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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Going to Japan - do I need a guide?

K

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Kenzia V.

Last updated : Apr 28, 20227 min read

General

You would want the best possible experience if you are traveling in Japan, right? It can be difficult to decide whether you should hire a guide or not.

 

Don't worry, this article can help inform some things to take into consideration to help you decide. It only takes a few minutes to read!

 

In this article, I'm going to tell you about what are the cases when you should hire a guide in Japan and when you shouldn't have to, extra advantages of hiring one, where to hire one, and even more recommendations. So, keep reading! 

blog imageJapan is a wonderful country with many incredible attractions and destinations that continue to attract millions of tourists from all over the world. If you are visiting Japan, you would want to truly experience Japan.

 

Sure you could just book some cliche standard bus tour to get you from place to place. They're convenient, but is it really the best way to experience Japan? Probably not.

 

So what can you do to enhance your experience in Japan? One is hiring a tour guide, but should you?

Should you hire a guide in Japan?

If you are traveling to Japan, especially for the first time, you are probably thinking “should I hire a guide in Japan?” With the language and culture difference, it might be difficult to travel around.

 

Hiring a guide in Japan can be very beneficial helpful, and there are things you should consider when deciding whether or not you should hire a guide.

Cases when you should hire a guide in Japan

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If you want to make the most out of your trip.

It is impossible to experience all of Japan, especially if you are only in Japan for the short time. Guides can really help enhance your experience. 

A good guide will know the best hours to visit the attractions to avoid big crowds, how to avoid rush hour, and tricks to let you experience the most out of major tourist destinations even with big crowds. They can also bring you to off-the-beaten-path spots, offer great restaurant suggestions, and other personal suggestions on how to get the most out of your trip.

 

Also...

A good guide will arrange an itinerary based on your preferences and needs. The guides can arrange for you to visit areas of your interests, and make it efficient, probably allowing you to visit more places and make your trip more valuable.

If you want convenience.

If you don’t want to trouble yourself with the details and hassle of traveling, hiring a guide in Japan is very recommended. You don’t have to worry about language difficulty issues, transportation issues and figuring out the directions.

 

Also, you don’t have to plan an itinerary, as the guide will prepare one for you, which you can customize according to your preferences. 

blog imageWait, there's more:

If you want to learn the culture and destinations more profoundly.

You can have a deeper understanding of the destinations in Japan if you hire a guide. A good guide will be able to explain the local culture and traditions and give you other local insights. It is easy to look up for things on the internet, but with a guide, you can learn the history, context and up-to-date factual information of the destinations from a local/insider perspective.

If you want to save time and money.

 A good guide will structure your itinerary to be time-efficient. The guides can figure out the directions and transportation used to get around in advance, saving your time as you don’t have to figure them out by yourself.

 

You are probably thinking that hiring a guide cost money, so how can it save money? You don't have to figure out the route by yourself and risking getting lost which can cost you more money. The guides can tell you which way is more cost-efficient to travel around, helping you save money. 

Cases when you should not hire a guide

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Look:

In almost all cases, hiring a guide can be really beneficial. However, there are times that maybe guides aren’t that necessary. Maybe if you are in Japan solely for business only have no intention to travel around, or if you have friends/relatives that live in Japan and can bring you around.

 

Or, if you don't want to spend the extra money to hire one and just want to explore Japan by yourself, you don't need to hire a guide. Hiring a guide or not is up to your own decision and preference.

Recommended tour guides in Japan

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But...

If you are looking to hire a private guide in Japan, there are many places on the web where you can hire one. However, it is difficult to determine whether it’s a good and trustworthy website or not. My recommendation is the GoWithGuide website. The website offers many local tour guides options in Japan from which you can choose according to your needs and preferences.

 

The guides are qualified and experienced, they can enhance your trip by providing you adventures you probably wouldn’t have experienced without a guide. The website allows you to use the trip plan provided by each of the tour guides, and customize it according to your preferences. 

Extra advantages hiring a guide in Japan

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Still not sure?

Here are some more reasons why hiring a guide in Japan is recommended.

You are being looked after

Guides have a better understanding of how the local system works and can help you with things in Japan you are not familiar with. Japan is generally a safe country, but hiring a guide can offer extra protection as they will know which area where a little caution is beneficial. You don’t have to worry about language difficulty and getting lost if you hire a guide.

A private photographer

An additional benefit of having a guide by your side is that you don’t have to worry about asking locals to take pictures for you. A guide can help take pictures of you and your group when you ask. More memorable moments captured.

 Where can you hire a great tour guide in Japan?

If you decide that you need and want to hire a guide, here is a list of great tour guides in Tokyo, and another one for Kyoto tour guides. And if you are looking for guides in other areas of Japan, you may want to click here.

 

If what you are looking for are private tours with set itineraries that you can customize when you book, here are my recommendations for Tokyo recommendations for Tokyo and also the tour recommendations for Kyoto and other areas of Japan.

Some other useful links for your trip to Japan

Here are some other tour options you can choose from:

Cherry blossom tours

Multiple Day Package Tour Tours

Cars, vans tours, and transfers in Tokyo

Car, vans tours, and transfers in Kyoto

Car, vans tours, and transfers in other areas of Japan

If you are looking for a little more fast-paced standard tour that allows you to see more places in Japan like bus tours, here are some useful links:

1-day Mount Fuji Bus Tour

AMAZING TOKYO (BUS TOUR)

One Day Bus Tours in Japan

 

 

I hope this article helps you answer the question whether or not you need a guide in Japan, provide information of some advantages of hiring a tour guide in Japan and where you can hire one. I hope you have a great time in Japan!

Gifu Tour Guide - Akiko W.

Akiko W.

5.00 / 5
(8 reviews)
Japan

Hello! My name is Akiko from Gifu prefecture. I am a National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter. I like going out with my family, talking with my friends over coffee at a cozy cafe, reading books, baking bread and cake when I have time. I passed the national tour guide test in 2017 and have worked as a guide since then. I have guided in Gifu city, Seki city, Takayama city, Shirakawago , Mino city and Nagoya city. I have lived in Gifu for more than forty years. Gifu prefecture is rich in nature so you can enjoy the rural atmosphere. Gifu city has a beautiful river 'Nagara river' and Mt.Kinka which has Gifu castle on the top. You can go up the mountain on foot or use a ropeway. The view from Gifu castle is so fantastic. At the foot of the mountain , there are many places to visit such as parks, a temple having a big image of Buddha, and a street preserving the historic atmosphere. At Nagara River, you can enjoy seeing a traditional way of fishing ‘cormorant fishing’ which is thought to have started 1300 years ago. Many cafes have unique service called 'morning service' in Gifu along with Aichi In the morning (until about ten thirty or eleven) when you order a cup of tea or coffee, they serve toast and salad ! Near Gifu park , you can find a nice Japanese style cafe where you enjoy good coffee and seeing a Japanese style garden. Seki city is a small city but so famous for its cutlery. At Japanese sword museum in Seki, you can see authentic Japanese swords! Mino city next to Seki city is well known for its hand made Japanese paper 'Hon minoshi' designated as intangible cultural asset by UNESCO . Until recently it was not easy to guide guests because of COVID-19 pandemic; however the situation is getting better. Some strict rules about COVID-19 have been lifted. Please visit Gifu. I am looking forward to seeing you. Please feel free to ask me when you need information about Gifu. Thank you for reading my introduction.                                                                                                                                 

Nagasaki Tour Guide - Shonosuke S.

Shonosuke S.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Japan

Hi! I'm Sho! I live in the center of Nagasaki city and work as a YouTuber, podcaster, and tour guide specializing in sharing the charms of Nagasaki. Actually, I was born and raised in Yokohama, near Tokyo, and worked for about 5 years in Tokyo. However, I fell in love with the culture and history of Nagasaki and moved here in 2020. Nagasaki has a rich history of international exchange and friendship, established about 450 years ago as an international trading port in Japan. Since then, many people from all over the world with diverse cultures and values have visited this city. I love these stories and histories of Nagasaki. Nagasaki is often associated with the sad history of the atomic bomb, which is, of course, an important part of this city's history, but Nagasaki has much more than that. I'm looking forward to introducing you to the many charms of Nagasaki!                                                                                                                                 

Fukuoka Tour Guide - Kazue I.

Kazue I.

5.00 / 5
(17 reviews)
Japan

Hi! I am Kazue. I am from Fukuoka and live in the central city. I spent almost 20 years traveling around the world as a cabin attendant. Meeting different people, different cultures and eating local food were best things in my career. This experience definitely widened my perspective and will help me in some way when I work as a guide. Since I spent half my life outside of Japan, I noticed our culture and traditions are very unique and became more interested in historical sites in Japan. For my personal life, I am a mom of twins. It is still a hard work but I am enjoying a lot with them. We take them around Kyushu whenever possible for their fun and experience. We all love traveling after all. I am looking forward to showing you around our hometown soon!                                                                                                                                  

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