F.A.Q.

Mar 24 | Evan | 2 Comments |

Are you an official licensed guide?

No, I am not an official licensed guide in Japan or anywhere else! Japan has very strict guidelines on becoming an official guide. Basically there are 3 levels:

1. English Speaking Guide(ESG): Officially licensed guide. She/He can do guiding, escorting, interpreting or doing anything

2. English Speaking Escort(ESE): Non-Licensed. She/He can escort the group and give them the instruction or information but cannot provide the history, culture, tradition and so on.

3. English Speaking Assistant(ESA): Non-Licensed. She/He will just help boarding train or bus, or helping check-in etc.

I am number 2, ESE. This means that I cannot be paid to teach you about Japanese history, culture, traditions and so on. The “guide” in Japan Photo Guide is meant for photography guide, not guide of Japan. Any payment is not to hire me as an “English Speaking Guide” in Japan.

Why should I experience Japan?

Too many reasons to list! The first time I came to Japan, I was just looking for something different. I didn’t realize that Japan had so much to offer. Whether it is history, culture, food, scenery, arts, architecture, or just looking for something different, Japan has something to offer you. Your friends might not know why you decided to visit Japan, but they know that they want the experience too! Life is too short to never get away from your daily routine and experience the world.

Are you planning any group tours?

Yes!  Right now there are 2 group tours live and a few more in the works.  Currently, here is what you can book:

2014 Fall Tour of Japan

2015 Spring/Cherry Blossom Tour of Japan

Why experience Japan with Evan?

The short answer is my experiences, connections and set of skills. As a westerner who has lived and traveled around Japan for almost 4 years now, I’ve experienced parts of Japan that most tourists simply don’t have access to. I’ve lived with 2 different Japanese families, by myself while working in Japan so I am familiar with daily life in Japan and learned about Japanese customs (although I learn more everyday I’m in Japan).

As a professional photographer, I look at the world differently and find beauty where others find ordinary. My experiences as a photographer, and as a travel guide in Japan, have also taught me that simply providing a product or service isn’t enough to really satisfy my clients or for me to be fulfilled. Instead, my aim is to provide you with special memories that even if I wasn’t freezing them with photographs, they would be forever in your mind.

When is the best time to visit Japan?

Japan does have 4 season and while anytime is a good time to visit, spring and fall are the best times. Specifically from about Mid March to Mid April, when cherry blossoms are blooming, and Early November to Early December, when the leaves turn into a parade of colors. In the spring, the cherry blossom trees bloom and capture the nations attention like nothing else. It is truly a magically time that comes and goes too quickly! Another great time great time would be around the first/second week of February for the Sapporo Snow Festival.

How much does a tour cost?

The cost of a private tour varies with length of stay in Japan, time of year, number of people in your group, how much planning you require from me and other variables.  Most private tours fall in the range of 350 – 450 per day + expenses.  Group tours vary depending on our plan and accommodations.  Inquire today to lock in special pricing or check out the 2014 Japan Fall Tour or 2015 Japan Spring and Cherry Blossom Tour for more information on group pricing.

What are the estimated expenses?

My Expenses:

In additional to my daily rate, you are responsible for some of my expenses. My expenses vary, with the two greatest factors being time of year, which affects my travel fees, and the caliber of hotels you decide to stay in. In most cases, I prefer to stay in the same hotel as you, but there are some circumstances where I will stay in a hotel close by.  For 7 days or more, my estimated expenses are about $325 USD per day. This money goes toward my travel fees, hotel fees, meals/snacks when we are together, and entrance fees to temples, museums, and so on.  I never inflate my expenses, and your invoice will reflect the exact amount I am charged.

Your Expenses:

Your expenses can vary drastically depending on your lifestyle and shopping habits.  Besides shopping, the easiest ways to spend (or save) money depend on your level of accommodations and food.  In Tokyo, you can spend anywhere from about $25 USD to over $100 USD on food per day.  In terms of accommodations, you could spend anywhere from $50 USD (for a hostel) to over $500 USD (5 star hotel) per night.  For a seven day trip with average tastes in food/hotels, you can expect to spend about $2000 USD, but this does not include your flight as this varies too drastically for me to estimate.  Again, I have to stress that this estimate could be much lower (or even higher) than what you actually spend in Japan depending on your spending, eating, and drinking habits.

Do you live in Japan?

No. After living in Japan for almost 4 years, I have since moved back to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA where I work as a Professional Photographer. On average, I spend at least 4-5 weeks every year in Japan.

Can you help with hotels and other reservations?

Yes!  I have partnered with a travel agency in Japan and in most cases can help with hotels accommodations or other activities in Japan.  Even if you are not hiring me to guide you around Japan, I can still help you get great rates on hotels in Japan or a JR Rail Pass for traveling within Japan.

Should I buy a JR Rail Pass?

This depends on your travel plans within Japan. A JR Rail Pass must be purchased before your arrival in Japan and with this pass, you can ride most JR trains, buses and boats for no extra charge. If you plan on at least traveling round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, then it is usually worth it to get the rail pass. Here is more information and details about the JR Rail Pass.  I have partnered with a travel agency in Japan to get discounts off Japan Rail Passes which I will gladly pass along to you!  Just contact me to order yours today.

2 Responses to F.A.Q.

  1. tour guide elder says:

    To be a tour guide in Japan for foreigners, you need to pass an exam and obtain a license. Otherwise, you are doing it illegally and can be
    fined. http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/shisaku/kokusai/tsuyaku.html

    • Evan says:

      Yes, this is true! I am not an official guide of Japan as I am not licensed. The “Guide” in Japan Photo Guide is related to photography guide, not to guide of Japan. I am not paid to guide about Japanese culture, history or traditions.

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