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WOW! JAPAN

Even if You Don’t Understand Japanese, Don’t Worry! 5 Free Guide Services for Tokyo Tourism

If you want to travel through Japan but are worried about the language barrier, here is a list of organizations that offer free tourism guides for foreigners in Tokyo.

1. Omotenashi Tokyo (Tokyo tourism guide service)

This is a guide service that will allow you to see all the main sightseeing spots in the various metropolitan areas.
There are 10 courses in total. You can experience a tea ceremony in the tea room of the Imperial Hotel; enjoy exploring the streets of Harajuku, the birthplace of the newest fashion trends; and check out the inside of the parliament building (not including times when parliament is in session). The contents really are very diverse. The system is one that allows for maximum groups of 5, with 2 accompanying guides. The guide fee is free, however, actual expenses for the guides such as entering facilities and public transport fall on the participants, so please be aware.

Supported languages
・English
・Chinese
・Korean
・French
・German
・Spanish
・Italian

1. Omotenashi Tokyo (Tokyo tourism guide service)

Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 2-8-1 Tokyo Government Building 1 1F

2. TOKYO SGG CLUB

This is a volunteer guide group that guides around 88,000 foreigners every year. Starting with the Asakusa Culture Tourism Center, they have permanent activity bases in 6 metropolitan areas including Marunouchi and Ueno.
Areas that offer an accompanying guide are Asakusa and the area around Asakusa Shrine (every week on Saturday and Sunday, twice a day), Ueno Park and the surrounding area (every week on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, twice a day), and the Kokyo Higashi Gyoen (the East Garden of the Imperial Palace) and surrounding area (every week on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, once a day). Prior reservations are not necessary, and it is okay as long as you arrive at the specified area (e.g. Asakusa Culture Tourism Center 1F in front of the counter) at least 10 minutes prior to operating time. There is a capacity of 10 customers for each time, with priority given in order of arrival.

Supported languages
・English

2. TOKYO SGG CLUB

Inside the Asakusa Culture Tourism Center, Kaminarimon 2-18-9, Taito-ku, Tokyo

3. TOKYO FREE GUIDE

TOKYO FREE GUIDE is an organization that has volunteer guides for metropolitan areas and the suburbs. The charm of this one is that not all guide routes are predetermined, and they will arrange a plan to suit their guests' needs. With the guides' modest customer service and high language level, they invite a degree of familiarity and popularity from foreign tourists. Prior reservation required. There is no fee for the guide, but actual expenses for the guides such as entering facilities and public transport need to be covered by the participants, so please be aware.

Supported languages
・English
・Chinese
・Korean
・French
・German
・Spanish
・Italian
・Portuguese, etc.

3. TOKYO FREE GUIDE

Mac Ginza Building 303, 1-15-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

4. TOKYO FREE WALKING TOUR

This is a volunteer tour guide group that will guide you around places that will show you the real culture and history of Tokyo. The main course starts from from the Marunouchi Chuo exit of Tokyo Station. You pass through the office area of Marunouchi, and go around the Kokyo Higashi Gyoen (the East Garden of the Imperial Palace). There are also cases where exhibition of courses for areas aside from Asakusa are open, so please check the Tour Schedule column on the official homepage for details.
They are generally held on Saturday every week from 1:00 pm (excluding when the Kokyo Higashi Gyoen is closed), with about 2 hours needed. Booking beforehand is unnecessary, and if you gather at the exit of the ticket gate of the Marunouchi Chuo exit of Tokyo Station around 12:45pm, you'll be fine. What to look for is the "FREE WALKING TOUR" sign hung up by the guides.

Supported languages
・English

4. TOKYO FREE WALKING TOUR

Tokyo, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1

5. SHINAGAWA SGG GOODWILL GUIDE

This is a volunteer guide group situated in the Shinagawa area. They generally center on the working class neighborhoods of Tokyo and their surrounding areas, however, with consultation beforehand, it possible to request guides to other areas such as Mt. Fuji and Hakone. Please try and ask about any place you want to visit. The cost for the guide is free, however, actual expenses for the guides such as entering facilities and public transport falls on the participants, so please be aware.

Supported languages
・English
・Chinese
・French
・Spanish
・Italian

5. SHINAGAWA SGG GOODWILL GUIDE

AI Academy Inc. 2F, 2-4-6 Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

Checking the homepages for the types of actual expenses and details beforehand is recommended. Please make some wonderful and lasting memories in Tokyo while enjoying the company of the guides!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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