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

Hiring A Guide In Tokyo: Pros & Cons

Ajitsa A.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Ajitsa A.

Last updated : Apr 15, 202410 min read

Travel Tips

Tokyo Tour Guide

 

Traveling to Tokyo is a once in a lifetime experience that should be filled with amazing memories, not worrying about the steep language barrier and the complex transportation system. It’s easy to dream of touring the Sky tree, or savoring seafood in Tsukiji Market, but if you’re wondering how to turn that dream into a reality, a Tokyo tour guide can help ease the journey. 

 

But should you get a guide in Tokyo? We say yes! Tour guides provide safety, language understanding, enhanced knowledge, and easy planning. But we’re a little biased. If you’re seriously asking yourself this question, though, it’s time to weigh the options. So let’s look at both the pros and cons, so that you and your loved ones can enjoy Shinjuku and Akihabara without worry. 

The Pros: Why Taking On Tokyo With A Guide Works 

 

The Pros Of Hiring A Guide In Tokyo City with images of tourist attractions and cute pixelated cats and screens.

 

  • Learning From A Local: A private tour guide brings in-depth knowledge about Tokyo's history, culture, and hidden gems that may not be easily accessible to a typical tourist. After all, there’s no better way to see a city than through the eyes of those who call it home. Yanaka Ginza, a charming shopping street in the old part of Tokyo, is better enjoyed when you can explore traditional shops and enjoy local snacks while understanding the nuances behind such a quaint and calm locale. 
  • Keeping It Custom: A tailor-made tour based on you and your loved one's schedule comes in handy when you’ve got to split time between Tokyo’s historic museums, and the Harajuku shopping scene. If you're a history buff, a guide might take you to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, providing insights into Tokyo's transformation over the centuries. It’s all up to you. 
  • Loving The Language: To quote Wittgenstein, the limits of my language are the limits of my world. Tokyo has an English proficiency of 503, which is on the lower moderate end. Japan itself has around 10% of the population speaking English. A private guide can serve as a translator, helping you communicate effectively. Navigating Tsukiji Fish Market becomes more enjoyable when your guide can explain the different types of seafood and assist in interactions with vendors.
  • Nail The Navigation: Tokyo is a vast metropolis with a complex public transportation system, and several bustling streets to navigate (Shibuya crossing, anyone?). A guide can help you navigate efficiently, saving time and reducing the stress that comes with getting lost in such a big city. Hopping on the intricate subway system to reach Meiji Shrine and Harajuku becomes seamless with a guide who knows the fastest and most convenient routes.
  • A Curated Culture: A private guide provides much needed cultural context, helping you understand local customs and traditions, making your experiences more meaningful, and giving you a greater chance to meet locals on their terms. Touring Asakusa with a guide allows you to appreciate the significance of Senso-ji Temple and participate in traditional rituals like purifying yourself with incense smoke, while respecting the customs. 

 

The Cons: Why You Might Want To Travel Solo Through Tokyo 

Okay, so there are clearly some benefits to getting a Tokyo private guide, but it isn’t all cherry blossoms and soft serve ice cream. It may not be the right choice for everyone. Here are three reasons why a traveler might choose not to hire a private tour guide.

 

Reasons Why You Might Not Want A Tokyo Guide with pictures representing each disadvantage of a tour guide, and illustrated icons.

 

  • You’re a DIY Traveler At Heart: Guides are great, but if you find the meticulous planning process to be the greatest part of any trip, a guide might get in the way of that. Comfortable using maps, language translation books, and travel app?  You might find a self-guided adventure more fulfilling.
  • You Desire Serendipitous Discoveries: Looking to dive into your Tokyo adventure blind? Hiring a guide may limit the opportunity for unexpected discoveries, as they often plan a structured itinerary based on your preferences. If you enjoy the thrill of stumbling upon hidden gems or getting lost in the city for hours without a set plan, you may opt for a more unscripted travel experience.
  • Language Proficiency: Is your Japanese as flawless as a slice of A5 Wagyu? For travelers who are proficient in the local language, or comfortable enough to hold a conversation with a native Japanese speaker, the language barrier may not be a significant concern. You may feel less reliant on a guide for language support.

 

Okay, I Want a Tour, Just Not A Traditional One: Splitting The Difference 

We love the idea of immersing yourself in a new culture, but nobody wants to get caught up in a monotonous shuffling dance from site to site. At GoWithGuide, we do things a little different.

 

Traditional Tours v.s GoWithGuide Tours Comparison

 

The Big Mikan: Hiring A Tokyo Guide In 3 Steps 

Okay, so if you’ve made it this far, you’re intrigued, but you’re probably asking, how do I get a guide in Tokyo? Here’s our efficient, and easy to follow 3-step plan. 

 

How To Hire A Tokyo Guide In 3 Steps

 

  1. Head to our Tokyo local guides page and, if you know where you’re headed (Asakusa, Harajuku, Ginza), select guides from those districts. Be on the lookout for good reviews, fun, lighthearted biographies, and a big smile!
  2. Alright, now that you’ve seen a guide you like, you’ve got a few options. If you see a tour offer that you like, you can book instantly and be done. Have sites you’re excited to add, or see something you want to remove? Just click the blue “Message” button. 
  3. Now it’s time for some customization! Let your guide know when you’ll be traveling, who you’re traveling with, and what preferences you and your travel team has, then hit send. And just like that, you’ve started making your dream itinerary a reality.

 

The Guide To Guides: Dos & Don’ts On A Tour Of Tokyo 

Now that you’re seriously considering a guided private tour of Tokyo, these simple tips should help you navigate your journey smoothly, and maybe meet some lifelong friends along the way!

 

Dos & Don

 

Enough talk.  Let’s See Some Tokyo Highlights! 

Ready to fill up your itinerary? These tours are a great way to get started. Happy Touring! 

 

Some Tokyo Tours To Try Out

 

  • Tokyo Tea Celebrated: Special Tea Tour: Embark on a serene journey through Tokyo's tea culture. Dive into Japanese tea ceremony culture, from visiting historic tea houses, to savoring exquisite matcha flavors. Let the tranquil ambiance and aromatic brews transport you to a world where tradition and tranquility meet.
  • Taste The Tsukiji Market: Food Lover’s Tour: Indulge your taste buds on a culinary adventure through Tokyo's renowned Tsukiji Market. Delight in fresh sushi, sashimi, and a myriad of local delicacies. Engage with passionate vendors, learning the art of Japanese cuisine. This food lover's tour promises an unforgettable feast for your senses amid the vibrant market atmosphere.
  • Shinjuku By Sunset: Nighttime Tour: Who said that tours only take place during the day? Experience the magic of Tokyo as the sun sets over the dazzling cityscape of Shinjuku. Encounter neon-lit streets, entertainment districts, and cozy nooks that come alive after dark. From panoramic city views to lively izakayas, a nighttime tour offers an enchanting glimpse into Tokyo's vibrant nightlife. 

Conclusion 

Ready to kick off your own Tokyo adventure? Get in touch with a local Tokyo tour guide and start creating your dream itinerary today! 

Tokyo Tour Guide - Yasuro C.

Yasuro C.

4.80 / 5
(64 reviews)
Japan

Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

Tokyo Tour Guide - Grant A.

Grant A.

5.00 / 5
(15 reviews)
Japan

My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. *There will be a price revision at the end of June* My tour fee is Half-Day Tour: 20,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 40,000yen for 5-10hours The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards the time. I am also able to guide historical sites and cities such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko, and Kamakura on request if you pay my rail fare.                                                                                                                                  

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

Kaneo U.

4.98 / 5
(43 reviews)
Japan

I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                 

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