I know it is difficult to determine whether you need a local tour guide in Japan or not, and where to find one if you eventually decide that you do.
But don’t worry, I've got you covered, as I will be sharing the top 10 reasons why you should hire a tour guide to take into your consideration.
In this article, I am going to tell you the top 10 reasons why hiring a local tour guide in Japan is beneficial, where to hire a great tour guide and more recommendations. So, keep on reading!
If you are traveling to Japan, with the language and culture differences, rich history-filled with legends at every corner, traveling by yourself may not be the best option to enjoy the most of Japan.
For those reasons, thousands of tourists every year decide to hire a local tour guide to enhance their experience in Japan, filled with famous destinations, off-the-beaten-path spots, activities, local experiences and really get feel of Japan when they come to the country.
So, should you hire a guide in Japan?
Here are the top 10 reasons to use a local tour guide in Japan
1. Enhanced trip
Having a tour guide by your side during your trip can enhance your experience in Japan. A good guide will be able to explain the local culture and traditions and give you other local insights.
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 and personal suggestions on how to get the most out of your trip.
You don’t have to trouble yourself with figuring out the details when you travel. Where to go? How to get around? Directions? The guide will figure it out for you. You don’t have to worry about language difficulties, a good guide will be able to help and take care you.
You can just communicate with your guide, tell them about your needs and preferences, and they will tend to them.
3. Customizable itinerary
You don’t have to plan one on your own. A tour guide will prepare an itinerary for your trip, which you can customize according to 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.
Planning an itinerary can take a lot of time, you don’t have to and you can save your time! A good guide will structure your itinerary to be time-efficient, probably allowing you to visit more places. A good guide will 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.
Ok, this is especially for those of you who are budget travelers. Are they worth the cost?
You are probably thinking that hiring a guide cost money, so how can it save money? Here’s how. 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.
The costs of tour guides in Tokyo differ, some can be cheaper and some can be more expensive.
However, keep in mind...
Hiring a private guide with the average cost of US$40 per hour can still be cheaper to hire for groups compared to joining regular tours. Generally, regular tours charge per person and can get expensive for groups with more people. Meanwhile, when you hire a private guide, you are only paying a fee for the guide's service for your group.
Still not convinced? Here’s more:
Private guides have a better understanding of how the local system operates and can help you with things in Japan that you are not familiar with. You don’t have to worry about getting lost as well.
Japan is a generally safe country, but a good guide will know and tell you which places where a little extra caution is beneficial.
7. Uncover lesser known places
You can discover a new place that is out of the way and a bit unusual. Don’t you like the thrill of finding places beyond the obvious and aren’t on popular tourist routes? You can be amazed how the off-the-beaten-path spots can be equally and even more incredible than the major ones.
8. Discover unique stories and details about the destinations
It is easy to memorize facts and look up things on the internet. Hiring a guide can give you so much more than that, local insights, traditions, history, and up-to-date factual information about the sites. Guides can also let you see the spots from another angle, and give you access to spots you probably would not have otherwise.
You can have a richer, deeper understanding of the spots you visit in Japan because the guides will be able to tell you the history and context of the spots you visit from an insider/local perspective and answer questions you have about them
If you still want to experience Japan your own way, according to your schedule and interests, tour guides can help you with that. Compared to the standard group tours, you can experience so much more with private tours. You are not restricted by the tight schedule and you can move according to your own time.
10. Find and eat good food
Do you not love tasting new foods on your travel? Tour guides can give you suggestions of where are the best places to eat, that, of course, you can request to match your preferences.
This is also important if you have food restrictions/allergies, let your tour guides know and they will bring you to the best places to eat!
Think that’s all? Nope. Here’s an extra one!
11. Private photographer
You would want to be in your travel pictures for once, right? You don’t have to worry about not being in your travel pictures or 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!
Recommended tour guides in Japan
Ready to hire one?
There are many places on the web where you can hire tour guides, but you never know what you are getting into, whether the guides are quality guides or not. Or whether the website is trustworthy or not.
That’s why I’m recommending you TripleLights. The guides are selected carefully to ensure the quality of the work and service.The website offers many local tour guides options in Japan from which you can choose according to your needs and preferences.
Through the website, you can watch the guides’ personalized videos, read the reviews of each guide, check their availability and service cost to help you find the right guide.
Where to hire tour guides in Japan?
If you are ready to hire your guide and have an amazing trip to Japan, here’s how. First, you will need to decide your destination.
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 and also the tour recommendations for Kyoto and other areas of Japan.
I hope the tips on this article helped you with some good information on why people hire a tour guide in Japan, where to hire one, and more recommendations. I hope you have a great time in Japan!