Pokemon Go Tours of Japan

Japan Photo Pokemon Go Guide

Since 2010, I’ve traveled to Japan almost 40 times and before that, lived in Japan for 4 years.  I love Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese food and it’s a passion of mine to help others experience and travel around Japan.  Japan Photo Guide was created with the idea that while it’s possible for any photographer (or tourist) to tour Japan without any Japanese language or culture experience, it’s certainly not as efficient and a lot more research is needed on your own.  The reality is that most of the travelers to Japan I help will only be visiting Japan once, so not only do I want to be as efficient as possible with photo locations, but also feel it’s important to have cultural experiences, meeting locals and seeing the sights of Japan. 

The majority of my trips to Japan have been tours prepared for photographers and their families but also have helped escort families and school trips around Japan.  While welcoming tourists to Japan from over 15 counties and from ranging from elementary school kids to senior citizens, every now and then Pokemon Go came up within my group  It wasn’t until July 2019 when a friend in Japan forced me strongly requested I start playing so I could send her gifts from USA and I quickly understood why Pokemon Go crosses all kinds of barriers welcoming all types of players from all over the world.  There are lot’s of reasons to enjoy playing Pokemon Go, for me, I enjoy the PVE aspect but also it helps to get me motivated to meet my walking/exercise goals along with making new friends. 

What’s a Tour of Japan Playing Pokemon Go? 

Using my experience and personal connections built from both living and traveling in Japan and with the help of a Japanese travel agent that has also been playing Pokemon Go from day 1 (level 40 still active) we’ve come up with a tour of Japan so that you can experience the highlights of Japan while playing Pokemon Go.  Like all my tours, many of the specifics of the tour will be customized based on the group’s interests and requests.  Of course we will do some sightseeing but we will also hit all the best spots for most amount of gyms/spots in small area and spots famous for finding rare Pokemon.  We will also go to Pokemon Centers, store, cafe and other relevant places to get our PoGo swag!  

Why create a PoGo Tour of Japan?

Japan is the perfect place to play Pokemon Go and what better way to experience Japan than with like minded travelers (don’t feel bad about being the guy who needs to take a detour to get the rare mon on the radar).  Besides being the birthplace of Pokemon and the enormous player base, Japan is clean, safe and convenient to walk around.  If you are used to playing in a small city or rural area, you will be amazed at the density of pokestops and gym over vast areas.

These dates won’t work for me, are you doing more tours?

I hope so but not sure!  I know it’s a little late notice, but the idea came to be just recently.  I do offer private tours of Japan so if you want to get together with your family only or with a group of friends, I can arrange something just for you.

Will we see cherry blossoms?

If joining the April tour, more likely than not you will have a chance to see cherry blossoms in Japan while we tour.  Of course it depends on mother nature, so no guarantee! 

Will we play all day?

Anyone can go to Japan and play Pokemon go and I expect some might want to play all day, but the goal is to combine the sightseeing, experiences and food of Japan with different aspects of Pokemon Go.  

Will we have free time?

Yes!  While most of the tour will have structure to it, there will be some free/flexible time to explore on your own.  Of course you can always head back to the hotel or another place at your leisure.

How about food?

Breakfast buffet will be included at our hotels but currently other meals are not.  Depending on the groups eating preferences, allergies, restrictions there may be some optional group meals.  

WiFi & Cell Service in Japan?

Personal wifi hotspots will be provided though most US carriers will also offer a data plan for Japan. 

Are Kids and Spouses Welcome?

This might change slightly based on group feedback/availability, but I’m currently looking at two dates, one tour April 5th – 13th open to all ages and May 10th – 18th which I hope to keep only adults.  The April tour will coincide with cherry blossom season. We do need a minimum of 6 participants so if we are close, we might mix or only offer one of the tours.  This will be discussed with the group members if any changes meed to be considered. 

Are Kids and Spouses that don’t play Pokemon Go Welcome?

Yes, everyone is welcome and I’m confident that everyone that joins the tour will enjoy Japan as long as non playing participants understand ahead of time that there will be time dedicated to playing.  This means the tour pace might be slower than other tours and those that don’t play might have to be more patient or willing to have extra free time.

Are only Triangle Area residents allowed?

While I am opening this tour up to my local groups first, my travel agency in Japan will start promoting through their channels.  It would be great to have more locals than not though anyone is welcome!

Intro & Highlights

  • 8 nights of Accommodations and daily breakfast
  • Bullet train tickets between Tokyo and Osaka
  • Two tour leaders, Evan (everyday) and one other Japanese Pokemon Go expert (3-4 days in Tokyo)
  • Daily guidance and escorting for Pokemon Go gym battling, raiding, hunting and trading opportunities including visiting Pokemon Centers, cafes, shops and the world's first store dedicated not to Pokemon but to Pokemon Go!
  • Pocket Wi-Fi for the duration of your trip (can advise on using your own phone in Japan)
  • Sightseeing at locations important to Japan and also Pokemon Go
  • Opportunities to play Pokemon Go with locals
  • Restaurant recommendations
  • Optional experiences available based on the interest of the group
  • Pre departure PDF with additional information, tips and details.  For those local, we could also plan a meetup.

Tour Itinerary

There are currently two tours planned both 8 nights, 9 days flying into Tokyo and out of Osaka.  The cities will be roughly the same and while we will do some of the same activities, the exact plan will be catered to the interest of each group and it's possible we switch to 5 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto.

Day 1 - Arrive in Tokyo

This day will be left flexible with everyone potentially arrive at different times.  Most likely, there will be a welcome dinner and of course some game time!  

Days 2 - 4 - Tokyo

We will have 3 full days to explore Japan's vibrant capital. If New York is the city that never sleeps, Tokyo is the city the doesn't even slow down! A truly unique megalopolis, full of energy, lights and more food experiences that you could hope to try. For a city of this size (greater Tokyo area is around 35 million), Tokyo is amazingly clean, safe, provides ample and on time public transportation. We could spend the entire trip in Tokyo and not run out of things to do, see, experience, shop and eat.

Of course we will incorporate visiting Pokemon Centers, cafes, stores and other iconic places/gyms to play and get our PoGo swag!  Also, if you haven't heard, the world's first store dedicated to Pokemon Go, not Pokemon in general, Pokemon Go Lab (looks super awesome check out the link) has opened in Tokyo in December 2019.

There will be optional experiences available with the most popular one being a cooking lesson with a Japanese chef in her home. Tokyo is also perfect place to make day trips from should the group be interested in that.

Day 5 - Bullet train to Osaka

After breakfast we will take Japan's famous bullet train to Osaka where we will stay the remainder of our nights in Japan.  The train ride itself is a little more than 2 hours so we will have a half day in Kyoto this day.

Days 6 - 8

We will have 3 full days to explore Japan and though we will be staying in Osaka, we will surely spend some time in Kyoto as well.  Osaka is better for playing PoGo but Kyoto, Japan's old capital, is my favorite city in Japan and perhaps the world. It has a wonderful mix of modern and traditional Japan with food that is just as rich as Kyoto's history. Truly a unique place! Highlights include some spectacular temples and shrines like the Golden Pavilion, Ryoanji, Nanzenji, Kokedera and Fushimi Inari Taisha. Also we will check out some of the historic areas of Kyoto like the Geiko District (Geisha in Kyoto are referred to as Geiko) of Gion, beautiful Higashiyama neighborhood and the relaxing Path of Philosophy. If there is interest, there are numerous cultural experiences available here, for example, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy lesson and more.

Again, of course we will make time for playing and also visiting Pokemon Go centers.

Day 9

While this is last official day of the tour we probably won't have much planned with our group flying out of Osaka.  Depending on everyone's flight I will help to make sure you get to the airport on time.

Extension

Want to stay longer or arrive earlier in Japan?  I don't blame you!  For those joining the group tour, I can help plan your extra days with or without me as your guide at no extra cost.

Accommodations

Japanese accommodations are typically smaller than other countries though rooms are typically more thoughtfully laid out (not always but usually).  We will stay "Western" style hotels, that will typically be 3 star accommodations. Japan is generally a very safe country, but certainly all of the places we will stay will be in safe locations as well as being convenient to our trip itinerary and all accommodations will be clean, safe and comfortable enough to get good night's rest. 

Investment

8 nights, 9 Days | $2600 USD Per person DBL Occupancy

Guaranteed Single Room | +$500

Your investment per person, for this tour included:
  • 8 nights of Accommodations and daily breakfast
  • Bullet train tickets between Tokyo and Kyoto
  • Two tour leaders, Evan and one other Japanese Pokemon Go expert (local guide only certain days)
  • Daily guidance and escorting for Pokemon Go gym battling, raiding, hunting and trading opportunities including visiting Pokemon Centers, cafes, shops and the world's first store dedicated not to Pokemon but to Pokemon Go!
  • Pocket Wi-Fi for the duration of your trip (can advise on using your own phone in Japan)
  • Sightseeing at locations important to Japan and also Pokemon Go
  • Opportunities to play Pokemon Go with locals
  • Restaurant recommendations
  • Optional experiences available based on the interest of the group
  • Pre departure PDF with additional information, tips and details.  For those local, we could also plan a meetup.
Your investment does not include:
  • International Flights
  • Transfers before/after your international flights (though I can help arrange transfers, options range from $20 - $200+)
  • Lunches, dinners and extras ordered from hotel
  • While some meals will be included, often there are additional beverages that are not included like alcohol and sometimes soft drinks.
  • Any meals/activities/experiences during free time are not included
  • All personal expenses are not included
  • Any expenses/entrance fees incurred during free time or not part of the group's plan

 

Photo Leader

evanpikesqEvan Pike, professional photographer and founder of Japan Photo Guide will be your main guide in Japan. Evan spent more than 4 years living and traveling around Japan as a freelance photographer. Though currently living in the USA, Evan returns to Japan 2 - 4 times a year for weeks at a time. On average, Evan spends almost 3 months of the year in Japan. Through personal experiences and connections gained by living/traveling within Japan, Evan offers guidance, assistance, and photography tips, to create a much more meaningful vacation for those visiting Japan. The main idea behind Japan Photo Guide is to create unique experiences and memories that will last much longer than the vacation itself. When not in Japan, Evan runs a boutique portrait studio in Cary, NC and is a photographer for USA Today Sports Images.  Evan can speak intermediate Japanese--conversational, situational and functional.

Testimonials

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Japan Photo Guide has helped more travelers from more 15 different countries visit and experience Japan. Please take a look at the testimonial page for the most recent reviews of guided tours of Japan, but here are a few quotes taken from the reviews:

Our group had a strong interest in landscape photography and he prepared many options and locations so that we could create our art in a variety of different locations. Other highlights of the trip were a portrait session he planned with locals as well as introducing us to Japanese food and culture including a private cooking lesson with a Japanese chef in her home. I am looking forward to visiting Japan with Evan’s easy going personalty and warm smile!

Your ability to bridge the gap between U.S. and Japanese culture made the country come alive for me. You made it easy for me to see and do things that would have been extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.

Nothing is more valuable when visiting a new place than someone with first-hand knowledge of and experience with the geography, the culture, the people, and the sights. Your energetic and enthusiastic guidance through Tokyo made our trip effortless and maximized our enjoyment of this amazing city.

Gallery

Just some photos from various places in Japan, not necessarily where we are going for our Pokemon Go tour of Japan.

Additional Notes

Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur daily in Japan but high majority of them are so small they are not felt. In most cases, buildings in Japan are built to strict regulations to withstand moderate earthquakes but of course no place is completely safe nor can we predict earthquakes. In the unlikely event that we experience an earthquake of significance, it is important to be familiar with safety procedures. Japan Photo Guide highly recommends searching the web for this information but here is a good place to start your search.

The Tour and What to Expect

Japan Photo Guide tours are designed with specific goals in mind but to simply travel around Japan isn't enough. When possible and depending on the make up the group, cultural experiences will also be available to participate. These experiences are option and in some cases may come with an additional cost. In addition to time spent together, there will be built in free time to explore Japan on your own if you wish. These other experiences and free time and built in the tours so that if spouses/friends/partners want to come that aren't as serious about photography, can still come along and have a good time, but also so that everyone can get the most out of the trip to Japan.

All accommodations and hired transit (as well as public transit) will be clean, safe and hotels will have private bathrooms and showers. In general, Japan is a very safe and clean country, but still be mindful of valuables.

Please be aware that while we will not be taking place in any extreme workouts, there will be a considerable amount of walking and participants should be in good physical condition and health. In addition to walking quite a bit, in some cases we may need to walk uphill or up (rarely) numerous flights of stairs.  We can usually find an elevator or escalator if needed, but not always. Additionally, you may find it difficult to adjust to multiple time zone changes and wake up very early due to jet lag.

Terms and Conditions

Insurance

Japan Photo Guide typically requires you to have health insurance that covers you while traveling. Travel insurance is strongly encouraged to help reduce risk of financial losses that could occur. Different restrictions and limitations apply to travel insurance so please contact your insurance provider of choice and read over the details of their policy carefully. Take into account factors such as weather, missed connections, unable to travel due to sickness, family emergency, injury, unexpected financial problems, airline strikes, or other personal issues.

Health Requirements

In most cases, tours in Japan require moderate activity levels but there will be a lot of walking. Additionally, you may find it difficult to adjust to multiple time zone changes.

It is important to contact Japan Photo Guide before booking with any health or dietary concerns.

Most of the trip we will not be too far from hospitals or medical facilities, but there could be some days and time during transit where we are not within close range of immediate medical care.

Booking, Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds

Booking is available by first come first serve basis. To book a tour, you must submit the booking form and your deposit of $800 USD per person. Your spot is not reserved until you have submitted a form for your party and deposit per person. When booking less than 2 months in advance, payment in full is necessary.

If you need to cancel, you must submit the cancellation form and agree to the following conditions:

100 Days or more | You can receive a refund minus a $275 USD minimum cancellation fee per person plus any associated costs/fees (including credit card fees) charged by companies providing services, accommodations and experiences in Japan. Depending on the trip, fees could be in the amount of 25% to up to 100% of tour cost.

61 - 99 Days | You can receive a refund minus $550 USD minimum cancellation fee per person plus any associated costs/fees (including credit card fees) charged by companies providing services, accommodations and experiences in Japan. Depending on the trip, fees could be in the amount of 25% to up to 100% of tour cost.

60 Days or less through end of trip | No refund.

Tour Plan and Potential Changes

Japan Photo Guide designs tours with specific plans and goals in mind to experience all Japan has to offer, but in some cases, changes may need to be made without advance warning. Such changes could include but not limited to, accommodations, sightseeing schedule and experiences. When these changes need to be made, especially if weather is the factor for change, when possible, Japan Photo Guide will try to get input from the group when possible.

Cost

~2600

USD$ per person

Book your Trip Now

Tour Schedule

Tour dates: TBD

Extension dates: Ask