Another great season has arrived, with warmer days and green surroundings. It’s definitely a fine time to travel in Hokkaido. Recently we interviewed Mr. Katsuhito Hosoda (president of Hokkaido Guide Tour Taxi), who offers custom-made tours with his taxi.
Mr. Hosoda’s company is well known not only in Japan but also in other Asian countries including China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, and Thailand. More than 20 tours partook of the service last year. We asked why the company may been chosen by customers. How does it stand out?
“One of the reasons is that we choose a car that fits our customers in consideration of the number of people, age, and the luggage they carry,” Mr. Hosoda said. Travelers can choose from a wide variety of taxis, including luxurious cars or those equipped to carry large suitcases or skis and snowboards.
‘Omotenashi’ — Japanese hospitality
One other point customers may be attracted to is the fully customizable plans. Orders come in by phone and email. Early in the process, customers often make general requests including the many things they’d like to do in Hokkaido. Sometimes it seems like too much to fit in to the limited schedule. But Mr. Hosoda doesn’t say no. Instead, he starts to build a plan with the customer until they are satisfied, a process that can take several months.
“Traveling starts when they plan their tour,” Mr. Hosoda said. He can sense their joy and anticipation through emails and phone calls. His “omotenashi” – or Japanese hospitality – can surely attract customers.
Translators and other services
Mr. Hosoda’s company can arrange officially qualified translators who can speak English, Korean and Chinese. The driver himself can speak minimum English, but travelers can order a tour with a guide translator. Further, Mr. Hosoda will always offer to take photos of travelers when they come across attractive landscapes. What’s more, those with dietary restrictions can put their faith with Mr. Hosoda as well, as he can direct travelers to restaurants with vegetarian options. The number of such restaurants has been increasing in recent years, but a few years back there were not many options. So Mr. Hosoda called restaurants one by one to inquire.
Now is the time when we can see lots of colorful flowers along with fresh verdure in Hokkaido. We hope more and more people come and enjoy our great nature, food and local people.
Translated from the original Japanese by Zenta Kashimoto
Editor’s Note: Travel Tips provides a look at a service or business that travelers in Hokkaido might find useful. To suggest a topic for this feature, contact us any time.