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do i need to get private guide for kyoto and tokyo

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we are leaving for japan in 2 weeks: we are well travelled and usually plan and sightsee on our own, but I am getting a bit anxious about this trip as we have not booked any guides, and were planning to use just our guide books and japan guide -- is this foolish? my readings suggest that these are difficult cities to navigate on our own, language will be a huge obstacle.... but we have left it late and I think it will be hard to find guides (especially at a reasonable cost). we did plan to join a group tour for our first day in kyoto- any other suggestions? should I desperately look for priate guides or just relax and we will be fine on our own? help!

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