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Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

Old Nov 18th, 2015, 11:00 AM
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Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

Hello,
Looking for a tour guide or company recommendation for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara. Private or public tours are fine.

Thank you.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 05:03 PM
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Perhaps you realize that you do not need a guide for any of these locations, unless that is your preference?

If you do want a guide, the Japan National Tourism Organization runs a "friendship guide" program, through which Japanese volunteers (who I believe usually participate, at least in part, to improve their English speaking skills) serve as guides, with no recompense other than the admission fees to the places you visit and any meals or treats you share. (No tips!!!) For more information, see:
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/tr...teerGuides.php
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 07:00 PM
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Japan is one of the easiest countries to navigate, however you may have your reasons for wanting a tour. Do you want an all-encompassing tour, or do you want to go from city to city, and have guides for the day?

The best company, originally recommended to me ny the JNTO is Sunrise Tours:

http://www.jtb-sunrisetours.jp/

They do have all-encompassing tours, but we used them in Tokyo for two different day tours, one to Nikko and a nearby lake, and another to Mt. Fujii and the surrounding area. We loved our Nikko guide, as she was a former broadcaster and historian. However, for our Mt. Fujii tour, we had an annoying and boring man.

We also used a volunteer guide in Kyoto, and it was horrible. We had an older gentleman guide arranged through the main volunteer service, and he knew nothing about history. He simply read the signs in Japanese, and translated them for us. At lunch time, he chose one of the most expensive restaurants (I hosted) in Kyoto, and proceeded to order a couple of expensive dishes for himself. Right after lunch, he said he was tired and wanted to go home. My son said, "You get what you pay for."

From then one, we axed any guides or tours and had more fun. On all subsequent trips, I have always traveled without a guide, and been much happier.
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Old Nov 30th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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Chizuko Waller is a wonderful Tokyo guide-expensive ,but extremely knowledgable. We have used her twice. We have been to Kyoto many times. We tried a driver-guide,Mr Doi, who is highly recommended. He is expensive, too, but a pleasure to be with. He is well educated and speaks excellent English.And he took us to temples we had not visited before. We sometimes book top notch guides, as it adds so much depth to what we are seeing.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2015, 12:44 PM
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We used Goodwill Guides in Nara, Kyoto and Tokyo. I think they be different than what JNTO offers. The network is by geographic area and/or interest. You can google to find them.

We were extremely happy with the guides we got. They were free, with the exception of paying for their transportation, lunch (and we gave them a small gift).

From what I can tell, they try to pair you with guides that are about your same age, so for us, we got a wonderful bunch of highly educated/successful retiress.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2015, 12:55 PM
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I usually google 'Name of City/Town free walking tour' and see what comes up.....Sometimes there is a fee to the sponsoring organization but quite small and then possibly expenses and lunch....on the whole, less than what one would pay for an hour with a regular guide....just mho....

Have had very good experiences over the years...

For Nara I recommend: http://nara-guide-club.com/
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