions and tried to scare up some more interest. Why we didn’t is… complicated. Like, stick it behind a “Read More” break complicated.