Top 5 Free Tour Guide Services in Japan


Just about to book that expensive tour guide to show you around Japan? No need! There are hundreds of FREE volunteer guides in Japan. Here are our top groups and organisations:

Goodwill Guides

The official, national organisation for free guides in Japan. The volunteers are Japanese people who want use their foreign language skills to tell the world about this lovely country. Some have pre-defined routes and tours that you can join, while others are more flexible. If you are lucky you may even get a guide just to yourselves! You are expected to pay for any travel or admission fees, as well as food if you eat together. They have an extensive list of volunteer groups, with at least one in each major city or tourist spot.

Matsumoto Castle Volunteer Guides

The super helpful, super nice guides at Matsumoto Castle will jump of their seat in there little stall inside the entrance to see if you want to be guided around for free. You can’t miss them!

Kimi Information Center

This well known company in Tokyo helps foreigners in various ways, but this is their best offering for budget travelers. Their English school students can take you around Tokyo, so you get a guide who is very eager to show you some cool places and provide lots of interesting information. More details here.

Tokyo Free Guide

Another well known service in Tokyo is Tokyo Free Guide. It’s a free guide service with the aim to encourage cultural exchanges between Japanese people and foreigners. Services are available in multiple languages, such as English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Visit Kansai

For those visiting places such as Osaka, Kyoto or Nara, Visit Kansai is a great choice. They have loads of bubbly volunteer guides who want to give tourists a real behind-the-scenes experience.

Want to know all the best volunteer guides, all over Japan? Check out my new budget travel book!

Perfect for backpackers, budget travelers, families on a tight budget, students and those who are new to Japan.

More info


Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Free Tour Guide Services in Japan

  1. we are just worried about being to coordinate train from Tokyo to Kyotol. From Kyoto we want to go to Nara, and several other day trips but, again , worried about train schedules. Any suggestions


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