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JapanGoidwill Tour Guides

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Yes i have had the pleasure of spending some wonderful days with goodwill guides at various places in Japan. I have been to Japan about 10 + times and these days get around just fine but in the early days they were invaluable, even if only to be able to get around the big cities. The plus side is that the worry of trying to get around cities has been removed, and you spend the day with a local. The down side as an older not particularly fit person is that they are all so very proud of their city that they have tended to fit too much into a day. Last year I took a group of friends to Japan for a cruise on the diamond princess and then 2 weeks land travel. I arranged for goodwill guides at both Kyoto and Tokyo solely for the practicalities of getting a group of people around those cities. Friends were on a coach tour last year with a free day in Hiroshima. I arranged for them to have a goodwill guide to show them around Hiroshima and take them to Miyajima. They could have managed on their own but knowing this couple well there would have been a few "domestics" on the day which was avoided by having the guide. Once you apply to the particular organization and are offered a guide, there will be emails going back and forth to discuss what you will see on the day. We have had student goodwill guides, retired teachers, mothers, and everything in between. Last year our Tokyo guide was a retired engineer businessman who had spent 20 years in Singapore so his english was excellent. Apply as far ahead as possible for your best chance. You are expected to pay their travel, meal, entry expenses. We do take a small gift from our country and also if they have small children or grandchildren we take small koala/kangaroos for the children. The Japanese homes are extremely small so they dont have room for "stuff". Our goodwill student guide from Kyoto last year will be studying in Melbourne this year and we are thrilled to be able to meet her again. The students are often studying english at uni so it is a win/win situation, you get a guide, they get to practice their english.


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I used a goodwill guide in Hakodate last September - arranged through the local tourism office. Our guide was wonderful, a retired lady (I think she may have been a teacher IIRC). Her english was very good and she was like the Energizer Bunny, she kept going and going - the rest of us (all younger than her) just tried to keep up with her energy! I took a box of good quality candy/chocolate (from my home country/city) for her as a gift. Others on the tour gave her a book. Remember in Japan it's all about the wrapping of the gift - so a small gift in nice wrapping or a nice bag is a good way to go.

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I also used a goodwill guide in Hakodate and she was wonderful as well. She spent considerable time writing and responding to emails about what we might like to see. We are from Florida and brought her some chocolate alligators and a tea bag sampler from Alaska.

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  • 1 month later...

You can book just 2 people. I don't believe that they would randomly add you to other people. I have booked one for a city on I our upcoming May cruise. You must do it ahead of time online, not when you get off the ship.

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