I'm going to Japan by myself in February, and I'm thinking of spending about a week visiting the Tohoku region.
Wikitravel mentions that some train services can be infrequent, with buses being a better option. It also suggests renting a car, but long drives by myself in a non-English country with snow on the road doesn't sound like a good idea. I'm not a very good driver!
I also suspect that within their cities, the public transport isn't as extensive, fast, and English-speaking as Tokyo's.
Can tour groups enable you to spend less time going between cities, and also enable you to get around within a city more quickly, and get you to locations you otherwise couldn't easily reach?
I've heard that Japanese people like tour groups. What are their tour groups like? Are they very disciplined, with a rigid schedule and itinerary? Do they go to a variety of lesser-known areas, or just the famous tourist traps? Are they mainly composed of salarymen, or do young people go in tour groups, akin to Contiki Tours?