I started planning in early June. When I plan for just Donna and I, I can do that a month ahead, but with six people, accommodations, transportation, meal reservations, workshops etc. gets a little tricky. And to add to the logistic nightmare was the time frame. They only had 11 days, with 2 of those days taken up for arrival and departure.
These 11 days had to be planned to the minute. Where Donna and I would leisurely take a train, or a taxi, we had to hire a driver and a van for the group so as to not waste time.
To make a long story short, we had most of Kyoto arranged by December but it wasn't until January 7th that I got confirmation on the Osaka itinerary.
I really had no time to focus on the 20 days that Donna and I would be on our own. Simple matter, we can wing it.