Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in Japan

by Fidelia - TripleLights travel specialist

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?

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in JapanPerhaps 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

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in Japan

  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

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in JapanHere 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

 

Triplelights
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 Triplelights, 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 Triplelights if you really want to hire one.

More Tips

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in JapanIf 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!

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan


Plan your trip to Japan

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

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Highlights of Kyoto ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: Kenji

Kenjii was a very knowledgeable guide and amenable to whatever our group wanted to do. His English was good, he was happy to answer questions and we had a lovely day together.
read more

“ Great to have Yuki during our Tokyo trip! Highly recommended guide! ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Jessline -   Tour Guide: Yuki

It was my family trip and also first time to Tokyo. We decided to engage a guide in order to maximize our time. We are fortunate to have Yuki as our tour guide. He is patient, punctual, knowledgeable and flexible. We encountered typhoon during our trip and also raining. We are so worried that we might not able to go our desired destinations as scheduled. He adjusted our itinerary based on weather...
read more

“ Two days in Kyoto ”

Excellent
16 hours ago Traveler: Alon -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori guided us (me and my 24 years old twins ,from Israel) for 2 days in Kyoto. We had an amazing time with her! Kaori has great knowledge and she planned our days in a great way so we got to see and learn about the main city attractions in the best way we could. Kaori also knew how to adjust the plans according to weather and our preferences. We highly recommend choosing her for your trip.
read more

“ Perfect introduction to Tokyo ”

Excellent
18 hours ago Traveler: Nonie -   Tour Guide: Keiko

Keiko was an absolute delight - we loved our half day tour with her! We went to the fish markets, Shinjuku and Azabu-Jyuban and then she showed us how to get the train to our next location. Keiko spoke excellent English and was able to answer all of our obscure questions. She told us just the right amount of history as we went around (sometimes guides go into too much depth, but she had it just ri...
read more

“ Tomoko, our pass to Tokyo and Hakone! ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: Katherine -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

We had two amazing days with Tomoko. We are a group of 8 range from 6 yo to 77 yo. It was the best decision ever to have Tomoko to meet us at the airport on early morning. She helped to send our luggages to Kyoto and Tokyo hotels, activated our JR pass, SUICA cards and sort out our light snacks at 7-11- and not forgetting to teach us how to unwrap the rice balls. We spent the first day at Asak...
read more

“ A memorable day in Kyoto ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Ian -   Tour Guide: Hiroko

My son James(24) and I had a wonderful day in Kyoto with Hiroko this week.We visited both some of the major sites but also saw some of the quieter and picturesque parts of the city. Hiroko’s knowledge and enthusiasm brought them all to life in a very memorable way. She also always went the extra mile to ensure we had a great day including a very local lunch of okonomiyaki and at the end of the d...
read more

“ history, hidden gems, and laughs! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Christopher -   Tour Guide: Seiko

My sister, niece and I spent three amazing days with Seiko. We had so much fun, we wanted to have more days! She is so full of knowledge about Japanese culture, food, history, and art. She navigated us swiftly and effortless around Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka, and showed us many hidden jewels we would have missed if we had been on our own. She is also super sweet, a great conversationalist, and a lot o...
read more

“ Varied day in Tokyo ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Mark -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

We had an excellent day with Yukiko, it was varied in that we went to a Buddhist prayer ceremony followed by a garden visit followed by a visit to the Meiji shrine. Tokyo is very big so travel and walking takes up quite some time but is useful to help soak up the detail. Yukiko was very well prepared and knowledgeable, she made a real effort to make the day as interesting as possible and was good...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

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