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Guide Services

Travel Tips

Professional Guides / Guide-Interpreters

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Licensed Guide Interpreters are professionals who can accompany you anywhere in Japan to provide accurate, up-to-date information you won’t find in a guidebook or on the Internet. Our interpreters can make your time in Japan even more comfortable and enjoyable.
A Licensed Guide Interpreter must first pass the Licensed Guide Interpreter Examination administered by the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency and apply to the governors of the relevant prefectures for official registration. A fine of up to 500,000 can be levied on unlicensed, paid guides.
Licensed Guide Interpreters carry a registration card (example below) issued by the governor of the relevant prefecture. They can be selected in various ways. A list of easily accessible organizations officially registered with the Japan Tourism Agency which offer Licensed Guide Interpreters is below. If you would like to engage a Licensed Guide Interpreter or inquire about fees or available tour locations, please contact a listed organization.

Volunteer Guides (Goodwill Guides)

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Systematized Goodwill Guide Groups (SGG groups) use their foreign language skills in a variety of volunteer activities in different locations throughout Japan. Their members are volunteers who are ready and willing to assist overseas visitors. SGG groups are registered with JNTO and wear the badge shown at right. Several SGG groups offer tourists from overseas free local tours in English and other languages.

Some SGG groups have pre-set walking tours. To join some of these you need only go to a pre-determined place on certain dates and at certain times, while other SGG groups will make arrangements to meet tourists' requests. There is no charge for SGG guides’ services, as they are volunteers. You are only expected to pay their travel expenses and admission fees for tourist facilities in addition to your own, and also to pay for their meals if you eat with them.

Feel free to contact any of the SGG groups 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.