Why should I visit Japan with a guide or group tour?

May 13 | Evan | No Comments |

I get asked frequently why should I visit Japan with a group or a guide and there are many reasons why you should see the sights in Japan with a guide! There is nothing wrong with going sightseeing in Japan by yourself and Japan is safe enough (actually, crime wise, Japan is probably just about the safest country there is) where you really don’t have to worry about most issues you have when traveling to other countries. Like most things in life, there are some advantages to touring Japan with a guide and some benefits to enjoy your holiday in Japan by yourself!

First, let’s explore the benefits of traveling to Japan by yourself…



Of course visiting Japan by yourself gives you the ultimate flexibility because you can visit sights in Japan you want to see and eat the foods in Japan you want to eat and so on… I spent about 4 years off an on traveling by myself around Japan and it was filled with wonderful experiences and my favorite foods!

Less of an investment

This, along with all reasons to visit Japan by yourself, kind of goes along with flexibility as you can stay and eat where you want to in Japan and save money how you want to. Not to mention you don’t have the added expense of a guide.

Public transportation in Japan is awesome

I don’t think it is possible to find as efficient, safe and clean public transportation anywhere else in the world, Japan’s public transportation is top-notch and can get you most popular places. Not only in Tokyo, Kyoto and other popular places, but even in the countryside there is at least some network of trains and buses that are usually still on time. Also, there are great apps and websites like hyperdia that will give you the best way to get from one station to another including details of transfer times, cost, total time and more.

Japanese people usually want to help foreigners

No sweeping statement is always true, but especially in areas where non-Japanese are more common, locals are usually really happy to help us clueless foreigners!


Japan is safe and Japanese people are usually trustworthy

Again, no sweeping statement is always true and yes, you should always use common sense when traveling, but compared to most countries, Japan is about as safe as they come and Japanese people tend to be very honest and trustworthy. You really don’t have to worry about being “taken for” since you are not a local.

Here are the reasons why it is great to have a guide when visiting Japan…


Guides will save you time

Time efficiency means more vacation time in Japan and less planning time before you visit Japan, especially if you are on a private tour.  Time is one of the few things in life you can never get more of and by definition of taking a holiday in Japan, you will have a very limited time in Japan.  My services will not only save you time in the planning process of your trip to Japan, but also when in Japan guides will make your time more efficient.  Getting from your hotel or sightseeing spot A to sightseeing spot B will be much easier with a guide. Yes, Japan has great public transportation but one look at the Tokyo Metro Map (only the subway not including the trains even) might make your head explode! Then once you get to your station, addresses in Japan aren’t straightforward as they are in other countries, and good luck finding street signs in Japanese let alone English.   If you don’t have a portable wifi device or roaming service to use your navigation app on your phone, you are in even worse trouble for finding places efficiently. A4-英-1212

Speaking Japanese in Japan is better than speaking English

Yes, you can visit Japan by yourself, even if you don’t speak Japanese, but traveling with somebody that speaks Japanese makes many situations much easier and again, will save you lot’s of time and even some frustration!   In Tokyo and other very popular tourist areas you will find English signs, but not always and finding English speakers, even in Tokyo isn’t always easy.  If you have dietary restrictions, it could be very difficult explaining what you can and cannot eat in English.  Once you leave Tokyo, English will become even less common…

Knowledge and personal experiences

Guides probably know more than you do about Japan!  Big surprise I know, but it is true!  Through my time living and traveling to Japan, I’ve learned quite a bit about Japan and can help you decide how to best spend your time depending on your interests and needs.  Again, you only have a limited time in Japan, so you will not be able to visit all the sightseeing spots and ramen restaurants, but I can tell you which ones might be best for you. Of course I don’t know everything about Japan and always try to get feedback and ask questions to what interests you have in Japan to make your time in Japan more meaningful.

Special experiences in Japan can’t always be booked by yourself

133_8636efWant to knock something off the bucket list?  Not only will guides know more than you, guides will have better connections than you!  Want to do something unique and special in Japan?   Like many places in the world, it is just as much about who you know!  With my local connections, I can arrange some special experiences that you can’t on your own or sometimes without me being there.  There are even some cases where something could be “sold out” for you, but not for me or even one step further, it could still be for me, but not for my connections in Japan.

Less stress in planning and getting around Japan

Whether it is a group tour of Japan you are interested in, or a private tour with your family to Japan, your guide can handle most things that will cause you stress so that you can enjoy your vacation!   Making the schedule fit is not only time-consuming, but it can be very stressful. Again, while in Japan, having a guide escort you around to make sure transfers between cities or just sightseeing spots go smoothly will certainly reduce your stress and let you focus on enjoying your vacation or creating your art in Japan.

Final note about my tours in Japan

Japan Photo Guide offers both custom tours for families and friends as well as group tours for photographers, photography hobbyists and their friends and family. Private escorted tours to Japan are catered to each group and even with the group tours to Japan, I always customize parts of the tour according to the participants to try and make the most out everyone’s holiday in Japan. If you are interesting in a group tour, like my 2014 Fall Japan Tour, or just have some questions, contact me today!

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