Guide Service / Professional Guides or Guide-Interpreters
Guide-interpreters may be hired through hotels as well as land operators. Licensed guides are available for interpretation in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Korean. As of June 2007, there were licensed guides, of whom about 920 were members of the Japan Guide Association (Tel. 03-3213-2706. Fax. 03-3213-2707) and 530 were members of the Japan Federation of Certified Guides (Tel. 03-3380-6611. Fax. 03-3380-6609).
Charges for guide-interpreters services depend on the level of expertise required and the length of the assignment. Average rates are in the range of 25,000yen – 45,000yen per day. In addition, transportation, meal and accommodation costs for the duration of the assignments are borne by the person engaging a guide-interpreter.
- Tour guide-interpreter search – database of licensed tour guides and interpreters
- Information on the National Examination for the Guide-Interpreters (in Japanese only).
Guide Service / Volunteer Guides (Goodwill Guides)
Systematized Goodwill Guide Groups, comprising mostly students, housewives and retirees, are engaged in different locations throughout Japan in a variety of volunteer activities using their foreign language skills. As volunteers standing ready and willing to assist overseas visitors, these Goodwill Guides are registered with JNTO and display the badge shown below. Several Systematized Goodwill Guide (SGG) groups offer tourists from overseas free local tours guided in English and other languages.
Some have a pre-set walking tour for which you only need to go to a pre-established place at certain dates and times to join, while others make arrangements to meet tourists’ requests. When calling from overseas, your courtesy would be appreciated in making contact during the Japan Standard Time (JST) hours given in each group’s description.
There is no charge for their service as they are volunteers. You are only expected to pay for their travel expenses and admissions to tourist facilities as well as yours, and to pay for their meals if you eat with them.
Feel free to contact any of the SGGs listed and make arrangements for a personal tour if you are planning to visit one of the places included in the list. These volunteer guides will make your visit to the place of your choice much more memorable and rewarding.
List of Prefectures Where SGG Groups Are Located
- Aichi – Nagoya and the rest of Aichi; Chita Peninsula – 16
- Aomori – Misawa – 1
- Chiba – Kashiwa – 7
- Ehime – Matsuyama and the rest of Ehime – 28
- Fukui – Fukui – 15
- Fukuoka – Fukuoka; Kitakyushu; Omuta; Chikuho region; north Fukuoka Pref. – 30
- Fukushima – Aizu Wakamatsu – 3
- Gunma – Ota – 8
- Hiroshima – Hiroshima and Miyajima – 26
- Hyogo – Himeji; Kobe; Takarazuka – 23
- Ibaraki – Kashima; Mito; Tone-machi; Tsukuba – 6
- Ishikawa – Kanazawa – 14
- Kagawa – Takamatsu and the rest of Kagawa – 27
- Kagoshima – Kagoshima – 35
- Kanagawa – Yokohama, Kamakura and the rest Kanagawa; Odawara and Hakone – 11
- Kochi – Kochi – 29
- Kumamoto – Kumamoto – 33
- Kyoto – Kyoto – 19
- Mie – Iga region – 18
- Miyagi – Matsushima, Sendai and the rest of Miyagi – 2
- Miyazaki – Miyazaki Pref. – 34
- Nagano – Matsumoto – 12
- Nara – Nara Pref. – 20
- Niigata – Sado Island – 4
- Oita – Beppu; Oita – 31
- Okayama – Kurashiki – 24
- Osaka – Osaka and Kansai Area – 21
- Saga – Imari – 32
- Saitama – Kawagoe – 9
- Shiga Hikone Castle; Otsu and the rest of Shiga, Kansai area – 17
- Shimane Matsue and Izumo – 25
- Shizuoka – Atami; Ito; Shimoda – 13
- Tochigi – Nikko, Utsunomiya and the rest of Tochigi – 5
- Tokyo – Asakusa and the rest of Tokyo - 10
- Wakayama – Wakayama Pref. – 22