Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

Old Nov 18th, 2015, 12:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tour guides for Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, and Nara

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

Thank you.
drrishisingh is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2015, 06:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,034
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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:
kja is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2015, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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:


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.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2015, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
mflickermd is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2015, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 510
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
internetwiz is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2015, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,195
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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/
Mara is online now  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
May 13th, 2017 03:18 PM
May 2nd, 2016 07:16 PM
Aug 16th, 2013 01:57 AM
Jul 16th, 2012 10:15 AM
Mar 20th, 2008 06:17 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -