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!

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in Japan

F

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Fidelia A.

Last updated : Apr 28, 20228 min read

Travel Tips

Are you planning a trip to Japan? Maybe you thought of hiring a private guide to make things easier for you.

 

Here’s the thing; hiring a guide in Japan is as easy as a simple Google search, but how can you be sure that the guide you’re hiring is the best one out there?

 

To help you know your options, I would make a review of the most well-known Japan’s tour guide marketplaces available online. Sit tight and hold on!

Should I Hire a Guide for My Japan Trip?

blog imagePerhaps you’ve asked this particular questions multiple times in the past. The answer to that question is this; you can actually travel Japan without a guide. Japan’s major town has a lot of English signs that could help you navigate your way around.

 

However, even with all of those signs, getting around to your destinations might still be quite a challenge. Japan’s public transport system is still very complicated, and could easily overwhelm first-time visitors. You could easily get lost in the middle of trying to get to your favorite destination spots.

 

In order to minimize the risk of getting lost and also spend your time more effectively, it would be better to hire a guide. Contrary to popular belief, hiring a guide in Japan is not as expensive as you might’ve thought. You could simply find a guide that suits your budget, and also ask for some recommendations for other places to visit during your trip.

 

But what are the tips for getting a good guide for your Japan trip, you might ask? No worries! I will discuss that in the next point.

Qualifications for a Good Tour Guide

blog image

  1. Price

Of course, you need to find a guide that suits your budgets. It is understandable that if a guide has a lot of reviews and very experienced, they tend to have a more expensive fee. However, it doesn’t mean that the more affordable guides are not trustworthy; maybe they just haven’t had a chance to prove themselves yet! Be that person who would help those guides gain more experience, by hiring the best guide that suits your budget.

 

  1. Guide’s Personality

Look;

You would want a guide that would be helpful to you.

 

Before you book a guide, you should first have a few conversations with them. Decide for yourself if they have a nice person that you think will suit you. Pay attention to their mannerism! You can do this by chatting to them before your reservation, or read their introduction in their profiles/watch their introductory videos!

 

  1. Language Skills

Get a guide who understands you!

 

Your guide would literally act as your personal translator. As you might’ve known, English in Japan is not as widely spoken as you would’ve expected (or hope for!). Because of this, it is important that your guide would be able to communicate well with you, and can help you communicate with other people that you meet on the way, like shopkeepers or restaurant staffs. Again, you can decide for yourself if your guide is the best one for you by looking at their introductory text or watching their introductory video.

 

Another tip:

You should also tell your guide what exactly it is that you want!

 

Your guide would want the best for your trip, and in order for them to do that, you would need to tell them what it is that you really want to do during your trip. They are not mind-readers; even the best of guides would have difficulty guessing what you hope to achieve on your trip without you giving a clear instruction.

If you tell your guide what you want to see or experience from your trip, they will be able to direct you and give you inputs regarding whether or not certain things are possible on your trip.

 

In order to help you decide what to do in your destinations, here is a list of Tokyo’s Best Attractions, and Day Trips from Tokyo. For you night-owls, you might want to know more about Tokyo’s Best Night Views and Activities. Also, since Tokyo is beautiful in all seasons, here is a list of specific activities you can do in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn!

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces

blog imageHere are a few comparisons I made for Japan’s available marketplaces for guides:

 

Veltra
This website is quite well-known among solo travelers. Their list of activities and tours in Japan is very impressive. However, it is not quite the right place if you’re looking for just a private guide to accompany you in your trip since most of the things they offer are for activities and tours available in Japan.


Pros:
- Fast and easy confirmation

- Vast option for different experiences and tours

Cons:
- Since the tours are provided by other travel companies, the schedules are less flexible

- Not for those searching for a private guide

 

Toursbylocals

Look:
No one understands the city better than the locals.

As the name suggested, on this website the tours are provided by the locals. This way, you can sometimes customize the tour itinerary to fit your own taste. You can get a more personal and inside look at Japan with the help of locals!

 

Pros:
Get an inside view of Japan

Some tours are adjustable to your preferences

 

Cons:

A limited number of guides

Unsuitable for big groups

A limited  number of activities

 

Voyagin

Voyagin offers a vast number of guided tours and experiences that one can join. They also accept reservations for tickets and passes, which would be perfect for independent travelers.

Sadly, as is the problem with Veltra, you can’t really find a “guide-only” supplier on this site. They mostly accommodate tours, activities, and reservations.


Pros:
Book for reservations easily (trains, restaurants, attractions, etc.)

Good customer service

Tours from both companies and/or professional locals


Cons:
Limited to only big cities

Not for those searching for private guides

 

GoWithGuide
Although this website is still quite new when compared to all the previous websites, there’s one thing that makes them stands out from all the others.

In GoWithGuide, all the tours provided are created by the guides themselves. One can directly discuss their specific details with the guides. Travelers can design which destination they want to visit and have their own one-of-a-kind tour. Moreover, you would have no problem to find rent-a-cars or a chartered bus for a group of people in this website.


Pros:
Flexible itineraries

Support tours in various languages

Provide services for bigger groups

Provide tours in lesser-known spots

Private Guides booking

 

Cons:

Lesser activities options

 

Of course, whichever website you decided to use in the end is all up to your own judgment. However, based on the explanation above I do recommend to get a private guide from GoWithGuide if you really want to hire one.

More Tips

blog imageIf you think that hiring a private guide is not really something that you would do after all, perhaps you would be interested in joining a bus tour instead. This way, you could still save more time in navigating around your destinations.

 

Or perhaps you would be interested in joining a walking tour? A walking tour will guarantee that you can get more time exploring your destinations. However, if you are not so sure that you would be able to walk for a long period of time, you might want to rent a car instead to get you to your destinations faster.

 

Here in this article, I have reviewed Japan’s Tour Guide Marketplaces and several other tips. Here’s to a good trip to 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!                                                                                                                                  

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Get Started