These Booking Conditions, together with all information about your chosen holiday on our website, form the basis of your contract with Oku Japan. Oku Japan is the trading name of Oxalis Holidays Limited. Please read the Booking Conditions carefully as they explain your rights and obligations. Please feel free to ask us if you have any questions.
1. Making your booking
Please book via our online Booking Form or via an approved travel agent. We will send you our Booking Confirmation (for small-group guided tours) or Booking Acknowledgement (for self-guided tours) via email. We will also send you the relevant digital Handbooks. Please check all documents carefully. Please contact us immediately if any information appears incorrect or incomplete as it may not be possible to make changes later.
We require a 20% deposit within 10 days of sending your Booking Acknowledgement or Booking Confirmation if your departure date is more than two months ahead. If your departure date is within two months of booking, we require full payment at that point. The full balance payment is required two months before departure. If we do not receive full payment within two months of your departure we will send you a reminder; if full payment is not received within one week of the reminder we may treat your booking as cancelled by you. We accept payment by bank/wire transfer, debit card and credit card, in Australian Dollars, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars, Euros, US Dollars and Japanese Yen.
3. Your contract
A binding contract between us exists once we have confirmed your tour and received your deposit payment. English law (and no other) applies to this contract and to any dispute, claim or other matter of any description which arises between us.
4. Tour cancellation - in case we cancel your tour
Our small-group, guided tours are guaranteed to operate when the group reaches a minimum number. Apart from this proviso, we will only cancel your tour if a situation arises which is beyond our control such as a natural disaster, adverse weather conditions, civil or political unrest, war, terrorism, industrial action, changes to scheduled transport services, or sickness of the group leader. If we cancel your tour we will refund all money you have paid us, but we will not be liable to compensate you for any inconvenience or incidental expenses you might have incurred, including airline tickets.
5. Tour cancellation - in case you cancel your tour
If you or anyone on the Booking Form wishes to cancel their booking, the cancellation will be effective from the UK working day (normally Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays) on which we receive your written notification by email, mail or fax. The following cancellation charges will apply:
We strongly recommend you take out insurance against irrecoverable cancellation costs.
If any member of your party cannot travel as planned, they may transfer their place to someone else of your choosing. You must notify us of the transfer in writing at least two weeks before departure. A transfer may not be possible if there is a waiting list for tour places; we must instead offer the place to the next person on that list. Where a transfer is possible, any charges incurred by us or charged by any of our suppliers will be payable by you, together with an amendment fee of GBP35 / USD45 / CAD60 / AUD65 / EUR40 / JPY4500 per person, per tour element.
6. Changes by you
If you wish to make changes to your confirmed holiday, please notify us by email as soon as possible. We will do our best to assist, but cannot guarantee to meet such requests. Where the requested changes are possible, an amendment fee of up to GBP35 / USD45 / CAD60 / AUD65 / EUR40 / JPY4500 per person, per element altered will be payable by you. If the change involves the cancellation of any confirmed element, a charge for the cancelled element will apply in addition. Changes are possible up to 60 days before the tour begins; within 60 days, changes are treated as cancellation and the charges in Section 5 apply.
7. Changes by us - in case we make changes prior to departure
We take great care compiling our website and information is as accurate as possible, including the proposed itinerary for each tour. However, tours are planned months in advance and they include the services of independent suppliers such as accommodation and transport providers. So we reserve the right to amend the tours if necessary. Changes will normally be minor and we ask you to accept them. If we make significant changes to your tour, we will inform you at the earliest opportunity. A significant change is a change to the tour dates, a change of itinerary, or type or grade of accommodation. In such cases you have the choice to accept the change, or book an alternative tour (paying or receiving a refund of the price difference), or cancelling your holiday and receiving a full refund of all payments made to Oku Japan. Whichever you choose, you will also receive compensation of GBP35 / USD45 / CAD60 / AUD65 / EUR40 / JPY4500 per person if the significant change is made within 28 days of departure. However, no compensation will be paid if the change is due to reasons beyond our control such as a natural disaster, adverse weather conditions, civil or political unrest, war, terrorism, industrial action, changes to scheduled transport services, or sickness of the group leader.
8. Changes to your booking - changes made by us after departure
We reserve the absolute right to change the itinerary of a tour in response to events such as cancellation of scheduled transport services, changing political situations, weather conditions, natural disasters, sickness and so on. Such decisions are made at the discretion of Oku Japan or the tour guide. Every effort will be made to include all the features of the tour originally proposed, or similar alternatives. The cost of any services not used will not be refunded. Your agreement to our booking conditions indicates that you accept the need to adapt itineraries when deemed necessary by Oku Japan or by your guide.
You must have travel insurance. This travel insurance must cover personal accident, medical expenses and repatriation expenses, including helicopter rescue and air ambulance. You should also ensure that there are no exclusions limiting protection for the type of activities (such as hiking, cycling or kayaking) included in your holiday.
We strongly recommend that you also have insurance covering cancellation, loss of personal belongings on tour and other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience occurring to you.
Oku Japan will happily supply appropriate documentation to assist with any valid claim you submit to your insurers.
10. The guide
On an Oku Japan tour, you will experience conditions different from those in your normal life. There is always the risk of loss or damage to property, injury or minor discomfort. On our group tours, our guide will make decisions to maximise enjoyment and wellbeing of the whole group. We expect all members of your party to accept such decisions. Our guide reserves the right to ask any member of the group to leave the tour if they act illegally or their behaviour is likely to harm or distress others. Under these circumstances, no refund will be payable and our liability and booking contract cease with immediate effect.
11. The cost of your holiday
We reserve the right to change prices or to correct errors in our pricing before your holiday is confirmed. We promise not to change the price of your tour after confirmation. We will not change the confirmed price of your holiday due to fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
Our Loyalty Programme includes "Refer-a-friend" and "Repeat client" price reductions and the conditions of these programmes can be found here. From time to time, we may also run temporary promotional campaigns whose terms and conditions are stipulated within the campaign itself. We reserve the right to remove or decline any promotional campaigns without prior notice.
12. Complaints and problems
We do our best to ensure that your tour is successful. However, if you do have a complaint on a guided tour, please discuss the matter with your guide who will endeavour to put the situation right as soon as possible. On a self-guided tour, please contact our team in Kyoto and give them the opportunity to offer a remedy. If the problem is not solved to your satisfaction you must write to the company within 28 days of your return home.
13. Your responsibilities
We accept bookings on the understanding that all travellers are in good health, can meet the physical demands of the chosen tour, and appreciate the risks associated with the holidays which they undertake at their own risk. Travellers under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. In the interests of safety, you must follow the guidance provided by anybody on our behalf, comply with local codes of conduct, and act sensibly and prudently at all times, avoiding unnecessary risks. This includes, but is not limited to, the proper use of safety devices or equipment such as bicycle helmets when cycling, and obeying all posted signs and oral or written warnings regarding health and safety.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary travel/health documents before departure, paying any costs incurred. We cannot accept any liability if you are refused entry onto any transport or into any country because you do not have correct documents and your tour cost is not refundable under such circumstances. Please check passport and visa requirements with the Embassy or Consulate of the countries to or through which you intend to travel. If failure to have any necessary travel or other documents results in fines, surcharges or other financial penalty being imposed on Oku Japan, you are responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.
You are responsible for any costs (including repair, replacement and cleaning fees) incurred by Oku Japan for property damage, destruction or theft caused by you while on a Tour. You agree to immediately report any pre-existing damage to an Oku Japan representative, staff of the relevant accommodation, transportation service, or facility as soon as possible upon discovery.
14. Our suppliers and our responsibility
Elements of your holiday are provided by independent suppliers. Those suppliers provide services on their own terms and conditions. Some of these terms and conditions may limit or exclude the supplier’s liability to you, usually in accordance with applicable International Conventions. Oku Japan cannot accept responsibility for incidents such as accident or theft.
You acknowledge that adventure travel and the products and services offered by Oku Japan may involve risk to your health and safety. By travelling with Oku Japan you acknowledge that you have considered any potential risks to health and safety. You hereby assume responsibility for all such risk and release Oku Japan from all claims and causes of action arising from any losses, damages, injuries or death resulting from risks inherent in travel, including adventure travel specifically, visiting foreign destinations, and participating in adventurous activities such as those included in our tours or otherwise offered by Oku Japan.
15. Special requests
If you have any special request, please advise us at the time of booking on your Booking Form. We pass all reasonable requests to the relevant suppliers, but cannot promise that any request will be met unless we have specifically confirmed this in writing. We regret we cannot accept any ‘conditional bookings’, namely a booking which is conditional on the fulfilment of a particular request.
16. Financial security
Oku Japan is a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). Any money you pay to Oku Japan is fully protected under the ABTOT scheme, even in the event of Oku Japan’s insolvency. You can confirm our membership by searching on the ABTOT website.
17. Brochure and website accuracy
We work hard to ensure that all details on our website and in our digital brochure are correct. We will let you know as soon as possible if we become aware of any changes or updates. Please note the information shown on this site and in our brochures may have changed by the time you come to book your holiday. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the website, brochure and prices, regrettably errors do occasionally occur. You must therefore ensure you check all details of your chosen holiday (including the price) with us at the time of booking. Oku Japan’s website is our sole responsibility.
18. Single supplements
Single travellers pay a single supplement in addition to the tour cost.
a) Group tours
We ask our solo travellers to pay a single supplement, which guarantees you a room to yourself at the western-style hotels on the tour. At the Japanese inns on the tour, tatami-mat rooms are culturally less 'intimate' spaces than western bedrooms and Japanese guests travelling with acquaintances are accustomed to sharing. We follow this Japanese custom and will ask you to share a tatami-mat room with another group member of the same gender. We will never ask you to share with someone of the opposite gender or someone outside our group. If you are a solo traveller willing to share a room throughout the tour with another solo traveller of the same gender, please let us know. We will happily refund the single supplement if we can find you a room-mate before the tour starts.
If you are travelling alone on a self-guided tour, the single supplement will guarantee you a single room on every night of your trip. You will never be asked to share with another traveller.