PLANS

My tour is not ready-made but a customized one for a guest by guest. I believe it has an overwhelming advantage over a massive group tour with a fixed itinerary. For example, we can flexibly revise the course depending on the weather, which is almost impossible in extensive group tours. Don’t you think it nonsense to climb up the Tokyo Skytree tower in heavy rain or walk a long distance under strong sunshine in summer? There are more merits. Some guests are worried if they can keep pace with other guests because of age or poor physical conditions, while you can walk or rest at your own pace with ease in private tours. Besides the above, you feel like having a coffee break in the middle of the trip, or you have any questions to a guide, etc. You do not have to hesitate to do anything in private tours!

To propose the best plan for my guest, I would like to start communication as early as possible and share the guest’s thoughts, concerns, wishes, and desires. The central part of my guiding is a whole and deep comprehension of Japanese culture. I refine my plan based on a guest’s wishes and experience. If it is the first visit to Tokyo, some places are indispensable for the first comers. Suppose any seasonal event is available such as cherry blossoms viewing or shrine festival, etc., I should try to include it in my plan. As a result, my tour plan fits the guest’s demand, and its route and schedule become efficient, so the tour becomes most attractive. As time is most precious in travel, I think it is crucial to make a tailor-made plan for each guest.

In my contact form on this website, I asked if you would visit famous tourist spots or places local Japanese usually go. Below is my basic guiding policy on each of your choices.

Major tourist spots

The number of foreign tourists who visit Tokyo in 2019 was about 15 million. It was about half of the whole visitors to Japan. Therefore, many tourists feel like seeing as many famous places as possible, which is understandable.

As a tour guide in Tokyo, I have a few indispensable spots to visit for understanding Tokyo’s history. They are the Imperial Palace (ex. Edo castle), Meiji Jingu Shrine, and landscape-style Japanese gardens. I will add some more places into my plan for customers who would like to visit significant destinations. Other options, for example, are places you can view over Tokyo (a Tokyo Skytree tower, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, or Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building). When you are interested in pop/modern and contemporary culture, I will include Shibuya, Harajuku, or Akihabara. It is possible to visit all of them within a one-day tour, but I can propose a plan with more time to spare if you allow me to guide you for 2 or 3 days.

Local Japanese lifestyle

Some visitors like to avoid touristy places prefer to see ordinary Japanese life. In such a case, I will propose a tour at a slower pace and choose the spots like Kagurazaka or Azabu-Juban. Kagurazaka is my hometown, and you will know the roles of local shrines and temples. I will also show you an authentic tearoom where you can taste the green tea. It is not a place for tourists, but for local people to have a relaxing time with tea and sweets.

Another proposal is to visit towns local people often go shopping. I would like to propose Omotesando and Nihonbashi. The former is a fashionable shopping town for younger people, while the latter is a traditional but redeveloped town. Various items sold in the cities must attract you a lot because they often represent Japanese life and culture.

Others

I can guide outside of Tokyo, for example, Yokohama, Kamakura, Nikko, etc. I often pick you up or see you off at a Yokohama port where cruises arrive/start. Besides, I can cope with your request to organize a special tour. In the past, a guest wanted to visit as many used vinyl record shops in Tokyo as possible to hunt treasures. I made a list of the record shops region by region in Tokyo. I called all of them in advance to confirm if they were really doing business. Another guest wanted to buy Ukiyo-e printings (woodblock prints), so I researched where they are available. He was delighted with what he purchased, and now the works are displayed at his home. I welcome any special request. Frankly speaking, I always enjoy the process of finding solutions for my guests together.

© 2018 by Japan Culture Guide Ken Oka

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