Regardless of what type of traveller you relate to, we can all agree local tours are beneficial to a great extent. For solo travelers, it's an opportunity to meet new friends from around the world. For families with kids, it takes the burden off your shoulder in one way or another. And for some free and easy travellers, it is but the best route there is.
In Tokyo, knowing it's odd and beautiful complexities, tours are a lifesaver. You only need to follow your guide and taste the city's wonders on a local's point of view.
Before you even begin knocking things off your bucket list, let me hold you right there. You might want to check out the common questions we hear from foreign tourists about Tokyo tours.
1. Do Japanese guides speak English? Yes. Local guides speak English very well. Translations apps come in handy, but we encourage you to learn some basic Japanese words.
2. How long do Tokyo tours usually last? The duration of Tokyo tours varies on the type of activities you’re going to take. Most tours in Tokyo usually last from 2-3 hours.
3. Do I need to tip? How much tip should I give? Some tour guides offer walking tours for free. Again, they won’t cost you anything. Nonetheless, they appreciate gratuities as well. How much? Tips average at ¥1,000 ($10). For paid tours, local guides in Tokyo don’t expect tips for the most part.
4. What should I wear on my Tokyo tour? Comfortable shoes and a pair of socks. In Japan, it’s considered filthy and rude to show your bare feet. This is especially the case in temples and restaurants with tatami mats where you need to take your shoes off.
5. What should I bring? Toilet paper. Most public restrooms don’t have them. Also, trash bins in Tokyo are few and far between. Be sure to stash a little polybag or paper pouch in your daypack for your rubbish.
Bring sunscreen, hat or cap, water and umbrella or raincoat during wet months in Japan (between June to July).
6. Should I hire a local tour guide? Not necessarily. If you do your assignment, you can roam around Tokyo with little to no hitches. But know that there are cities best explored from a local’s perspective. Tokyo is one of them. They have localized insights that you can’t find in a guidebook or on the internet.
7. How to know if the tour guide/tour agency is legitimate? There’s no hard and fast method to detect people posing as legitimate local tour guides. But background checking via sites like TripAdvisor and Viator would help a lot.
8. Where to find the best tour guides in Tokyo? We recommend checking out TripleLights for certified tour guides in Japan. TripAdvisor and Viator are good platforms as well to know reviews on these guides.
9. Which Tokyo tour should I take? Choosing the right Tokyo tour depends on what you want to see and do. Sightseeing tours usually bring you to the picture-perfect spots in the city. Food tours bring you to local spots of authentic Japanese dishes tucked away within the city. There are special tours where you get to see a Geisha perform, drive a go-kart, or watch the Grand Wrestling Tournament.
If you’re on a private tour, you might be able to customize it according to your liking. And there’s the free walking tour where you roam around the city. In Tokyo, your options are endless!
10. Can I book a tour alone? Yes. Booking a Tokyo tour for one is fine; you will join other tourists. It will save you a little. Open tours are a great way to meet new friends on your trip to Tokyo.
Last Things to Remember Japanese people drive and walk on the left so keep that in mind. Always stay on the left side on public stairways and escalators.
Make sure to check out the website of your chosen tour for specific tour guidelines. All that’s left to say is happy travel!
Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!