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Question about Itinerary and tour guides

Charleston, sc
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108 posts
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Question about Itinerary and tour guides

I'm just starting to plan our trip to Japan. We have our flights purchased and started booking our hotels. The travel agent I'm working with has put together private tour packages. The packages have priced out much higher than I thought. We are from the US, only speak English, and have never traveled to Japan. Here is an example of two days of tours the company has put together for us:

Day 1

Imperial Palace Plaza


Meiji Shrine

Tokyo National Museum

Ueno Park

Tsutaya Bookstore

Roppongi Hills

Day 2

Tsukiji Fish Market

The Tokyo Tower

Boat Cruise on the Sumida River to Asakusa Temple

The Ghibli Museum

Ginza shopping area

My question is do we really need a private tour guide? Or can we easily get at taxi to the attractions and visit on our own?

Is it too much to see in one day?

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Question about Itinerary and tour guides

Unless you have difficulty walking, you should be able to do almost all this on your own, using trains and subways for transportation. English signage is excellent on trains and subways in Tokyo. Study the Tokyo subway map and you should be fine. The Japan Rail Yamanote line makes a circle around central Tokyo, and it's quite useful for sightseeing. You might get lost occasionally, but the local residents can be very helpful.

You should check to see if you need to get tickets in advance for the Ghibli Museum--it appears to be very very popular.

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2. Re: Question about Itinerary and tour guides

If you are looking to just see sights then you can probably do just as well on your own.

We recently had private guides to many of the sites on your list, plus others like the backstreets of Yanaka which there is no way we would have done on our own. We were able to chat to our guide about life in Japan, Abenomics, Japan's foreign policy etc. They took us to lunch places where we ate interestingly, with the guide explaining etiquette and ingredients. We were able to use this info and other info they provided eg how to ride subways etc for the rest of our trip. The guides added a level of appreciation of Tokyo and Japan that we couldn't possibly have achieved on our own. I guess that's what you pay for.

We used Chris Rowthorn tours.

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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3. Re: Question about Itinerary and tour guides

The tour company you're using apparently doesn't know Tokyo well. On both days, they have you go all over Tokyo at random in unorganized manner. You should research and plan an itinerary yourself:


Charleston, sc
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108 posts
41 reviews
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4. Re: Question about Itinerary and tour guides

Thank you for the responses. We typically buy tourist books and do our own research when visiting somewhere new. I thought maybe I would upgrade this trip, but I don't think it's in our best interest. I appreciate the advice.

5. Re: Question about Itinerary and tour guides

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