Japan can be a difficult country to explore if you’re a budget traveler. One great way to make your trip to Tokyo cheaper and more enjoyable is to use one of the free tour guides in Tokyo. Tour guides volunteer to show foreign tourists around the city for a variety of reasons, such as practicing their language skills, or just having fun meeting new people and showing you their hometown. Check out our article on free tour guides in Tokyo!
The following are all the different volunteer groups that are available:
Free Tour Guides in Tokyo : Capital Tokyo West SGG Club
Capital Tokyo West SSG Club is a group of goodwill volunteers who provide tours all over Tokyo, but focus on the Western side. Here you can find English, French and Italian-speaking volunteers. They are more than happy to help you plan your personal tour. Their service hours are 9:30-17:00 everyday and are sometimes flexible.
Established in 2006, Edo Tokyo Guide Group can guide you in a variety of languages besides English. Check out their website and contact them at least 2 weeks in advance by e-mail to request a tour.
Shinagawa SGG Club will cater tours to your interests and requests. The volunteer can accompany you up to 3 days but groups shouldn’t be larger than 10 people. Please visit their website and email them at least two weeks in advance to arrange a tour.
The Japanese Red Cross Language Service Volunteers offer tours for the physically challenged and their assistants in various languages. Please visit their website and apply at least two weeks in advance by e-mail.
“We are full of energy with heart-warming hospitality and cultural insights.” An organization with over 350 volunteer guides, Tokyo Free Guide provides tours in several languages. To make your tour more enjoyable, don’t forget to write down your interests when submitting your request. Some of the guides know a lot about the Japanese pop culture while other guides might have a vast knowledge about history, religion or even… good food! Please submit your request through their website at least two weeks before your desired tour date.
This tour group currently offers three tours. Their main tours are the “East Gardens of the Imperial Palace” and the “Meiji jingu Shrine and Harajuku” tours. They also have an “Asakusa” tour, which is conducted on an irregular basis. Their tours are usually on the weekends, but you should check their calendar to see what tours are available on which days. No reservations are required–feel free to meet up with the tour guides at the locations designated under each tour’s description on their website.
Tokyo Systemized Goodwill Guide Club (SGG Club) is a member group of Japan’s National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Primarily offering set tours of Asakusa and Ueno, Tokyo SGG Club also offers custom tours for free on request. They also have several information desks around Ueno.
If you are interested in a more in-depth tour of Harajuku, check out our article on Showcase Tours!